17. Spellbound (1945)
Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery of the thriller genre had already been established by the time he made Spellbound, but the movie consolidated his position as a master filmmaker. The tense drama follows a psychiatrist trying to help an amnesia patient recover his memory. Spoiler alert: someone dies in the end, and with the audience so caught up in the gunshot, it’s easy to miss the two-frame flash of bright red that lights up this otherwise completely monochrome movie.
16. My World Dies Screaming (1958)
The Hollywood horror My World Dies Screaming is the first known example of “psychorama” – a production technique that uses quick flashing images to heighten the audience’s response. Single-frame shots of devil faces or a bespectacled man with a mouse in his mouth telling audiences to “scream” were intended to make the film more horrifying. Although, as you can probably tell, in this case they failed to have the desired effect.
15. A Date with Death (1959)
In a similar vein to the last entry, 1959 thriller A Date with Death flashed emotive words like “kill” and “death” for single frames during moments of violence. Did it have an impact on audiences? There was no evidence to suggest it did anything other than creep audiences out, and “psychorama” films failed to gain a foothold in Hollywood.