The Seventh Victim (1943 film)

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Missing sister Jaqueline is menaced by a stalking cultist in The Seventh Victim (1943 film)...

The Seventh Victim, AKA The 7th Victim (1943)

Summary

"Robbed of the will to love and live!" A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's seemingly random disappearance.

Details

  • Release Date: 1943
  • Country/Language: US, English and a little Italian, French, and Latin
  • Genres/Technical: Drama, Horror (Folk Horror), Mystery (noir), black-and-white
  • Runtime: 1 hr 11 min
  • Starring: Kim Hunter, Tom Conway, Jean Brooks
  • Director: Mark Robson
  • Writer: Charles O'Neal, DeWitt Bodeen
  • Producer/Production Co: Val Lewton, RKO Radio Pictures
  • View Trailer: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (equivalent of a modern PG for mild and mostly off-screen Violence and Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

With no actual supernatural content and a vaguely sketched cult apparently modeled after an (allegedly) real (vaguely Masonic) secret society, there is very little here that might qualify as "Lovecraftian", but the story could easily be adapted into an early, "low mythos" Call of Cthulhu scenario simply by sprinkling a little "Yog-Sothothry" into the background (for example, by replacing the rather mundane cult of pirates-who-don't-do-anything into a cult of Yog-Sothoth- or Nodens-worshipers-who-don't-do-anything.) As usual for a film produced by Val Lewton, the horror is subtle and the film is quite eerie, atmospheric, and unsettling even when absolutely nothing horrific is happening.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

After young Mary Gibson discovers that her older sister Jacqueline (Jean Brooks) has disappeared, she leaves her boarding school and heads to New York City to track down her sibling. Arriving at Jacqueline's apartment, Mary finds ominous signs of trouble, with her sister nowhere in sight. Aided by psychiatrist Dr. Louis Judd and others, Mary gets drawn deeper into the mystery, and evidence begins to point to the involvement of a sinister cult.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • epigraph: "I run to death, and death meets me as fast, and all my pleasures are like yesterday." Holy sonnet #VII Jonne Donne
  • Tom Conway's character "Dr. Judd" is a reprisal of the same character from Cat People (1942); the doctor mentions that he once knew a beautiful and mysterious woman who became a raving lunatic, which might be a reference to the titular "cat woman" character of that film. (Dr. Judd appears to die at the end of the earlier film; viewers are perhaps left free to speculate on whether he was only injured, or if his death was a figment of the delusions and hallucinations of the "raving lunatic", or if there is some other, more dreamlike explanation for how the character could seem dead in one film yet live in the next....)


Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes

  • I sometimes recommend this film to Keepers looking for a "low Mythos" adventure: the investigators are drawn into what seems at first to be a straightforward missing person case, but soon turns out to be the work of a sinister cult which is trying to force one of its own members - the missing person, a whistle-blower currently in hiding and mentally disturbed - to commit suicide for spilling some of the cult's secrets, with nothing overtly supernatural involved at all. Under mounting pressure and with evil but ambiguously supernatural signs and portents all around, the investigators must penetrate the secrets of the cult and locate the missing person before she gives in to the cult's pressure.... As usual for a film created by Val Lewton, the horror is subtle and the film is quite eerie, atmospheric, and unsettling even when absolutely nothing horrific is happening, and a scenario inspired by such work might be a splendid exercise in restraint and in working with mood and atmosphere.