It’s a day of mayhem in movie history, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. After the triumph of Psycho, everyone asked how Hitch was going to top it. He responded by turning back to the writings of Daphne du Maurier, which had already seen him through the likes of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. It became another masterpiece, porting du Maurier’s seaside English setting to his beloved Northern California and reminding us that in his hands, anything can become a source of abject terror. It opened 55 years ago today in 1963.
It nature running amok is your thing, there’s Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which opened today in 2014. Its brutal, complex portrayal of Noah and the Ark engendered a great deal of controversy when it opened, and remains a heated topic today. We think it’s one of the best movies in recent years: a nuanced and powerful meditation on man’s relationship to God and our obligations to the world around us.
Finally, in keeping with the vibe of the day, there’s Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm: an independently funded horror moves released today in 1979. Its out-there premise and truly weird visuals gave it a staying power that its often ridiculous plot could not, and in the late Angus Scrimm found a boogeyman worthy of some sleepless nights. It spawned the expected bevvy of sequels, none of which could quite match this one.
Sleep tight everybody!