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Hitchcock & Co.

Alfred Hitchcock perfected cinematic suspense, and his impact is palpable in many thrillers of today

There’s something wrong here. This is the feeling that creeps up on Chris when visiting the remote estate of his new girlfriend’s family. On the surface, everything seems normal. Okay, it’s awkward for Chris as an African-American to encounter black servants, but the parents of his Caucasian girlfriend are welcoming. They never tire of stressing how they rooted for Barack Obama.

What awaits the likeable young man in the course of thriller Get Out will not be given away here. Suffice to say the masterful directorial debut of Emmy-winning Jordan Peele is this year’s best film so far. It’s not just because of the ingenious screenplay and brilliant cast. What Peele has done here is something rare. You forget to breathe as it’s so thrilling. You’ll also laugh out loud, and, thanks to the film’s social critiques, it will make you ponder over today’s race relations.

If this is a current film evoking suspense, some credit for inspiration must go to the original master of suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock. He left an indelible mark on motion-picture history with more than fifty films. His macabre sense of humor, as well as skillful use of camera, music and editing, has helped captivate audiences in both the past and the present.

We present two of his masterpieces on board. Atmospheric, 1958 mystery thriller Vertigo is cinematic art of the highest kind. Everything is there: love and loss, crime and suspense, questions about identity and the power of illusions.

In The Birds, Hitchcock also manages to grip us completely. A socialite from San Francisco drives to a fishing village with two parrots to play a prank on a lawyer. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, the parrots are not the only birds featured. After this, you’ll certainly never see feathered creatures in the same way again.

Mysterious TV series Bates Motel, whose fourth season we’re showing five episodes of, proves how powerful Hitchcock‘s influence still is. A prequel to his thriller Psycho, the series revolves around the relationship between young Norman Bates and his cosseting mom Norma Louise. It’s set in present-day Oregon and shows how the young Norman turned into a split personality, who bothers women taking a shower.

Kevin also suffers from a dissociative identity disorder. He is the main character in Split, the latest horror thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. Impressively played by James McAvoy, Kevin displays eight different personalities, including a nine-year-old boy and a woman. Below the zoo of Philadelphia, Kevin locks up three teenage girls. Strongly influenced by Hitchcock, Shyamalan leaves us in the dark about what he wants from them. But we have misgivings: There’s something wrong here.

Get Out, Vertigo, The Birds, Bates Motel, Split