Tuesday, October 6, 2009
A Glance at/from Evil
There have been countless scary movie scenes throughout the years. We're obviously all familiar with that shower scene from Hitchcock's, "Psycho"; Anthony Perkins hacking away (in drag, no less) at Janet Leigh, those close-up shots of blood running down the drain, etc.. And how about that image of Shelley Winters's dead body submerged in water - THIS, from the Charles Laughton masterpiece, "Night of the Hunter"? Of course, nobody, NOBODY, will ever forget that dreaded scene form Robert Aldrich's "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane". Yeah, that's right, the one where Betty Davis serves a dead, uncooked bird to her invalid sister (Joan Crawford). Yikes, huh?..................................................................................But, yes, folks, I'm also telling this. Sometimes a director doesn't need to go to such extremes to scare the crap out of you. I site, specifically, a scene from yet another Hitchcock classic, "Shadow of a Doubt" (supposedly the master's own personal favorite). It's that scene where the entire family is seated at the dinner table, Joseph Cotten going on and on about the worthlessness of the folks he despises. Teresa Wright (who had an absolutely bitching ass in the 40s, by the way - though, clearly, I digress), already suspicious that her uncle (the Joseph Cotten character) is probably a cold-blooded killer, challenges him, "How can you say that? They're human beings, they're alive!" And, yes, folks, this is where it gets really creepy, Joseph Cotten turns to her (and, yes, to us, too, as Hitchcock has him staring directly into the camera) and dryly utters, "They are?" I mean, talk about a shiver going directly up your spine. THAT....is a kisser that this fellow will never forget.