Search This Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Horror Histories Vol. 4 - A Clever Murder Inspires Rear Window

Rear Window.  It’s one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films.  For those who don’t know, it’s a story of a man confined to his room with a broken leg.  He’s a photographer and to pass the time, he begins using his camera to follow the lives of his neighbors.  Pretty soon, he becomes convinced that one is a murderer.  The movie is masterful at ramping up tension, especially with our protagonist trapped in his room.

What many people don’t know is that the plot is actually inspired by a London case from 1924.  It started with a police stop at a train station.  The suspect was Patrick Mahon and police pulled him aside to question him because of his suitcase.  Once opened, it contained a knife and bloody clothing.  Mahon tried to pass it off as having come from scraps for his dogs but when they pressed him, he cracked. 

It turns out that he’d killed a woman named Emily Kaye.  In order to cover his tracks, he’d dismembered the body and would take pieces of it with him to the train station.  Then as the train made its way to the next stop, he would discard them along the way, ensuring that there would never be enough of one thing to identify her if they were ever found. 

Hitchcock became fascinated by the thought of carrying out body parts clandestinely.  It was only a few creative jumps before he’d combined that idea with the thought of a helpless protagonist and Rear Window was born.

If you’d never seen it, what the hell is wrong with you?  You should be watching it now instead of reading this blog.  

If you have seen it and want to do a deep dive into Hitchcock, I suggest you check out two excellent books by two good friends of mine.  Eric San Juan and Jim McDevitt have been a huge inspiration in my own writing career and together, they immersed themselves in Hitchcock films to produce A Year of Hitchcock:  52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense and Hitchcock’s Villains:  Murderers, Maniacs and Mother Issues.  You should definitely check both of those out.

See you next week!

No comments: