I couldn’t let my 31 Days of Horror go by without viewing one of Hitchcock’s classics, with all its suspenseful, if kitschy, drama. So I chose The Birds, one of my favorites I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Melanie Daniels is a blonde, stylish, chain-smoking socialite in San Fransisco. Upon visiting a deluxe pet shop, she has a run-in with Mitch Brenner, a lawyer who is looking for a pair of lovebirds to give his extremely younger sister Cathy (yes, she really is his sister…this is the 60s after all) for her 11th birthday. Melanie decides to surprise Mitch by dropping off the lovebirds at his Bodega Bay farm, north of the city. She rents a skiff and motors across the bay in a green skirt and jacket, high heels, and pearls, with her legs crossed the whole way. Then she opens his door and goes on in, leaving the birds and a note. Upon returning from her prank, she is attacked by a seagull, but never fear as Mitch has spied her arrival, driven around the bay to meet her, and saves the day.
In no time flat, Mitch is introducing Melanie to his insufferable mother (whom he calls “dear” and “darling”), the lovely Jessica Tandy. Cathy, who looks to be about 14, becomes immediately attached to Melanie and invites her to stay for her birthday party the next day. At the party, the children are attacked by a flock of seagulls. Later, having retired to the living room for tea and cigarettes, Melanie and Mitch’s family are attacked by hundreds of yellow-winged sparrows (huh?), who fly out of the fireplace and amazingly do not leave a single “poo bomb” in the room! All Mitch can think to say is, “Sure is peculiar…”
Soon, flocks of birds are attacking other townspeople, killing some too. Crows, seagulls, sparrows. But a manly (yet female) elderly ornithologist, while lighting up, declares it impossible for birds of different species to flock together. Hmmm. And another woman in town tells Melanie it’s all her fault, because she is “evil, evil”! Hmmmmmm. As the birds continue to attack, the brandy flows, and the cigarette supply runs low, the townspeople finally decide to start believing this can really be happening. And meanwhile, Melanie’s same green suit continues to look fresh and clean, and her complicated up-do is always lovely as can be. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
- Top Scare: All of the bird attack scenes
- Heartbeats: 2 out of 5
- Gore Factor: 2 out of 5
- Suspense Factor: 3 out of 5
- Recommended for: 13 and up