Alfred Hitchcock was a famed movie and TV producer and director who smoothly made pretension look good. His movies are fodder for intellectuals and assholes, and he actually succeeded in being smarter, wittier and crazier than most in Hollywood.
Alfred Hitchcock was born to a working class family in 1899 in Leytonstone, London. His father was a harsh disciplinarian, often sending the child to the cops for punishment, and his mother forced him to address her at the foot of her bed, proving once again what your children can accomplish if you scar them for life. Hitchcock swore vengeance by thinly veiling his mental illnesses through film. In addition to a crippling and vaguely Oedipal fear of his mother, Hitchcock also feared eggs and authority figures, nailing the trifecta necessary for the Sigmund Freud Award for Adorably Crazy.
Hitchcock made 30 Hollywood films, and hundreds of bearded college students agree each is perfect and beyond reproach. Using five or six themes, Hitchcock mixed and matched them to create 52 feature-length movies. And then because the horse was still twitching, produced 363 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the TV show responsible for that awesome Simpsons Treehouse of Horror opening. Yeah, you know the one.
Common Hitchcockian devices include sexual innuendo, suspense and confusion, cases of mistaken identity, and blonde women used to do one's bidding. Sexuality was supposed to be behind the chemistry between Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins in Psycho, which is laughable since to believe that you'd have to get past Norman Bates's flaming gayness.
In addition to strange casting, Hitchcock frequently used MacGuffins- a writing element that drives the story forward but has no bearing on the actual plot, or the ol' hahaha fuck you audience! switcheroo. He also commonly cast iconic blondes in key roles, and Grace Kelly was forced to move to Monoco to escape Hitchcock and the silhouette he frequently drew on her dressing room wall.
But Hitchcock wasn't all about domineering mothers and stalking young blonde women. He also arguably perfected the sweeping camera shot, put good use to famous landmarks as backdrops, and was the first to use a train going into a tunnel as a metaphor for doing it.
A lot can be said of Hitchcockian influence in movies today. From Kim Novak hair in Basic Instinct to simply remaking Dial M for Murder into a Gwenthyth Paltrow vehicle, many director and producers attempt to imitate his style after years of beating off to Vertigo after class during film school. Gus Vant Sant famously remade Psycho, then kicked himself in the ass for casting an actual psycho in the wrong role and making a movie no one even wanted. (Also see Cracked article: 6 Movie Remakes That Missed the Point.) But the most annoying attempt to be Hitchcock is inserting yourself into cameo roles in your movies, which is what the man himself famously did in every American movie he made.
Nice try, Shamalamadingdong
Eat a dick, Tarantino
(Also see Cracked article: 6 Terrible Cameos That Just About Ruined the Movie) These guys fail to recognize one key thing about Alfred Hitchcock- he may have used the same plots over and over again, he may have been gimmicky to the point of self-ridicule, and he may have been a pretentious asshole, but he was really fucking good at being a pretentious asshole.