I love doing Horrorfest and I am so happy that this year I was able to do all 31 days!
Let me apologize for the messy postings, they weren’t as edited and full of images as I would have liked but I was so eager to have 31 posts done for publishing that I didn’t take the time I should have to make sure they were fully ready for publishing.
But I did it!!!!!!!
So let’s see I promised you horror, suspense, mystery, film noir, monsters, ghosts, Alfred Hitchcock, Lifetime movies, aliens, witchcraft, murder, and cyborgs.
And what did I deliver?
So lets start off with our yearly films. We always have Alfred Hitchcock, this year with me finally reviewing The Birds and a nod to Psycho with a Boy Meets World episode. Our Tim Burton film with Edward Scissorhands; a double dose of Disney with Maleficent and The Great Mouse Detective; an animated film with The Great Mouse Detective; yearly Stephen King film with The Tommyknockers; and a double dose of Vincent Price with Edward Scissorhands and The Great Mouse Detectives.
Our Lifetime movie in The Stranger Beside Me. I watched a ton of them but only reviewed one-probably because this one struck close to home.
Had some spy action in The Glass Bottom Boat andThree Days of the Condor
And a lot of film-noir with The Blade Runner, The Blue Gardenia, Deadline at Dawn, A Letter to Three Wives, and Possessed
I also for the first time, reviewed a video game It Lives in the Woods for Horrorfest. I’m thinking about doing it again next year.
We had horror-comedy in Fashion Model and The Glass Bottom Boat
Lots of psychopaths: multiple family members in American Gothic; the husband in Double Jeopardy; the dad in The Good Student; Griffin in The Invisible Man; the car jackers in Nocturnal Animals; the criminals in Rawhide; and the husband in The Stranger Beside Me.
We had quite a few literary nods-Sherlock Holmes with Basil of Baker Street, Agatha Christie’s Crooked House, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, and Phillip Pullman’s Ruby in the Smoke.
Had our Jane Austen fix with the final review of Death Comes to Pemberley. Now I guess I’ll have to review Pride & Prejudice & Zombies in order to keep Jane Austen in Horrorfest.
Mystery, you say?
Aliens in Independence Day and Tommyknockers:
Witches in a Murder She Wrote episode:
Cyborgs in The Blade Runner:
Classic monsters with Dr. Jekyll in Sccoby-Doo, Dr. Jekyll in Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf, and the Invisible Man in his first film appearance.
So as you see, there is something for everyone. For all the films and TV shows reviewed:
An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob, and wreck, and kill!
Choosing a movie to open and close is hard-very, very hard. My drama teacher always told us the opening, before intermission, after intermission, and the closing are the most important-basically the opening and closing are what people remember. If you goof, make a mistake, or something doesn’t quite go right-they will forgive. As long as the begining is good and the end is powerful. That’s a lot of pressure.
I was very unsure what to do-
But then I had an idea. I read the book The Invisible Man and did not like it. I had never seen the film-in fact it is the only classic Universal Film I have yet to review.
That being the case, it is the perfect one to end on. Will it be as good as the other classic films? Will it be better than the book? Will it be worse? Hmmm…?
On with the review!
When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn’t have one; all they had were 14 “treatments” done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that was a closer adaptation of the book.
But there is one thing they did to help-they gave him a girlfriend. Having a girlfriend is very important to this character who otherwise is crazy, cruel, maniacal, evil, etc. The girlfriend humanizes him-when they are together we see there is more to him-another softer side, he isn’t just a monster.
So everyone wanted Boris Karloff to play the lead-but he turned it down as the character isn’t really on screen. The director overheard Claude Rains auditioning for another part and thought he was perfect. Rains had never been in a film before this, only stage acting, and did it perfectly as his voice was clear-even in all the costuming.
So let’s do the review:
A stranger arrives in the snow to the small village of Iping. All stop when they see how strange he looks-dressed in much heavier clothing than one would even in the cold. He wants a room.
They are more of a summer place, but agree to give him a room to sleep and an extra room-for his experiments.
The townspeople are wary of him-after all what innocent person covers themselves and tries to obscure thier identity. When the owner’s wife brings Griffin his dinner she sees that half of Griffin’s face is GONE!!
They didn’t have the technology we have today, so in order to make Rains invisible they dressed him in a full black bodysuit and placed him in front of a black screen.
