‘Why Thrillers Thrive’ essay by Alfred Hitchcock

In Alfred’s essay about why thrillers thrive he says we watch thrillers so we can experience things we’d never dare to do or get away with even so we experience them “artificially” by watching thrillers to get ‘thrills’ that we’d never do in reality and firsthand. He claims that we do this as whilst we’re watching the violence or graphic images and thrills unraveling in front of us, we are safe and sound sat meters from a screen watching them. He also goes on say that we project ourselves onto the characters in order to appreciate them fully and understand what they going through. By this he means that we picture ourselves going through the situations that the characters in the film go through, and we relate the story lines and what’s going on. It is this way in which we engage with the film, and what distinguishes a film from a good film. 

Alfred says that we are aware we are safe in our subconscious, so it’s fine to imagine ourselves in such situations, and we get some thrill from picturing our lives in a different way than what they are day to day. He argues that the type of thriller in which the audience participates in is the one which has the characters which appeal to the audience pathos, and makes the audience empathise with those on screen – usually the ones in risk or at danger. He then goes on to say that the audience thrives on thrills which thrillers provide. He makes his opinion of horrors clear by saying that it is unnatural to provoke excitement in us humans through ‘exploit sadism, perversion, bestiality, and deformity’, and says that they are bound to fail as audiences are healthy-minded. 

Furthermore, he concludes by rounding up that the more exciting a thriller is, the better, and why the authentic thriller will thrive. 

By reading Alfred Hitchcock’s essay, you can see that he believes we watch thrillers as they offer us some escapism from every day to day life. This could be argued to be true, and if it is the case then we will take this into consideration when creating our thriller opening. We will do this by creating thrills which engage the audience. This will be done by having our protagonist so close to the stalker, but her still not realising that she is being followed. This will create suspense, as the audience will be able to see him following her, and feel empathy towards the female victim who cannot see that he’s there. It will make the audience put themselves in the victims shoes, and as they watch they will wonder what they would feel like if they themselves were being followed. 

In more detail, we will have a low lit room in the beginning with images of the girl which have been taken by the stalker, and we will show close-ups of those images. This will create suspense as the audience will begin to wonder who the stalker is and what he wants with the girl he is stalking. Having high angles and effects making it look like CCTV cameras will make the audience feel as if they’re being given special access to the footage, engaging them. 

To make sure the audience feel as if they’re the character, we will have over the shoulder shots of the stalker, so they can put themselves in the shoes of the stalker, and get everyone’s perspective of what is going on. Image


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