Alfred Hitchcock was not the only director who made suspenseful movies

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade. Picture: Supplied

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade. Picture: Supplied

While Alfred Hitchcock might have been the Master of Suspense, other filmmakers have also produced high-quality films in the genre.

The Spiral Staircase (1946): Directed by Robert Siodmak, this film centres on a woman afflicted with hysterical muteness from the trauma of her parents' violent death. She works in a country mansion and lives in fear of a serial killer who is targeting women with disabilities. Atmospheric and spooky.

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948): Lucille Fletcher's taut, if gimmicky, radio play is expanded into a film. A bedridden, neurotic invalid (Barbara Stanwyck, excellent) gets a crossed line on her phone and overhears a murder being plotted - eventually figuring out she is the intended victim and desperately trying to get help.

Les Diaboliques (1955): Henri-George Clouzot's French film about the wife and mistress of a nasty headmaster who conspire to murder him only to discover the body has disappeared. Has a distinctively seedy atmosphere.

Charade(1963): Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau star in this romantic comedy-thriller in which a widow is pursued by criminals who are after a fortune stolen by her dead husband. Henry Mancini's score and title song add to the fun.

Wait Until Dark(1967): Another, more menacing Mancini score graves this thriller. Based on the play by Frederic Knott (whose Dial M for Murder was filmed by Hitchcock) this is twisty and contrived but highly suspenseful. A blind woman (Audrey Hepburn) unknowingly comes into possession of a doll filled with heroin in her apartment and becomes the prey of three criminals whose elaborate con game turns violent.

Dressed to Kill(1980): Brian De Palma paid frequent homage to other filmmakers, especially Hitchcock, in his films (Obsession trades heavily on Vertigo). In this one, a woman who witnessed a murder is stalked by the killer. Stylish and fun but derivative and a bit hollow.

The Silent Partner (1978): Violent, twisty Canadian film about a bank teller (Elliott Gould) who keeps most of the money a mall Santa Claus (Christopher Plummer) attempted to rob and the cat and mouse game that develops between them.

This story Creating suspense without a Hitch first appeared on The Canberra Times.