Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca (1940)

It is time for our annual Alfred Hitchcock film!

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderly…

So one camping trip I was talking to my cousin who worked at Universal Studios about movies. She promised to send me shirt from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as I had liked the other The Mummy movies (which she never did. Still upset about that). We then moved to my favorite director Alfred Hitchcock. She had seen his films too and asked about which was my favorite. At the time, it was The Birds, and she told me hers was Rebecca. I hadn’t seen Rebecca yet, so as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, I watched it.

It has Laurence Olivier in it who I just love, and of course is who I consider the original Mr. Darcy.

It also has Joan Fontaine in it who I had loved in The Women and did great in Suspicion. Not to mention one of the creepiest housekeepers (although she’s on par with Milly from Under Capricorn). And of course it has George Sanders, who has one of the best voices-he oozes sarcasm, sophistication, and meanness, I don’t know how else to put it. Most of you will recognize him from All About Eve and the original Shere Khan from The Jungle Book. 

So I have been struggling whether to review the movie or the book first, as both perfect for Catherine Morland. She would be all over this book and film. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to do the film as I saw it first.

I wanted this to be the first movie of Horrorfest VIII, but I couldn’t use it as this year I needed to start it off with a 1950s film. So if I can’t start it, then I will end it with this gothic film-an Alfred Hitchcock film that Catherine Morland would go ape over.

So this film has some interesting “drama” behind the scenes.

This is going to get good…

Laurence Olivier was married to Vivian Leigh at the time and really wanted her to be in the film. I’m sure most of you have heard of his high standards from My Week with MarilynHe did not like Joan Fotaine, which made her nervous and worried-something Alfred Hitchcock loved to capitalize on. Move aside Stanley Kubrick, this is the original.

The film is based on the book by Daphne du Maurier. Both producer David O. Selznick and director Alfred Hitchcock were control freaks liked to be in control of their films-and when I say control I mean every aspect. So there was some serious issues between them. Selznick barred Hitchock from all writing while he banned Selznick from set.

Fight, fight, fight!

This was also the only film by Alfred Hitchcock that won an Oscar.

ONLY ONE? That’s sad!

So this film is rrreeeeeeeaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy different from his other work as it starts off very slow, a romance, but then stuff gets real!

As it’s not like his other works, it’s not for everybody. All though we all know who’d be fangirling over it, that’s right-Catherine Morland.

So the film starts off bright (O’Selznick), then gets dark, gothic, foreboding woods (Hitchcock)

Oh, my favorite! Anything like that gets me excited, my Catherine Morland heart starts pumping.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly, Oh My Goodness-I love this opening with the language, it grabs you right away.

It is sucking me in!!!!!!!!

It grabs you right away-the secret, solemn, gothic, and foreboding Northanger Abbey Manderly.

So we go back in time to the south of France, a handsome man is about to jump off the cliff, but stopped by a woman. Who is this handsome man? Why he is played by Laurence Olivier.

Our heroine, who’s name is never given but played by Joan Fontaine, is a lady’s companion to an annoying woman, Edith Hopper.

The handsome man comes over and it is Maxim de Winter-Hopper treats our heroine like crap, but he is interested in her youthful beauty and kindness. Hopper tries to grill him, but he manages to move the conversation away from him.

Well-played!

Oh my goodness Mrs. Hopper, she’s AWFUL!!!!!!! Our poor heroine. Hopper dresses her down to remember her place, and to not speak to anyone above her.

It turns out that Mr. de Winter is a widower, gossip shared by Miss Hopper-he was madly in love with his wife and has been despondent ever since.

One morning our heroine was going to eat lunch alone, but Mr. de Winter spots her and invites her to his table. She is so young in spirit-clumsy, awkward, unsure, childlike.

Joan Fontaine is so cute and she has a sad back story in this. Mother died when she was young and she lived with father who died last year. Having no money and no place to live, is now a companion to a horrible women. She is just so kind and sweet and adorable-you feel so bad for her.

Maxim de Winter is handsome, charming, and he is captivated by our heroine’s honesty and naiveté. Maxim is a man who carries weariness in his soul. He takes her out where she planned to sketch.

They talk and she shares how she once went to Cornwall and saw this beautiful house on it, called Manderly. That just happens to be Maxim’s house. He talks about it and you can feel the weight if sadness coming on him.

Joan is so cute just talking on and on, Maxim takes her aback.

Going back to her room the heroine overhears her sick client talking bout Maxim de Winter. She goes on and on about how he was crazy about his beautiful wife. She drowned sailing a few years ago.

As our heroine’s boss is still sick she has free time and goes to have a tennis lesson, but gets interrupted by Maxim who takes her out. Soon everyday they are out together. Her client, Edith Van Hopper, is after Mr. de Winter, and has no clue that her companion is falling in love with him. She tries to get our heroine to stay and keep her occupied while she is sick, but…

Our heroine is so adorable-dreaming, wishing, hopeful. Youth and innocence brimming!

But it is all over too soon. After today the nurse is going and she needs her companion by her side day and night. Our heroine is despondent over this as she doesn’t want her time with Maxim to end.

Maxim is handsome and charming, but something about him isn’t quite right. There is a deep wound to him, but what?

One day they are out and our heroine wants to know why he picked her over the other women, he could have anyone-someone older, sophisticated, classy, etc. He tells her he enjoys her company, but as he says it, he says it a little harsh and our heroine becomes upset, but then he kindly tells her to call him by his first name. And later sends her flowers.

Mrs. Van Hopper receives a letter about her daughter becoming engaged and they must leave for America ASAP. But no, what about Maxim!!! Our heroine tries to reach him, but no avail. This is it. Her fairytale is over. She rushes back to her room to reach him one last time, but doesn’t get a chance. Her boss comes and it is goodbye.

She tries one more time but he’s in the shower. NOOOOO!

But our heroine wont give up. She runs up to his room as a last ditch effort. Maxim is surprised, but our heroine tells him she needed to say goodbye.

Maxim “proposes”. He basically asks her “do you prefer New York or Manderly?” Gosh, these classic English dudes need to earn better proposals.

Maxim trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

She thinks he wants a secretary. That always cracks me up. He tells her, I’m asking you to marry me. Well, you can’t blame her-your proposal sucked! A girl wants romance!

Seriously

Our heroine is so in shock she falls into a chair. She doesn’t think they should marry as she is too far beneath him. He says I guess you don’t love me, and she spills her heart out. So young, so sweet.

He asks her to pour him coffee, and that he takes it with two lumps of sugar in coffee and tea. This scene reminds me of the film The Clock. These two strangers spend the day together, marry, and then he will be shipped out the next day-and at the end she has to ask him all the little details as they realize they know zero about each other.

I love how Maxim reveals how to Mrs. Van Hopper that they are going to be married. But Mrs. Hopper is such a toad and continues to boss our heroine around, trying to keep her on “her place.” She asks to speak to our heroine alone for a few minutes, and as soon as Maxim is gone she berates our heroine and acts like she is a floozy.

Ugh! Really!

She continues to berate her that she can’t be the mistress of Manderly and she’ll fail as she is no lady. She continues going on saying things like Maxim doesn’t love her, he went crazy after his wife died, and it still looks like he is. This lady!

The two marry in a small ceremony at the courthouse and Maxim is a much different person. Lighter, happy, in love-bright and shining just as our heroine.

So cute!!

They are so cute! But Hitchcock fans all know-it won’t last..

They have their honeymoon and go to Manderly, the place from the beginning. As they head in our heroine has a shiver. All seems bright, but that shiver and the rain-are major clues that unhappiness and coldness lie ahead.

Horrifying!

They arrive and our heroine meets the household and Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) the housekeeper from Hell. She is such a creep! Our heroine is so nervous and shy and no match for Mrs. Danvers who acts as if she is the wife and our heroine is a servant.

And one is Mrs. Danvers

Maxim had them moved to the East Wing, not the West where he used to live with Rebecca. Our heroine is so nice and tries to work things out with Mrs. Danvers, but she’s a cold stone hearted woman. Ugh.

