The Incident (1967)

December 22nd, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Larry Pearce | Cast: Tony Musante, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Brick Peters, Ruby Dee | US Thriller.

Still largely unknown but it’s generated a lot of lively discussion on the IMDb, I’ve seen a lot of films in my time and this I unhesitatingly nominate as the scariest I’ve ever seen since it’s based on a situation you could find yourself on the way home without the trouble of going out of town to the Bates Motel.

Taking place in the days when night trains’ lack of corridors made them death traps and historically of interest as both Martin Sheen’s film debut and Thelma Ritter’s swansong; others have commented upon the grimly amusing fact that the police automatically assume the black guy is the culprit.

Banned outright by the British censor, it would probably still have problems today in this regard, but went on to win Best Screenplay for Nicolas E Baehr at Mar Del Plata, South America’s foremost film festival, with a script proving that the simplest ideas are always the most successful and a shoestring budget can produce something far more interesting than a shedload of money (Texas Chainsaw Massacre being another case in point). The result is a tense and nerve-shredding Michael Haneke style exploitation thriller set in the 1960s when New York was in the grip of moral decline. @RichardChatten


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