Alfred Hitchcock’s most-loved movies are nearing their 50th birthdays. And while the years since classics like “Rear Window” and “The Birds” have seen hundreds of horror films, few even begin to approach the visceral terror that Sir Alfred could stir. How could that be, given that today’s movies offer new levels of blood, gore and special effects?
Simple. He knew that the most effective horror wasn’t what played out on the screen. It was what happened inside the viewer’s mind. Take Janet Leigh’s demise in “Psycho.” Today’s director would spare no expense in giving us a colorful glimpse into Miss Leigh’s innards as Anthony Perkins performed his crude dissection. Blood, bile, and the occasional organ would splatter on the lens, leading us to rethink the gallon of Coke and pound of Raisinets we downed during the coming attractions.