Vampires, ghosts and the living dead are all well and good this Halloween weekend, but how about something truly terrifying?
This Sunday (October 30) BBC AMERICA presents an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon, starting at 8 am ET with Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds..
To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of recent films that have more than a little something Hitchcockian about them. Here are 10 modern movies that take their cue from the famed director, understanding that suspense can be a whole lot more frightening than guts and gore.
The Girl on the Train (Tate Taylor, 2016)
Not only does the title of current blockbuster The Girl on the Train tip its hat to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, but its premise has echoes of Rear Window: a hero who may have witnessed a murder, but may not be all she seems.
Stoker (Park Chan-Wook, 2013)
Director Park Chan-wook pays grisly homage to Hitchcock classic Shadow of a Doubt in this film about a young woman (Mia Wasikowska) who comes to suspect the motives of her mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode).
Screenwriter Wentworth Miller (yep, from Prison Break) called the classic movie “the jumping off point” for his script, though the film takes a very different direction.
Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2011)
The theme of mistaken identity explored in such Hitchcock movies as North by Northwest and The Wrong Man is revealed to the viewer right off the bat in this movie, when a man called Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train en route to Chicago with a different name, and no memory of how he got there.
Gyllenhaal successfully channels Cary Grant as a man taking part in a mission to stop the train from exploding without any time to stop and ask, how on earth did I get mixed up in all this?
Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)
Set in an asylum on an isolated island, Scorsese’s take on a neo-noir mystery in its exploration of mental illness and its effect on the mind, with the very Hitchcockian final reveal that Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character… well, that would be telling.
Buried (Rodrigo Cortés, 2010)
Ryan Reynolds plays civilian Paul Conroy, a truck driver in Iraq who awakes to discover he has ben buried alive and has approximately 90 minutes, coincidentally the length of the film, left to live. The claustrophobic nightmare that results was so Hitchcockian it was reflected in the trailer and titles.
Tell No-One (Guillaume Canet, 2006)
This adaptation of a novel by Harlan Coben —in which a grieving husband receives an email from his dead wife, just as he is the suspect for another, similar murder—balances a labyrinthine plot, genuine suspense, and an “innocent man wrongly accused” narrative that would have made Hitchcock proud.
Panic Room (David Fincher, 2002)
David Fincher frequently cites Hitchcock in his films, not least his recent feature Gone Girl, with Rosamund Pike playing a character with a psychotic presence not seen since Norman Bates in Psycho.
His 2002 outing saw Jodie Foster take refuge with her 11-year-old daughter (a young Kristen Stewart) in a panic room when her house is invaded by burglars; he himself reportedly described it as “Rear Window meets Straw Dogs.”
Femme Fatale (Brian de Palma, 2002)
Brian de Palma‘s best-known features abound in Hitchcockian references, and this modern classic starring Rebecca Romijn numerous scenes of voyeurism and pursuit that call to mind Rear Window and Vertigo.
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
A young, fledgling actress (Naomi Watts) helps a woman stricken with amnesia (Laura Harring) find out who she is—and that’s about all we understood in this seminal film by David Lynch. A longtime admirer of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Lynch manages to pull off a similar exploration of nightmarish imitation and artifice, all set in a 1950s aesthetic.
What Lies Beneath (Robert Zemeckis, 2000)
Director Robert Zemeckis consciously shot What Lies Beneath in the style of Hitchcock, bringing to life a script that revisits the murder-mystery plot of Rear Window combined with a may-or-may-not-be supernatural angle. Not only that, but the protagonist is a blonde heroine (Michelle Pfeiffer), an archetype that appeared frequently in Hitch’s films—and her husband (Harrison Ford) is even named Norman, in a reference to Norman Bates from Psycho.
Catch the Hitchcock marathon all-day this Sunday, October 30 on BBC AMERICA.