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Samm Deighan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325772

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325772.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Fire, Voices and Torment

Fire, Voices and Torment

(p.7) Introduction: Fire, Voices and Torment

Samm Deighan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Fritz Lang's seminal film M in 1931, which exists in a liminal space between social drama, crime thriller, and horror film. It explains that M follows the paedophiliac killer Hans Beckert, who is pursued by local police, distraught parents, and the criminal underworld for his horrifying and compulsive murders of Berlin's children. It also explores M's themes of systemic violence, mob justice, and urban paranoia. The chapter situates M within the developing body of twentieth-century horror films and as a progenitor of genre cinema. It also analyses M as the origin point of a filmic thread that includes Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and Psycho (1960).

Keywords:   Fritz Lang, M, paedophiliac killer, Hans Beckert, systemic violence, mob justice, urban paranoia, genre cinema

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