What are you afraid of?
Everyone’s afraid of that.
Nope, most people are afraid of dying and not of death itself; it’s the suffering leading up to death, long or brief illnesses, nope, I’m afraid of simply not being here. And that’s childish or not childish—what do I know—up to now I haven’t been able to do anything about it. So I’m always trying to portray attitudes like that of Veronika Voss, to try them out for myself, to see whether they’re possible, whether I could manage to develop such an attitude, to get rid of this fear.
When does it come over you particularly?
Oh, I can’t tell you. It comes over me when I’m writing, when I’m fucking; or during breakfast suddenly I feel afraid.
What do you see as your strong points, your weak points?
Oh, it’s so hard to say such things about yourself, but my strengths and weaknesses are certainly the same thing; there’s this strange compulsion to work, which is certainly a strength and a weakness at the same time.
What does it enable you to get through?
Oh, certainly those dead moments, those empty moments you have in life can be more easily gotten through that way.
Do such moments result from disappointments?
Oh, I don’t think so. I’d say I’m manic-depressive, and I just try to be depressive as seldom as possible. Incredible amounts of work help to bridge the gap.
A person can categorize himself as a democrat, a tyrant, a Christan, a resister, an anarchist, a liberal, a conservative. How do you describe yourself?
I’m a romantic anarchist.
Katya: Do you like fishnet stockings, Pierre? Wait. Let me rephrase. Why do you think it is that men like fishnet stockings so much?
Pierre Peders: They look good on women.
Katya: Fishnet stockings are a net, and the woman is imprisoned in this net like a fish. Do you get it?
Pierre Peders: Yeah, and what about high heels?
Katya: Well, high heels make walking very, very difficult. So you see, nothing would be more attractive to a man than a woman wearing fishnet stockings and high heels because she has trouble walking and she’s imprisoned within this net and therefore he thinks she’s easy prey. I know everything.
Andy Warhol: Since you know all these cases, did you ever figure out why people really murder? It’s always bothered me. Why.
Alfred Hitchcock: Well I’ll tell you. Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of money.
Alfred Hitchcock: Some days ago, walking along in New York, I saw myself reflected in a window, and before I recognized myself, I let out a yell of fright. Then I called to my wife, “Who’s that porker on two legs?” I didn’t want to believe it when she replied, “It’s you, dear.”
I imagine you don’t often yell with fright. Practiced as you are in frightening other people, fear must be completely unknown to you.
Hitchcock: On the contrary. I’m the most fearful and cowardly man you’ll ever meet. Every night I lock myself into my room as if there were a madman on the other side of the door, waiting to slit my throat. I’m frightened of everything: burglars, policemen, crowds, darkness, Sundays…Being frightened of Sundays goes back to when I was a child and my parents used to put me to bed at six o’clock so that they could go out. I used to wake up at eight o’clock, my parents weren’t there, there was only dim light, that silence of an empty house. Brrr! It wasn’t accidental, when I married, that I said to my wife, “Every Sunday I want a fine dinner with lots of light, lots of people and lots of noise.”
Being frightened of policemen started when I was about 11…and reached home after nine. My father opened the door and didn’t say a word, not a word of reproof, nothing. He just gave me a note and said, “Take it to Watson.” Watson was a policeman, a family friend. He’d no sooner got the note that he shut me in a cell, shouting, “This is what happens to bad boys who get home after nine o’clock.” Brrr! It was 53 years ago, but every time I see a policeman, I start shaking.
And then I’m frightened of people having rows, of violence. I’ve never had a row with anyone, and I’ve no idea of how to come to blows. And then I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened; they revolt me. That round white thing without any holes, and when you break it, inside there’s that yellow thing, round, without any holes… Brrr! Have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I’ve never tasted it.
And then I’m frightened of my own movies. I never go to see them. I don’t know how people can bear to watch my movies.”
-Cannes, May 1963, via Alfred Hitchcock: Interviews