Then I find out that the film is loosely based on truth. In 1960s Monterey Bay, birds mysteriously started flying into buildings and acting bizarrely.
Luckily, science has for once proven itself useful and discovered that toxins in the Bay probably caused the erratic behavior. These toxins were likely from leaky septic tanks, so the laugh really is on us…until it turns to horrified shrieking as the avians attack.
The first time I saw The Birds was during my summer of Hitchcock a few years back. I was prepared to be terrified in ways I’d not experienced since I saw Signs, which continues to be the film that most profoundly affected me. Sheer nerves for three weeks. Completely illogical. Anyway, my dad saw The Birds when it was first released, and he talked it up during my childhood as incredibly scary. (Fun fact: His Signs is The Exorcist. A film I will definitely never see, because my dad is a former Marine, and anything that scares the batshit out of him would certainly kill me.)
Then I saw the movie and was relatively unscathed. Part of it was the good-for-the-time special effects, which are less impressive when viewed through the jaded modern lens of IMAX IN 3D NOW WITH 4D AND SMELLOVISION. Not that I’m suggesting they remake The Birds. For one, Hitchcock is dead. For two, a remake of The Birds would probably end up something like Van Helsing. Bad idea.
Basically, unless a bird is selling me cereal, living on Sesame Street, or a friend of Colonel Sanders, I’m going to keep my distance.