Among the Living
What horrible fascination did this monster have for women?
Albert Dekker plays two twin brothers, John and Paul. Paul was supposed to have died when he was 10 years old, but actually went insane and was shut up in a secret room in his parents' mansion. The film is a mix of social drama, horror film, and suspense thriller.
America, not quite out of the Depression and not yet at war, as a couple of siblings split along gothic shivers and noir shadows. The southern community is "a beehive without bees," the mill is dormant but the local juke joint is jumpin’. Gated within the woods is the decaying family mansion, the camera tracks deeper and deeper into its bowels until it finds Albert Dekker in his straitjacket, rocking with delight at the thunderstorm outside: "This is the exciting part... When it’s threatening, ready to break loose." As the Virtuous Twin, Dekker wears business suits, is married to a thoroughly declawed Frances Farmer, and is blissfully ignorant of the familial darkness stashed away. As the Damaged Twin, he keeps his jaw stubbly and hides with the proletariat, is sweet on humid golddigger Susan Hayward, and still hears his mother’s screams rattling inside his head. Stuart Heisler shows a keen sense of down-home expressionistic frenzies.