Master Of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock Thought Blood Was More Pleasant Than Egg Yolks

Alfred Hitchcock, the famous British filmmaker who made a career out of scaring viewers by dredging up irrational fears like birds suddenly turning on humans, had many a phobia of his own, and they extended into the culinary realm. He was a gourmand with a prodigious appetite — newspaper columnist George Ross once called him a "gastronomic Budha" who "attains Nirvana on a full stomach," per The Newark Advocate.

And while Hitchcock loved a variety of foods — especially broiled steak from Manhattan's 21 Club and Simpson's in London — there was one item he just couldn't stomach, and it dovetails with his 1963 film "The Birds." He couldn't stand eggs. But his distaste for them extended way beyond simply being unpalatable to his tastebuds: Hitchcock experienced ovophobia, which is an irrational fear of eggs. Or at least that's what he told an Italian journalist in 1963. But there seems to be some controversy as to the truth of the matter.

An interview, eggs, and other fears 

In May 1963, when Alfred Hitchcock screened "The Birds" at the Cannes Film Festival, he sat down for an interview with Oriana Fallaci and discussed a wide range of topics, including his many fears. "I'm frightened of everything: burglars, policemen, crowds, darkness, Sundays," Hitchcock told Fallaci (via Scraps from the Loft). But eggs seemed to top the list.

"I'm frightened of eggs, worse than frightened; they revolt me," he said, "That white round thing without any holes, and when you break it, inside there's that yellow thing, round, without any holes ... Brr! Have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid?" Hitchcock claimed he found blood way more appealing. "Blood is jolly, red," he told Fallaci. "But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I've never tasted it." While he may have preferred blood to egg yolk, Hitchcock lied about never having eaten an egg.

A love for birds

In an interview with his biographer, John Russell Taylor, Alfred Hitchcock recalled enjoying poached eggs on toast in his youth. "Aha!" Taylor shouted, per "The Book of Phobias and Manias: A History of the World in 99 Obsessions." "You said you never ate eggs." "Well," Hitchcock responded, "I suppose I did eat one or two eggs when I was very young." He may have inherited his egg phobia from his father, who loathed eggs and cheese. Hitchcock's father definitely induced his son's fear of the police, though — he had a police officer friend lock Hitchcock up in a jail cell overnight after the boy came home late when he was only 11.

While Hitchcock hated eggs, he loved birds. "I can look at a corpse chopped to bits without batting an eyelid, but I can't bear the sight of a dead bird," he told Oriana Fallaci (via Scraps from the Loft). "Too heartrending. I can't even bear to see them suffer, birds, or get tired." During the filming of "The Birds," Hitchcock used 1,500 trained crows and stopped production whenever a representative of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — there was always one on set — told the famed director the birds were getting tired. One actor in the film, Suzanne Pleshette, didn't get the same consideration. "Don't put your cigarette out in your eggs," the director's assistant told Pleshette (per South Coast Today). "He hates eggs, he hates cigarettes, and frankly, he hates you."