ByMatt Kranis, writer at
President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis
Matt Kranis

Alfred Hitchcock will forever be remembered as one of cinema's greatest directors. He was a master of visual storytelling, creating a unique brand of suspenseful psychological thrillers and crime classics like Rear Window, North By Northwest, and of course Psycho among many more. And he was one of the first directors that fans actually got to know, putting himself in front of the camera to create a slightly macabre but frequently comedic persona that always brought fans exactly what they wanted.

The famed auteur passed away back in 1980, but if you're looking for some Hitchcockian style you're in luck, because it was recently announced that a new TV series inspired by his work is in development.

Get a taste of Hitchcock's style with the iconic shower scene from Psycho:

According to Deadline, Universal Cable Productions has signed a deal with the Alfred Hitchcock Estate to develop Welcome To Hitchcock, a new anthology series inspired by the filmmaker's iconic style. Each season will focus on a new mystery or crime, taking inspiration from the director's classic movies as well as his previous anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. There's no word on if the show will actually adapt any of Hitchcock's films, though considering the success of A&E's Psycho adaptation Bates Motel we wouldn't be surprised to see Welcome To Hitchcock reimagine his classics.

It's no secret that anthology series are having a moment, with the success of shows like American Horror Story, Fargo, Black Mirror and American Crime as well as upcoming anthologies like Channel Zero and TV Land's Heathers adaptation. The new Star Trek show is even being developed as an anthology, featuring a new crew every season. But Welcome To Hitchcock could bring us a whole new type of anthology if it can successfully bring Hitchcockian horror and suspense to TV.

Hitchcock Brought Depth To Horror

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in "Psycho."
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in "Psycho."

While he'll always be remembered as the "Master of Suspense," outstanding features like The Birds and Psycho proved that Hitchcock could create enduring horror movies. And they became so iconic because the auteur infused horror with his trademark suspense and narrative depth.

Most of the horror movies made during Hitchcock's heyday were B-movies centered on monsters or murderers, relying on inventive creature designs, special effects and cheap scares to thrill audiences. But when Hitchcock tried horror, first with 1960's Psycho, he brought something new to the genre by infusing it with the thriller sensibilities he'd mastered in previous efforts. Psycho's Norman Bates wasn't just a villainous murderer, he was a broken man who developed a split-personality after killing his mother in a fit of jealous rage.

Hitchock invited viewers to the Bates Motel in the trailer for Psycho:

The thrills from the movie don't just come from watching Bates murder — though his kills are some of its most iconic scenes — but they also come from watching the mystery unfold. It's not until the end of the movie that we learn the secret behind the killer, completely subverting expectations and reframing everything we've seen. Bates might be one of the horror genre's earliest slashers, but Hitchcock's twisting murder mystery really becomes horrific once we get a look inside the character's mind.

Looking for more anthology shows? Check these out:

TV Horror Needs To Be Deep

On the big screen, horror movies don't always require narrative depth. Sure, it's great to have a really thought-provoking horror film, but the sheer number of mindless torture porn features and slasher stories proves that sometimes all we need is scares. But scares aren't enough to keep audiences hooked for multiple seasons of a TV show.

Get a taste of American Horror Story Season 6 below:

Genre shows need to have a strong hook to bring in viewers, and more often than not that includes a serialized story. Look at American Horror Story, which is easily the most successful horror show on TV and in large part responsible for the current surge in anthologies. Each episode promises both scares and a continuing story, bucking the trend of traditional anthologies like The Twilight Zone or Tales From the Crypt, which gave viewers one-and-done stories of suspense and terror. And while AHS has occasionally faltered when it comes to sustaining a season-long arc, Welcome To Hitchcock is in a perfect position to succeed.

Hitchcock's style was all about playing the long game, teasing viewers with a twisty mystery or suspenseful thriller focused on morally ambiguous characters. Basically, it's the same template of every prestige drama you love, from Breaking Bad to The Sopranos. Adding Hitchcockian genre elements to that successful template should be a major win.

Creating A New Kind Of Anthology

Hitchcock ready to commit some crimes of his own.
Hitchcock ready to commit some crimes of his own.

Hitchcock's filmography bridged the gap between psychological thrillers, crime stories and outright horror. If he crafted a crime movie, it was concerned with the motivations behind the criminal. If he created a psychological thriller, he was sure to fill it with the shocking twists and turns we expect from the horror genre today. As such, Welcome To Hitchcock could present a similar genre-bending style that combines the favorite subject matters of our favorite anthologies.

We know that each season of the series will follow a new crime or mystery, but we don't need another straight-up crime show. If you want a solid crime anthology, go check out Fargo, ABC's American Crime or FX's American Crime Story. We need something that comes at the genre with an original spin, and bringing in some Hitchcockian suspense and horror could help Welcome To Hitchcock create something unique but familiar. There's still a lot to learn about the series, but if producers can stay true to the iconic auteur's style we could see an impressively original take on the anthology format.

There's no word yet on when Welcome To Hitchcock will hit TV. Do you think the show will honor Alfred Hitchcock's style? Let us know in the comments.

[Source: Deadline]


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