By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
This is arguably Alfred Hitchcock’s scariest motion picture. In fact, it might even be the scariest motion picture of all time! Mankind’s relationship with nature has not always been that pleasant, especially since human beings are supposedly at the top of the food chain. What would happen, though, if animals rebelled against man? Such a grim question prompted Hitchcock to create one of the most famous (or should we say “infamous”) films in cinematic history. That film is none other than the terrifying 1963 classic The Birds.
For audiences that love thrills and chills, this film should satisfy their desire to be genuinely creeped out. Tippi Hedren had her film debut as yet another famous Hitchcock blonde ingénue who has to deal with the chaos and confusion around her. In fact, other characters in the film accused Melanie Daniels (Hedren) of being responsible for the vicious bird attacks. The search for the cause for the birds’ strange and erratic behavior adds a nice layer of mystery that has often characterized films from “The Master of Suspense.”
Even if this is one of Hitchcock’s greatest and most iconic motion pictures, the visual effects are somewhat problematic. There are certain bird attacks that look really fake. Then again, a Hollywood special effects crew can only do so much when it comes to making audiences feel as if birds were terrorizing innocent people. Maybe that is why the Academy gave the Oscar for “Best Visual Effects” to Cleopatra (1963) instead.
During this film’s original release, Alfred Hitchcock had an ingenious teaser trailer to this film that includes him trying to eat poultry. That (in)famous trailer remains brilliant because it is just so deliciously evil. Hitchcock’s film has achieved such notoriety that some people might not know that the film is based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. A fun piece of movie trivia is that Du Maurier actually wrote the celebrated novel Rebecca , and Hitchcock adapted that novel into the “Best Picture” winner of 1940. Maybe Hitchcock felt inspiration from Du Maurier to create two of the most celebrated films from his frightfully successful career. One must wonder, though, if the birds will ever strike again (and that fear within itself is one of the many reasons why this film is a timeless masterpiece in the horror genre).
The Birds (1963) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time characters feel suspicious around Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren)
Take a Drink: every time blood and gore appear on-screen
And Make Sure You are not Sober: during each bird attack