I have been a Hitchcock fan for most of my life. But one of his movies that I have consistently avoided has been The Birds.
I blame it on my childhood chicken trauma. When I was very young, we kept chickens. And I have nightmare-ish memories of standing near the hen house as they rushed out and surrounded me. Dozens upon dozens of chickens. Heads bobbing. Feathers ruffling. Emitting horrible . . . chicken noises. I trace my lifelong aversion to birds to these early days of horror. So, of course, watching "The Birds" was inconceivable.
In case it might result in an experience like this:
But now, more than 40 years later, I felt ready. I was confident that I might now sit and watch birds (even vicious, unpredictable, blood-thirsty birds) on a screen in front of me. Without fear.
So 50 years after the film's release, I made the attempt.
And I'm proud to say that I survived. With no pillow required to hide behind. In fact, the screen birds weren't even especially terrifying. Which is the beauty of a 50-year-old film and those vintage special effects. Real-life birds are still terrifying to me of course, but this experience may have given me the confidence to begin to revisit a variety of childhood traumas. Who knows? Maybe I can address my childhood insect trauma with a viewing of The Fly (1950's version only).