The Return of the List: Catherine Morland’s Viewing List, Part II

I year ago it was Friday the 13th and all I could think about was watching scary movies. While I did I started thinking what movies would Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney like if they were real and lived today? I decided to put together a list of 30 film recommendations that our girl Catherine Morland or boy Henry Tilney would most certainly love!

This is a continuation from the original, Catherine Morland’s Viewing List and will be another great 30 Gothic films or films with Gothic components. For those who are wondering what classifies something as a Gothic, here is the definition.

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.

Any films I have already reviewed that fit for this list I will just list and link here, while any future film I review I will add a little note as to why it belongs on this list. I have 10 years worth of horror film reviews from my annual October Horrorfest, but I’m not sure how many of those will be on here. For now I’m going to put on the ones I have recently re-edited, and then will be adding more as time goes by. If you are looking for recommendations, be sure to check back later, and if you have a suggestion be sure to comment below!

I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

That Video…is Not of This World: Ringu (1998)

For more movie lists, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans

Ghosts or Madness?: Turn of the Screw (2009)

No Twilight Saturday? Yep, no more Twilight! We finished that on Thursday as I had to post this on October 30th. Why? Well today is the 210th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility!

At first I was really bummed because Sense and Sensibility doesn’t have a gothic/Halloween adaption for me to review to honor its anniversary. I also already have reviewed Dead Again which was the catalyst for the 1995 Sense and Sensibility adaption. I was at a loss of what to do when I watched this film:

So every October, I see people posting on Instagram about The Turn of the Screw. Every year I tell myself I should read it or watch an adaption, and last year I finally did (both). I really wanted to see the Colin Firth adaption, but it was no longer available on Amazon, so instead I watched the 2009 version with Dan Stevens. That of course ties in perfectly with today as today is the 210th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility. Of which in the 2008 adaption Dan Stevens plays Edward Ferrars.

This film was okay, in a lot of ways it reminded me of the book Alias Grace. But after reading the story, I think the production did the best they could with an uneven source material. The original story doesn’t even have a real end, it starts with someone reading the governess’ recollections and then just ends, about them passing on the story or anything like that.

But as this is a gothic story I also am adding it to Catherine Morland’s Viewing List.

We start off the film with former governess, Ann (Michelle Dockery) in a sanitarium. She speaks to Doctor Fisher (Dan Stevens); and yes they both were in Downton Abbey. How funny, right?

Anyways, Doctor Fisher is trying to find out what happened with Ann and try to get to the cause of it all.

Ann tells our story in a flashback. She was hired as a governess by a wealthy man who inherited his brother’s children along with Bly Manor. He wants nothing to do with them or any problems that arise. He also seduces Ann and she travels out the country with hopes that their fling will grow into something more.

Ann goes to the house and everything feels sad and dark. There is only female staff, as all the men left to fight in WWI. They are all cold and standoffish to her as well.

Ann meets Flora, her pupil, who is kind and sweet and easy to teach. But those quiet days are interrupted when the other charge, Miles, is sent home from boarding school for saying something so dreadful to another student, a male student.

Ann starts wondering about it and when she finds a note from Miles’ boarding headmaster, she is so horrified she destroys it. She can’t believe that what was written could be true as Miles is such a sweet and tender boy. They all have a wonderful time together, and Ann dreams of the Master coming and then becoming a family together.

Ann finds out that her predecessor, Emily Jessel is buried in the church’s graveyard near the house. It turns out that Jessel had committed suicide.

Then things start turning weird…Ann begins to see the figures of a man and a woman. But no one else sees them. She sees them around the kids, but they keep denying it.

Ann starts questioning the staff about who the man could be, but no one will talk to her except Carla. Carla tells her about Peter Quint, now deceased and former steward of the house. The master was best friend with Quint and liked to “raise hell” with him. Peter harassed and sexually abused all the girls, Emily being the one who actually formed a relationship with him. He spent a lot of time with Miles, Emily, and Flora.

Ann keeps seeing the figures of the man and woman and after hearing the descriptions of the Emily and Quint, she realizes they are who she is seeing. But are they ghosts or is Ann just going mad?

Ann sees Quint push Carla off the roof, but everyone says she must have imagined him as he is dead.

But it doesn’t stop, Ann keeps seeing Emily and Quint together everywhere in violent, passionate, sexual acts. Then she sees Flora and Miles acting like them. She thinks the two, who were so very close to them, were groomed by them. It turns out that Miles repeated something that Quint had said to Emily to a male student. They never tell you what, but as Quint was a rough, crude, and abusive man-I’m sure you can imagine that it was bad.

That’s not good.

Ann decides she must do something, at first she was going to leave but she cares too much for the children. She returns and finds the two having rough play by the lake, Miles trying to drown his sister. Ann saves Flora and hits Miles repeatedly, stopped by the housekeeper.

