Fritz Lang's M is not, strictly speaking, a horror film. A simplistic identification for it would be crime drama, but M is not simplistic. Behind its single-letter title lies a wealth of complexities. Yes, in one way, it is a crime drama, but it's also a commentary on German society, a suspense thriller, and, in one sense, it's an incredibly unsettling horror story.
Mostly responsible for that horror is Peter Lorre, who plays a child murderer haunting Dusseldorf, Germany. The performance -- which is at turns grandiose, stricken, lascivious, and pathetic -- is not always the focus of the camera, but it is always the focus of the film. Even when Lorre is not on screen, his mannerisms and his horrible compulsions haunt the proceedings. After the film is over, he is still there, whistling into our ear.(read more...)