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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

The Seventh Victim 1943 Reviewed

Featured Image For The Seventh Victim 1943 Reviewed.     Poster for 'The Seventh Victim' showing Tom Conway and other cast members against a mysterious background, hinting at a web of suspense and horror.
With a sinister cult at its core, 'The Seventh Victim' lures you into a tale where the line between hunter and hunted blurs, and no one can escape the insidious grip of darkness.

In the realm of shadows where the macabre dances with the mundane, a sliver of celluloid whispers from the year 1943. A strange, unsettling beauty named "The Seventh Victim" emerges, birthed from the mind of producer Val Lewton, a master of weaving nightmares from the thinnest threads. This film isn't your ordinary horror; it's a poem spun from darkness, a haunting ballet of the unspoken.

Key Takeaways From This Film

  • The power of suggestion: The film thrives on building a sense of dread and unease, primarily through suggestion and atmosphere rather than explicit gore or violence. This makes the horror more psychological and leaves a lingering impact on the viewer.

  • Fear of the unknown: The film taps into the primal human fear of the unknown. The shadows hold hidden dangers, and the true nature of the Palladists and their intentions remain shrouded in mystery until the very end.

  • Evil hides in plain sight: The satanic cult operates beneath the façade of normal society, nestled within respectable businesses and social circles. This blurs the lines between appearances and reality, suggesting that evil can thrive even in the most seemingly ordinary places.

  • The vulnerability of innocence: Mary's youth and innocence make her a stark contrast to the cynical and corrupt world she uncovers. It highlights both her inherent vulnerability and the strength required to confront hidden dangers.

  • Noir influences: The film draws heavily from film noir aesthetics, with its use of shadows, stark lighting, and urban landscapes. This creates a sense of unease and disorientation that contributes to the overall atmosphere of the film.

  • Thematic depth: Beyond the horror elements, the film explores themes of loss, sisterly bonds, the struggle between good and evil, and the corrupting influence of power.

  • Pioneering horror techniques: "The Seventh Victim" features one of the earliest and most iconic shower scenes in horror history, foreshadowing similar techniques famously used in Hitchcock's "Psycho." It showcases the film's influence on future horror filmmaking.

A woman stares at the screen with wide eyes, her body rigid with fear as she watches the film "The Seventh Victim.
The room felt colder as the shadows in the film seemed to seep into her own space.

Mark Robson, the director, paints the screen not with garish colors, but with the nuanced interplay of light and darkness. He creates a world tinged with the creeping unease of film noir, an urban jungle where every corner promises a half-seen threat. New York City's Greenwich Village becomes the film's shadowy heart, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and brooding brownstones.

Into this unsettling realm steps Kim Hunter as Mary Gibson, a young woman with an innocence that shimmers against the stark backdrop. Her older sister, Jacqueline (Jean Brooks), has vanished. Gone missing like a ghost, leaving nothing but questions and the lingering echo of her high-end cosmetics brand. Mary, a wisp of a girl barely out of boarding school, ventures into the city, her determination a fragile flame against the encroaching shadows.

Her search isn't a chase filled with car crashes and flashing guns; instead, it snakes through whispered conversations and half-lit rooms. The horror here is psychological, a slow tightening of the screws that leaves a chilling unease prickling at your skin. It's a film that gets under your skin like a winter chill.

As Mary delves deeper, she uncovers something far more sinister than a simple disappearance. A satanic cult, the Palladists, exists within the city's underbelly, a twisted reflection of civilized society. Their rituals lurk in the corners of swanky apartments and behind the respectable facades of established businesses. This isn't the gothic castle and caped villain horror of earlier films – this is about the evil that can wear a perfectly tailored suit.

A man watches the suspenseful film "The Seventh Victim", his expression showing intense fear.
His pulse raced in time with the film's chilling score, keeping him trapped on the edge of his seat.

A Touch Of Film Noir

The film's supporting cast is just as intriguing. Tom Conway plays the thoughtful psychiatrist, Dr. Louis Judd, a man with the haunted eyes of one who has seen into the abyss. He first appeared in Val Lewton's previous horror masterpiece, "Cat People". This understated connection hints at a wider, unspoken universe lurking just beyond the frame. There's Isabel Jewell as the enigmatic Frances, a fellow Palladist with a tragic beauty and a heart shrouded in mystery. Then, of course, there’s Jacqueline, whose beautiful image on cosmetic posters taunts her younger sister at every turn.

While the film may not deliver the visceral shocks of modern horror, the atmosphere, thick and unsettling, does something altogether more chilling. It suggests. It lingers in those dark corners of the frame and in the silences between words. Like the best kind of nightmare, it leaves you wondering what wasn't shown, what horrors exist just beyond your sight.

