Thursday, October 09, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 9 - Movie 2

A young woman travels to New York City to tray and find her missing sister. What she finds is a lot of intrigue, murder, and a cult of devil worshippers. The 7th Victim (1943) fits in perfectly with Val Lewton's other atmospheric horrors of the 1940s. Heavy on shadows and an atmosphere of mystery, this movie has a somewhat odd storytelling structure that makes it feel off kilter, reinforcing it's sense of unease and looming danger. Kim Hunter is perfectly cast as young Mary. Her innocence and vulnerability increases the sense that she's in over her head and out of her element, taken under the wing of a number of protective male characters trying to help her. Jean Brooks as Mary's sister Jacqueline is also perfectly cast. For about half of the movie, she's never seen, yet she fills every scene as a silent invisible specter touching the lives of everyone in unknown ways and driving the movie forward. Her first appearance is startling and only adds to the mystery. She presents a striking image with her pale hands and face framed by jet black hair with bangs and a black wardrobe, which allows her to completely vanish into shadows and emerge like a ghostly floating head. Her features also have an innocence to them that contrast all of the suggestions of the suggestions we are given of her leading a wicked lifestyle. This is an intriguing movie throughout.

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