As a fan of older horror movies, I have obviously watched my share of Alfred Hitchcock films. Hitchcock, rightfully, is known as the Master of Suspense. His horror movies and thrillers can keep you on the edge of your seat with the slightest chord of music, the smallest and most common action of a character, or the simplest of settings.
I am also a fan of modern horror movies. I watch them all and I love many of them, but rarely is a modern movie truly “horror” in the manner defined by Hitchcock. Here are 10 reasons why Alfred Hitchcock is probably lying face down in his grave at the state of modern horror.
1. Visual Horror
Unlike many of today’s horror films, which rarely use more than visual horror with a dash of tension, much of Hitchcock’s horror is psychological – he doesn’t rely on gruesome images or elaborate death scenes to evoke a sense of dread.
Instead, he slowly builds up that dread such as in the school scene of The Birds. Crows slowly mass on playground equipment while children are singing an insipidly repetitious song inside the schoolhouse. The slow buildup of crows (or maybe blackbirds, as the equally insipid Ms. Bundy might say) is tense, but when you combine it with that awful melody in the background it’s enough to make me wish I had a pecker with which to end the tension by pecking myself to death.
Such normally innocuous images as a jungle gym with crows on it are used brilliantly by Hitchcock. His suspense often brings you to the breaking point just before he releases you to enjoy the next portion of the movie.. As Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”. The result is a more subtle, but longer-lasting assault on your psyche.
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