The Witching Hour ’17 Night Fifteen : Hush

The shadows gather around us once again. Take our hands and wander with us into the darkness where the monsters gather. We’re bringing you 31 horror reviews in October. Whatever you do, don’t let go of our hands lest you find out what truly goes bump in the night.

Way back in 1997 Joss Whedon had an opportunity to bring his vision of a strong female hero pitted against the forces of darkness to television. Buffy the Vampire Slayer would go on to break new ground in television entertainment. The series has been discussed to death (and beyond) for its portrayal of women, the quality of the writing and its philosophy. However, the horror factor of the show has been inconsistent – some of the monsters featured were simply not that scary. Tonight we are going to look at one of the few episodes that genuinely creeped me out. Bring on the Gentlemen in Hush.

“Can’t even shout.
Can’t even cry.
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows,
knocking on doors…
They need to take seven
and they might take yours…
Can’t call to mom.
Can’t say a word.
You’re gonna die screaming
but you won’t be heard.”

The above little ditty was sung by a creepy girl in Buffy’s dream – very reminiscent of A Nightmare On Elm Street and it’s rhyme about Freddy. The Gentlemen are the monsters featured in Hush and they look like demonic cadavers dressed in dark suits… the kind a funeral home dictator might wear. The Gentlemen carry scalpels with them and they glide throughout the town of Sunnydale in search of seven human hearts they need to maintain their own lives.

As they arrive in Sunnydale, the Gentlemen steal the voices of everybody in town. For the bulk of the episode the characters have to communicate with each other through body language or visually.

What makes the Gentlemen so creepy to me is how they move. Rather than walk, they glide above the ground and use exaggerated but graceful movements to convey their intentions. Check out this particularly creepy segment which shows them travelling across town to remove a young man’s heart:

As is typical with Joss Whedon, the title of the episode, Hush, has a dual meaning. On a surface level the title refers to the fact that the characters literally lose their voices but on a deeper level the title is a reflection of where Buffy is at with her boyfriend, Riley. He is a soldier with an outfit known as the Initiative. He and Buffy have been keeping secrets from each other about their true identities and they find it difficult to be truthful to each other.

Hush is a great episode to watch with someone special next to you on the couch. It can be found in season 4 sets for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the episode is available for about $2 from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and similar video services.

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