This house is so beautiful, but so empty, cold and creepy. Our heroine goes to check out the West Wing where he lived with Rebecca but it is locked and forbidden.

Whenever I watch this film it reminds me of The Tomb of Ligeia, with the creepy dead wife, handsome husband who has been all alone in a creepy house. Thinking of that also makes me think of Jane Eyre. Geez-classic English literature is full of handsome rich men with creepy first wives.

The next day our heroine meets Crawley the manager of the estates. Maxim and Crawley leave her to go about their business and casually drops that his sister and husband are coming to visit. With that news our heroine is lost and nervous as what to do-like a child almost. Like DUDE!!!!!

This is how I always imagined Cinderella or other characters that marry someone super wealthy must feel like the next day when they are like this is not at all what I’m used to. I typically am serving others how do I get used to being served?

She’s lost and confused in the house and everyone is looking down on her as she knows nothing while the first Mrs. de Winter was such a lady.

Mrs. Danvers comes to get her approval on lunches, but even though she is asking, the power is all in Mrs. Danvers. She looms over her like she could squash her.

Our heroine is in the morning room to write letters, but she has no one to write to. She looks through Rebecca’s address book and finds addresses for a marquis, a viscount, etc. Another proof of her inadequacy.

She overhears Beatrice, Maxim’s sister, talking about her. Beatrice tells it straight. She lets her know that Mrs. Danvers adored Rebecca too and will probably treat her horrid at first. Ouch, all loved Rebecca.

YEEEEES!!!!!!

At dinner the brother-in-law asks lots of questions and is disappointed as our herione doesn’t ride, doesn’t dance, doesn’t sail and isn’t at all like Rebecca. Beatrice makes her feel even more insecure about her hair, her clothes, etc.

Not at all like Rebecca at all. Not sophisticated, not elegant, not fashionable

So everyone hints about what happened to Rebecca, but no one has said the whole thing! My curiosity is going crazy!!

They go out walking with the dog and he wants to go to the cove, but Maxim doesn’t want to. That’s where her boat was held. Maxim doesn’t like to go near her boat. But our heroine follows the dog and finds a cottage with a creepy sailor. The cottage is eerie too, it causes our heroine to go into shock seeing it.

She manages to tie up the dog and tries to look for Maxim who is waiting at the top. He’s upset and angry. But why? What is he upset about?

He doesn’t want her to go in the cottage or go near it. She needs to stay away as it too is forbidden! Maxim regrets coming back to Manderly and he is right, he should have stayed far away.

Our heroine starts to cry and Maxim’s storm passes. He apologizes but it was at this moment I started to think there was more to this story. He doesn’t act like a man who loved his wife and was despondent over her death-in fact he seems angry. But not like despondent over her angry at her death.

Hmmm…

Our heroine has so many questions, but Maxim doesn’t want to talk. She helps Crawley with getting some work done and starts probing for answers. Why is the cottage going to squat? Why are Rebecca’s things in there? What happened to her?

Hmm…

Crawley answers that she went sailing and the boat capsized and she drowned. They found her body when it surfaced. Crawley is extremely upset, was he in love with her?

Our heroine apologizes but she needs to know. She needs to know what happened and who she is being constantly compared to.

Crawley tries to reassure her, but no dice. She already was a shy, insecure girl and this has made it much, much worse.

Our heroine tries to be more like Rebecca by buying a black elegant dress and putting her hair up, but Maxim laughs. Seriously! Dude!

They watch their honeymoon film and they were so cute. So happy! But they are interrupted when the Butler addresses Maxim about a household issue. A servant is accused of stealing a china figure that our heroine broke and hid. Maxim is such a man and does not read what the subtext is, and who is the real mistress of the house. He makes her tell Mrs. Danvers. She is so scared of everyone looking down on her. He thinks she should just be mistress if the house, he clearly does not get it.

One of the best scenes is when they are watching the honeymoon film in the dark and the shadows make him see almost crazed and scary-we can only see half of his face.

It reminds me of that whole thing when you only see half a face-one looks evil one looks nice.

But the lights flick on and whatever we saw on his face in the dark is gone. It is just the handsome Maxim. He starts to wonder if they should be together, if he isn’t ruining her life bringing her to Manderly and all its gothic air and soul crushing.

Our poor heroine, she thinks she is at fault, but she doesn’t know where the real trouble lies. There is a dark cloud in Maxim-dark and depressed perfectly contrasted with the bright happy self on the film.

The next day Maxim leaves for London. No you fool don’t leave her alone with Mrs Danvers the maid from hell who hates her!!!!!!!!!

She’s lonely without Maxim, but as she looks out the window she sees a light on the West Wing! But no one uses it…ghost????

Ahhh!

She starts to head over there but is interrupted when she hears Mrs. Danvers speaking to a gentleman with a amazing voice- it’s Shere Khan, I mean Mr. Jack Favell (George Sands). Mrs. Danvers is sneaking him in, why?

Hmmm

He is smarmy and sarcastic, making our heroine nervous and skittish.  Why is he here? Not for anything good.

He leaves and asks our heroine to not mention him to Maxim. As he leaves he leaves a parting shot that he was Rebecca’s favorite cousin. Why did he come? What are he and Mrs. Danvers planning?

What’s going on?

I just love these camera angles of this giant house dwarfing our heroine. She looks so small and insignificant.

So like Catherine Morland and Belle from Beauty and the Beast she can no longer resist the forbidden wing! She must go in and look at “the room.” It is still in perfect tiptop shape. No dust, nothing out of place as if she stepped away and will be back any moment to take her rightful place. Very Psycho!

 

Mrs. Danvers interrupts our heroine and is downright cold and cruel showing off how great Rebecca was, her fancy fashionable clothes, her stylish and elegant ways, Lording over our heroine making her feel like crap, like a bug to be squashed. Trying to show how Maxim will never love our heroine.

OUCH, ouch ouch. Some women physically fight, most women fight this way with words and emotions. Every time I see this the scene it is just dreadful to watch, so painful, so hurtful. It’s not like other films-but horrible how each item, each moment in the room cuts our heroine stabbing her psychologically and emotionally. Every word a poisonous arrow full of toxins. Rebecca’s ghost her-soul lives in that house tormenting our heroine.

Mrs. Danvers starts talking about the sea air and I’m totally convinced she’s trying to hypnotize our heroine to kill herself. No doubt.

Our poor heroine is having like a complete breakdown, Rs everywhere, everything Rebecca.

Going mad!

But our heroine has a little but of gumption in her. She orders Mrs. Danvers to get rid of all these things. When Mrs. Danvers questions her, she staunchly tells her I Am Mrs. de Winter–I love it! You go our heroine.

Maxim comes home and she throws herself at him so happy he is home. She wants to throw the annual costume ball to prove to everyone that she can be Mrs. de Winter.

She wants to have a stunning costume to out-Rebecca Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers suggests that she look at her family portraits. Ugh I hate this!!! Why would you trust her???? Mrs. Danvers points out a woman’s portrait and our heroine runs with it. To be honest, I always skip this part as I can’t handle her humiliation. It’s too painful.

I can’t look.

Well things go as expected, it turns out it was a portrait of Rebecca that she copied for her costume.

The night is cut short when a ship runs aground the sand. Everyone wants to help, our heroine getting changed and running out after Maxim

She searches for Maxim and finds Crawley who gives shocking news. A diver going after the ship found another one-Rebecca’s boat! Oh no, any shred of happiness will be lost with the grief that is to come. Or is there to be grief? I’m not convinced.

Hmmm?

Our heroine feels drawn to the cottage and finds Maxim hiding there. She thinks Maxim will hate her, but he’s not even thinking about the ball-it feels like years ago since the discovery of the boat.

Our heroine thinks it’s her, that any happiness of marriage is over. He tells her it is too late for them. They have lost their chance of happiness now! The thing he dreaded has happened!

