Posted by: nastypen | February 7, 2007

Shower Screaming

I’m reading Charlotte Chandler‘s It’s Only a Movie: A Personal Biography of Alfred Hitchcock.

I love Hitchcock.

He is one of the reasons why I don’t really venerate the Oscars. I mean a hack like Clint Eastwood wins best director twice and Hitchcock who redefined the murder mystery genre was snubbed. This is as bad as Rocky winning over Martin Scorsese‘s Taxi Driver. Or how about Gwyneth Paltrow stealing the Oscar from Cate Blanchett. This is going to happen this year when Jennifer Hudson will win from sheer hype and beat Abigail Breslin or Babel‘s heart-wrenching Adriana Barraza or the I-can’t-belive-she-just-did-that Rinko Kikuchi for the best supporting actress (I’ve seen the films already, I’m sorry, Dreamgirls was just a candy-coated cat fight with bouffants, Little Miss Sunshine is far more substantial than that. Dreamgirls director Bill Condon disappointed me. Watching Beyonce Knowles act is like watching Night of the Living Dead, Drag Queen Special. Babel was difficult emotionally but, if you think about it, pointless, it was just an acting vehicle). Oscar results can simply be mind-boggling.

Anyway, Hitchcock….

They don’t have directors like him anymore. We have crap like the Asian horror where gave jobs to thin pale girls with spindly unwashed hair with bad posture. And then there’s M. Night Shyamalan who I am fortunate enough not to have seen his latest self-indulgent disaster Lady in the Water lest I become an arsonist and burn the cinema down.

The first time I ever heard of Hitchcock was, of course, good old Psycho. But i did not watch the film. I was fortunate enough to have visited the Universal Movie Studios and saw this eerie mansion with the Bates Motel. The tour guide said something that the actress who was in the film swore off showering after filming the movie. I thought “How ridiculous! Why would you be afraid of the shower?”

Later, I saw Psycho and Anthony Perkins freaked me out. I had a huge crush on Perkins, the guy who portrayed the Psycho Norman Bates. Hahahaha. There is something awkward about him and yet, determined. Pity he died of HIV/AIDS thanks to the closet machinery of Hollywood.

Anyway, that iconic shower murder is the ultimate scene of the 20th Century Cinema. The usage of quick cuts and different angles, peppered with the screams and that musical score. My goodness. Of course, I won’t go as far as swearing off showering like Janet Leigh. But everytime my imagination runs away with me while taking a bath, I’d conjure images of a murderer lurking behind my pink flamingoes shower curtain with a garrote. One time, I was eyeing the shower curtain which moved with the small gust of wind. I was thinking of all monsters behind that were about to pounce on me, when the small container of shampoos and soap fell off the wall. My screams were heard all over Makati.

And there was this one time when I was the only one in the pad, and I absentmindedly left the comfort room door open. So I was all lathered up in soap when the shower curtain suddenly burst open! It was Onyx the labrador who ran to the shower. Of course for a fraction of a second I thought it was a murderer and, again, my screams were heard all over Makati. Poor Onyx was more terrified seeing me naked with soap suds. She ran under the dinner table cowering.

Hitchcock would have been so proud.

But Psycho is not my favorite Hitchcock film. It is Rear Window. It stars Jimmy Stewart and the beautiful Grace Kelly. Of all the Hitchcock films I saw, this is the only one that made me screen at the tv monitor “Leche ka, Grace Kelly! Umalis ka na kasi diyan punyeta kah!” (Damn you, Grace Kelly! Get the f*ck away from there!) with matching hug the pillow and stomp my feet at the mattress.

Incidentally, this is Kurt Cobain‘s favorite movie. I won’t spoil you the plot but if you come upon a copy, do borrow/buy it and watch it late at night. It is one of Hitchcok’s finest. And it helps that Grace Kelly wore fabulous clothes there. She’s so beautiful I want ot bitchslap her and steal her petticoats. But, aside from the direction, the script is one of the best for me. Here are a couple of examples:

Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.

and my favorite:

Grace Kelly: I wish I were creative.

Jimmy Stewart: You are. You’re great at creating difficult situations.

So reading this biography of his is such a great pleasure as I ease myself out into a brand new life. I tell myself to go back to the things that I love and abandoned: drawing and films. And Hitchcock is there to memserize me with his dry wit and annecdotes.

Even at nights, I would read with tired eyes.  I just want to finish at least ten pages and fall asleep.  Besides, reading helps me ignore my stupid neighbors smoke and talk about boobies.

So, there I was last night seethign fromt he smoke wafting to my room when I chanced upon a Hitchcock quote, “Everyday is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” This came from a man who gushed that his perfect murder weapon was a leg of lamb weilded by an angry wife.  Wow.  He’s like a Buddhist but with blood on his hands.  Cool.

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