The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
When the wolf in sheep’s clothing Harry (Robert Mitchum) chases the children up the cellar staircase, his outstretched arms and corpse-like profile are an iconic symbol of desperate cruelty, and of fear. Later, when a larger group of children form a line behind their adopted mother (Lillian Gish) and follow her through the town, the image is almost as scary. Although she takes care of the children, and is a beautiful motherly figure, the decorum with which she operates, although devoted, is chillingly tainted. As though she could snap at any moment.