A short cinema history of insidious intrusive surveillance

Lee Heidhues 6.30.2020

America and the world have become a surveillance society. Nations spy upon each other.  People spy upon one another.

As far back as 1996 researchers found that people felt a loss of control when they knew they were being watched.  As surveillance increases so does anxiety.*

Cinematic  examples of surveillance and its destructive impact upon those being spied upon have fascinated me dating back to my teenage years: 

The Hitch-Hiker (1959)

The Conversation (1974)

Red (1994)

Caché (2005)

“The Hitch-Hiker” goes back to 1959.  It is one  episode from the classic television series, “The Twilight Zone.”  I watched “The Hitch-Hiker” as a teenager. It is dystopian, eerie, nightmarish. “The Hitch-Hiker” has been ingrained in my mind for decades.

The Hitch hiker I 6.30.2020

“The Hitch-Hiker,” a 25 minute story, is available on DVD and other media platforms.

It reveals a lot about the creepiness of abusive and unchecked surveillance in human form. It leaves the viewer to ponder the unfathomable.

I will be discussing “The Conversation,” “Red,” and “Caché,”  in future Posts.

Following is a  Wikipedia link to “The Hitch-Hiker.”


* Watch Out:  The Psychological Effects of Mass Surveillance 9.16.2013