After that Ann decides to confront Miles and sends everyone away but him. There they wait and have a showdown with Quint. This is interesting as Quint possesses Miles, he demands Quint leaves, and Ann hugs him-the next scene him being dead. Did Quint kill Miles as that was always his intent? Or did Ann kill him when she hugged him? He’s a small thin child, it would have been hard for her to strangle or crush him? Was it ghosts or madness on her part?

Hmmm…

The next day they return to find her with Miles’ dead body. She is arrested and we return to the present. The Doctor believes her story, but she is still sentenced to die.

The film wasn’t bad, I just wish they hadn’t so obviously pointed toward ghosts/possession. I wish they had made it a bit more suspenseful and had the audience question her sanity. This easily could have been added in if they had a mention she had seen ghosts before or something. Like I said it was okay, not terrible but not the best film I have ever seen.

For more gothic stories, go to No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

For more ghosts, go to All Right, We Got No Choice. Call the Ghostbusters.: Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

I Just Killed My Best Friend. And Your Worst Enemy. Same Difference.: Heathers (1988)

I just killed my best friend.

And your worst enemy.

Same difference.

This is a movie I love but I also have a hard time watching it as I am Veronica. I too was swayed by a crazy guy who tried to kill me. Luckily for both of us, we survived.

Heathers is a film that to be honest is weird to summarize. If you tried to give a synopsis to someone who has never seen it you would sound crazy. You like a film where they end up killing people and making it look like suicide? And it is a comedy? It is definitely odd, but like Mean Girls there is just something about it that pulls you in. The writing is great, the characters understandable and so relatable in its teen angst.

This film also deals with a lot of harsh issues and is not for everyone. It covers suicide, abuse, bullying, shooting, etc. if any of those things might be a trigger for you, it would be best not to watch this film.

Although, now as an adult watching this film I’m like Veronica you are a junior, why are you freaking out? You only have two years left in school and then you can go any where and do anything you want! Her family is rich and if her dad puts up with her calling him an idiot every day I’m sure he will pay for whatever she wants to do whether it is college, seeing the world, or moving to the City and trying to make it on her own doing whatever. I mean if she was poor, wasn’t the best student, or was stuck in her place, I would be more sympathetic.

The other thing I love about this film are the clothes, the ‘80s really could go over the top. I love that these girls are always wearing blazers, giant hats, ostentatious outfits, bright clothes- Veronica even wears a monocle. This juxtaposition of wealth and color with the sad dark themes of suicide works so well in ways I don’t fully understand. There’s just something about Heathers.

The film starts off with this crazy dream sequence, the three Heathers playing croquet, and Veronica (Winona Ryder) is buried up to her neck. She’s unable to move but finds herself at the will of the Heathers. She talks to them, being sarcastic and making cutting comments, but no change occurs as the Heathers ignore her words and she is still stuck in the same place.

“Heather McNamara: It’s your turn Heather.

Heather Chandler: No, Heather, it’s Heather’s turn. Heather?

Heather Duke: Sorry Heather

As I’m sure you can tell, the symbolism runs deep. The Heathers run the school with Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) as the Queen Bee, Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) as her yes-man, and Heather Duke (Shannon Doherty) is treated better than the rest of the school, but still the one Heather C. likes to kick around.

Veronica is in a weird place, as she’s not the doormat Heather D. is, but she’s also not as cemented in the group either. She’s still very much an individual, not a minion like the other two Heathers, but at the same time still goes along with all they do-even though she may voice a concern or complain about their activities-she still does it. Just like in her dream.

The film starts off with Veronica noticing the new boy in school, J.D. (Christian Slater). He’s got the bad boy look down pat, long hair, and wearing a trench coat. Very cool and the type of guy every girl falls for at least once in their life.

He’s a bad boy

They ask him the question of the day which is “what would you do if you won 5 million dollars but only have one day left on Earth because Aliens are going to destroy it?” He gives a pretentious answer, but Veronica eats it up.

Christian Slater has stated that his performance was heavily inspired by Jack Nicholson and I believe it as he is creepy! But he also is much better looking than Jack Nicholson and does that eyebrow thing we all love.

Oh, wow…

Veronica’s fallen for him, but gets dragged away by Heather as J.D. is not their crowd. Two football players Ram and Kurt don’t like him trying to move up into another stratosphere and run over to try and bully him. J.D. listens to their insults and pulls a gun out and shoots them.

Later, the girls are talking about the events and all the Heathers think J.D. is insane! But Veronica-poor Veronica is blinded by her crush on the bad boy defends him as “it was just a joke and blanks”.

Veronica no!!! NO NO NO! This is a big red flag, but Veronica doesn’t see it. Poor, dumb, in love, Veronica. Not only has her crush on J.D. blinded her from this scary, crazy event that has happened, but she actually likes what J.D. did. She never liked Ram and Kurt and thinks they should be taken down a leg or two. In her mind J.D. isn’t insane, but a vigilante, a Robin Hood against high social hierarchy.

This makes me so sad as this kind of thing happened all the time with women, and men. They meet someone who exhibits insane and dangerous behavior, but in their mind they make excuses, they reinvent it so it’s then staid go up against something, maybe “protecting” someone or something. But all it is, is a red flag that should be warning you to stay away-but so often it just draws people in.

