Could Ingmar Bergman Be Considered A Horror Master?

June 19th, 2012 at 12:00am

Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film writer, director and producer, with over 60 films credited to his name. Known for his contributions to European Art Cinema, Bergman isn’t the type of director that typically comes to mind when one thinks of horror films. However, as an aesthetically innovative filmmaker, some of his best films employ the usage of horrific images in an effort to convey his “art cinema” visions.

One such work is Bergman’s complex and experimental 1966 film, “Persona.” The movie begins with an assortment of disturbing images, including those of a tarantula spider, the slaying of a lamb, a crucifixion and a boy surrounded by corpses. These scenes leave the viewer feeling isolated and afraid in a way very similar to how the main character is portrayed to feel. In his 1968 movie, “Hour of The Wolf,” Bergman draws on iconographic elements of surrealism and horror to tell the tale of a reclusive painter plagued by demons. As the movie progresses, these demons begin to take disturbing external forms, haunting the artist until they ultimately destroy him.

Other works that showcase the director’s talent for horror include the 1960 film “The Virgin Spring,” which was remade into the exploitation film “The Last House on the Left” by Wes Craven, and the 1957 film “The Seventh Seal,” where the main character challenges Death to a game of chess. Can’t get enough? There’s more: Ingmar Bergman: Intermezzo (2004)

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June 2012
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