Aida Sarsour
29 September 2017 2:48:01 PM UTC in Hollywood

The 10 Best Hitchcockian Movies Not By Hitchcock

The 10 Best Hitchcockian Movies Not By Hitchcock
The 10 Best Hitchcockian Movies Not By Hitchcock

The 10 Best Hitchcockian Movies Not By Alfred Hitchcock

10. Blow Out (1981)

Brian de Palma’s Blow Out is itself an homage to Hitchcock, particularly in its sort of dialogical relation to Hitchcock’s films concerning grand conspiracy themes. However, de Palma uses the filmic linguistic precedent set by Hitchcock and expands upon it, using the notion of the fiction of cinema, exemplified by John Travolta’s character’s employment as a movie sound designer, creating a sense of paranoia of the reality of the experience throughout the film. This essence of reality vs. perception is inherent to the sense of anxiety that Hitchcock was able to create in his conspiracy films.

9. Side Effects (2013)

Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects is at first glance an odd inclusion to this list, however it reflects many influences that perhaps originated with Hitchcock. We can see the similarities between many of Hitchcock’s films, but most notably Side Effects is imprinted with the aura or memory of Hitchcock’s films that deal with familicide, such as Family Plot and Shadow of a Doubt. Though Side Effects takes the concept further, it still is infused with notion of suspicion of one’s loved ones.

8. Se7en (1995)

David Fincher’s Se7en from 1995 is one of the more clear-cut examples of Hitchcock’s influence upon the thriller genre. It sort of exudes the notion of ‘Hitchcockian-ness’. This is rather simplistic to say, but once we explore the cinematographic feel of the film it becomes more evident. Particularly evocative is the use of archetypal imagery, from the 1940s ‘gumshoe look’ of Morgan Freeman’s costumes, the use of Biblical references and imagery as part of the mystery, as well as the nature of the killer as a sort of paranatural being, something that is both human and seemingly inhuman at the same time.

7. Shutter Island (2010)

Speaking further to the concept of fear and the origins thereof that we successfully rendered by Hitchcock, we could turn to Scorsese’s Shutter Island as a more straight-forward experiment in attempting to translate these abstractions to the screen. With Shutter Island, Scorsese owes an enormous debt to Hitchcock and in some ways, we could describe the film as a spiritual cousin to films like Strangers on a Train or perhaps more stringently to Hitchcock’s Psycho. By extrapolating on themes that were earlier analysed in Psycho, both Scorsese and Hitchcock use their films as attempts to understand the nature of the mind as it applies to these specific circumstances.

6. Source Code (2011)

Duncan Jones’ Source Code from 2011 is at first glance a sort of post-modernist commentary on surveillance culture, however the paranoia that seeps out of this film is directly tied to the legacy of Hitchcock and his suspicion of surveillance, though Hitchcock was of course influenced by the security and espionage endemic to the Cold War-era, it speaks to the universality of these themes that people are just a concerned with these ideas today as they were a half century ago. Both Jones and Hitchcock were immediately concerned with the role of the individual within the context of greater social events. Hitchcock’s preoccupation with this idea is seen across his films, pitting the agency of one individual in direct opposition to the will of a group. He also deals with the role of an individual in the position of authority of the greater group.

5. Stoker (2013)

Park Chan-wook’s Stoker has an indelible relationship to Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. It could perhaps be said that the film is a modern re-imagining of the original film. It shares not only thematic and cinematographic similarities, but also narrative and stylistic similarities. The films shares characters and the concept of the double as a means of a sort of reflection of a person’s unity represented by two different characters. What Park does in terms of expanding on Hitchcock’s original work is that he extrapolates not only upon the psychological consequences of doubling, but also the physical repercussions of jealousy and inter-family conflict.

4. Charade (1963)

Stanley Donen’s 1963 film, Charade has been described “the best film Hitchcock never made”.The fact that it was contemporaneous with Hitchcock’s most experimental era has coloured the fact that it is tied inextricably to the conventions that still drove Hitchcock, but rather than moving toward the darker and more empathic route that Hitchcock took with his films in the 1960s, Donen attempted to distill the motifs and stylistics which made Hitchcock’s films exemplary into a pure homage of appreciation. It’s interesting to note the difference in form between Hitchcock’s films of the time and Charade, with Charade representing a movement to recapture the vibrations of Hitchcock’s 50s films in the newer social context of the 60s in a sort of deference to Hitchcock’s 1963 film, The Birds.

3. Gaslight (1944)

George Cukor’s Gaslight was cut from the same cloth that Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious and Lifeboat were. Using Gas Light as a contemporaneous sibling to Hitchcock’s work at the time, we can see that it could have easily been something that Hitchcock himself would have been interested in directing or adapting. The film itself was a remake of an original film, produced in 1940, and the difference between both films expresses the burgeoning influence of Hitchcock upon cinema of the time. Cukor was himself a talented filmmaker but comparing his style from The Philadelphia Story in 1940 to Gaslight in 1944 does indeed illustrate the growing impact of Hitchcock as a filmic stylist and provocateur.

2. Perfect Blue (1997)

Satoshi Kon was a noted admirer of Hitchcock, with Kon noting several of Hitchcock’s films as among his favorite films. He never directly tied Perfect Blue to Hitchcock particularly, however there are various similarities between Perfect Blue and many of Hitchcock’s films. As her stalker progressively attempt to appropriate her identity, Mima is psychologically traumatised to the point of dissociation, which is another favored dynamic of Hitchcock’s. In this way, Kon uses this methodology to further a narrative of suspicion, with the audience attempting to discern the reality of the film’s narrative as opposed to the supposed truth that is concealed within the mysteries and conspiracies.

1. Diabolique (1955)

Diabolique is perhaps the best example of a great film that Hitchcock never made in the sense that Hitchcock himself actually wanted to direct the film. After a bidding war for the screen rights to the novel She Was No More by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, Hitchcock was blocked from directing the adaptation by the director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, also known for 1953’s The Wages of Fear. The film departs somewhat from a traditional Hitchcockian narrative in that it combines aspects from both the psychological thriller genre and the horror genre. Clouzot, like Hitchcock, had an ability to meld genres into a composite while having aspects of both integrate so perfectly that the combination was not detrimental to its composite pieces.