Gothic Elements In Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

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Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, has a gothic setting that includes gothic characters. The movie is categorized as a horror film but it contains gothic inspirations. According to Kyle William Bishop, Hitchcock has experience in gothic films, but in this movie, the gothic conventions are not as obvious, as they are in his other movies, such as Psycho. He mentions the patriarchal family structure that is found in much of gothic literature. When the father dies, the mother takes on the controlling patriarchal role. She is very jealous of her son and any woman he brings to the house. Her treatment of the women he brings around has an air of a reverse Oedipus complex. It’s almost as if she expects her son to take on the role of her late husband. …show more content…
Pataki describes this movie as a film that “lies at the heart of Gothic literature: obsessive love and the wish to triumph over death” (227). This movie’s gothic influences include: an isolated home, a mad scientist, multiple characters that commit suicide, the entrapment of a female heroine and numerous family secrets. The isolated location of the mansion in this movie, is a staple in gothic literature, and while visually appealing, it is the home to a wicked scientist named Dr. Ledgard. Pataki states that “just as Frankenstein pries into the nineteenth-century’s science development and its possible wrong turns, Dr. Ledgard similarly raises complex moral questions connected to modern-day scientific issues” (234). The scientist, Dr. Robert Ledgard, has a wife that commits suicide due to seeing her face after a horrible burn accident. His daughter also commits suicide, and Dr. Ledgard blames it on a young man named Vicente. Dr. Ledgard takes Vicente and performs scientific experiments on him to create burn proof skin. He goes on to perform a sex change on Vicente, and he uses the new skin to make him look like his late wife, Vera. The new Vera is trapped and controlled by Dr. Ledgard. Vicente is forced to serve as his late wife (Pataki 225-234). Vicente, now known as Vera, struggles to hold on to who his true identity and maintain his sanity. He