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Read an Excerpt from Andy Warhol's Delightfully Morbid 1974 Interview with Alfred Hitchcock

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! April 21, 2014 at 2:13PM

A rare excerpt has surfaced from Andy Warhol's chat with director Alfred Hitchcock in a September 1974 issue of Interview Magazine. While this unusual meeting of the minds doesn't offer explicit insights into Hitchcock's filmmaking process, the conversation feels more like a portrait of these artists' warped minds.
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Alfred Hitchcock by Andy Warhol
Alfred Hitchcock by Andy Warhol

A rare excerpt has surfaced from Andy Warhol's chat with director Alfred Hitchcock in a September 1974 issue of Interview Magazine. While this unusual meeting of the minds doesn't offer explicit insights into Hitchcock's filmmaking process, the conversation feels more like a portrait of these artists' warped minds. Read below as they talk about death, murder, corpse-disposal and psychosis. In other words, you know, just a little light banter.

The interview was published two years after Hitchcock's violent serial killer thriller "Frenzy," and two years before Hitch's final film "Family Plot." He died in 1980, while Warhol died in 1987. Both had their start, interestingly enough, as illustrators.

Warhol

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.

Andy Warhol: But what kind of person really murders? I mean, why.

Alfred Hitchcock: In desperation. They do it in desperation.

Andy Warhol: Really?

Alfred Hitchcock: Absolute desperation. They have nowhere to go, there were no motels in those days, and they'd have to go behind the bushes in the park. And in desperation they would murder.

Andy Warhol: But what about a mass murderer.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well, they are psychotics, you see. They're absolutely psychotic. They're very often impotent. As I showed in "Frenzy." The man was completely impotent until he murdered and that’s how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?

Andy Warhol: Well I was shot by a gun, and it just seems like a movie. I can't see it as being anything real. The whole thing is still like a movie to me. It happened to me, but it’s like watching TV. If you're watching TV, it’s the same thing as having it done to yourself.

Alfred Hitchcock: Yes. Yes.

Andy Warhol: So I always think that people who do it must feel the same way.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well a lot of it’s done on the spur of the moment. You know.

Andy Warhol: Well if you do it once, then you can do it again, and if you keep doing it, I guess it's just something to do.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well it depends whether you've disposed of the first body. That is a slight problem. After you've committed your first murder.

Andy Warhol: Yes, so if you do that well, then you’re on your way. See, I always thought that butchers could do it very easily. I always thought that butchers could be the best murderers.

This article is related to: Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock, News, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.