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Rebecca: A Night of Horror with Alfred Hitchcock

Updated on June 10, 2015
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Rebecca: One of Hitchcock's scariest movies

When Daphne du Maurier wrote the novel Rebecca in 1938, it was a suspense novel success. When Hitchcock created his film version two years later, it was downright spooky.

Haunted by a dead woman

I'm told that I first saw this when I was about nine years old - and evidently hid behind the sofa every time the spooky Mrs Danvers appeared. I imagine that I was allowed to watch it because it doesn't at first appear to be a horror film. But horror it is.

This movie has no slashers, no blood, no terrifying flocks of birds and there isn't a reclusive psychopath to be seen. There isn't really a ghost and yet all characters in the movie are haunted by a woman who drowned when out alone in her sailing boat - Rebecca.

A love story

Her widower, Maxim de Winter, travels to Monte Carlo where he meets a sweet and innocent young woman; the paid companion of a rather nasty old lady. Maxim and the young woman (who remains unnamed) fall in love and are married. So far so good....

Manderley

The idyll ends when they return to Maxim's ancestral home - the place he had lived with his late wife. There, the new Mrs de Winter meets the chilling housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, who keeps her old mistress' bedroom just as she'd left it, is determined to destroy the interloper and works steadily on her low self-esteem and the idea that she is will never truly be Mrs de Winter - that was Rebecca, she asserts, and always will be.

The discovery of the sailing yacht

When Rebecca had died, a body had been washed ashore several miles away. Maxim had identified it as Rebecca. But shortly after the new Mrs de Winter had incurred his wrath, innocently egged on by Mrs Danvers, the wreck of the boat is discovered. Inside is a body. But Rebecca had been alone in her boat that night. Hadn't she?


A horror movie night at home

When the evenings get longer and the weather gets cooler, we enjoy getting out our movie collection and having a horror movie night in.

We watch our favorite creepy movies (and Hitchcock is perfect for this), drink warming mulled wine or cider and eat garlic bread just in case there are any vampires lurking...

This isn't a movie that will make you jump out of your skin. This is what Hitchcock specialises in and does so well - the psychological thriller.

Maxim de Winter, at the start of the film,is a debonair widower. As time goes on, he becomes more and more withdrawn from his wife, expecting her to lead her own life. Is this how it's supposed to be? Was the marriage a mistake? Is there something more sinister at play?

Are your favorites on this special collection?

Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection
Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection
Which is your favorite Hitchcock movie? (Tell me below). We have so many and we're aiming for a complete collection. There's nothing like snuggling under a blanket on the sofa, listening to the wind howling outside and watching a psychological thriller. Take a look at the details of this special collection - there are some great features included.
 

See the trailer

I'm rather against the sort of trailers that Hollywood used to produce in those days. They were so sensationalist and obvious.

Nevertheless, the video clip below will give you some idea of what to expect from this fabulous - and pretty scary - film.

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Mrs Danvers, seen here with Mrs de Winter, is one of the creepiest movie characters ever.

She completely undermines the new Mrs de Winter, telling her that she will never compare to Rebecca, that she has no right to try to take her place and in this scene - shown on the left - she is trying to persuade the girl to hurl herself out of the window to end her misery.

She protects Rebecca's memory and keep everything just as it was left - fresh flowers are in Rebecca's room and her flimsy nightgown is 'ready' on her bed, should she ever return from the dead...

If you haven't seen this film, scroll up a little and watch the trailer. It is fascinating - and seriously spooky.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

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