"The Time When Most People Die"...,
This review is from: Hour Of The Wolf [DVD] (DVD)
The quote in the film that I mention does lead onto other 'happenings', as Max von Sydow recounts the Hour in question - as he fumbles to light candles in the dark.
With such, it does sound like this film's going to be about werewolves and vampires and such, but this is all human, the area of darkness that Bergman often visited and probably no more so here than with any other film. It's like he's made a feature of all the ghostly and demonic thoughts and dreams he's ever had and stuffed them all into one movie.
Which is actually no bad thing but I would suggest that so many ripe and vivid nightmares make for a great chilling horror chiller and less his usual area of excellence, the study of human psyche and persona. At one point, our troubled artist with lots of history to block out describes being locked in a wardrobe as a child where a little monster that ate children's toes lived and from which he couldn't escape. Since watching Hour Of the first time round I read in an autobiography that Bergman's profound sense of doom and depression stemmed from being accidentally locked in a mortuary as a boy. My skin crawled in recognition of this scenario when von Sydow describes the story about the wardrobe....is there a lot more in Hour Of that's biographical?
Whichever way you want to take it, the beginning has more relationship and personal drama going on whilst from 45 mins on, when 'The Hour of the Wolf' is flashed up, it's hallucinatory hell, much really quite absurd but also really rather effective at being chilling and scary.
Liv Ullman, as the artist's wife, who discovers these dark secrets in his diaries is intense and excellent, as always, but I would still stand by saying that Hour Of isn't as deeply profound as some say - and possibly, if one tried to dissect it all too much, you'd be starting to experience some of those nightmares too!
My slimline DVD is part of the 4 disc The Ingmar Bergman Collection.