Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Cafe du Cinema Society Discusses "The Night of the Hunter"
Film critic Leslie Halliwell once described The Night of the Hunter as a child's terrifying fantasy. And while much of the film is presented from a child's point of view, director Charles Laughton pulls both young and adult viewers into this fantasy world. Once inside, the viewer becomes exposed to all the horrors faced by the characters--especially the children John and Pearl. Hence, The Night of the Hunter becomes a horror film. Much of its horror is psychological---lurking beneath the film's surface in the form of horrific and suspenseful elements, the character's perversions and madnesses, and potential psychological fears and fantasies. For example, we see an owl that appears to be gentle and harmless. Yet, it suddenly swoops down and kills a rabbit. Laughton seems to be saying that horror can lurk where we least suspect it--in a wise, old owl or even a "preacher."
Do you agree that The Night of the Hunter is a horror film? If yes, how does Laughton create horror and suspense in his film? And if you disagree, let's hear some feedback as to why! Remember, the Cafe du Cinema Society is all about interactive, online discussion.