While he may be known for his style of tension-building and mystery, Alfred Hitchcock isn’t the only director adept at using these elements, hence why there’s so many films that can easily pass as Hitchcokian classics. A maestro of classic horror and suspense, Alfred Hitchcock is one of the rare filmmakers to get a very word coined after him. Thematic or visual nods to the British auteur’s filmography are ever-present in many films after his lifetime, ranging from Body Double and Dressed To Kill to Basic Instinct and Disturbia. Several of his movies have also entertained non-English reinterpretations from around the world.
However, during the director’s heyday, Hollywood and British cinema bore witness to movies that bore stark similarities to his multi-genre filmography. Be it in terms of narrative or stylistic elements, these productions might often get mistaken by cinephiles as Hitchcock-directed ventures even though he had nothing to do with them. With that said, these acclaimed Hitchcockian films aren’t blatant rip-offs and are capable of standing out on their own. From Gaslight to Charade to even French thrillers like Le Boucher, these movies are worth watching irrespective of their Hitchcock-like traits.
10 Peeping Tom (1960)
The British psychological thriller Peeping Tom was arguably the most shocking horror movie from 1960. Yes, Hitchcock’s Psycho came out in the same year but unlike the critical acclaim that Psycho generated, Peeping Tom was thrown under the bus by terrified audiences and critics. The detailed modus operandi of a camera-wielding serial killer was too much for the time, but the movie’s reputation has only improved over the decades. Carl Boehm’s portrayal of the spine-chilling voyeur Mark Lewis is truly iconic while also being reminiscent of Anthony Perkins’ equally nuanced take on Norman Bates. The eerie atmosphere and deranged antagonist of Peeping Tom make it a perfect companion piece to Psycho.
9 House On Haunted Hill (1959)
Vincent Price was a perfect fit for Alfred Hitchcock movies even though the horror star only appeared in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The Price-led House on Haunted Hill might come off as a pulpy visit to a house of horrors but its slow-burning mystery and ever-present sense of dread make it a supernatural horror par excellence. The movie cleverly uses carnival house props to terrify its central characters, with fast-paced transitions that will remind viewers of Psycho and The Birds (even though both movies were released later). The premise of five guests trapped in the titular house also brings out intense moments like Hitchcock’s limited setting thrillers (Rope, Lifeboat).
8 Charade (1963)
A rather joyous thriller, Charade blends mystery with timeless romance and screwball comedy. Audrey Hepburn stars as an American woman in Paris who is being pursued by multiple parties for a fortune that her murdered husband stole. Enter Cary Grant’s ominous hero and together, they go on the run and interestingly fall in love. Often described as the greatest film that Hitchcock never directed, Charade is an impressive genre-blending mystery. In addition to Cary Grant’s protagonist echoing his similar leading turn in North by Northwest, the central romance and the numerous twists and turns in the lovers’ paths can draw easy parallels with a Hitchcock romance like Notorious (also starring Grant).
7 The Stranger (1946)
While Citizen Kane continues to be synonymous with his name, The Stranger also endures as one of the most memorable Orson Welles movies. Set in the aftermath of World War II, Welles stars as a former Nazi who is hiding in plain sight in a small American town. Secret identities and hidden intentions are classic Hitchcockian tropes that would make some view this cat-and-mouse thriller as a Hitchcock noir even though the only filmmaker that Welles collaborated with was himself. But Welles’ megalomaniac of a villain definitely belongs to Hitchcock classics like Rope, Dial M For Murder, and the like.
6 Le Boucher (1970)
Regarded as the French Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol helmed many notable French New Wave dramas from the 1950s onwards. Le Boucher marked a mature transition to the psychological thriller genre. Delving into the unlikely romance between a butcher and a school teacher in a French town infested with Jack The Ripper-style murders, Le Boucher bears an intense voyeuristic feel to it, much like Psycho (or its non-Hitchock equivalent Peeping Tom). The mystery around the killers’ true identity creates a shadow of moral doubt over all characters much like how the average Hitchcock thriller challenges its audiences to participate in the story and find the culprit.
5 23 Paces To Baker Street (1956)
In the British thriller 23 Paces To Baker Street, a blind playwright overhears what he deduces is a criminal conspiracy, complete with kidnapping and extortion involved. Accidentally caught up in this mystery, he tries his best to be a Good Samaritan. The premise is very reminiscent of Rear Window which finds James Stewart recovering from a leg injury and accidentally stumbling upon a crime next door. The morally righteous protagonist aside, 23 Paces To Baker Street also feels Hitchcockian for the fast-paced mystery and stylish production design. There are several twists as the narrative unravels but much like Hitchcock’s thrillers, the execution is tasteful and devoid of cheap shock value.
4 Gaslight (1944)
The best of Hitchcock’s villains are the worst of humankind. While some like Norman Bates do evoke empathy for their backstories, most of them are manipulative gaslighters of the lowest kind. Dial M For Murder, Shadow of a Doubt, and Rope offer unforgettable antagonists in this regard. Hence, it’s no surprise that the trailblazing psychological thriller Gaslight also feels very Hitchcockian with its villain alone. The movie that actually popularized the very word “gaslighting” deals with a young woman being manipulated by her husband into believing that her mental health is deteriorating. The tumultuous chemistry between Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer lends it a strong Hitchcockian vibe.
3 Witness For The Prosecution (1957)
From its title itself, Witness For The Prosecution feels like it might have been a classic Hitchcock thriller. In fact, The Man Who Knew Too Much director himself used to joke about how audiences loved his movie even though it was the equally iconic Billy Wilder helming the movie. Tyrone Power starred in this 1957 classic as a British lawyer who must defend his client in an intense murder trial. The constant plot twists and the typical “wronged man” archetype are perfect fodder for a nail-biting Hitchcock tale such as North By Northwest or the more aptly-titled The Wrong Man.
2 Misery (1990)
Misery ranks among the best simple yet effective horror movies and even though Alfred Hitchcock passed away a decade before its release, it still plays out as a perfect Hitchcockian tribute. While filmmaker Rob Reiner relied on a gripping novel by Stephen King, a Hitchcockian atmosphere is undeniable in Misery. With just two characters in a lonely cabin, the survival thriller echoes the claustrophobic tension of Rope and Lifeboat. James Caan’s portrayal of a bedridden writer can remind one of James Stewart in Rear Window. And Katy Bates in an Oscar-winning turn as the author’s obsessive fan can even make Norman Bates shudder in fear.
1 Sudden Fear (1952)
Right from its opening minutes, Sudden Fear has the look and feel of a Hitchcock movie. There is a lot of infidelity and conspiracy to murder involved and Joan Crawford delivers such a memorable shrieking performance as an aging Broadway playwright that she can easily qualify as an Alfred Hitchcock scream queen (sans the blonde hair). Equally impressive is Jack Palance who plays a scheming actor who makes his way in her life, only for him and his mistress to meticulously plan her murder. The evil that Palance’s Lester Blaine personifies makes him an easy stand-in for Dial M For Murder’s Tony Wendice (played slyly by Ray Milland).