A brilliant Gothic fantasy about an artist who has disappeared, leaving only a diary; and through that diary we move into flashback to observe a classic case history of the Bergman hero haunted by darkness, demons and the creatures of his imagination until he is destroyed by them. The tentacular growth of this obsession is handled with typical virtuosity in a dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism and full-blooded Gothic horror. First the hour of the wolf, the sleepless nights of watching and waiting, when the artist (von Sydow) describes - but we do not see - the horde of man-eating birdmen and insects who have invaded his sketch-book. Then the daylight encounters when a car crawling over the horizon, a girl picking her way through the rocks on a sun-bleached beach, look momentarily like weird, threatening insects. Finally, the full nightmare of the soirée at a château gradually transformed into Dracula's castle as its aristocratic inhabitants become werewolves and vampires, and the artist flees into a forest of blackened, clutching trees, pursued by monstrous birds of prey. In its exploration of the nature of creativity, haunted by the problem of whether the artist possesses or is possessed by his demons, Hour of the Wolf serves as a remarkable companion-piece to Persona.
Cast and crew
Max von Sydow