Elsewhere, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) is woking in his laboratory. Dr. Cranely is Griffin’s mentor and his daughter Flora (Gloria Stuart) was engaged to him. Both are puzzled by his disappearance, and Flora is extremely worried about him, as she hasn’t heard from him in over a month. Dr. Arthur Kemp-Griffin’s friend and the other worker in Dr. Cranely’s lab, has also had zero word. And because Griffin was always working in secret, none know even what he was doing, so no clues where to find him.
A week later, Griffin is still at the inn working trying to find his way “back”. The only one who goes into the rooms is Jenny, the innkeeper’s wife. She doesn’t want Grifffin here-she wants him gone as his rooms are a mess, he is incredibly mean, and just creepy.
When they try to get him out, Griffin refuses and tosses the innkeeper down the stairs. They call the police. Constable Jaffers (E.E. Clive) comes to arrest him, but then Griffin does what no one expected.
Griffin attacks the men guarding the door and then takes off.
So this where I have a problem in the book. All the other classic monsters had something that made you feel for them. The Phantom? Thrown out because disfigured, abused, mistreated, used, and people have tried to kill him because he is ugly. Finds a girl who he thinks loves him but doesn’t care a fig about him-you understand why he goes all crazy. Dr. Frankenstein wants to help humanity, believes he knows better than God, but learns his harsh lesson. His monster is just trying t make it but people are afraid and trying to kill him. In Bride of Frankenstein? Frankenstein wants to live his life but blackmailed into creating another monster. Frankenstein’s monster just wants love. The Mummy is crazy and bad, but his main goal is to bring his love back to life. Dracula is an evil monster, but very charming. The Wolf man, poor guy just trying to reconnect with his dad, grieve his brother, and take over family business-wrong place wrong time. The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Just wants love.
Griffin is not charming, he’s not trying to help people, he’s not looking for love. He’s a wackadoo murderer-evil, insane, cold, etc.
Dr. Cranely and Kemp go through Griffin’s stuff to try and find clues to where he is. They do find a list of drugs, one being monocaine, which destroys everything and turns whatever creature that gets into it-insane.
You’re crazy! Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.
Griffin goes to Kemp as he needs help. He threatens him and blackmails him into being his errand boy. Griffin and Kemp discuss what happened and Griffin tells him he started working his experiments five years ago. He threatens Kemp to get his notes for him so that he can create the antidote.
The Chief Detective starts investigating and questioning people. Meanwhile, Kemp and Griffin head to the inn to get the notes. Griffin gets his stuff and attacks the Detective, killing him. This causes more panic and hysteria.
The police murder has lit a fire under them and they begin searching for Griffin. They start looking 20 miles in all directions and more and more volunteers join in. At 10:30pm radio broadcast goes out and warns everyone that it isn’t a hoax. A reward for £1000.00 is offered.
Dr. Kemp is worried and calls Dr. Cranely to tell him about Griffin and warns him that Griffin has gone crazy. Dr. Cranely tells Kemp to take care to keep him there and that he will be there the next day. Kemp calls the police to tell them Griffin is in his house. Griffin becomes enraged at him for telling in him.
Flora goes to see Griffin and here we have a shred of humanity as he softens toward her and we see a sliver of the man he was-the one Flora fell in love with. But then he is gone and only the crazed killer remains.
One who has created this invisibility and wants to auction it off to the highest bidder.
While they are talking the police arrive. Griffin escapes and flees, but not before he tells Kemp he will murder him at 10:00 pm. The police come up with a plan as to how they will catch him. They will use Kemp as bait, but Kemp doesn’t like that idea. He takes off in his car but Griffin is already waiting there. He ties him up and pushes Kemp and the car off the cliff.
Griffin stays in a barn that night and a farmer spots the hay moving and calls the police. They decide to burn down the barn and follow the Invisible Man’s footprints on the snow to take aim. He’s hit and as he does his body is revealed slowly.
I thought it was pretty good, but let’s be honest it wouldn’t be nearly as good if it wasn’t for Claude Rains.
The thing that is mindblowing is the special effects. Really good for 1933. So there we go I have reviewed all of the Universal Classic Monster Films!
There we go. All 31 posts finished! Yay!
I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!
So I was shelving in the library and came across this film. I love Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and werewolves, so of course I had to see it.
This film was a low budget movie from the ’70s and it is bad-very bad. It is actually sixth in the series about Count Waldemar Daninsky-noble turned werewolf.
