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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.

Source

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

Have you seen this film? What's your favorite Hitchcock movie and who is your favorite character?

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    • Anthony J Vita profile image

      Anthony J Vita 

      4 years ago

      Vertigo is Hitchcock's best, but Rebecca is awesome.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 

      4 years ago

      I would have to say psycho is my favorite Hitchcock movie but I love them all. Wonderful lens!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jimporsche86: Absolutely zero blood Jim. Not a drop. And even if there was, this film is in black and white:)

    • profile image

      jimporsche86 

      4 years ago

      I haven't seen it. I usually steer away from scary movies, it's the blood thing for me. Even if it ends up not having any I don't know that until I watch it then it's too late, I'm on the floor. I don't mind the scary part but any red stuff I want no part of.

    • profile image

      Wir55 

      4 years ago

      This was a great movie! One of my favorites

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Belva Boggs: I know it sounds silly but Hitchcock is scary without being scary!

    • Belva Boggs profile image

      Belva Boggs 

      4 years ago

      I do not like scary movies, but I could always cuddle up with a big blanket (making sure the lights were on) and watch Alfred Hitchcock!

    • ikdj lm profile image

      ikdj lm 

      4 years ago

      He was a master :)

    • rhondalynnjohnson profile image

      rhondalynnjohnson 

      4 years ago

      I don't remember it, but I'm sure I was around when my mother was watching it. She is a huge Hitchcock fan.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 

      4 years ago

      I don't think I've ever seen this one. Where have I been?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      It's been a while since I've seen this one. I think my all time favorite "Hitch" is The 30 Steps. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      I loved this film and have a lifelong love of Alfred Hitchcock movies. He instilled in me the love of suspense and the thrill of the supernatural. I still marvel that my 1950s parents allowed me to watch what I did; all those old vampire movies, the werewolf and the like, but I am eternally grateful that they did. I think Alfred taught me the subtleties of imagination being so much more horrific than scenes of blood and gore. My modern favourites still veer toward philosophy. I find the bloodiness for the pure sake of bloodiness in many teeny slasher movies repugnant. It took me many years to overcome my fear of our feathered friends after watching "The Birds. Tippi Hedren was wonderful in this film. The brief vision of that man with his eyes pecked out has haunted me for years. Great lens!

    • crayon88 lm profile image

      crayon88 lm 

      4 years ago

      I like it . Thank you

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 

      4 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! I definitely need to see this movie now.

    • bobnolley lm profile image

      bobnolley lm 

      4 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD! I have a long list of favorite Hitchcock flix that are "not the usual suspects"....this is one of them...well done!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      4 years ago

      Oh this is a favorite. He was the best!!

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 

      4 years ago

      I love the Hitchcock movies. Nice lens!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never seen this movie and will have to make a point of watching it as your review sounds like it would be a great movie. Congrats on your LOTD!

    • profile image

      rakia-dalcoe 

      4 years ago

      I like your Lens!

    • profile image

      janfran_50 

      4 years ago

      I saw this some time ago and still have snippets of memories of a dark lake with an abandoned yacht, but I had forgotten the title of the movie until now. Thanks, Britflorida, for bringing it back to mind! Hitchcock was indeed master of the brilliant twisted villain: think Norman Bates in Psycho, Bruno Anthony in Strangers on a Train, and yes Mrs. Danvers--a field day for an amateur psychoanalyst like myself :-) Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 

      4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Hi! recently I don't watch scarry movies, instead I watch documentary films.... Congratulations on LOTD!

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 

      4 years ago

      Congrats on lotD

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 

      4 years ago

      Congrats on lotD

    • kangela1 profile image

      kangela1 

      4 years ago

      @Erin Mellor: That is the way Hitchcock rolls ey? Brilliant man.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      nice efforts I appreciate you on your thoughts dissuades here,for more know about it,must have to visit it.

    • kangela1 profile image

      kangela1 

      4 years ago

      I love Rebecca! I first heard it on audio book and then later bought the movie. Great idea for a Halloween flick. Loves it!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      4 years ago from Europe

      I love the book, but the film takes it to a whole new level of scary. I think it is that lack of blood and gore that does it - it's all in your head dear!

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 

      4 years ago

      Hooray for your lens of the day! Rebecca is a fantastic classic movie. Make it a great day!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I have Turner classic movies on everyday, and of course most of them were Hitchcock movies of late...I can't say which was my favorite, one does come to mind "Notorious" I love the ones that Cary Grant plays in.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: Thank you Rose.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Saw this ages ago. Will have to re-watch now. Great lens!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: He did. I love the way he used light and shade to get the creepy effects.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @TheCozyDinosaur: She certainly is!

    • RussnJo profile image

      RussnJo 

      4 years ago

      This is my favorite all time book, and I love the movie too! Nice lens.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I really loved the way Hitchcock would build the tension throughout his films gradually drawing you in until you are totally immersed in the plot.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      4 years ago

      Congrats on a well-deserved LotD today Jackie!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      I try to avoid horror films, creepy people, and nightmares. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      4 years ago

      Just reading this review is making my skin get goose bumps, I'm not into horror films, too much of a wuss!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      well.. this shows that he had the skills to make you scared without any cg

    • TheCozyDinosaur profile image

      TheCozyDinosaur 

      4 years ago

      This sounds spooky... Mrs. Danvers sounds like an overlooked villain. Thanks for the review!

    • profile image

      tonyleather 

      4 years ago

      True cinema classic. Thanks!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @glowchick: That's what makes them so scary, isn't it? Ordinary situations.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Meganhere: She's so much scarier than any computer-generated monster!

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 

      4 years ago

      @BritFlorida: Luckily everyone has it's own taste :)

    • profile image

      glowchick 

      4 years ago

      I have seen this film more than once, it is a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie. My favorites are Shadow of a Doubt, Vertigo and Notorious. I don't have a favorite character per se, just the idea of the everyman that Hitchcock was so good at putting into situations of peril.

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 

      4 years ago

      It's a great story. I love it. That Mrs Danvers! (shiver)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Joebeducci: I love Psycho but I think I've seen it too many times now - it doesn't really scare me any more :) Rebecca is always scary to me though.

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 

      4 years ago

      Hitchcock is a genius, definitely one of the greatest directors of all time. Rebecca is one of my favorites, but Psycho is my number one.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @MJ Martin: I first saw it on TV and then HAD to own a copy! It a very suspenseful story and seems totally believable with no silly computer generated monsters :)

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

      4 years ago from Washington State

      I don't remember this one, his movies scared me too, as a kid. Now, I really love them for his style and yes, no gore! I see his stuff on our cable channel now. Will have to look this one up, great review.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @MaggiePowell: That's what I like too - films can be scary without gore.

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 

      4 years ago

      Love Hitchcock! Scary without the gore.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sybil watson: Oh,I know what you mean - I felt just the same about her. I so badly wanted her to say 'I am Mrs de Winter'. It's on my watch-on-Halloween list.

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      4 years ago

      You've reminded me what a great movie this is! I felt so sorry for poor Joan Fontaine. This is the perfect movie for a cold winter night.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bdkz: I recommend it very highly. The photography is chilling and it seems to me that black and white movies are so much scarier than modern once, despite today's special effects and computer-generated monsters.

    • profile image

      bdkz 

      4 years ago

      I haven't seen this one yet, on my list!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: That's the one that really scares me - birds frighten me anyway, even a casual pigeon walking towards me makes me run away! With this one, it really has the most remarkable ending. It twists, then twists again and again....

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SusanDeppner: I love Rear Window too. Marnie is another favorite. (Well, I guess they all are!) Rebecca is scary, because of the way Mrs Danvers undermines the new Mrs de Winter who feels totally out of place and in the shadow of her predecessor.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      4 years ago

      I didn't see this movie and I haven't seen all of them, either. I found "The Birds" pretty scary though.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I haven't seen Rebecca, though I've seen quite a few of Hitchcock's movies (my favorite is Rear Window). I think I passed this one up because it sounded downright spooky-scary, like Hitchcock out-Hitchcocked himself.

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