On Friday, we revealed that the favorite horror movies of director John Carpenter, the man who brought us 1978’s slasher classic Halloween, are 1951’s The Thing from Another World and 1958’s The Fly. But what does David Gordon Green, who directed the just-released sequel Halloween, regard as the best-ever creep-out? The answer is Charles Laughton’s 1955 film The Night of the Hunter, in which the great Robert Mitchum plays a preacher-cum-serial killer named Reverend Harry Powell.
“Night of the Hunter is the film from my youth that really opened the door,” says Green. “That was a stepping stone into the more gratuitous genre horror. I guess you’d probably call it more of a thriller, but that was a movie that really affected me in terms of everything from the music and songs Robert Mitchum’s character would sing, and Charles Laughton’s amazing camerawork. It got under my skin, it really disturbed me as a kid, and then I used that as a stepping stone into more obvious genre work. I mean, Halloween was shortly thereafter. The Shining was shortly thereafter. These are the films that I really discovered in the mid-’80s when I was probably a little too young to be processing it, and then a little too excited about the disturbing images that were making their way into my subconscious.”
Watch the trailer for The Night of the Hunter, above.