The terrors of art, the convulsions of the medium, thatís Oliver Stoneís sandbox. The painterís psyche disintegrates under the weight of its own symbolism in Hour of the Wolf, in this version the novelist (Jonathan Frid) stuck with a tale "without an ending" has his weekend getaway crashed by his malefic creations. The dutiful wife (Christina Pickles) and the son (Timothy Ousey) are there, so are the moneyed vulgarian (Joseph Sirolian) and the snide Amazon (Mary Woronov), the old European baron (Roger De Koven) and his morbid beloved (Anne Meacham), "intellectual fantasies" one and all awaiting annihilation. Tourneur is evoked in the Stygian woods with a wandering young woman and a silent muscleman later revealed as the scarred executioner (Henry Judd Baker), gargantuan ax and all. The rest of the unholy trio conjured up by the protagonistís subconscious are a Fuseli gremlin with crimson tights and switchblade (Hervť Villechaize) and the raven-haired Queen of Evil (Martine Beswick), "the embodiment of Kali herself" perhaps, a sort of grindhouse MarŪa Casares. "We are without beginning and without end," she proclaims huskily. "Our purpose, our only purpose... is death." Pirandello and the Manson Family are the poles of the rough-hewn nightmare style, fused into a strikingly disagreeable hallucination. A dormant Quebecois autumn rattled most suggestively, where characters by their vanity mirrors talk to the dead and the dead talk back, the raid on the articulate. Craven is concurrent with Last House on the Left, and then thereís Audenís "As I Walked Out One Evening" and Russellís Gothic. Stone advances the satirical inquiry in The Hand. With Troy Donahue, Richard Cox, and Lucy Bingham.
--- Fernando F. Croce