Video Review: Richard Marx “Hazard”

In black-and-white, a Hazard sign planted in the field marks the Nebraska city limit. Richard Marx cuts his hair at the lake. He sees Mary (Renee Parent) standing in the water. At 7 years old, he covers his eyes while a group of men taunt him. He runs in the field.

Back as an adult, Mary sits with him at the lake. The sheriff (Robert Conrad), a fiftysomething man, takes pictures of them as he stands on the bridge. In silhouette, Marx gives Mary his jacket as they stand on the bridge. She wraps a scarf around his neck as they walk. The sheriff slows down as he watches Mary walk on the sidewalk. Marx catches Mary make out with a twentysomething man in her car.

At 7 years old, he sees his mother sleeping with a thirtysomething man. Back at the lake, Mary runs, leaving her scarf on the limb of a tree. He sits in his home, sobbing as he watches television. The sheriff arrests him as he lies in bed. The police officers dust for fingerprints and recover Mary’s body in the lake. While sitting in the interrogation room, he thinks of being 7 years old and watching his father leave them. Flames lick the bed as his mom continues to sleep with the thirtysomething man. He runs as his house burns.

The sheriff demands Marx to “answer this question!” Marx flinches, saying, “I didn’t do it.” The sheriff whispers in his ear, “she made you kill her, didn’t she?” The fiftysomething man takes off his headphones, asking, “all right, sheriff, what’s the point?” The sheriff grabs the scarf, saying “this is the point” and asking Marx, “recognize this? How did you tie this around Mary’s neck?” A group of men carry torches to his home and burn it. Marx stares at his burned home and decides to leave town. At the end, Mary tells him, “everyone tells me I’m supposed to be afraid of you. But I’m not.”

Rating: 5/5

Richard Marx wipes a table with a towel at the restaurant. The owner’s wife points to the next table and says the people changed their mind. He carries his bucket to the next table as the twentysomething man and woman huff and sigh while they wait. A second twentysomething woman exclaims “oh my god!” as she watches the news. Marx looks up and sees the sheriff being arrested.

Mary told him of how the sheriff creeped her out. He’d follow her around town and stare at her. She found him lurking around the school as she picked up her niece. The sheriff, though, had been re-elected on the strength of his name. His grandfather and father both held the post. From stories he heard, the grandfather had been a humble man. Under him, the town had thrived. However, his son had organized a campaign accusing him of being mentally incompetent and took over the post. Within two years, his son had used state and federal funds to enrich his family and become one of the few wealthy families in town. The grandson would hold onto to power at any cost.

As he reads the news story about the sheriff, he thinks the people of the town. A fortysomething man had called him to let him know he was sorry. Mary’s mother had stopped by and told him she knew in deep in her heart he didn’t do it. She asked for him to come home. He folds up the newspaper and throws it away. On his note pad, he writes a to-do of things needed to be done in his home.

Director: Michael Haussman Year: 1992

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit ,Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine . Fevers of the Mind, and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology.