Madness or Method: Alfred Hitchcock.

By stellavie

We shall start this horror season with the ‘Notorious’(see what I did there) …mastermind that is Alfred Hitchcock.

Where better to start, this is a man who introduced slasher horror and a whole new way of claiming the horror genre.

Now I could go on by listing all 24 but if your a movie buff then I’ll save the list, and if you don’t here’s just a few for you to go search and get started…

His most famous creation Physco is one of the all time go to classic horror movies that most critics cling to as a gem. But there are things many may not know about the acclaimed director both personally and behind the scenes. Here I will list some of the disturbing and weird things about Alfred Hitchcock that puts a whole new spin on his creations and brings into question was it method or madness.

1. Fears depicted were his own.

What many don’t know is that Alfred Hitchcock was a man riddled with his own fears and many of them he portrayed in his very own works. For example, Vertigo which was one of his many creations was based on his own fear of heights. Also many believe that in most of his movies the romance/violence was all part of his own personal anguish. when asked wether he had in fact ever watched his own films he was reported as saying:

“I never go to see them, I don’t know how people can bare to watch my movies”

Hitchcock 1963
Hitchcock on set

In his humble beginnings he started writing short stories for Henley Telegraph in east London were he was born in 1919. When he was just 4 years old he was brought to the police station by his father for being mischievous and after this event he became afraid of the law for most of his adulthood, refusing to drive as to not be pulled over by the law.

Another unusual phobia he remarked about in an interview was his disgust of Eggs…

“I’m frightened of eggs they revolt me…Blood is jelly red but egg yolk is yellow,revolting!”

Hitchcock

Weird as that may have been to most people and disturbing to compare it to blood the director was known for being crippled with anxiety as those who worked with him had a running joke of his drowsiness at dinner parties. This was due to his part-taking in opiates to help calm him.

2. Trick or torture

Hitchcock with actor Francois Truffaut

Behind the scenes of his movies and with actors who worked with and for him all have reports of his constant pranks and almost sinister atmosphere he portrayed when dealing with scenes.

On more than one occasion Hitchcock was known to almost torture his actors in order to create tension on screen and some of his methods for achieving this could almost seem unorthodox.

Hitchcock with Tippi Hedren- ‘The birds’ press photography

It’s well documented that Tippi Hedren almost lost an eye from one of the birds attacking her. Although this would seem distressing to most directors with their actors mr Hitchcock found it rather amusing. Another report is that his obsession with Tippi was so extreme that his own wife Alma had to apologise profusely for his actions. Things where so bad for Hedren she had to take time with doctors advice.

In Physco he had Norman Bates mother, who we see at the end of the movie, placed inside the lead actress Janet Leighs dressing room in order to gage her scream.

Bergman was quoted when filming ‘Spellbound’ about how she felt on the set…

“How I suffer and loathe every moment on set”

3. The gifts

Hitchcock holding his own wax head

Hitchcock had many ways to entertain himself and one of the other warped things he was known for doing would be sending gifts to his cast members whilst they filmed for him.

However being the dark humored or slightly unhinged person that many knew him to be he would pick the gift that would be suitable for each actors phobia. Yes, that’s right to scare the utter crap out of them. He would find out what their phobias were then send them a wooden box containing their fear. This would be anything from snakes, rats and spiders etc.

Melanie Griffith, the daughter of Tippi Hedren recalls a birthday gift given to her by the infamous Hitchcock when she was a child. The gift was a replica wax doll of her own mother, dressed in the costume that Tippi wore in ‘The Birds’. Now this would seem innocent enough if it wasn’t for the fact that it was presented in a small wooden coffin for theatrical affect. When asked about this gift from Hitchcock her explicit remarks where…

“He was a Motherfucker, and you can quote me!”

Melanie Griffith in response

It seems with all of this in mind that Hitchcock was in himself a disturbing figure and for some reason it adds more validity and haunting qualities to his own creations on screen.

Known as ‘ the master of suspense’ his movies are now cult classics acclaiming many awards and accolades. His premise of making people suffer when watching something and his inspirations descending from people like FW Murnau (creator of the silent film Nosferatu), Hitchcock cemented his place in the horror genre.

It should be noted that many of his methods and ideas where covered until this day in horror. Slasher movies like, Halloween, Jason,Freddy Krueger and Scream all derived from Hitchcock.

“Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody!”

Hitchcock when describing his themes in horror

It’s because of Hitchcock that we see the old blonde girl verses the killer in almost all slasher films and series today. It’s now become somewhat of a comic nudge in most creations in recent years.

I find him as a person fascinating as it adds so much more volume to his work and a darker theme to what could have just been a simple horror collection.

I will leave you with this quote by the family movie creator Walt Disney who when questioned in the 60s why Hitch couldn’t film their he retorted …

“I will never forgive him after creating that disgusting movie Physco!”

Walt Disney

Thankyou for reading

The Yenner 💀

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