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Hitchcock: Master of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock's legacy extends beyond his films and has become a model for aspiring directors looking to create suspenseful and shocking stories. His influence is so significant that his name has become a metaphor for a certain style of filmmaking, often referred to as "Hitchcockian." Hitchcock was a master of several cinematic elements, including showmanship, morality, mechanics, manipulation, and romance, which are evident in his films.

One of Hitchcock's most iconic films, Psycho (1960), gave birth to the slasher cycle with its unexpected and gruesome death of Marion Crane in the shower. John Carpenter's Halloween (1979) was the first to exploit this strand in a low-budget horror film by combining Hitchcockian editing with the ritual cutting of female flesh. However, the slasher cycle lacks the moral resonances and wit found in Hitchcock's best works.


Brian De Palma and Wes Craven, two directors known for their adeptness at manipulating audiences, were also heavily influenced by Hitchcock. De Palma's Sisters (1973) blatantly lifted Hitchcockian style, while Obsession (1976) was reminiscent of Vertigo's romanticism. Craven's Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream franchises from the 1980s and 90s emphasized Hitchcock's mechanistic tendencies but lacked his urbane eye for the absurdity of the universe.


In the 1960s, France became the hub of the "Hitchcock industry" of critical analysis. Hitchcock's influence can be felt across the oeuvres of François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black (1967) and Chabrol's Le boucher (1969) and La décade prodigieuse (Ten Days Wonder, 1972) are just a few examples. Other directors, such as Billy Wilder, Curtis Hanson, and Roman Polanski, have also been sensitive to the characteristically Hitchcockian fate of the individual.


Hitchcock's influence can also be seen in other genres of modern cinema, such as political thrillers and romantic comedies. Directors like Stanley Donen and Woody Allen have fallen under the influence of Hitchcock's penchant for romantic comedy.

Alfred Hitchcock's impact on the modern thriller genre is undeniable. His films' themes of guilt, pursuit, and fate can also be seen in every genre of modern cinema, which highlights the epic scope of his influence.

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