The first horror film I ever saw, and still one of my absolute favourites. The Birds is such a work of art – all those Hitchcock devices like silence, skewed point-of-view etc really come together to turn a rather silly story into something absolutely mind-blowing. There are two things that make this movie stand out for me: one of them is the very shallow fact that I think Rod Taylor is one of the sexiest men ever to step in front of a camera. The other is a little more serious: The Birds is one of those films that changes for ever the way you look at the world. I know that birds will never gang up on humans, but you still come away from this movie with the tantalising idea that the natural world is inherently hostile to humans. I love thinking about that as I trip merrily along a country lane, or feed the dicky birds in my back garden. Watching The Birds recently on DVD I was struck again by how exciting it is: there’s no long, tedious build-up, the funny business starts almost immediately after the wonderful flirtation scene in the pet shop, and once the horror begins it has the momentum of a runaway truck. The casting is perfect, the set pieces (‘Run, children, run!) unforgettable, and the final half hour defies description. In fact, I love The Birds so much that, having written this, I’ve just moved it several places up the list.