What thing? Rebecca has won? What, what do you mean!!! What are you saying??!!!

Tell ME!!!!!

Maxim then reveals that he knew the boat was down there. Not only that, but knew that her body was in the boat.

The woman buried in the family crypt was not Rebecca. He identified it but knew it wasn’t Rebecca.

What??? How do you know??

Because he put her there- OMGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

First time I watched this I was in shock. I suspected not everything was happy, sunshine rainbows between them?!! But he killed her?

Is it wrong that I still like him?

Our heroine tells her that she loves him and it doesn’t matter.  She tells him how insecure she was and how she felt every time he compared her to Rebecca and she was always wanting.

But then he drops the biggest bomb ever!!!!

He NEVER LOVEd REBECCA!!!!!!???

I’m sorry, but what????

HE HATED HER! She was beautiful and enchanting. They married-she seemed perfect and accomplished. She had breeding, brains, and beauty. But then after the wedding he discovered she neither loved him, cared about him, wasn’t moral or faithful, etc. On their honeymoon he discovered the beast he married. I know what that is like…that described my own marriage.

She played the part so well, he would look the fool to divorce her-I know how that feels too. Thank goodness I got over that. Poor guy-he should have gotten an annulment.

Rebecca got involved with many people and hurt many, bring them to her flat in London and cottage by the sea. She spent a ton of time with Favell. Those two are “just” cousins?

One night he was done and went to talk to Rebecca. She looked ill, and told him basically that she was pregnant but it wasn’t his child. They were never together and he would never have a child. Her kid with another man would inherit his home and money and grow and continue the de Winter line. She continued to pick at him and he struck her. She smiled, tripped, and fell knocking herself out. She died.

He didn’t kill her but was afraid no one would believe him and then decided to sink the boat with her body.

Soooooooo even though he shares all that I believe him and feel for him. Especially as I know exactly what that is like.

Horrifying!

Maxim is out of it-but our heroine has grown up, She takes control of the situation and supports him and encourages him.

Like I know what he did was bad but I really like him and our heroine and I want them to be together. Is that bad? He’s not really a hero.

Events go into motion and they make Maxim ID the body and question about the other one. No one is upset over it, it happens all the time where the grieving mistake especially a body that has been in the water. Unfortunately there will be another inquest-ugh.

No one thinks any foul play really happened, it is just routine.

Now that we have had this ordeal, our heroine has grown-the youth and innocence is gone- and we have a powerful character who looks to have aged in the last scene, and is in command of herself, powerful, not taking gruff or slight from any servant or person.

Our heroine goes to Maxim to try and get him to control his temper and not fly off the handle at the inquest. She knows they can overcome anything together. Aw, they are so cute together!!! Melodramatic, brooding, adoring, etc. I really like Maxim, and this couple.

They kiss in front of the fire, the flame of their love growing stronger.

So cute!!

Everything is going well at the inquest until the first thing to cause trouble is when the boatyard man inspected the boat and discovered the holes that caused the flooding were made from the inside of the boat. The death was no accident! It was suicide…or Murder!

Mr. de Winter is then to be questioned. He answers sarcastically ad angry-not making friends with the court. He gets badgered and starts losing it, when our heroine faints and stops the proceedings. She’s getting to be cunning! I like her more and more.

Wow!

They head to the car to have lunch. Aw, I love how Maxim cares for her. Ugh lunch is interrupted by Jack Favell. He and Maxim can’t stand each other and the tension is thick. He steals some of their food and tries to blackmail them.

Bad luck is never ending!

I can’t stand him (although I love his voice and how he pronounces words) Favell reveals that he received a note from Rebecca that will tip the balance from suicide to murder. He tells them he will destroy the letter and drop it all for payment.

Maxim leaves to the nearby inn, getting a private room, so they can talk business. He calls Colonel Julian, in charge of the inquest, and asks him to join them as well. He reveals the blackmailing scheme to the Colonel. They read the letter to Favell, that he and Rebecca were to meet, but the note doesn’t really tip it either way.

She mentions going to the doctor and she had an important thing to tell him. That could be bad or good news. Favell insults our heroine and Maxim gives him a great big wallop. YES!!!

The Colonel questions what is the motive for murder? If Maxim killed her? Favell calls Mrs. Danvers to reveal the motive.

She refuses as she wants to protect Rebecca’s reputation, but when she hears that Maxim might have killed her she reveals the doctor’s name. Favell insists that Rebecca was going to have his child, and that Maxim killed her over it.

What?

Favell leaves, not caring what destruction, embarrassment, hurt, or pain he causes in his path. Our heroine returns home, while maxim stays to hear the end. They go to find the Dr, Dr. Baker and question him. So was she pregnant?!!!

There was no Mrs de Winter he met with. It turns out she used an assumed name. Mr. Baker reveals that the problem for Mrs. de Winter was that she had cancer. Nothing could be done for her but death.

She LIED! No pregnancy! She did that on purpose!!!! She wanted to upset Mr. de Winter! She wanted him to kill her. She was a truly horrible person and I’m glad she is dead.

What a horrible, horrid person.

Favell calls Danvers and tells her what happened.

That’s not good.

Crawly and Maxim drive home, with Maxim speeding like a maniac. Something doesn’t feel right! Something is wrong! But what?!!!

Back at the house our heroine is waiting up for Maxim, but eventually succumbs to sleep. Mrs. Danvers skulks around like the demon she is.

That’s not good.

As they drive up they notice the sky is lit! But it is too early-OMG a FIRE!!!!! Manderly is on fire!!!!!!!

 

But our heroine?!!! What about her? She’s okay.

No need to guess who did it-Mrs. Danvers the housekeeper from Hell.

Worst housekeepers ever: Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca, Milly from Under Capricornand Nancy Oliver from Gaslight.

Anyone else I should add?

We then fade out to the embroidered pillow R burning too. Finally the demon is gone. Rebecca has been destroyed, our characters can find happiness. If you really think about it, that’s some Winchester stuff right there.

So that end another Horrorfest!!! I hope you all enjoyed it!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

Now, Fight Like Apes!: Battle for Planet of the Apes (1973)

Now, fight like apes!

Here we go, last film! I haven’t accomplished a series since I did Screamtastic Saturdays back in 2014 (I did try with TMNT but I ended up falling behind in my reviews and had to reverse them.)

So here we go:

It was 1991 in the other film and this one starts of 2670 AD. We have an orangoutang readig the scrolls giving us a brief recap of Escape From the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

After that film there was a great war and the cities were destroyed. But Caesar led a group of apes out to lead them. We travel back to after the dust settled, the nuclear bombs, and ape city has been established.  (I guess year 1995? Maybe?)

We see a primitive society that has apes and people.

Although the apes are not treated as they were in Planet of the Apes, they are servants and lower than the apes. They can teach and hold jobs-but the apes are on the top of the food chain and control them.

This film has a really long intro, much longer than the others. Two humans are trying to fix a wheel on a cart when a gorilla knocks them to the side and does it himself, he’s really strong. Its General Aldo.

Aldo as in ALDO the ape who lead the people in Cornelius’ history lesson? The movie doesn’t say, but it seems to me Caesar stole his destiny.

Anyways General Aldo comes late to school, and makes a scene as he doesn’t know how to read and doesn’t care to. But under Caesar, every ape must go to school.

There is some unrest as Aldo does not like humans and does not care to be taught by a human. Caesar’s son Cornelius is in school and gets high marks.

Aldo does poor work and gets told to do it again. The General is very angry at a human commanding him and rips up Cornelius’ paper. The teacher shouts no to him.

Yes, all gasp. Humans can never say no to apes again! The teacher is told by Virgil, an orangoutang to go home-the teacher apologizes bit it isn’t good enough.

This is all Aldo has been waiting for and he and his gorilla gang destroy the schoolhouse and chase after the teacher to hurt him

But he gets to Caesar in time to save him. MacDonald (from the last film) aides Caesar and grows fearful of Aldo? And he should be. That gorilla is prime to start an uprising, destroy something or people, etc.

MacDonald is mad that the humans and apes are not equal. He’s like me and my family lived through the sixties and have to go through this again.

Caesar tells him one day they may grow to trust people again. maybe. 

Meanwhile Caesar has been thinking of his parents and what they would think of or say about his leadership. MacDonald mentions that in the destroyed city are pictures and videos of his parents-things that probably survived the bomb. Unfortunately, the city is radioactive. So how to get through?

Hmmm…

Lisa, Caeser’s wife is afraid he might not come back. Leaving Aldo there without Caesar? I would be afraid there would be nothing to come back to.

Caesar goes to the armory which is held by a certain orangutang that seriously questions people before any guns can be given out. He has been appointed not only the holder of the armory but Caesar’s conscious. Interesting, and a good idea-someone who can be objective.

Caesar, Virgil, and MacDonald head out to the destroyed city. There they find the city and it is in a wasteland-it looks like when the cities were burned in WWII. But in the one movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the city was supposed to be below-Did it sink over time?

Hmm…

They go through the city, meanwhile men are scrounging underneath. They speak of radiation and we see a woman trying to put makeup over the scar, a callback to the second film.

The three set off a motion detector and the new governor recognizes Caesar. He thinks he has come to battle. He recognizes MacDonald too.

That’s not good.

The guys search through the video for the right tape and Virgil finds it, they watch it-really.

These guys don’t think there will be an issue? You should have taken it back with you. but oh yeah there is no electronics where they leave. They mention it has been 12 years since the last film so that makes this 2003.

Virgil tells us that time is fluid, and that a number of factors could change what is to come. He thinks that the future the apes mention is only one possibility, which is true. The timeline was disrupted by Taylor, then Brent, then when Zira and Cornelius came into the past-anything could happen.

Who knows?!

Virgil notices a camera over head and they destroy it. They hurry to escape as they can only be underground for 2 hours or else they will go crazy.

The mutants shoot at them and try to capture them, but our gang make it out the tunnels (so I guess some is underground) to freedom but just barely.

The men follow but have a hard time in the sun, they are like mole people.

It burns

Our three flee to their home.

One officer wants the governor to just leave well enough alone. But the governor won’t have it. It makes me think of Ratcliffe in Pocahontas. 

He wants them to follow and destroy them all!

The scouts follow and spy on our gang. Like seriously guys, you are the worst ever, You didn’t even check to see if they were following you?!

So Caesar begins a war council, but includes humans-which makes Aldo mad. He and the gorillas begin their own uprising.

Now I know you don’t want to be a dictator and squash people, but if someone is anti-the leader-why promote them? Aren’t you basically calling yourself king or emperor? It’s not like you are a president and doing an election. I don’t know.

Cornelius overhears him and is wounded by Aldo. Then the mutants attack the gorillas. Cesar is grieving and in shock over his son-and while he’s distracted Aldo rounds up and corrals the humans-making a play for the throne.

Geez-its the ape version of Game of Thrones. This title-not kidding. A serious battle indeed.

There is no middle ground.

The battle against the mutants begin!

The mutants get closer and discover that the apes are all dead and defeated. But it turns out they are only pretending and launch another attack.

After that the battle ends-but Caesar still has to contend with Aldo and the realization that the apes are not too much different from humans after all.

They battle it out and Aldo dies.

GOOD!

Caesar agrees to MacDonald’s request for humans to be treated as equals, this scene I remember the most out of the entire movie.

Afterwards, they lock up the guns and wait for a peaceful day when no weapons will ever be needed.

We end on a scene of humans and apes living together, for the moment-at peace.

I don’t like this movie as much as some of the others, but I did like it as a conclusion to the story. I thought it had the heart of the original with some serious subject matter (current times) infused with the action.

I love this original series and am glad I finally had a chance to watch and review them all in order.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Planet of the Apes, go to Tonight Has Been the Birth of the Planet of the Apes: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

For more Roddy McDowell, go to We Think We’ve Got All the Time in the World, But How Much Time Has the World Got?: Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971)

For more dystopian future films, go to I’m Not Into Politics. I’m Into Survival: The Running Man (1987)

I’m Not Into Politics. I’m Into Survival: The Running Man (1987)

It is time for our annual Stephen King film:

I’m not into politics. I’m into survival.

So I promised back in January that I would review this film as it takes place in 2019 and inspired this year’s Dystopian theme. Plus I love this movie.

I know lots of people don’t care for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I love his films. I just can’t enough of the puns and the comebacks and of course action.

So when Rob Cohen purchased the rights to the Richard Bachman novella “The Running Man”, he had no idea that Bachman was actually a pseudonym for Stephen King. I didn’t know it was a Stephen King film either, until a few years back I was trying to pick a Stephen King film and it came up when I googled him.

Huh?

I know I was in shock too, it didn’t seem like the other stuff he made. So without further ado, it’s time to start… RUNNING!

So it is the film starts off in 2018-the economy of the world has collapsed due to a lack of resources and they are all ruled by a totalitarian government that controls everyone through TV.

The people are kept in line with anyone who steps out gets sent to prison, or worse to be on the TV show, The Running Man. “Runners”, the prisoners, have to compete in gladiator-type battles against “Stalkers” who all have a theme character and weapons-kind of like wrestlers.

Does this remind you of anything? Like:

Or maybe:

Yes, it is very similar but lots of Dystopian films/books share similar things. The nice thing is that while all of these are similar-there are enough differences that you aren’t feeling like you are watching/reading something that was regurgitated.

So our story begins with Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a captain of the militarized police force and is sent into Bakersfield to stop a revolt. When he does get there, he finds no dangerous revolutionaries, but just hungry people-women and children.

Dispatcher: Proceed with plan alpha. Eliminate anything moving.

Ben Richards: I said the crowd is unarmed. There are a lot of women and children down there. All they want is food for God’s sake!

Dispatcher: As you were, Richards. Proceed with plan alpha. All rioters must be eliminated.

Ben Richards: The hell with you. I will not fire on helpless people. Abort mission. We return back to base.

But the others open fire and kill all, and who do they blame? Ben of course-naming him “The Butcher of Bakersfield”. This scene always made me think of Fahrenheit 451 when they have to find a scapegoat.

He is dubbed “The Butcher of Bakersfield” and sent to prison where he serves 18 months.

He and few other prisoners work on a plan and manage to break out and get free from the electric collars. Ben heads to L.A. to find his brother. Instead he finds Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), TV show jingle writer, residing in his brother’s apartment as he has been taken away for “reeducation”.

This is so 1984, they have to “reeducate” the troublemakers-really torture ad brainwash them.

Ben ties Amber up and investigates her apartment, taking money, her flight pass, and booking a flight to Hawaii. He wants Amber to come with as they will be looking for a single man, but she refuses. He won’t take no for an answer and convinces her by picking up the machine he strapped her to and threatening her.

This reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps when Richard Hannay gets framed for murder and team’s up with Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), an unwilling accomplice. She hates him and fights with him, but discovers he is telling the truth and falls in love with him.

They get caught in the airport, and Ben is sent back to prison. There he is offered to be on the show The Running Man by the owner, Damon Killian, instead of rotting in prison. He is amazed by Ben’s survival skills and knows he will be a GIANT HIT.

Unfortunately, Killian doesn’t know what we do-it’s a bad idea to go after Ben. Ben refuses until they threaten to send his compatriots from the prison escape to the show. He agrees, but then finds out that Killian lied and they are all going on the show.

Gosh, I love how cooly he delivers that.

Meanwhile, Amber is like Pamela (from The 39 Steps), and starting to wonder if maybe Ben told her the truth. She goes into the files of ICS (The Running Man station and government) to see what the original recordings were. She discovers Ben is telling the truth but is caught.

