An exploration of five classic screen thrillers, see Hitchcock pitted against some close rivals, promoting knowledge, understanding and appreciation not only on the big screen thriller, but also of cinema in general. Explore a fresh selection of classic screen thrillers - edge of the seat, suspense laded plots, crime, mystery, twists in the tale, red herrings, all is perhaps not what it seems - the thriller seems to be a sub-genre which crosses through other genres - we take a closer look at the factors we expect from the perfect thriller. Hitchcock? Film Noir? Sometimes dangling on the edge of horror!
What does it take to keep the audience on the edge of their seat for the classic film thriller experience? We explore five examples now regarded as classics of the genre. Hitchcock might be the first name we think of and we will explore his box office hit Psycho. However, we also consider examples such as Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, released only months before Psycho but derided as deeply offensive - why? We also explore once ‘lost’ classic 1940’s Gaslight, which gave rise to the now popular phrase, blending would-be melodrama with psychological thriller. We examine Bad Day at Black Rock, an example which appears to blend crime drama with the then emerging ‘revisionist Western’ - political thriller The Day of the Jackal, arguably expresses with increased immediacy the paranoia and cynicism of its time. What common techniques do these films employ and what do they say thematically about reoccurring anxieties and tension of the societies which produced and consumed them? Can filmmakers still learn from these or have some now dated in their power to keep us on the edge of the seat? Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Peeping Tom (1960), Psycho (1960), Gaslight (1940), The Day of the Jackal (1973).
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