My first exposure to Hitchcock was Psycho. I was a youngster, although I’m not sure how old I was – definitely pre-puberty and still young enough to get scared by movies. (Who am I kidding? Paranormal Activity made me shit my pants just last year.) Of course I saw the shower scene and that was it for me. Many sleepless nights ensued and I couldn’t even consider getting into the shower. I can remember standing in the bathroom, door closed and water on, trying to fool my parents into thinking I was showering. It lasted about a week before my father came at me with a wire brush and a bar of Lava.
I revisited Hitchcock many years later, when I befriended a film student in college. Although I’m far from a critic in that themes and symbolism often slip by me, I did come to appreciate certain aspects of film making, thanks to Hitchcock. Lighting, camera angle, sound, subtlety in body language and dialogue – aspects that I don’t think I would have learned by watching other films.
The reason Hitchcock came to mind recently is that Vertigo will be playing at the upcoming Wisconsin Film Festival. I had hoped for Rope or Spellbound to make the festival, but I’ll take what I can get. After seeing I am Divine, 56 Up, and Bugsy Malone last year, I realize it will be tough to ever beat that line up. This year’s shining star, for me, might be To Be Takei, a documentary about George Takei. I can only hope he gives some dirt on Shatner.