FilmThe Horror Show

Josh and Benny Safdie on what scares them

Robert Mitchum in Charles Laughton’s macabre 1955 Southern Gothic, Night of the Hunter

Filmmaker brothers Josh and Benny Safdie are responsible for some of the most emotionally unsparing movies of recent years, including Good Times and Uncut Gems, so it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of what scares them in the context of cinema.

In a clip for the Criterion Channel in 2017, the brothers expound on the moments that have most frightened them in film. Some of these do not qualify as traditional horror – the climax of Blood Simple, with its brilliant chiaroscuro of light piercing through the gunshot holes in the apartment wall or the gentle singing of Robert Mitchum’s character in Night of the Hunter – one of the most disturbing Hollywood movies that doesn’t fall into the traditional horror category.

Other choices – Cronenberg‘s Videodrome; Polanski’s Repulsion – are more readily recognizable as horror movies, especially when one considers Josh Safdie’s take on James Woods in Videodrome: “To see him in that movie, and think of who he is in 2017, and how he’s shifted into this political figure, you can imagine that character – Max Renn – you can imagine him having a Twitter account after going through and seeing the true colours of society.” Now that’s scary.

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