This week marked the 50th anniversary of the release of one of the most memorable films of all-time: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho debuted in New York City on June 16, 1960.
What can I say about Psycho that hasn’t already been said?
The shower scene? Bernard Herrman’s score? The fact that it was the first film to show a toilet being flushed?
Psycho has been referenced in one way or another in countless other films, which got me thinking of films that appear in other films.
You know what I'm talking about. How many times have you ever watched a film where a clip from another film is shown? Sometimes the clip appears in the background on a television set that no one is watching, but more times than not the clip is prominently featured. It is a pretty common creative device. Perhaps the director is paying tribute? An homage? Maybe the clip helps to set a mood or reinforce themes? Maybe it helps with character development? Whatever the reasons might be it certainly helps to make a connection with the viewers.
Here is a short list of films that feature film clips from other films:
The John Waters film Serial Mom appropriately features clips from Annie, Strait-Jacket, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Blood Feast.
Clips from Frankenstein appear in countless films including Weird Science, Jack the Bear, and The Spirit of the Beehive.
A "monstrous" chase scene from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser can be seen on a television set in Basic Instinct.
True Romance features a clip from The Return of the Street Fighter. Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay for True Romance which, like all of Tarantino’s work, features a plethora of film and pop culture references.
The Shining is playing in the drive-in scene from theTwister, though the timing is a little off. It goes from the Diane Arbus-like twin girls in the hall scene to the “Here’s Johnny!” scene in a matter of minutes. Suspend your disbelief.
Tammy and the Bachelor is featured in The Long Day Closes. Actually, as Frank mentioned to me, you hear the film (Debbie Reynolds singing) but don't see it.
As mentioned in this previous post, Blue Velvet is featured in The Squid and The Whale.
My list could go on and on, but I’d be more interested in what you have to say. Do any ‘films within films” stand out for you?
(On a side note: In Serial Mom John Waters can be heard as the voice of Ted Bundy. The next list to start thinking about: directors who make cameos in their own films.)