It starts off with newly wed couple-Justine (Shirley Corrigan) and Imre Kosta (José Marco) are celebrating with friends before their honeymoon, one friend being Dr. Henry Jekyll (Jack Taylor)-the grandson of the Dr. Jekyll.
They couple are planning to travel to Kosta’s home in Transylvania for their honeymoon, so that Kosta can visit his fatherland and parent’s grave. Jekyll jokingly warns them about vampires and werewolves-the storm outside crashing through the window on that last one.
You all know what that means-foreshadowing.
When the couple returns to Transylvania, Justine does not enjoy it-screaming at everything that surprises her. Annoying.
They get warned against visiting the old gravesite, where Kosta’s parents are buried, as gangs hang out there and it is next to the Black Castle where the monster werewolf lives.
They go anyway and Justine asks how Kosta’s parents died-interesting as it is odd she never asked him that before. He reveals that his parents were murdered, hacked to death. He only survived because he was at his aunt and uncle’s house staying the night. They took him to England and he has never looked back.
So I’m thinking that maybe the werewolf is connected to this-but they are interrupted when a gang tries to hijack their car. Kosta goes to stop them and is murdered. Well…he had a short time. And I guess we never find out about his parents-why even include their murder if it has nothing else to do with the story?
Anyways, Justin screams again as the gang attacks her planning on raping her. Now her screaming makes sense but it is really annoying. But a werewolf arrives and saves her stabbing one of the gang members.
Yes-a werewolf stabbing his victim. Stabbing. STABBING. staaabbbing. Doesn’t matter how many times I say it, it still sounds stupid.
So Justine wakes up after fainting in a completely new outfit-weird. When did she change…or who changed her? She sees her dead husband and Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) the werewolf. She runs and screams again.
He and his housekeeper, who everyone in town believes to be a witch, explain everything to her. Justine wants to leave but they have to wait until the full moon ends.
The relatives of the dead gang member decide to get their revenge, but are no match for the werewolf. Afterwards, Justine and Waldemar head to England. There Justine asks Dr. Jekyll for his help-but he doesn’t believe her. Justine begs him to help the man she loves and he agrees after he has seen and studied the man for himself.
Wow she is in love with Waldemar. I know her husband died but she’s been married a week and has fallen in love with some other guy she just met? Wow;
Waldemar heads to the clinic, but gets stuck in an elevator with a nurse. They are in there for two hours when he turns and kills her.
After that-Henry is convinced. They go out to the country to his other lab. He comes up with the idea to inject Waldemar with the serum that turned the original Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. It will fight against the werewolf, but hopefully will be stronger and Waldemar will become Mr. Hyde. Then they will inject him with the antidote and Waldemar will be back to normal.
Henry’s nurse and the his booty call, doesn’t like this idea. She wants them to use the serum to control and world domination-etc. He refuses and she becomes very angry-she’s tired of being second fiddle to Justine who doesn’t even care for him-and now with science choosing Justine again. That’s it!
The next full moon Dr. Jekyll tries his experiment and it works-Waldemar turns into Hyde. He looks more like the Spencer Tracey version than the Fredrich March version. He even magically gets a cane and caped jacket-like something a Victorian would wear.
Dr. Jekyll is pleased with how it has gone and ready to inject the antidote, when the nurse turns on him an injects him. She releases Hyde.
Justine finds Dr. Jekyll and helps him to a bed for his final moments. He warns her that she must destroy the rest of the serum as Hyde will want it to stay alive. He also warns her he didn’t finish, so when the fill moon rises again-Hyde will become a werewolf. Justine follows his instructions with the lab.
When Hyde returns to the lab he becomes enraged that Justine slipped through their fingers and that the serum is gone. He kills the nurse and then goes off to the city to get “pleasure and women.” He also kills a drunk.
He goes to a club and gets a girl extra hot and interested in him-why? Don’t know. He looks so odd like a Victorian man in the ’70s but hey she’s into him. She steps away from the table and he transforms back into Waldemar. Of which the girl is very angry, I guess she thought Hyde was more attractive.
Waldemar becomes the werewolf and goes on a rampage. He finds Justine, somehow, who screams again. Ugh.
Yeah, not that good. The best part was when Dr. Jekyll and the wolfman interact but it doesn’t last long. If we had more-it would have been better. Why is it that the best film to do a mashup of monsters thus far that I have seen is Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein? You think it would be easy to make a great monster mashup but no.
