THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1980) Reviews and overview

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La Nuit des Traquées (English title: The Night of the Hunted) is a 1980 French horror film directed by Jean Rollin.

On a cold dark night, a man is driving through the countryside and discovers a young woman who seems to be running from something. The man stops and puts her in his car and does not notice another woman, who is completely naked, calling out for her.

The woman tells the man that her name is Elizabeth; she insists there are people after her but she seems to be confused and frightened. He takes Elizabeth to his apartment in Paris and realizes she is incapable of remembering anything for any length of time.

He tells her his name is Robert, which she has trouble remembering a few minutes later. She begs him not to leave her as she will forget him, and the pair make love, during which Robert tells Elizabeth to remember his face so she will never forget this time together. The next morning Robert has to go to work and when he’s gone, Doctor Francis breaks into his apartment to persuade Elizabeth to return to the clinic, where she escaped from, where people are being treated for memory loss.

On her return to the clinic, Elizabeth seems to remember the woman, the one who called out for her the night before, but they only remember each other’s name, nothing more. The two of them attempt another escape and manage to get in contact with Robert, as Elizabeth remembers him, but they are both recaptured. Robert locates the clinic where he is told by Doctor Francis that the patients are suffering from a disease that slowly takes their memories away, and soon all the afflicted will become like the walking dead…

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“Shot on … a schedule that works out at about a quarter of the shooting time usually allowed for even the lowest budget feature film in the ‘70s, and further compromised by copious quantities of producer-enforced sex and gore footage, to call Le Nuit des Traquées ‘threadbare’ would be something of an understatement.” Breakfast in the Ruins

“This Alzheimer’s nightmare has an uncanny, downbeat atmosphere that can’t be dissipated, even by the comical regularity with which Rollin’s stars disrobe or some crude scissors-in-eyes gore: these are the dirty bargains an artist must make to gain financing. Despite the bombardment of bare breasts, it’s the poetic dialogue (“I want to die with each breath, so I will never forget you”) and the existential dread that linger in the memory.” SFX

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“Despite working with a miniscule budget, Rollin captures some haunting images in this film. Never has Paris looked as desolate as in this movie. One of Rollin’s trademarks has always been his own fascination with architecture and, as a result, the cold skyscraper where Lahaie is held prisoner almost becomes a character itself. ” Through the Shattered Lens 

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