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Vargtimmen

Hour of the Wolf

Sweden 1968
produced by
Lars-Owe Carlberg for Svensk Filmindustri
directed by Ingmar Bergman
starring Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg, Erland Josephson, Naima Wifstrand, Ulf Johansson, Gudrum Brost, Bertil Anderberg, Ingrid Thulin, Folke Sundquist, Lenn Hjortzberg, Agda Helin, Mikael Rundquist, Mona Seilitz
written by Ingmar Bergman, music by Lars Johan Werle, cinematography by Sven Nykvist

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Painter Johan (Max von Sydow) and his wife Alma (Liv Ullmann) live on an island, seemingly far away from civilisation, where he thinks he might be able to find inner peace while she tries to figure out what's wrong with him ...

One day, Alma is visited by an old woman who seems to come out of nowhere and who urgently suggests she should read Johan's diary ... where she learns stuff about the recent past Johan forgot to tell her as well as about his long past relationship to Veronica Vogler (Ingrid Thulin), which eventually led to a scandal and to his breakdown.

Johan and Alma are invited to a party at Baron von Merkens' (Edward Josephson) palace, where everybody claims to love Johan's art - but somehow, they all seem to only mock him and (mentally) hurt her.

Back at home, Johan tells Alma his best-kept secret - that he was abused by his father, and later in life, as a sort of retaliation, he killed a boy who was mocking him.

Johan and Alma are invited to von Merkens once more, but when Alma learns the occasion is the arrival of Veronica Vogler on the island, she starts a row in a fit of jealousy ... and he shoots her.

Arriving at the palace looking for Veronica, Johan has to realize all of its inhabitants are demons, just there to torture him. And Veronica seems to be the queen of the demons ...

Johan's shooting left Alma only slightly bruised, but she pretended to be dead to escape his rage. Later though she goes after him to save him from whatever fate awaits him - but ultimately she finds him only dead in the forest ... and since has been blaming herself that she hasn't tried harder to identify with Johan, so that she could've saved him.

 

Fascinating cinematic nightmare that plays with the conventions of the horror genre and uses its slow pace and its lack of real highlights to its advantage to give its characters room to unfold and its mood to shift from slightly odd to totally creepy - and of course, with a diretor like Ingmar Bergman and actors like Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann on the job, you just know the outcome has to be something special ... even if of course the film might seem a bit too brain-heavy for some horror-junkies.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD