Hitchcock and Poe: The Legacy of Delight and Terror (2003) by Dennis R. Perry
This first comprehensive study of the relationship between the tales of Edgar Allan Poe and the films of Alfred Hitchcock uncovers an unexpected range of affinities underlying the director's well-known regard for Poe. As an adolescent Hitchcock avidly read Poe and later acknowledged a direct influence: "I can't help but compare what I try to put in my films with what Poe put in his stories." Hitchcock's chief take-home lesson from Poe was that "fear...is a feeling people like to feel when they are certain of being in safety." Thus, Poe's legacy to Hitchcock was an obsession to delight and terrify audiences simultaneously. This study explores the aesthetic of Poe and Hitchcock in terms of a set of common obsessions, techniques, and genres. The structure of the study revolves around Eureka, Poe's explicit and allegorical treatise on the development of the universe. Each chapter explores the similarities and differences between Poe's and Hitchcock's treatment of such issues as doubles, the perverse, voyeurism, and romantic obsession. While Hitchcock's films consistently mirror plots, imagery, and relationships within Poe's tales, Perry also shows how Hitchcock's resistance to the traditional trappings of gothic tales sets his films apart from the works of Poe and gives them a unique touch. Researchers, students, and Hitchcock fans alike will by stirred by the original ideas and detailed research in this fantastic resource.