With such a broad range of influences, it is no surprise that many critics have described the various symbols and images of Hour of the Wolf as simply failing to “coalesce into a coherent pattern” (Dennis DeNitto in World Film Directors). Yet, I argue, it is this very rich overlay of associations and structures from film and opera history that transforms Hour in the Wolf much like Persona, from a work of psychological realism into metaphoric depiction of what it is like to gradually go insane as a being falls into ever-deepening fears and doubts.
During a following long night, Borg admits to his youthful obsession with Veronica and his childhood punishment, where he was locked in a cabinet by his parents who had convinced him also lived a small man who fed on children’s toes. The most frightening revelation of the night, however, played through a dramatically startling montage of images, is about the day he has returned home to report that he had been bitten by a snake. As Borg fishes, we see a young boy, dressed only in scanty swimming trunks, lying in the sun on a nearby rock, clearly flaunting his body at the man. The boy moves somewhat closer, finally moving to the very rock from which Borg is casting his fishing rod. The tension mounts, culminating in Borg’s murder of and drowning of the young child!