There's an iconic shower scene – stark, terrifying, and hinting at the later horrors of Hitchcock's "Psycho" – a scene that cements "The Seventh Victim" as a pioneer in its genre. But even more chilling are the quieter moments: a face half-obscured in shadow, a hand curling around a wine glass with just a bit too much tension.

"The Seventh Victim" remains a masterpiece not because of its budget or its big-name stars, but because of its masterful restraint. It reminds us that true horror lies in the power of our own imaginations, in the unknown that lurks just beneath the surface of the everyday. It's a film that stays with you, making you wonder what shadows dance in the corners of your own city, your own life. If you want to experience how shadows can be their own form of terrible beauty, sit down with "The Seventh Victim." But be warned: you might find long after the credits roll, that the darkness looks just a bit different.

And that is The Seventh Victim 1943 Reviewed. Another classic cult horror movie that you need to see. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked The Seventh Victim You Might Also Like These Films

  • Cat People (1942): Another classic Val Lewton horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur. A young Serbian fashion artist believes she is descended from a race of people who can transform into panthers. This film shares a similar focus on psychological horror, suggestion, and a haunting atmosphere.

  • I Walked with a Zombie (1943): Also directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Val Lewton. A Canadian nurse arrives in the West Indies to care for a woman afflicted by a mysterious illness and becomes entangled in the island's rich folklore and possible voodoo practices. It delivers a similar blend of eerie atmosphere and psychological tension.

  • The Leopard Man (1943): Another Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur collaboration. Set in New Mexico, a series of brutal murders occur linked to an escaped leopard. However, some suspect the killings may have a more sinister, supernatural origin. This film shares the noir sensibilities and themes of unseen dangers lurking within society.

  • Isle of the Dead (1945): Directed by Mark Robson and produced by (you guessed it!) Val Lewton. During the Balkan Wars, a general and his companions find themselves quarantined on a plague-ridden island where paranoia and superstition blur the lines between the living and the dead. While the setting differs, the sense of isolating dread and psychological tension are strongly reminiscent of "The Seventh Victim."

  • Eyes Without a Face (1960): Shifting away from the Lewton era, this French horror film directed by Georges Franju offers a chilling and poetic take on body horror and the desperation of a mad surgeon. Its mesmerizing visuals and unsettling atmosphere resonate with the psychological intensity of "The Seventh Victim," albeit with more graphic elements.

The Seventh Victim 1943 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: "The Seventh Victim" is a 1943 American horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Mark Robson. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures and is considered a landmark example of the 'Lewton horror' style. This style emphasized atmosphere, psychological tension, and suggestion over explicit violence and gore.

Q: Who is the director of "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: "The Seventh Victim" was directed by Mark Robson. This was Robson's directorial debut, and he went on to collaborate with Val Lewton on several other horror films, including "The Ghost Ship" (1943) and "Bedlam" (1946).

Q: What is the storyline of "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: The movie follows a young woman named Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter) in search of her missing older sister, Jacqueline (Jean Brooks). Mary's search leads her to New York's Greenwich Village, where she stumbles upon a secret satanic cult known as the Palladists. As Mary digs deeper, she realizes her sister's disappearance may be connected to the cult and its sinister activities.

Q: Is "The Seventh Victim" considered a psychological horror film? 

A: Yes, "The Seventh Victim" is often categorized as a psychological horror film. It relies heavily on building a sense of dread and unease through atmosphere, shadows, and suggestive storytelling. The film focuses on the psychological terror Mary experiences and the fear of the unknown, rather than relying on graphic violence.

Q: Who produced "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: "The Seventh Victim" was produced by Val Lewton, a legendary figure in the horror genre. Lewton was known for producing a series of stylish and atmospheric horror films for RKO Radio Pictures in the 1940s. These films, including "Cat People" (1942) and "I Walked with a Zombie" (1943), were often made on small budgets but achieved great critical and commercial success.

Q: Are there any notable actors in "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: The film features several notable actors:

  • Kim Hunter as Mary Gibson: This was Kim Hunter's first film role.

  • Tom Conway as Dr. Louis Judd: Conway was a recurring figure in Val Lewton's films, first appearing in "Cat People".

  • Isabel Jewell as Frances Fallon: A character actress known for her roles in 1930s and 1940s films.

  • Hugh Beaumont as Gregory Ward: Beaumont is perhaps best known for playing Ward Cleaver in the TV series "Leave it to Beaver".

Q: How long is the running time of "The Seventh Victim"? 

A: The film has a running time of 71 minutes. This was typical of the concise and fast-paced nature of many Val Lewton horror films.

Q: How does "The Seventh Victim" rate on Rotten Tomatoes? 

A: "The Seventh Victim" has a solid rating of 3 stars on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating its enduring critical reception among audiences and critics alike. You can mention the specific percentage for even greater clarity.

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