For my second set of paired days, who better than Alfred Hitchcock? So here are 6 and 7 on my list: Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963).
How can you not love Psycho? Even knowing what’s coming at every step of the way, it is a masterpiece of suspense and style. The use of taxidermy to set a mood, Bernard Herrmann’s score, the shower scene, and – of course! – creepy, creepy Anthony Perkins. This final scene never fails to give me chills.
We all go a little mad sometimes.
The Birds is a horror film of a different stripe. Where Psycho is narrowly focused, internally oriented, The Birds travels and wanders a bit more, brings in more color and range, and turns the focus outward – to the natural world. This is an early film in one of my favorite subgenres: creature features, or natural horror. What causes the birds to attack? We get no explanation (psychological, ornithological, or otherwise) from the film, the way we do in Psycho. We never really know. That’s part of the fear.
I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?
Earlier countdown entries: