Suspense/Thriller Genre • Thriller is a genre of fiction in which tough, resourceful, but essentially ordinary heroes are pitted against villains determined to destroy them, their country, or the stability of the free world. Part of the allure of thrillers comes from not only what their stories are about, but also how they are told. High stakes, non-stop action, plot twists that both surprise and excite, settings that are both vibrant and exotic, and an intense pace that never lets up until the adrenalin packed climax. (www.findmeanauthor.com)
What are thrillers all about? • Thrillers are usually about life and death situations. • One example is that: the hero, who may even be an ordinary citizen drawn into danger and intrigue by circumstances beyond their control faces danger alone or in the company of a small band of companions.
Suspense-Thriller • The plot of a thriller is usually driven by the villain, who presents obstacles that the hero must overcome. • Thrillers are often hybrids with other genres - there are action-thrillers, crime-caper thrillers, western-thrillers, film-noir thrillers, even romantic comedy-thrillers.
Early Thrillers • One of the earliest 'thrillers' was Harold Lloyd's comic Safety Last (1923), with the all-American boy performing a daredevil stunt on the side of a skyscraper.
Film Noir-Thriller • The film noir Laura (1944) told about a thrilling murder investigation (for a beautiful missing advertising executive named Laura) conducted by a police detective (Dana Andrews), with suspects including an acid-tongued columnist (Clifton Webb) and a gigolo fiancee (Vincent Price).
Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense • No list of suspense or thriller films can be complete without mention of English film-maker/director Alfred Hitchcock. He helped to shape the modern-day thriller genre, beginning with his early silent film The Lodger (1926), a suspenseful Jack-the-Ripper story, followed by his next thriller Blackmail (1929), his first sound film (but also released in a silent version).
Hitchcock • Alfred Hitchcock is considered the acknowledged auteur master of the thriller or suspense genre, manipulating his audience's fears and desires, and taking viewers into a state of association with the representation of reality facing the character.
More Hitchcock • Hitchcock's films often placed an innocent victim (an average, responsible person) into a strange, life-threatening or terrorizing situation, in a case of mistaken identity, misidentification or wrongful accusation (i.e., in The 39 Steps (1935), The Wrong Man (1956), and in North by Northwest (1959)).
Brian De Palma • Director Brian De Palma's earliest, heavily-stylistic films (often with reconstructed scenes from other films) are particularly reminiscent of Hitchcock's tense horror thrillers, with themes of guilt, voyeurism, paranoia and obsession. Similar plot elements include killing off a main character early on, switching points of view, and dream-like sequences.