Alfred Hitchcock's Connection to GRETEL & HANSEL

An image of Gretel (played by Sophia Lillis) staring down at a large book while seated at a table inside a dark room with blue and orange-tinted lights all around in Gretel & Hansel (2020) with a black-and-white image of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock turning around in a director's chair that reads "MRS. BATES" across the back layered over top on the left-hand side

A grim fairy tale is coming to Regal this Friday, January 31st. Gretel & Hansel, a reimagining of the classic Brothers Grimm story, follows a young girl (Sophia Lillis) who leads her little brother (Sammy Leakey) into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. Set a long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, Gretel & Hansel’s homage to its source material by the legendary Brothers Grimm is self-evident, but the upcoming horror movie shares a more subtle connection to another storytelling legend—the “Master of Suspense,” Alfred Hitchcock.

English movie director and producer Sir Alfred Hitchcock directed over 50 features spanning six decades. His final movie, Family Plot, was released in 1976, four years before his passing at the age of 80, yet Hitchcock remains one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known for their nerve-racking and frightening plots of deception, intrigue, espionage, and murder, Hitchcock’s movies have been nominated for a total of 46 Academy Award® nominations, including six wins, earning the filmmaker the nickname “Master of Suspense.” Four of those nominations came in 1961 for perhaps his best-known movie, Psycho.

 

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Already a legend in the early 1960s with his full arsenal of techniques at play, Alfred Hitchcock brings to the screen a horror tale that follows a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), as she checks into a remote motel on the run after embezzling $40,000 from her employer’s client. The motel is operated by a young man named Norman Bates under the domination of his controlling mother. Norman Bates is portrayed by American actor Anthony Perkins. Despite earning an Academy Award® nomination four years earlier for Friendly Persuasion (1956), only his second movie, Perkins will forever be remembered for his iconic role in Psycho (and its three sequels), submitting him firmly in horror movie lore.

Much like Psycho, Gretel & Hansel has a director at the helm with a rich history in the horror genre. His name is Osgood “Oz” Perkins, the son of actor Anthony Perkins. Oz first followed in his father’s footsteps as an actor in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), Legally Blonde (2001), and La Cucina (2007), among others. For his acting debut, Oz briefly appeared as the 12-year-old version of his father’s iconic character, Norman Bates, in Psycho II (1983).

Gretel and Hansel-Osgood Perkins and Sophia Lillis Behind the Scenes/>
Director Osgood "Oz" Perkins and Sophia Lillis on the set of Gretel & Hansel (2020)

As a writer and director, Oz Perkins made his debut in A24’s The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015).  In Gretel & Hansel, Perkins directs from a screenplay by Rob Hayes. The grim fairy tale’s cast are also no strangers to the genre. Fresh off her roles in the critically acclaimed It (2017) and It Chapter Two (2019), Sophia Lillis stars as the titular Gretel. If she wants to get out of the woods with her and her brother, Hansel’s, lives intact, Gretel will have to contend with the witch, Holda, played by Alice Krige. Silent Hill (2006) and the Stephen King-written Sleepwalkers (1992) are among Krige’s past horror titles. With his cast of up-and-coming stars and seasoned veterans, Oz Perkins looks to further solidify himself in the genre that made his father a household name.

 

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Gretel & Hansel opens at Regal this Friday, January 31st. Skip the weekend lines and purchase your tickets now.

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