So how the game works is that they are in a abandoned area of Los Angeles and have to go through multiple levels and fight different “stalkers”. If they defeat a stalker, they progress to the next level-although many don’t ever do that. Only a few even make it to the very end and win.

The first one Ben has to fight is Sub-Zero:

I love Arnold’s quips and his delivery of them. LOL.

Now that I have sen Logan’s Run, like Ben and Amber are just a more hardcore version of Logan and Jessica.

They move to the next level and are joined by Amber, who has been found and thrown into the ring. One of Ben’s friends, the hacker, knows he can get into the system if he just gets a chance. He gives the uplink code to Amber to memorize.

Then then have to face Buzzsaw:

Ouch!

They then fight Dynamo:

But Richards doesn’t kill him. It is interesting why he chooses to spare his life and not the others? Maybe because he isn’t defending himself, but it would be “murder” in his eyes. Maybe because he realizes they are all stuck in this life, all prisoners running in the hamster wheel of life created by the government?

They then head to the final level, Fireball. There they discover that the winning Runners didn’t win after all. They were killed! Just like in Logan’s Run!

They defeat Fireball and then Ben threatens Killian-I love this:

Killian is at a loss, Ben cannot win. He is inciting people to rebellion. There is only one thing left to do-bring Captain Freedom out of retirement.

Captain Freedom doesn’t want to fight and lose and Killian needs him to win so they decide to lie. They bring in stunt doubles of Ben and Amber to fight and lose-just like on Fahrenheit 451

” They know they can hold their audience only so long. The show’s got to have a snap ending, quick!” –Fahrenheit 451

Meanwhile the resistance has made it to the games and busted Ben and Amber out. Ben’s friends have been killed in the game, but luckily the hacker shared the uplink code with Amber. They come up with a plan to hack the system, reveal the truth, and destroy Killian and the others.

I don’t do requests, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

In the end Killian is killed, the truth is revealed, Ben is a hero, and all ends well.

I really enjoy this film, but I think they could have focused more on deeper themes, but the director they had was let go a week before production and new one brought in. Knowing that, I’m surprised it was good as it was.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Stephen King, go to Ever Heard of the Tommyknockers?: The Tommyknockers (1993)

For more Arnold Schwarzenegger, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

For more dystopian future films, go to Tonight Has Been the Birth of the Planet of the Apes: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

In the Spa House of the Spirits: Spirited Away (2001)

It is Time for Our Annual Disney and Animated Film

So this film isn’t considered a “Halloween” movie by some, but I always think of it as one because when they rerelease the Studio Ghibli films in theaters every month, they always do this one in October. Not to mention it has spirits in it.

I think I have seen it maybe three times in theaters? I forget. Anyways, I love this movie.

I first heard of Studio Gibli because my friend was really into the films. We watched Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro. Then when I was in college my best friend and roommate had a bunch of his films and we watched Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke.

I absolutely loved Howl’s Moving Castle and bought it- making my nieces watch it, (they love it now too), and Spirited Away.  And as I still needed a Disney film and an animated film (yearly Horrorfest tradition) I thought it was perfect!

So the film is Japanese, and then voice dubbed in English for the states. There are a few differences in phrases and terms, mostly because there are things you won’t understand if you don’t know Japanese culture.

So the film starts out with little Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) and her parents are driving to their new home. Chihiro is very upset to have to leave her friends and family.

Her father decides to go down a shortcut, which leads him through an old abandoned amusement park and the world of Kami (spirits) of Japanese Shinto folklore.

Her parents see the food left out for the spirits and eat it. Oh no-you aren’t supposed to do that. Being of Mexican descent, I know you never, ever eat the food for the dead/spirits. Remember that Lizzie McGuire episode?

So of course her parents have something bad happen to them, they turn into pigs and run off!

Poor 10-year old Chihiro, what is she going to do now?

Luckily, she is saved by a young boy, Haku (Jason Marsden [he played Goofy’s son Max], who takes her to the bathhouse. He gives her some food to eat so she can remain in the spirit world.

Haku: Don’t be afraid, I just wanna help you.

Chihiro: No… no… no… no… no…

Haku: Open your mouth and eat this. If you don’t eat food from this world, you’ll disappear.

He tells her to see the boiler man Kamaji, and ask for a job. He will have to give her one if she asks and then she can stay in the world, and look for her parents. He refuses, but does claim her as his granddaughter.

Kamaji sends her to the owner of the spahouse, the witch Yubaba. Yubaba tries to scare her off, but as Chihiro prevails, she gets hired on and signs a contract. Yubaba takes her name and changes it to Sen. Haku finds her later and gives her the card from her friend with her real name. He warns her, don’t forget you name or else you can never leave.

I liked that, as in fairy tales that is a common theme with witches and warlocks, Rumplestilskin-your name is powerful.

No one likes Sen as she is still human. She gets paired with Lin (Susan Egan, who you’ll recognize the voice as the same actress who was Meg in Hercules). Lin is unhappy as no one wants to help her as well, now that she is paired with Sen. Yubaba makes things difficult by giving them the hardest tasks as she wants to break little Sen.

One night, Sen notices something outside when she goes to close the doors. She spots No-Face, which is not supposed to come into the spa (but she doesn’t know that). She leaves the door open as she gets called away by Lin to take care of the stink spirit. After she leaves, No-Face comes in.

That’s not good.

They need serious help to clean up this one, but the guy who gives the special spa bath salts won’t give her anything. However, No Face grabs her a bunch of them. As they clean the stink spirit, Sen realizes that he needs more than just a bath.

Lin: Sen! Sen, where are you?

Chihiro: [from beside the Stink Spirit] Over here!

Lin: Don’t worry… stay right where you are, I’m coming to get you! You’re gonna be fine, I won’t let him hurt you.

Chihiro: I think he needs help! It feels like there’s a thorn in his side!

She frees him and the creature is horrifying looking to me, creeps me out, but he’s the nice spirit of a polluted river and gives Sen a magic emetic dumpling and gold to everyone else.

All are happy, but Sen feels a little distressed. She misses her family and can’t find Haku anywhere.

Lin warns her to stay away frpm Haku, that he is evil and works for the witch Yubaba-don’t trust him. But Sen is convinced that Haku is good.

Meanwhile No-Face has made fake gold and has been treated like a king in the spa. He demands food and tips well, eatign workers when they keep him from reaching Sen.

Meanwhile, Haku has returned from his mission (in the shape of a dragon), and is attacked by paper Shikigami. Haku and Sen try to fight them off, but one morphs into Yubaba’s twin sister, Zeniba, and reveals he stole a seal from her.

That’s not good.

Yubaba’s giant crazy baby Boh captures Sen and doesn’t want her to leave. He wants her to stay and play with her, threatening to break her arm and force her to stay-this baby always scared me.

On second thought-with this baby in it, it is a horror movie.

Zeniba’s image does not like how the baby speaks to her and turns him into a mouse and makes a hologram baby. Haku then attacks her shikigami and that destroys the Zeniba hologram. He’s badly injured and falls down to the boiler room with Sen and Boh.

Kamaji diagnoses him as having eaten some pretty powerful magic. Sen gets the great idea to give him some of  the dumpling she got earlier. He coughs up the seal and a worm, which Sen destroys. Boh and Kamaji’s soot creatures reenact it.

She has to travel to Zeniba and take the seal. Kamaji gives her his roll of tickets to take the spirit train and she is about to head out-but is stopped by the antics of No-Face. No-Face has been going crazy trying to find Sen and eating everything!

Okay I was an adult when I saw this but he is so crazy and creepy looking, he has ALWAYS terrified me. He’s like the creepy blob thing in Phantoms.

She gives him the rest of the dumpling and he spits everything up. Sen leaves and No Face goes with them. Sen, No Face, Boh, and Yubaba’s crow all travel on the train to see Zeniba.

When they reach Zeniba they are surprised to discover that she is so kind and nice. She puts them to work, No Face weaves and the others help out.

They then have a tea party,

And Zeniba reveals she can’t do anything to help her, her parents, or Haku. Chihiro must do it.

Zeniba: I’d like to help you, dear, but there’s nothing I can do. It’s one of our rules here. You’ve got to take care of your parents and that dragon boyfriend of yours, on your own.

Chihiro: But, um, can’t you even give me a hint? I feel like Haku and I met, a long time ago.

Zeniba: In that case, it’s easy. Nothing that happens is ever forgotten, even if you can’t remember it.

Haku wakes up and goes after them. No-Face stays behind while Chihiro, Boh, and the little crow decide to return to the spa house. Sen frees him when she gives him his name back.

Chihiro: Haku, listen. I just remembered something from a long time ago, I think it may help you. Once, when I was little, I dropped my shoe into a river. When I tried to get it back I fell in. I thought I’d drown but the water carried me to shore. It finally came back to me. The river’s name was the Kohaku river. I think that was you, and your real name is Kohaku River.

Haku: You did it, Chihiro! I remember! I was the spirit of the Kohaku River.

Chihiro: A river spirit?

Haku: My name is the Kohaku River.

Chihiro: They filled in that river, it’s all apartments now.

Haku: That must be why I can’t find my way home, Chihiro, I remember you falling into the river, and I remember your little pink shoe.

Chihiro: So, you’re the one who carried me back to shallow water, you saved me… I knew you were good!

But not all is taken care of. Chihiro must now past the test to pick her parents from the pigs or be stuck there forever.

Hmmm…

She and her parents are free and leave. Her parents are groggy as if they have just woken from a dream, and they find their car covered in vines and such as if it has been sitting out there for a long time. I wonder how long they were in the spirt world? Does her father still have a job?

Hmmm

They head to their home and Chihiro’s father asks is she is nervous about going to a new school. After all Chihiro has been through school will not be a problem.

This is an absolutely adorable film, although it does have some creepy moments in it. No-Face,

Spooky…

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more animated films, go to Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

For more Disney films, go to One Who Was Both Hero and Villain: Maleficent (2014)

For more ghosts, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Strong Woman Bong Soon is a Korean drama, Him-Ssen Yeo-ja Do Bong-Soon, that I just love and am thoroughly depressed that it is only one season and over.

The best thing about this film is that it is fun, dramatic, deals with the ideas of superheroes in a realistic way along with being entertaining and fun. I’m so tired of American TV being so serious, broody, and depressing. I wish we had more mixed shows-like Psych was a cop drama, but also a comedy. Or how Boy Meets World was silly and light-hearted but dealt with serious issues.

So Bong Soon (Bo-Young Park) is a 27-year old twin sister, (her brother Bong Ki is studying to be a doctor) living in Korea, and trying to find a job.

She wants to be a video game designer and create a game based on her but is having a hard time getting and keeping a job.

Why does she want a game designed after her? Well she’s special, she has super strength.

It all started back with her great-great-great grandma. She had super strength, but when she used it to hurt innocent people, she lost her ability and gained leprosy. The super strength was passed through all the women in her family, but if they use it to hurt innocent people they would lose it and reap the consequences.

Bong Soon’s mother, Hwang Jin-yi, used her power to compete in the olympics for Korea, which was okay. But when she used it to shake down people and to make money, she lost her ability as well.

Bong Soon has inherited the power and has been afraid to do anything with it as she doesn’t want to abuse it or lose it. She lives her life trying to hide her abilities and be fragile as she doesn’t want to hurt an innocent, lose it, or be seen as a freak, and because her crush says he likes delicate girls.

Pretending all the time…

Yes, Bong Soon has been in love with her brother Bong Ki’s best friend has Guk Du (a police detective) since she was a child. He has a girlfriend though.

So there are three story lines in this show:

1)Gangsters

Don’t mess with me!

The area Bong Soon lives in has gangsters trying to take over and redevelop the area. They have been harassing people and Bong-Soon’s mom wants to get involved with them as she wants to make money even though innocent people are getting hurt.

2) Blackmail

Mr. Ahn (Hyung-shik Park), creator of the video game company Ainsoft, spends most of his days alone. He is haunted by a memory of a girl, who he believes to be a guardian spirit, that saved him years back. He goes into work twice a week and spends the rest of him time alone, playing video games and designing new ones. He is currently being blackmailed to give up all intentions of inheriting his father’s company or else he will lose Ainsoft.

3)Serial Kidnapper

Meanwhile, there is a creepy guy obsessed with the fairytale Bluebeard and His Seven Wives lurking in the Dubong area. He is intent on abducting seven women to be his “brides” and has built a secret prison under his garage where he keeps his victims. Guk Doo is one of the police working on the case.

Ready for any case

All these stories intersect when one day Bong Soon is bicycling when she encounters some gangsters assaulting an old man who is driving a group of daycare kids. She is harassed when Mr. Ahn comes upon them. He calls the police, but before they get there Bong Soon takes them out.

They all go to the police station, where the gangsters are pressing charges against Bong Soon, but Mr. Ahn rescues her by going on how ludicrous the idea is of 5’2 petite Bong Soon beating up all these gangsters.

Bong Soon isn’t interested and dresses down Mr. Ahn. Then she rides off on her bike. Mr. Ahn is extremely interested and tracks her down, offering to hire her as his bodyguard. She thinks it is a crazy idea, but agrees when she hears how much he is offering to pay her.

Mr. Ahn and Bong Soon team up to stop the blackmailer-using his brain and tech, and her strength and compassion. Mr. Ahn even starts training her to help her control her power and be ready for anything.

As Mr. Ahn spends so much time with her, he starts to really enjoy spending that time with her, falling head over heels. But he has to convince Bong-Soon he is serious and that the rumors of him being gay are false.

Meanwhile, the gangsters are extremely embarrassed over her having bested them and they try to go after her, but each time they just end up in the hospital. It turns out that these same gangsters are involved in the blackmail as well.

Hmmm…

Bong Soon becomes involved with the kidnapping case when she goes to the hospital to visit Mr. Gong (who’s tailbone she accidentally fractured) and witnesses the kidnapper disguised as a doctor kidnapping one of his victims. She runs into him a few more times and Guk-Doo tries to place her in his care and watch for her, having her stay with Mr. Ahn (which he likes, but Guk-Doo doesn’t).

YEEEEES!!!!!!

One night she and her best friend (who is visiting) are making stew, her friend going out to get some tofu. One her way back she is attacked by the kidnapper. Bong-Soon, worried that her friend is taking a too long, comes upon them and saves her.

After her friend thanks her for saving her, Bong-Soon starts thinking about all the other people out there that might need help, and decides to go after the kidnapper.

This kidnapper becomes her supervillain as he is intent on taking her down. He is the perfect foil for Bong Soon-Bong Soon is perky and sweet, he is dark and demented. Bong-Soon is short and petite, he is tall and built. He hates women and enjoys torturing them, she is strong, powerful and is going to find and stop him.

Will Bong-Soon win over Guk-Doo? Or realize that Mr. Ahn is the best guy there is. Will they stop the blackmailer or will Mr. Ahn be destroyed? Will they defeat the gangsters? Or will they take down Bong-Soon? Will Bong-Soon stop the kidnapper? Or will he outsmart her and force her to loose her powers?

Trust me, watch this and you’ll love it. It is so cute and pay attention-they repeat certain things. And oh that ending-so adorable!

So now on to the other reason why I wanted to review this show:

Yes, it reminds me a lot of Jane Austen.

First we have Bong-Soon. She is sweet and innocent like Catherine Morland, passionate like Marianne Dashwood, witty like Elizabeth Bennet, romantic like Anne Elliot, and logical like Elinor Dashwood. She’s got a bit of everyone in her and it is great.

Or Mr. Ahn

That leads us to Mr. Ahn. When we first meet him he is closed off and rude, Bong-Soon and him not having a great relationship to start with. She is upset over her pride being hurt, and he wants nothing to do with anyone. We then discover he has a truly painful and heartbreaking backstory.

Like Mr. Tilney, he is sarcastic, fun, and outright hilarious. He end up helping train Bong-Soon, guiding her like Mr. Knightley. He even gets a horrible video of Bong-Soon taken down, to help her-just like Mr. Darcy. He’s also rich like Mr. Darcy and makes me think of him in a few other ways:

Or like how once he gets feelings for her he tries to be cool, but can’t hold it in.

Their relationship is just adorable and I think all Jane Austen fans will love it and them.

So cute!!

We then have the most Jane Austen character of them all Bong-Soon’s mother. She seriously could give Mrs. Bennet a run for her money. She goes to the temple and prays for the marriage of her daughter, even going to see a fortune teller to get a special something to get Bong-Soon and Mr. Ahn hitched. She doesn’t even care about the rumors of him being gay, she wants her daughter to marry the handsome man and his money. One night Mr. Ahn asks Bong-Soon to stay with him after he was attacked earlier in the day. Guk-Doo comes in trying to get her to leave as he doesn’t want them staying together as he thinks Mr. Ahn is trying to take advantage of Bong-Soon (and he doesn’t know that Bong-Soon is his bodyguard or super strong). Guk-Doo calls her mom, and she eagerly thrusts her daughter at him-Just like when Mrs. Bennet tries to make Jane sick to stay with Mr. Bingley.

Like that is soo Mrs. Bennet.

Trust me, check this out as it is an AMAZING show!

I can’t stop watching!

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to We’re Stranded on a Ship in the Middle of the Ocean with a Killer!: High Seas (2019)

For more superheroes, go to Superhero Film or Stalker Thriller: Unbreakable (2000)

For more blackmail, go to The Misery That Walks Around On This Pretty, Quiet Night: Deadline at Dawn (1946)

For more kidnappings, go to What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)

How Much Do You Really Know About Him?: The Stepfather (2009)

How Much Do You Really Know About Him?

In 2009, I was 17 years old. A senior applying to colleges, trying to figure out what to do next with my life-planning prom and other senior activities.

I remember when this film came out, it was a big deal at the time as Penn Badgley was super popular from Gossip Girl (it being in its third season) and this was to be his big film role (prior to this he was in John Tucker Must Die! as the little brother). I wasn’t super interested in it at the time- I was more angry about the Fame remake (which sucked as much as I had thought it would), that Where the Wild Things looked depressing instead of the fun book I remembered it being (it was both boring and depressing), and thought Dare, New Moon, and Avatar all sounded dumb. The only thing I was looking forward to was Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Law in Sherlock Holmes.

In fact I never probably would have even remembered anything about this movie, except my mom was so against it. But I was 17, I could watch whatever I wanted. I remember saying some smartmouth reply and getting in trouble for it.

I never did go see it in theaters as I didn’t really care about it.

Flashforward to the beginning of this year and I’m housesitting/catsitting for a friend who has cable-and not just cable, Lifetime!

I LOVE Lifetime and can’t help but watch the Lifetime movie channel. That day it was playing The Stepfather, so I decided what the hey? Why not check it out?

NO! NO! This was not good at all. I should have listened to my mom and passed this one by!

Yes, always listen to your mother!

So typically I do not review a movie without reviewing the original, but I didn’t get a chance to fit it in, so the review of the remake must go on.

So the film starts off with “the Stepfather” (Dylan Walsh) having killed his family and their dead bodies not even phasing him as he leaves and moves on to the next town to find his “new family”.

In the supermarket he meets Susan Harding (Sela Ward), with her two kids-Sean and Beth. He charms them quickly and he, now going by David Harris, and Susan begin a relationship.

If I’ve learned anything from movies and TV is the supermarket is nor the place for women to meet men. I mean the mom gets set up with a Vampire in Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire, Susan gets with a serial killer, and Fran with a liar-guy is a hot dog vendor pretending t be a stock broker in The Nanny. Just cross that place off the list.

Don’t go there to look for men!

So David and Susan become engaged-which is something that really bothers me. I mean it is called The Stepfather, but David is NOT the stepfather. He and Susan live together, but they don’t marry. So why call it that? Because it is better than The Man My Mom Lived With or My Mom’s Evil Fiance or My Mom’s Serial Killer Boyfriend or Don’t Let Mom Marry the Serial KillerActually that last one sounds pretty good. It could be super serious teen drama or ’90s kids comedy-someone write a script, make a ton of money and give me 10% for the title.

Finally! This is almost over!

So anyways, it is the summer and Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) has just returned from military school. He was acting up after his parents’ divorced and was sent away. Depending on his behavior he can stay or will be shipped back.

Choose wisely.

He meets David and feels weird about the whole thing-everything has seemed to move toooo fast and he’s worried his mom might end up with another bad relationship-another guy like his dad.

Now here is where the film first failed with me. This film could have been a lot better if they went in a different direction then what they chose. Now I have never seen the original film this is based on, but think how much more horrifying if David seemed so nice, developed a great relationship with the kids, maybe even Michael opening up and sharing what happened with his dad-what he saw between his parents that made him not be able to stand his father and react so destructively. Then to have him realize David is not who he seems-I think much more interesting.

But instead David tries to bond with him but it is all so fake and creepy-Michael doesn’t tust him, second guesses him, and the suspense/mystery/horror is missing. We know David is a psycho and Michael knows it too-there is no buildup.

I mean Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this much better on their Ted episode. Buffy wanted to like her mother’s boyfriend, she tried to like him-but then felt something off-and she felt bad about being so down on her mom-convincing herself it was her problem not anything wrong with Ted. But then Ted starts being extremely controlling, he threatens her. He continues to treat her cruelly but others nicely, causing no one to believe her or make her think she is imagining it. It is emotional and mental abuse-and makes you wonder what will happen next.

That would have been a better path to take, but they didn’t do that.

Ugh!

Michael isn’t the only one who is unsure about David as Susan’s sister, Jackie, points out that there is a ton about David she knows zero about, although Jackie’s wife/girlfriend (it doesn’t state their exact relationship) thinks Jackie is being overprotective-as David’s hot. So what if they don’t know his family, religion, history, friends where he grew up, etc, and he’s not working-David’s hot.

Yeah, Susan really? I mean you are a single mom, don’t you want someone more stable for your kids? Don’t you think you want someone with a real job?

And David’s plan doesn’t make sense! He creates fake identities but has nothing to back him up? I mean he just plans to move from town to town with no social security number or anything and expect to work and live there? I mean they could have had him buy dead people’s identities and then have Michael do some research and stumble on to it! And then he presents it to his mom and she’s like, “oh that, it’s a common name that’s not him.” And then David doing something creepy like almost kill him, kind of like Joseph Cotton in Shadow of a Doubt when he starts sabotaging things around his niece because she knows too much, and everyone thinks she is just imagining things.

Anyways, one day Sean isn’t listening to Susan, so David decides to “discipline” and chokes him. When Sean and Beth visit their dad, he tells him and when Jay returns the kids he gets in a fistfight with David. Now this is my other issue with the movie-Jay confronts David about choking Sean and is freaking out and DAVID ADMITS IT and what does the mom do? Get angry at her EX-HUSBAND THE MAN PROTECTING HIS CHILD AND NOT THE MAN WHO JUST ADMITTED TO CHOKING OUT HER BABY. And afterwards Sean is all it my fault, and everyone is mad at Jay for making a scene and overreacting, and Sean apologizes to David and everyone is its okay, we forgive you. And later when Sean is freaking out, Michael is all its okay Sean David won’t hurt you again.

Uh, no. NO, NO, NO, NO! Jay was totally in the right and I completely 100% agree with his decision to pummel the guy ABUSING HIS child. And Susan, really? What is wrong with you! This man admitted to abusing your child because “he forgot what it was like being a father and discipling and maybe went too far. But don’t worry, he’ll learn how to do better, Uh, no! Get out of my house and out of my life and I am calling the police on you.”

WHAT!!!??

But Susan loves him. After that I checked out-I just couldn’t get over that scene. Now if they had David not admit to it, and change it around so it sounds like Sean is lying as he is upset at the changes, or Jay made it up, or twisted it in any way-I’ll buy that. But he admits it, and Susan cannot see the warning signs? Now I’ve been in an abusive relationship I now how they can meld your mind and practically brainwash you with their emotional and mental abuse- but your kids Susan! Your kids!!!

So Michael investigates, David goes on an anti-climatic killing spree, Michael’s girlfriend walks around in tiny clothes and bikinis, and the movie is just boring.

There is no suspense or buildup, no twists, it is all bland and very oatmeal-you know what you are getting and it happens-just as expected.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more serial killers, go to It Should Have Been a Movie or a Miniseries: American Gothic (2016)

So with today’s topic and October being national domestic violence awareness month, I felt compelled to share this.

I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

It’s time for our annual Vincent Price pick!

I love Vincent Price-that voice, he’s amazing.

And today is the 26th anniversary of his death-I didn’t plan to post this day it just happened.

So this year I was having a hard time trying to pick a film or TV show he was in. Which ones could I get my hands on to view, which one to do…

Hmm…

Then my niece and I went to Redbox, I only ever go when I have my niece as she just loves picking out the movies. It reminds me how excited I used to get over Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.

There we were looking through the movies and I saw Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost.

We checked it out and it got all my nostalgia going! So that answered the question of what to review this year:

To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before

So as I have said before I have always been a gigantic Scooby-Doo fan. I used to watch Scooby-Doo Where Are You?13 Ghosts of Scooby-DooA Pup Named Scooby-DooThe New Scooby-Doo Movies (in which Scooby-Doo meets the Harlarm Globetrotters, Cher, Sonny Bono, Batman, Robin, Josie & the Pussycats, etc.), The New Scooby-Doo, What’s New Scooby-Doo.

I had four birthday parties be Scooby-Doo themed, a huge collection of Scooby-Doo toys, from my own mystery machine and multiple Scooby-Doos; to a clock, clothes, books, and almost anything else you can think of.

fangirl casual fan diehard fan consume me love it

So I loved this show because of Scooby-Doo and Vincent Price. Yes, I was watching classics even back as a little kid. There is one thing I always thought was weird, whatever happened to Fred and Velma? How come they didn’t join the group on their adventures? They never said in the show (that I can remember) although they did answer in the new film.

Hmmm…

Anyways, let’s get started with the first episode: To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before.

 

So we start the episode off with Vincent Price as Vincent Van Ghoul, mystic, who narrates. 

I remember this used to get me so jazzed on Saturdays! It has been a long time since I’ve watched this though, especially the first episode-I don’t remember what it is about. Oh well, I will be pleasantly surprised!

So we start off in the Himalayan Mountains and enter an old spooky temple that is haunted by two ghosts. One ghost is taking a bath.

Why do ghosts need to take baths?

So these ghosts aren’t scary, but goofy like the ones in Casper or the Boo Brothers. They have awoken because the 13 ghosts in the chest are awake and have been acting up. The two want to sent them free, but can’t open the chests as it can only be done by the living.The chests glows red which means living people are on their way.

We cut away to the flying Mystery Machine where Shaggy and Scooby are flying Daphne and Scrappy-Doo to Hawaii. They end up over the Himalayas as they were looking at the wrong map.

Well Daphne its your own fault, you should have flown.

Seriously

The ghosts perform some magic to release the fuel and stop the plane. Gee, you think you could have come up with a better plan, ghouls? Like you do want them to be living, right?

They grab parachutes and jump out in comedic ways, you know Scooby and Shaggy. Daphne, however, takes over the plane and tries to land it.

Meanwhile, little boy and conman Flim-Flam has found himself in some serious trouble. He’s  been hocking a “miracle” elixir, and the townspeople want him out of town. He’s a bit of a charmer and tries to calm the crowd down but they aren’t buying it. But right when things get really bad the mystery machine comes through and he hitches a ride on Scooby’s parachute.

But they don’t escape for long as an officer arrests them and they go to court.

Like I don’t remember this first episode at all. They get thrown into court and sentenced to leave by sunset or else-plane or no plane.

When they get finished they can’t find their plane anywhere but tracks that lead to a temple. The ghosts have done it to trick them into opening the chest, but one of the ghosts locked it so they can’t get in after all.

These ghosts

Flim-Flam tells them not to worry as he will take them to his mystic friend who can help them. They go to a pub and find Vincent Van Ghoul.

I fangirled as a kid and still do as a adult watching this.

Vincent pulls out his crystal ball and gazes into it. He finds their plane but warns them the plane is in the temple but they must  under no circumstances go in. The temple holds evil, evil which cursed the town Each night when the moon rises the people turn into werewolves.

The townspeople overhear them, and now that they know-they cannot leave.

The townspeople swarm around them and make them sit and watch have them sit and get comfortable watching Ghoulio the Vampire perform. Daphne is drinking beer? Never mind, freshly squeezed wolfsbane. Scrappy says it turns people into werewolves, but it is supposed to protect you.

Daphne shrugs it off but then they hear a werewolf howl. They try to escape, but can’t and see all the townspeople turn into werewolves, including Daphne.

Shaggy and Scooby go running but find themselves in more trouble-you know those twos. They manage to escape with Flim-Flam and Scrappy down a sewer and Flim-Flam sprays Daphne with one of his magical elixirs and she’s back to normal. Shaggy and Daphne hug for a looooong time…are they together? But what about Daphne and Fred!

Anyways, the ghosts have drilled a hole and Daphne wants to go in the temple and get the plane. Scooby and Shaggy are actually the logical ones, not wanting to go in as they were warned, but the werewolves attack and they head into the temple to protect themselves.

Werewolves break in and chase them, but the ghosts help out Shaggy and Scooby to get them to the chests. Meanwhile, Flim-Flam saves people by spraying them with his bottles.

The Burgermeister shares the story of the 13th ghosts and how they caught them and imprisoned them in a chest , but before they sealed it the ghosts cursed them. This having to catch them all kinda makes me think of Danny Phantom.

Anyways, Scooby and Shaggy are trying to find a way out where they run into the two ghosts from earlier who have set up a fake TV show, Let’s Make ‘Em Squeal. Really guys? Really. How can you believe this? I mean this is a whole ‘nother level for you guys.

Although in their defense they did crash land and were just attacked by werewolves-this isn’t the strangest thing they have had to encounter.

They are given the choice of choosing between the plane or a doggy house.-but then they throw in option three-the box with amazing things inside…

Meanwhile, Flim-Flam, Daphne, and Scrappy are trying to find their plane. They are lost, but call on Vincent Van Ghoul who comes and warms them that a pair of ghosts stole it and are trying to trick them into opening the chest.

Of course when we switch to Scooby and Shaggy, they have been convinced to take the box, oh my gosh you guys.

They rest of the gang com running (minus Velma and Fred-ya still not over that), but are too late. They have released the 13 ghosts.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

The ghosts fly off into the world and now Shaggy ad Scooby must hunt after each ghost and trap the in the box. Vincent gives them a crustal ball, and Flim-Flam joins them as they set off around the world!

I have to say I really like Daphne’s outfit in this. It is very April O’Neil, even her haircut.

So what did I think? Well looking back It wasn’t the best of the episodes, it definitely was missing the fun chase scenes and Shaggy and Scooby dressing up in some ridiculous charade. But it was the pilot and does what is supposed to do. It sets up the series and I remember as a kid being hooked. I could not wait to watch it every Saturday and I remember hoping for the next episode waiting to see what happened. Did they catch them all? I have to admit, even as an adult it does hook you. It makes me want to finish watching the rest of the series.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Vincent Price, go to Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

For more Scooby-Doo, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

For more ghosts, go to They Look Like Regular People, So No One Except Us Knows They’re Monsters Inside.: R.I.P.D. (2013)

For more werewolves, go to Women are Like Werewolves