In Hour of the Wolf the artist Johan Borg (Max von Sydow) describes a childhood punishment that has affected all his subsequent development: he was locked in a completely dark cupboard in which, he was told, there lurked a small creature who would bite his toes off. When he was at last released (after experiencing the most extreme terror) his father asked him how severe a beating he deserved, and he asked for it to be as severe as possible. Questioned about this story in an interview, Bergman said that it was taken from personal experience: “This happened forty or forty-two years ago, and not just once. It was a ritual. It’s amazing I came out of it with my life.
—Robin Wood, Ingmar Bergman