When I was young, I was led into a homemade haunted house on every Halloween. It was comprised of sheets tunneling through the halls and bedrooms, colored lights, and scary surprises around every corner. I’ll never forget how it was all so delightfully set to a record of Alfred Hitchcock Presents playing. My older sisters created these haunted houses for me, and it is one of the fondest memories of my youth, one which kindled an early love for the “Master of Suspense.”
Today we celebrate the master on his birthday. Film director, producer, and screenwriter Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on this day, August 13, 1899, in Leytonstone in east London, in the flat above the family grocery shop. He was born to Catholic parents Emma Jane Hitchcock and William Edgar Hitchcock. Hitchcock stated that he had a lonely childhood, without a memory of a playmate. He was also known for being a well-behaved youth, even called a “little lamb without a spot” by his father. Despite this, in interviews Hitchcock would often recall a scarring childhood event where his dad had him spend a few minutes in a jail cell when young Alfred was five, which left him terrified of law, to the point that he did not drive for fear of getting a ticket.
Hitchcock received many accolades in his lifetime, including 46 Academy Award nominations and six wins. He died on April 29, 1980 in Los Angeles, California, four months after being knighted.
Now Hitchcock is widely regarded as one of the most influential film directors of all time, earning him the title “Master of Suspense,” with a roster of iconic films including Rebecca (1940), Spellbound (1945), Rope (1948), Strangers on a Train (1951), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963).
The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.-Alfred Hitchcock