Every year we review an animated film and this year it is:
I’ll always look back on that first with the most fondness; my introduction to Basil of Baker Street, the great mouse detective
So guess what guys! Bonus Disney film and bonus Vincent Price!
This was one of my upmost favorite films growing up. I don’t think I could ever fully explain how amazing this film is-it is just too good.
So the original story is a book Basil of Baker Street, which was awful-don’t read it. Instead, when Disney went into production they borrowed from The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and other of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.
As my costume this year was Sherlock Jane Holmes Austen, I knew I had to review it.
Mystery, you say?
The main character Basil of Baker Street is a mousified version of Sherlock Holmes-a mix of Leslie Howard and Basil Rathbone (where his name comes from). This film not only has a great main character but the best Disney villain of all time, Ratigan.
Played by Vincent Price-this guy gives Professor Moriarty (Sherlock’s archnemsis) a real run for his money.
This film starts of with father and daughter-Hiram and Olivia Flaversham. Hiram is a toy inventor and is celebrating with the apple of his eye, Olivia. Unfortunately, her birthay is interrupted with intruders.
He quickly hides his daughter and then is kidnapped.
Meanwhile, in London, Dr. David Q. Dawson has just arrived from Afghanistan, newly retired from the war. He’s looking for a place to stay and to begin his practice.
Dr. Dawson: Little did I know that my life was about to change forever.
He sees little Olivia trying to make her way down the street without being run over, and feels sorry for her. She tells him she is looking for the famous detective, and shows him a newspaper clipping. He agrees to help her, and off they go.
When they arrive at 221 1/2 Baker Street, Basil is not there. They decide to wait when they are interrupted by a strange looking mouse.
Yes, it is Basil of Baker Street, the Great Mouse Detective.
Put my crime-solving cap on.
Olivia tries to talk to him, but he ignores her…until she mentions a certain little fact:
Olivia Flaversham: I didn’t lose him. He was taken by a bat.
Basil: Did you say… bat?
Olivia Flaversham: Yes.
Basil: Did he have a crippled wing?
Olivia Flaversham: I don’t know, but he had a peg leg.
Dr. Dawson: I say, do you know him?
Basil: Know him? That bat, one Fidget by name, is in the employ of the very fiend that was the target of my experiment! The horror of my every waking moment. The nefarious Professor Ratigan!
Dr. Dawson: Ratigan?
Basil: He’s a genius, Dawson. A genius twisted for evil. The Napoleon of crime!
Dr. Dawson: As bad as all that, eh?
Basil: Worse! For years I’ve tried to capture him, and I’ve come close, so very close, but each time he’s narrowly evaded my grasp! Not a corner of London is safe while Ratigan is at large. There’s no evil scheme he wouldn’t concoct. No depravity he wouldn’t commit. Who knows what dastardly scheme that villain may be plotting even as we speak.
From here we fade out to take a look at the villain-Ratigan (Vincent Price). His plan is to have Haversham create a toy mouse Queen, kidnap the real Queen, and use his toy/puppet to rule all mousedom. After his amazing reveal and we have THE BEST VILLAN SONG OUT OF ALL THE DISNEY VILLAN SONGS!!
So debonair, so evil, so classy, so demented, etc. He has it all. Fantastic!
Meanwhile, Fidget goes looking for the girl and to find out what Basil has unearthed. They spot him and the chase is on-after a quick stop to Sherlock Holmes’ flat (Sherlock Holmes speaks with the voice of Basil Rathbone. Since Rathbone was already deceased it was edited from his reading of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Caedmon Records in 1966).
In the flat they pick up Toby, a dog, and track Fidget down to a toy store:
Olivia is stolen, but luckily they found the list and Basil uses al his power of deduction to find Ratigan’s lair.
It is time to suit up and head out. The two disguise themselves as sailors and head down to a tavern on the waterfront.
Bar Maid: What’ll you have?
Dr. Dawson: I’ll have a dry sherry, with, oh, perhaps a twist of…
Basil: Two pints for me and my shipmate. Oh, by the way. We just got into port. We’re looking for an old friend of mine. Maybe you know him. Goes by the name… of Ratigan! [Everyone at the bar gasps and turn to Basil]
Bar Maid: I… never heard of him.
Basil is on high alert and notices that the drinks have been roofied. But it is too late for Dawson who causes a giant scene:
When I was a kid I never noticed how racy this was. It almost didn’t make it in the final cut. I just remember enjoying the song.
