For Reel

The Seventh Victim (1943)
September 16, 2015, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Mark Robson
4 Stars
The Seventh VictimEarly on in The Seventh Victim, Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter) encounters Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont), a man that she learns to be her missing sister’s (Jean Brooks) boyfriend. He reveals that although her sister spoke much of suicide, he believed that she wasn’t actually serious about it and that it was he who bought the rope that she meant to hang herself with. This is a world of dread and death, where menace lies in the everyday and suicidal tendencies are almost expected (fittingly, the last line of the film is from poet John Donne: “I run to Death, and Death meets me as fast, and all my pleasures are like yesterdays”). Even if The Seventh Victim is tough to classify as a horror film, there are terrors that lie in the incongruities of its world. A room doesn’t house the missing woman, rather a lone noose. A drunken man on the subway is actually a corpse. And, of course, Greenwich Village is populated by a group of Satanists known as the Palladists. That the Palladists are represented as an everyday bourgeois entity–like anyone else, they have a well-defined code with which they approach the world–is demonstrative of the film’s dark oppression, where even a seemingly typical urban environment contains a cafe grimly called Dante’s.

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