10 examples of cops (and related issues) in horror / thriller movies

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Kino. Das Fenster zum Hof, (rear window) USA, 1954, Regie: Alfred Hitchcock, THELMA RITTER, JAMES STEWART, GRACE KELLY. (Photo by FilmPublicityArchive / United Archives via Getty Images)

Theoretically, even a society without a formally organized police force will have police powers. The question is always what form they will take. For this list, 10 different horror and thriller films were selected to highlight different interpretations of police work. Some of these films were chosen precisely because of the lack of police involvement and what that says about the individual film, while others have prominent police characters. What better genre than horror to examine how society controls violence (or gloriously fails to do so)?

1. Rear window (1954)

that of Alfred Hitchcock Rear window tells the story of a man who, because of a broken leg, gets into the habit of watching the people of the neighborhood. While Jeff (James Stewart) may engage in questionable behavior, it does lead to some interesting findings. In fact, some viewers might also be forced to be honest with themselves about voyeurism. Sure, most of us aren’t dedicated to “voyeuristic” behavior, but be honest: when you walk down the street don’t you look out people’s windows for a bit, or at least by accident? We could relate to Jeff, even lightly.

In other words, this movie might subconsciously make people uncomfortable due to buried feelings of guilt, as well as the on-screen suspense. Speaking of which: this film was chosen because the police and law and order barely appear in the viewer’s perspective. As Jeff sees something that could be murder, he’s interested in proving something wrong, but ultimately doesn’t make the police involvement the focus of the film. Why would he do this when his investigation begins as a private snoop, out of curiosity and suspicion of perversion?

Years later, this theme is echoed by the character of Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) in David Lynch. Blue velvet, who is similarly trapped in a mystery after snooping (was that intentional on Lynch’s part?). Also, isn’t other people’s lives more interesting than ours, at least for a little while? One day, Rear window‘s Jeff spots auburn haired Miss Lonelyhearts (Judith Evelyn). Then there’s the rather attractive, scantily clad dancer he calls “Miss Torso” (Georgine Darcy). After observing her through his binoculars, one suspects that he might end up dreaming of her at night.

However, things really take off when he hears a woman’s scream from the apartment of his neighbor, Mr. Thorwald (Raymond Burr). Although normally calm, Jeff finds it difficult to regain control of his turbulent emotions and convince others that something fishy is going on. While this turns him on, Jeff’s emotional and physical well-being is at stake, especially since he’s still physically recovering. Then, of course, we have to ask ourselves if his mind is playing tricks on him, or if his memory of what is going on is correct. Rear window also stars Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey and Thelma Ritter.


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