Hitchcock Returns for 12th Spooky Season at Gateway Film Center
More welcome than a pumpkin spice latte, Gateway Film Center’s most beloved seasonal favorite Hitchcocktober returns for its 12th installment this week.
GFC President Chris Hamel has programmed all 12 seasons. For Hamel, putting together the series year after year and finding a balance between beloved classics and underseen treasures is a welcome worry.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” he says. “Even Hitchcock’s less popular films are a real treat to watch in a program such as this.”
And after all these years, he’s picked up some fun Hitchcock trivia.
“Hitchcock purchased every copy (in the world) of the book Psycho, by Robert Bloch, to prevent the audience from knowing the twist,” he says. “That’s dedication.”
Obviously, the filmmaker’s fans remain dedicated, even after all these years. Why does this series stay so popular?
“Hitchcock’s films are the perfect complement to October and the Halloween season,” says Hamel. “I think the series will likely continue to help people discover these great movies for years to come.”
John DeSando, host of WCBE’s It’s Movie Time as well as Cinema Classics, concurs.
“Alfred Hitchcock is my ultimate horror meister because he takes ordinary life and turns it into calamity,” he says. “Booking a room at a motel is not as carefree as it seems; a mistaken identity can imperil the most normal day; transporting a movie reel can lead to disaster; secretly desiring a woman can change a life; furtively watching neighbors can dangerously draw you into their lives. Occurrences like these are within a daily experience waiting for disaster. Hitch places himself physically in the scene as well to show us that danger lurks for even an all-powerful director.”
DeSando has no doubt the auteur would be just as relevant if he were working today.
“While he can please our horror-trope desires with a menacing Gothic house, he almost always scares the bejesus out of us with the common,” DeSando says. “I can imagine what he would do with computer hackers and suicide bombers. He is crafty enough to compromise our quotidian confidence, our belief that we have control of our everyday lives.”
GFC will screen all but one film in 35mm. Dial M for Murder will screen in its original 3D format. Says Hamel, “It’s the essential 3D experience for film lovers.”
Of the many films, does Hamel have a favorite?
“I love Notorious, Strangers on a Train, and Rear Window,” he says. “It’s a joy to see these on screen at the Film Center.”
“The Birds is my Hitch scare for all time,” says DeSando. “Who can look at a bird on a wire, Leonard Cohen notwithstanding, and not run the other way? Hitch combines the ordinary sight of sweet little things with his patented suspense by adding new birds in each frame until they’re mega-menacing. Having a chuckle or two at our growing fear of being outnumbered, Hitch seals the deal with a pecked-out eye or two to convince us our vision is flawed and deadly.
“I have never seen birds the same way again. Hitch has a moral perspective like The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling but with a more humorous sensibility. Hitch is amused by our fragility; Serling is in awe of it. Both artists make contact with our daily lives and haunt us with our vulnerability. Hitch takes my daily life into the Horror Zone, and Rod heartily concurs with an uncustomary smile.”
The film center will screen films every day at 7 p.m., throwing in a 2 p.m. matinee on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The 2021 lineup includes:
- Vertigo (1958) in 35mm
- Marnie (1964) in 35mm
- Rear Window (1954) in 35mm
- Dial M for Murder (1954) in 3D
- Strangers on a Train (1951) in 35mm
- Frenzy (1951) in 35mm
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943) in 35mm
- The Birds (1963) in 35mm
- North by Northwest (1959) in 35mm
- Psycho (1960) in 35mm
For tickets and showtimes, visit gatewayfilmcenter.org.
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