The meaning of Halloween has evolved over the decades from an ancient Celtic festival, to a celebration of saints and martyrs, and finally to a kid-friendly holiday filled with candy. But Halloween has remained the same in one traditional aspect: fear. It is the only night of the year when superstition and fright walk the streets freely. Though many filmmakers have attempted to capture the mood of All Hallows’ Eve, there can only be one Master of Suspense.
In honor of Alfred Hitchcock, the Carroll County Arts Council is hosting a pre-Halloween double feature on Saturday to mark his contribution to the films that make you check under the bed and sleep with the lights on. Having directed more than 60 thriller and horror films over his career, Hitchcock dedicated his life to making the audience scream and jump. His innovation and achievements in the horror/thriller genre were celebrated with multiple Oscar nominations and a knighting by the Queen of England. After death Hitchcock’s legacy continues, having directed nine of the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Heart Pounding Movies and being named “The Best Director of All Time” by Entertainment Weekly.
The double feature begins at 7 p.m. with a screening of Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The film revolves around Jeff (Stewart) and the murder he witnessed…or thinks he witnessed from the confines of his own apartment. With absolutely no way of proving what he saw, he becomes obsessed with exposing the neighbor’s bloody crime. According to Hitchcock himself, “If you don’t experience delicious terror when you see Rear Window, then pinch yourself–you are most probably dead.”
After a brief intermission to gather your wits and courage, Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds will be screened. Expressing Hitchcock’s ironic sense of humor (I highly suggest you watch the original trailer for this film, click here), nature turns against man in this bizarrely terrifying movie. The film follows Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) as she pursues a potential beau to the remote town of Bodega Bay. Shortly after her arrival she is attacked by seagulls and soon after a neighbor is found dead from a bird attack. The birds continue to grow in numbers and love is forgotten in favor of survival. Hitchcock referred to this film as possibly the most terrifying movie he ever made.
Tickets for the Hitchcock double feature can be purchased online or on location. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for CCAC members, students, and seniors.