The Night of the Hunter is a film about Terror and Vigilance. It
weaves a tale of how Love and Hate rise and fall like the tide, and,
unchecked, how Hate drowns all Love when the Beast of Terror rules.
Examine this movie's message, and see how the Beast of Terror tries to
sneak up when you least expect him.
7, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 694
Love & Hate: The Night Of The
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 7,
2003-- One of the great classic movies by Robert Mitchum is
Night of the Hunter, a powerful story of the twisting of Terrorism and
Vigilance, and how the Beast of Terror ensnares himself into a family
for one purpose--to inflict Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into
spouts from the Bible chapters and verses on good and evil
allowing in this instance the L-O-V-E tattoo
on one hand to overpower the H-A-T-E tattooed on the other
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) ran a series of
Robert Mitchum movies yesterday. The most powerful of
which was Night of the Hunter, a 1955 film directed by actor/director
Mitchum plays a serial killer who
preys on widows, stealing their money and killing them. He
disguises himself as a preacher, spouting from the Bible chapters and
verses on good and evil while sharpening his knife for the next
On his left hand a finger at a time is tattooed the letters H-A-T-E. On his right is L-O-V-E. In a powerful
scene exemplifying his psychotic struggle with the forces of good and
bad, he explains how HATE and LOVE are in constant combat.
Dramatically, he intertwines his fingers into a fist so that the two words blend
confusedly, and wrestles with himself, allowing H-A-T-E to almost pin
L-O-V-E, and then suddenly allowing L-O-V-E to overpower H-A-T-E.
This performance is for an audience he is
trying to win. He is specifically seeking the heart of Shelly Winters whose husband
has just been hanged for stealing $10,000 to feed their children
during the Depression. Mitchum
was his cellmate in prison, and is after the $10,000. He marries Shelly
Winters and becomes the step-father to the hanged man's two children.
The kids know where the money is hidden, but vowed to their father
never to tell.
The Force of
Evil tries to pry open the children's secret
And, the Terror begins.
Mitchum, pretending to be a nice preacher,
converts into the true Beast of Terror one cruelty at a time. He
realizes the children
know where the money is hidden, and to insure he has total control
over them, he exterminates Shelly Winters, the only block between him
and the kids.
The rest of the movie is about the force of
"evil" trying to pry open the secret held by the children.
Mitchum chases the children on a trek down the river, where the
"orphans" find refuge with actress Lillian Gish who brings them into
her home and stands up against the evil Mitchum represents.
I found the movie a great example of
someone running hot and cold between love for their children and
hatred against them.
It was also a prime example of the great battle
within all of us when torn between the powerful vice of Love and Hate.
A minor example of the tormented attitude of
Mitchum's character is the parent who tells a child: "I'm going
to spank you because I love you." To the child, violence
and love become confused, the two associated with one another as one
when they are distinct.
Another is the parent who, to the child,
"pretends" to love the child. Child abusers are often
great facades of love, and abused children tend to "cling" to them as
though they "loved" them, when in fact they are terrified of the power
of their abuser.
Kissing up to
the boss (and later maligning him or her) illustrates a Love-Hate
relationship can be carried into marriage and the workplace, where a
mother and father fight and scream at one another in front of children
and then kiss and make up, sending signals to the children that Love
and Hate are as intertwined as the fingers of Robert Mitchum when he
In the workplace there is a common example of
everyone "kissing up" to the boss when he is around, and, when alone,
the knives are drawn and stabbed in his or her back, illustrating the
stress of forcing Love upon a bed a Hate.
Into this equation is injected Complacency, for
the dizzying dance done by those trying to juggle the two, Love and
Hate, often becomes onerous. Instead of recoiling
from the situation, the parties begin to accept their "lot" as a way
of life, succumbing to the life between the vice grips of two opposing
forces. In essence, such people who give up on fighting the
conflict become slaves, manacled to the legs of the Beast of Terror
and dragged around behind him.
become the "victims" of life
Abused people who
live with their abuser surrender to such lots, as do the unhappy in
marriage or the disenfranchised at their work. They see
life as a rut, and the wheels of progress run over them. They
become the "victims" of life.
Prejudice and bigotry play a great role in this
conflict between Love and Hate. Hatred of the rich by the
poor is often infused with greed and jealousy to have what they have,
to become the "rich" and reverse the roles, but in the interim hatred
and anger seethe because "someone has what I deserve."
In the movie,
Night of the Hunter, Billy Chapin plays the young boy (on the
right) who fearlessly faces the Beast and protects his little
The Beast of
Terror thrives on such conflict. Night of the Hunter is a
classic tale not just of evil incarnate on the loose, but in its
stalking of the children. It symbolizes the real
goal of the Beast--to win over the children, to enslave them with
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
In the film, the young boy played by Billy
Chapin, stands up as a Sentinel of Vigilance. He uses his
Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to fearlessly face the Beast and
protect his sister.
Remakes of the film in 1962 and 1991
do it injustice. The power of the film in its original
form was the battle of the Beast with the children, not with the
adults. Retitled Cape Fear, the new releases sweep
over the frightening effect of evil hunting down innocence, of its
hunger to take the children and "rip off its arm" as Mitchum threatens
the little girl in the classic 1955 version.
hangs in the air like mosquitoes on a hot summer day
with Terrorism hanging in the air like mosquitoes on a hot summer day,
we all need to be reminded that the goal of the Beast is to rip our
children from us. And, that if we are not Vigilant, we can
be the ones who "orphan" our children by creating walls of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency between them and us.
It is easy to say:
"Well, I'm certainly not like that!" and for the most part, the
behavior of Mitchum is extreme. But, the impact of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency can be small, unnoticeable to those who
are not trained in Vigilance.
Build a bridge
of trust to better share your Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
with your children
mother or father can become a Beast in the eyes of a child if the
parents are not tuned to the same channel as the child.
That's why as Sentinels of Vigilance we urge parents to sit with their
children and share their own Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to
build a bridge of trust so the child will more freely share his or
hers. It is only when there are no "secrets" between
humans that truths can flow.
To keep the Beast at bay, take
the Pledge of Vigilance. Use it as a tool to build walls around
your children, Vigilance walls constructed of Courage, Conviction and
When the Beast sees these, he will
turn and seek easier prey.
6--Beast of Terror's Breath On Womb Of Vigilance
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -