You say you want NOIR?

You can’t paint it much blacker than The Seventh Victim (1943) does.  A mentally disturbed woman falls in with a coven of Satan worshippers, but decides it’s not for her.  She goes to a shrink to try to work out her feelings, but they consider that a betrayal:  the club rules say “Death!”  So, they lock her in a room with a noose for a few weeks hoping that she will do the “right thing.”

Her sister leaves school to come looking for her, and gets into some scary situations.

The Satanists try to convince her another time:  Just drink the stuff!  You know you want to die.  You always said you did!

When words fail, a man in an alley with a knife might to the trick.

The scene above is pure German Expressionist noir, right out ‘M‘.  And other films come to mind:  Psycho is prefigured in a scene where the little sister is terrorized while showering; Rosemary’s Baby, and even Mullholland Drive come to mind.  Everyone is this film is doomed to death or unhappiness:  they are all emotionally drained, failures, physically or mentally ill.  The final sequence involves a conversation between the ex-Satanist and a dying victim of consumption, exchanging views on the relative merits of life and death.

It’s a low-budget B movie, and it shuffles along slowly at times, but all in all, utterly remarkable for its consistently negative tone.

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3 Responses to You say you want NOIR?

  1. Guy Savage says:

    Well a cult’s a cult, after all.

  2. Ducky's here says:

    It just never grabbed me. Compared to earlier Lewton productions like Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie it just seems a little tame.

  3. Lichanos says:

    Just watched a bit of the original Planet of the Apes – Kim Hunter plays the chimp psychologist. A long way from this film, her first role!

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