Original: Cape Fear (1962)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Illeana Douglas, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck
Not even the reputable Martin Scorsese could outdo the virtuosity of director J. Lee Thompson’s dark-as-night 1962 thriller Cape Fear. Robert Mitchum, the O.G. of imposing on-screen villainy, is a force of threatening nature as Max Cady, an ex-con determined to administer bloody payback to the prosecutor who put him behind bars.
Looking to get his Alfred Hitchcock on a bit, Scorsese tackled Cape Fear with slightly more horror-centric sensibilities than he’d previously ever shown. His film, while inferior to Thompson’s, assaulted viewers with hardcore images of violence and sadism rarely seen in early 1990s mainstream cinema. Today, Scorsese’s Cape Fear is still able to grimly distress audiences.