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Movies & TV

23rd Oct 2017

31 Days Of Hallowe’en: The Birds (1963)

Hitchcock made a lot of scary movies. But while this isn't his best, it might be his scariest.

Rory Cashin

Welcome to JOE’s 31 Days Of Hallowe’en. For each and every day of October, we’ll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you’ll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.

For Day 23, we’re looking back over 1963’s nature-goes-dark via Hitchcock, The Birds.

Psycho. Vertigo. Dial M For Murder. Rear Window. We could go on, listing famously scary Hitchcock movies, all of which are better than today’s horror movie recommendation, but we would argue than none of them are actually scarier.

In her film debut, Tippi Hedren arrives at a sleepy bay town in California, where she is hoping to run into an attractive man (Rod Taylor) and maybe see if sparks fly. Instead, her arrival coincides with the sudden and never-explained mass attack of birds on the town, as they blindly hurl themselves at any building that might have townsfolk in them, and slaughter the population without mercy.

It is that total lack of explanation that makes The Birds so terrifying.

Clip via True Cinema Buff

Hitchcock obviously knows his way around a scary scene, but in The Birds he goes beyond the horror we’d normally associated with him, that of an unhinged individual, one that maybe can not be reasoned with, but one that can be easily outrun or defeated if you were to put your mind to it.

They aren’t the easy answers within The Birds, because the hundreds and thousands of the winged creatures completely cover the town, and pretty much destroy any means of escape.

In order to get the full fear from the cast, he actually tied living birds to them, one of which resulted in pecking Tippi Hedren’s eyelid clean off. If the actors and actresses look scared, that is because they are scared.

Many consider The Birds to be Hitchcock’s final “un-flawed” movie, and one sitting through this, even all these years later, and you’ll understand why it stands up as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

Check out our previous recommendations below:

Day 1 – The Omen

Day 2 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Day 3 – The Ring

Day 4 – The Invitation

Day 5 – Scream 2

Day 6 – It Follows

Day 7 – Eden Lake

Day 8 – The Thing (1982)

Day 9 – Switchblade Romance

Day 10 – The Babadook

Day 11 – 28 Weeks Later

Day 12 – The Strangers

Day 13 – Friday The 13th (1980)

Day 14 – [REC] & [REC]2

Day 15 – Bone Tomahawk

Day 16 – Candyman

Day 17 – Green Room

Day 18 – 30 Days Of Night

Day 19 – The Blair Witch Project

Day 20 – The Descent

Day 21 – What Lies Beneath

Day 22 – The Others

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