So they get out of there and follow Fidget, but it turns out to be a trap. Ratigan has outwitted Basil. He takes his robot Queen, the Flavershams, and his crew and set off to fulfill his evil plan.
Let’s stop and talk about how awesome this scene is:
Ratigan’s enthusiasm and how he can’t settle on one so he does all his ideas.
How Basil figures out this plan and incorporates it, calculating in like a minute.
When he is free the first thing he does is change back into his “uniform”.
Basil catches Olivia as she is thrown through the air just like that.
And he stops to have his picture taken.
Meanwhile, Ratigan has fooled the queen, abducted her, and has established his Robot Queen who has given him all the power.
Ratigan: I have the power!
Robot Queen: Of course you do.
Ratigan: I am supreme!
Robot Queen: Only you.
Ratigan: This is my kingdom! [maniacal laugh] That is, of course, with your highness’ permission. [the robot is idle; Ratigan slaps it to start it again]
Robot Queen: Most assuredly… you insidious fiend.
Robot Queen: You’re not my royal consort!
Ratigan: [to crowd] Such a sense of humor.
Robot Queen: You’re a cheap fraud & impostor!
Ratigan: [under his breath] Flaversham!
Basil: [operating the robot] A corrupt, vicious, demented, lowlife scoundrel. There’s no evil scheme you wouldn’t concoct. [the robot goes crazy and breaks apart]
Robot Queen: No depravity you wouldn’t commit. You, professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known as a…
Ratigan: Don’t say it!
Basil: …Sewer rat!
Yes Basil came in just the nick of time. Ratigan escapes with Olivia and Basil and Dawson are on the train again. Basil crashes into Ratigan and they wind up in Big Ben and we have one of the most amazing scenes in Big Ben-and one of the scariest.
Back at Baker Street Hiram and Olivia leave to go home and get back to their lives-
Olivia Flaversham: Goodbye, Basil. [sniffles] I… I’ll never forget you.
Basil: Nor I you, Miss… Miss Flangerhanger.
Dr. Dawson: [chuckles] Whatever.
Afterwards, Dawson is going to go about what he originally planed t do, but Basil likes having a best friend.
Dr. Dawson: Well, it’s time I was on my way too.
Basil: But… umm… but I thought…
Dr. Dawson: Well, the case is over, and perhaps… well perhaps it’s best I found my own living quarters.
Basil: But…[Knock on door] Oh, now who could that be?
[Dawson opens door; a lady mouse is standing there]
Lady Mouse: Is this the home of the famous Basil of Baker Street?
Dr. Dawson: Indeed it is, miss. You look as if you’re in some kind of trouble.
Lady Mouse: Oh, I am. I am.
Dr. Dawson: Then you have come to precisely the right place.
Basil: Ah, allow me to introduce my trusted associate Dr. Dawson, with whom I do all of my cases. Isn’t that right, doctor?
Dr. Dawson: Oh? Why, yes. By all means.
Basil: As you can see, Dawson, this young lady is from the Hampstead district, and is troubled about the mysterious disappearance of an emerald ring in the third finger of her right hand. Now, tell me the story, and pray, be precise.
And that is just the beginning-many more adventures are to cme. Although sadly they didn’t make any more movies. I don’t know why not!
It is such an amazing film, and I watched it over and over and over again as a child.
So I have been wanting to watch this movie Gosford Park for a while and when I saw it was returned to the library-I was so excited! Unfortunately, it was dirty and would not play for me.
I didn’t have any other movie planned and decided to fill the place I would choose something that was on my Amazon Prime queue suggested list.
So this movie is based off a book and is the second remake, (3rd version of the story) filmed in and by a production crew in England.
On with the review!
The story takes place in France, the old stately Lady Harlowe, has just died. Her brother-in-law, Boris Waberski, thinks that he will inherit everything- he has even borrowed against his future gains-but to everyone’s surprise-the money is left to her adopted niece-Betty Harlowe!
Boris becomes so angry he accuses Betty of murdering his sister-in-law. They have the body exhumed and it turns out that she was poisoned.
Betty’s friend, Ann Upcott, is worried and sends to England for help. Jim Frobisher arrives to investigate, aiding the very intelligent and top french detective, Inspector Hanaud.
I found the story very boring
And the inspector a complete rip off Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. You have the accented inspector-“the greatest mind in the world” and an old manor house with a “locked room mystery” and puzzles. Except Poirot was much better.
I think it was incredibly boring and that the characters were just too bland. Skip the film if I were you.