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Episode No. 25: The Val Lewton Legacy


He believed in peace in darkness, friendship in solitude, and for some of his characters, freedom in death; even admitting to an RKO executive that the message of The Seventh Victim (1943) was, in fact, “Death is good.” His films abound in sly and clever details (qualities diminished by home video). Val Lewton (1904 – 1951) was a master of dark subtleties.

On this special episode, inspired by the upcoming Val Lewton retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive, film professor, and ex-artistic director of The Coolidge Corner Theater, David Kleiler, and Ambrose Roche, producer of Pontypool, who sites Lewton as a key influence on his work, join me to discuss Lewton’s RKO productions, from 1942’s Cat People to 1946’s Bedlam, and his enduring legacy.

About Steve HeadAbout Ambrose RocheAbout David Kleiler

Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years

About Stephen Slaughter Head

Stephen Slaughter Head was co-editor of the Star Wars website, co-founder of the much-loved movie news website IGN FilmForce, and editor of the movie section at AOL’s As a film journalist he has more than 2,000 published articles at His work has also appeared on, and in Esquire magazine and the Boston Phoenix. Stephen hosts the Diabolique Webcast.

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