Article Overview:   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.


Thursday--August 7, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 694
Love & Hate:  The Night Of The Beast Hunter
Cliff McKenzie
   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 the children.

Robert Mitchum 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 Charles Laughton.
      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 unsuspecting.
      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

      The 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 entwines them.
      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.

Abused people 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 sister

       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.

Terrorism hangs in the air like mosquitoes on a hot summer day

        Today, 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

      A well-intended 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 Right Actions.
        When the Beast sees these, he will turn and seek easier prey.


Aug 6--Beast of Terror's Breath On Womb Of Vigilance

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