Thoroughly rehydrated after their detour to post-apocalyptic Australia last episode, Sean and Cody venture into the depths of avian paranoia and Alfred Hitchcock’s abusive soul as they review this classic 1963 horror masterpiece. In The Birds, manic pixie dream girl creepy stalker Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) uses a pair of lovebirds to troll Mitch (Rod Taylor) by delivering them to his family’s house on the California coast. But just as she makes the delivery, birds of all kinds suddenly decide this is the perfect moment to wage an epic jihad against humankind, and the little town of Bodega Bay is first on their target list. Environmental issues discussed include “revenge of nature” stories in fiction, bird behavior and their propensity to attack, a real-life incident involving a mass bird invasion in coastal California in 1961 and its relationship to ocean ecosystems and a toxic algae, unknown at the time but discovered long after the film was made.
Just how fantastic is the scenario depicted in this film—have birds really attacked humans, and if so, under what circumstances? How can toxic shellfish cause a bird invasion? What’s the history of these kind of “revenge of nature” movies, and has climate change made them even more topical than they were in the 1960s? Why don’t people get anchovies on pizzas or salads anymore like they used to 50 or 60 years ago? What’s the relationship between this film and those When Animals Attack shows from ‘90s Fox TV? How did shooting this picture ruin Tippi Hedren’s life? Just how much of a sick, misogynistic bastard was Alfred Hitchcock, and, knowing now how awful he was, should we stop watching his movies? Are Hitchcock’s chintzy rear-pro backdrops deliberately shoddy, or was he just getting lazy? All of these questions are swooping in for the attack in this terrifying episode of Green Screen.
Content warning: this episode contains discussion of psychological and physical abuse.
Where you can find The Birds: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-birds
Next Movie Up: Orlando (1992)