Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds turns 50 years old today, and we’re celebrating in the expected ways: watching the movie, looking up a lot, making sure all of our windows are shut tight. But Hitchcock’s film wasn’t just an effective scarefest; its innovative use of sound, matter-of-fact drama, and unrelenting claustrophobia have inspired horror filmmakers since its release. In celebration of the film’s anniversary, we gathered quotes from seven makers of scary movies, who had a thing or two to say about how the film influenced them, and why it’s one of the all-time great horror flicks.
John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing)
“The birds are simply a symbol of the tensions that are going on between characters. There’s all this unspoken tension going on because of Lydia — Jessica Tandy, the mother — judging these women, and the tensions begin to grow between the characters. And the birds are the complete expression of the inner lives of our characters… I think every film made after Hitchcock by us young movie brats kind of have him with us. He’s one of the true masters of cinema.”