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. … Read More
A slow dolly shot and the haunting, ethereal sounds of “Midnight, The Stars and You” by Al Bowlly takes us into the closing scene of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The moment leaves us speculating about the film’s supernatural subtext as we catch our breath. It’s one of the most famous endings in cinema, but it almost never happened. Website The Overlook Hotel — a great source for fans of Kubrick’s iconic horror film — recently posted a copy of the director’s original screenplay that includes a deleted scene cut from the film at the last minute. We talk about it more after the jump. Audience feedback, filmmaker OCD, and other factors have helped shape the movies we know and love, changing the course of cinema history. We took a look at other popular movies and their original endings (as always, there may be spoilers). Did the final cuts triumph? … Read More
Whether through homage or satire, there’s a rich tradition in cinema — fueled by the likes of cinephile filmmakers such as Godard and Tarantino — of making inside references to other filmmakers. But perhaps even more than the directors enjoy making movie references, audiences love picking up on them. It makes us feel like we have a specialized, albeit useless, expertise. Apparently the writers of The Simpsons have indulged in their share of cinephilia over the years as well, and the Movie Simpsons Tumblr — which launched earlier this year — has been posting animated gifs of famous movie scenes reconstructed, referenced, or otherwise alluded to on the show. We’ve put together ten of our favorites here. … Read More
Gallery 1988 — purveyors of all things pop culture — is hosting a gathering full of gallows humor and shadowy mayhem. The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, is the subject of the California gallery’s latest exhibit, which features over 100 artists paying tribute to one of cinema’s most iconic directors. Suspense & Gallows Humor: A Tribute to the All-Time Greatest focuses on the pioneering filmmaker’s psychological thrillers and twisted tales of terror — including Psycho, North by Northwest, The Birds, and more.
Appropriately, the exhibit opens at Gallery 1988 Venice in Santa Monica on Friday, April 13 (from 7-10pm). If you survive the evening (this is Hitchcock we’re talking about) you can revisit the show, which remains on display until May 5. … Read More
Most fans of Hitchcock’s 1963 avian frightfest The Birds are familiar with the filmmaker’s nod to a 1952 short story of the same name, written by British author Daphne du Maurier. The director modeled his aerial terror after Du Maurier’s tale about a community in England that find themselves under attack by massive flocks of seabirds. Hitchcock’s story takes place in California, which happens to be the site of a similar real-life event that also inspired the auteur’s famous film.
A group of scientists recently solved the unusual mystery behind a 1961 incident, in which disoriented seabirds crashed into houses — suicide-style — across California’s Monterey Bay. It appears that the birds ingested toxic algae (thanks to the area’s leaky septic tanks), which caused confusion, seizures, and death. Hitch studied the poisonous headlines for his thriller, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since life is usually far more frightening than fiction (just look at the potential presidential candidates), we decided to dig into several other real-life stories behind scary movies past the break. Leave us your own picks below. … Read More
We’re big fans of minimalist posters around here, which is why Matt Owen’s sleek and sharp minimalist movie posters caught the attention of our adoring peepers. The Arkansas designer felt inspired by the likes of Hitchcock’s finest and other cinematic greats to create these bold, yet somehow still subtle, interpretations of movies in glorious poster form. See if you agree with us past the break, where we highlight several minimal works of art that provide maximum satisfaction. … Read More
As a general rule, we’re in favor of technology. But while we glanced through Angus Shamal’s roundup of the best behind the scenes photos from Ain’t It Cool News (which we spotted thanks to swissmiss), we couldn’t help but wonder if all of the CGI and motion capture of today has led to sets that are far less interesting than of those of the past. Something has been lost. Just think: There were actual birds loose on the set of The Birds! The real life version of the Nostromo was just as epic as what you see on-screen in Aliens. And don’t even get us started on all of the insanely-detailed, jaw-dropping modernist interiors from 2001. Yowza. We’d be happy to move right on in. Click through, and we think you’ll see what we mean. … Read More