The Seventh Victim, 1943
Dir: Mark Robson
I must say after all my recent viewings, I was pretty interested to watch a horror film, especially one that had more than just a cultish, if somewhat dicey, reputation. One might say that this foreshadows many things in its genre, like Psycho (1960) and Rosemary's Baby (1968), in the way that it brings you into a mood and atmosphere rather than being a straight forward visceral experience. The only problem is that it's pretty retarded.
Val Lewton, the producer, was told, in the spirit of the Production Code, to not to make a film with a message, and he replied that this film did have a message: "Death is good." Well, blow my fuckin' brain open. The way that the film foreshadows Rosemary's Baby is that it involves a group of devil worshipers. By the end though, you realize you are not in the least bit interested in the dark motivations of these Satanists who are ashamed as soon as someone utters a Catholic prayer. Like for real, is it like what a cross does to vampires?! Oh yeah, the "seventh victim" is a throwaway line like three quarters of the way through the movie.
Kim Hunter plays the sister of missing woman (Jean Brooks) who is sort of amateur sleuthing around New York, and her acting miserable. Her love story with her sister's husband (Hugh Beaumont), who she just meets when arriving from England, is furthermore pathetic. The Psycho reference can actaully be seen as the films one redeeming part, for as a B-horror/noir, it looks pretty good. The excellent shower scene has some serious creepiness to it, in which the shadow of a lady with a hat looks very much like a horned satanic figure. It kind of caught me off guard in my auto-pilot harrumphing that I go into during awful films. It's too bad the actors had to actually talk. The film clearly gets looked at for the ending, which ends in the sister's suicide (so sry to blow the ending 4 u), having resolved absolutely nothing else (no, death is GREAT). It's all mindbogglingly nonsensical, and not really in an entertaining way.