Celebrating Hitchcock

General Geekiness
Rear Window

(C) Beth 2011

I find myself writing posts commemorating the death days rather than the birthdays of my favorite artists. As some of them, like Mr Hitchcock and Mr Dahl, tend towards the macabre, it’s rather fitting.

Today marks the 31st anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s death. I had intended on watching one of his movies every night this week. That, of course, failed, with my thesis presentation on Thursday. I did, however, manage to see The Birds at a local cinema on Monday night (which was wonderful), and To Catch a Thief on Tuesday. I believe tonight Holmes and I will finally finish watching Sabotage and perhaps watch another of Mr Hitchcock’s films.

Hitch is a director I came to rather recently. I had seen his second version of The Man Who Knew Too Much during my sophomore year of college, but hadn’t seen any of his other movies. Cue Psycho‘s jarring strings. Holmes needed to watch it for a class, and I, the ever ready film viewer hoping to reap the benefits of her class minus the homework. From Saul Bass’s credits, I was hooked.

The film entranced me, so much so that I watched the film several times over the course of the semester, even writing senior thesis number one about Psycho.

Psycho put Holmes and I on a quest: to see as many of Hitch’s films as possible. As he directed 52 surviving movies, we have our work cut out for us. I have fourteen under my belt, which is more than most people can say.

There’s something delightful about working our way through a director’s canon. I wouldn’t have seen many of his movies without this goal. Strangers on a Train, Rope…great movies I otherwise would have ignored.

My enjoyment of Hitch’s films have inspired my visual art as well. I’m undergoing a personal project to create a series of posters for his movies. One is completed: Rear Window. I intend on making posters for Psycho, The Birds, Rope and maybe even Strangers on a Train.

So, Mr Hitchcock, thanks for all the movies.

Potter, Potter Everywhere…

Nerds Have More Fun

Well, as the entire world knows, Part 1 of the Seventh Harry Potter movie was released over two weeks ago.

Here’s one Potter fan who hasn’t seen it.


Well, its a pretty simple reason. I was in New York City opening weekend, and like hell am I going to see a movie when I’m being a tourist. That, and Thanksgiving was way too short. Not enough hours to accomplish what I needed to.

So Potter slipped by the wayside. It’s been over two weeks since it was released…

Now, I love movies. I could watch them and discuss them and digest them til the cows came home (and probably after). I enjoy going to the movies.  But I can’t see spending $11 to be entertained for a couple of hours. I’d rather go out with friends, or even stay in with friends.

And at this point, pretty much everyone on the face of the planet has seen it who wants to. I don’t like going to the movies alone (because I am a movie commentator. Feel free to chuck popcorn at me. I need to make comments).

So…eh. I might. I might not. I’m kind of Pottered out. ABC Family is having yet ANOTHER Harry Potter weekend. Harry’s all over the city on posters and such. Too much Potter.

I really want to see HP7 part 1 because of the Three Brothers portion. I’ve heard its amazing.

Claustrophobic Vision: The Omen

General Geekiness

Continuing with my classic horror viewing, on Friday night I watched the 1976 version of The Omen.

As the use of silence in The Exorcist struck me, The Omen‘s defining feature was the claustrophobic nature of the shots. The director uses close ups in the best possible way, focusing on the actors’ eyes. We see shots of Mrs Baylock’s eyes filling the screen frequently, and of Thorn’s as well. The extremely tight shots create feelings of intimacy and heightened awareness, along with adding to the creeping despair.

There is also a building feeling of dread to the movie. The film’s tension rises slowly, increasing with the dawning realization of what is actually going on. By the film’s climax, I was shaking, looking to my friend and whispering “I’m scared.”

Richard Donner, the director, did a fantastic job of disorienting the viewer. At times, particularly the scene in the Italian graveyard, the viewer is distanced from the characters. We take on a bird’s eye view, on the same level as the Rottweilers. At points, we cannot see the dogs, but we hear them shuffling around us.

The Rottweiler that guarded Damien was incredibly disturbing. Part of the film’s strength lies in how it makes the ordinary extraordinarily frightening. The dog walks through the house in the film’s climax…we can hear it, we can see it, but there’s something about it that frightens us tremendously.


Happy Halloween everyone!