Who do you like more?
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Brian DePalma
Heres a topic to discuss the similarities and differences between the Masters of Suspense: Alfred Hitchcock (North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Frenzy etc) and Brian DePalma (Sisters, Phantom of The Paradise, Carrie, The Fury, Blow Out, Dressed To Kill, Body Double etc). I wanted to start this discussion due in large part to the continual argument that DePalma is merely just a Hitchcock rip off artist. I strongly feel that he is much more than that and throughout the years he has set himself apart from Hitch and has become a better filmmaker and visual stylist than Hitch was. Everyone who loves movies knows that all directors steal from other films and directors, (ahem) QT. Its part of the craft.
Lets discuss some of their films. We’ll begin with PSYCHO and DRESSED TO KILL.
Psycho (1960) As everyone knows its based on the novel about the serial killer Ed Gein. Hitch took that story and mixed it with elements from Touch of Evil and made the first real slasher film. Psycho is required viewing if you love movies and I saw it along with Psycho II and III when I first got a VCR in the early 80s. I still think its a good thriller with some great visual sequences (shower and staircase stabbings), but when I saw DePalma’s Dressed To Kill (1980), a reworking of Psycho, in the late 80s-early 90s I found it to be more exciting and visually exhillerating. Something about DePalma’s style and sharp humor gave me even more thrills than Hitch’s film. To me its a post modern masterpiece. I also loved the music in DTK by Pino Donaggio. A perfect mix of dreamlike sounds and stinging Hermann-esque violent stabs. DTK was really an 80s American giallo to me and preceded my love of 70s Italian giallo cinema which is a genre I got into heavily in the last 10 years.