Top Horror Films – #20 – The Birds

The Birds
1963; directed by Alfred Hitchcock; screenplay by Evan Hunter from the short story by Daphne du Maurier

Alfred Hitchcock is often remembered as a master of horror, but many of his movies truly belong mostly to the thriller category. Not this one. This movie scared the ever-living crap out of me. This movie is the reason why I am that person who flinches when a pigeon gets within five feet. It plays like a brilliant zombie film: a living force, multiplying beyond your control, employing a mob mentality, and hell-bent on killing you for reasons you can’t begin to fix. Except birds really exist…

Mark: What’s so impressive about this picture is Hitchock’s ability to make one of the most mundane and peripheral objects of (most of) our lives a really terrifying entity.

Allen: Perhaps not as critically hailed as his other works, what Hitchcock was able to accomplish with this film is starting with such a simple premise and molding it in to a highly entertaining and suspenseful movie. Starring the likes of Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Jessica Tandy, the film does not give a direct reason as to why the crows attack, although many characters give their own guesses. What the characters do know is that they are attacking, and viciously. What starts out as a just a poke from a single bird quickly becomes a deadly swarming army, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. This is highlighted in one of the movie’s most notable sequences, as Tippi Hedren watches with horror as a man is attacked at a gasoline station. Although the film may have aged a bit over the years, there is no denying its influence on other horror films like it, most notably Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.

Ed: Another great ending to a movie. The fact that there is no real resolution is terrific.

Team Rankings:
Mark – #2
Brandi – #5
 Allen – #24


Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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