Veronica is going with Heather C. to a Remington Frat Party, but on the way there they stop at the connivence store, where Veronica runs into J.D. She zooms in on him as she is fascinated by how different he is and wants to be with him. Veronica is an interesting character as she becomes “different people” depending on who she is around. With Heather she’s the popular girl with a slightly better moral code than the others-with J.D. she can rebel, be wild, and free.

J.D.: Is your life perfect?

Veronica Sawyer: I’m on my way to a party at Remington University… No, my life’s not perfect. I don’t really like my friends.

J.D.: I… I don’t really like your friends either.

Veronica Sawyer: Well, it’s just like – they’re people I work with, and our job is being popular and shit.

J.D.: Maybe it’s time to take a vacation.

Now I understand what Veronica is going through, high school can feel like a tremendous pile of crap while you are going through it, but at the same time I’m like Veronica it isn’t your job. You only have a year and a couples months left and then you can do whatever you want. Try not to take it so seriously.

I also love the outfit Veronica wears in this scene. I would love to own it.

The two separate with Veronica going off with Heather to the party. There none have a nice time as Heather C. Is pressured into things she doesn’t want to do to keep up with the college crowd and Veronica’s date only cares about sleeping with her and doesn’t like the word no. Veronica spends the rest of the night getting drunk and then throws up in the alley. Heather C. yells at Veronica, with Veronica finally standing up to her. Heather declares everything is over for Veronica.

That night Veronica gets out her monocle and really let’s her feelings fly in her journal-she especially shares all about her hatred of Heather.


Veronica Sawyer: [writing in diary] Betty Finn was a true friend and I sold her out for a bunch of Swatch dogs and Diet Coke heads. Killing Heather would be like offing the wicked witch of the west… wait east. West!

Veronica is interrupted by her musings when J.D. climbs through her window. I’m like Veronica, here is another red flag. You didn’t ask him over, he searched out where you lived, waited for you to come home, and climbed through your window without permission. Like it would be one thing if he got her attention or had asked her address or phone number-but he never did. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this, I’m always like Veronica no! Even though I know what will happen next.

The two play strip croquet and Veronica confides in J. D. about her hatred of Heather. Veronica was really just trying to vent, but too bad she doesn’t realize her newly acquired boyfriend is a psycho!

The next day Veronica and J. D. break into Heather C.’s house as Veronica plans on making her a fake hangover cure and getting her semi-revenge. J. D. pours draino into a cup, but Veronica ignores him as she thinks it is just a joke-Veronica this is like the fourth red flag!

Veronica makes an orange juice and milk mixture and the two hawk some loogies into it. Afterwards, J.D. tricks Veronica into taking the draino one by kissing her. Everyone says it is an accident, but I think it was done on purpose. It is such a weird time to kiss her so to me it seems like a distraction, but then again he is a freak. He does almost warn her, but changes his mind so it could have be an accident turned into an opportunity. Either way they go into Heather’s room and basically double dog dare her to drink it, she does, and dies.

Veronica is freaked out and doesn’t know what to do, and says these iconic lines (one of my favorite parts)

Veronica Sawyer: I just killed my best friend.

J.D.: And your worst enemy.

Veronica Sawyer: Same difference.

Now Veronica is unsure what to do and wants to call the police, but J. D. convinces her to hide it by writing a suicide note. She’s so upset that she goes along with him. Again, another red flag Veronica.

The suicide note is an sensation. School shuts down for the cheerleader, they have a funeral service, and everyone talks about how lovely the note was, how Heather had such a poetic soul.

Veronica is amazed at how this whole thing has turned Heather into more of a “goddess” at school as all are worshiping her. At first she laughs about it, but then the worshipfulness starts getting to her. Later, she meets J. D.’s father and he and his father’s relationship is weird. Even more so when he shares how his mother died, she stayed in a building that his father was going to demo, committing suicide. The way his dad is I’m not so sure it was suicide, I’m thinking it might have been murder! Or it might have been the only way she could be free of him.

What is even more upsetting with Heather gone, Veronica hoped life would be better but Heather C. is still everywhere and Heather D. has stepped up to take her place. That always happens, Queen Bs are like Hydras, cut off the head and there will always be one to take their place.

After the funeral, Heather M. asks Veronica to help her out as she needs someone to go on a double date with her as she is going out with football player, Ram. Veronica insists that she is dating J. D. and she doesn’t want to go out as the guys will just want to tip cows. Heather continues to beg and Veronica agrees only to have a horrible night as the boys get drunk, tip cows, and when Kurt tries to make a move Heather goes off with J. D. (who just happened to show up another red flag). Kurt collapses drunk in a field and in the background you can see Ram date rape Heather. I forgot how disturbing this film can be.

The next day Kurt and Ram spread a story about Veronica that she was with both of them and this makes Veronica and J. D. furious. J. D. wants to get revenge and decides to use some German guns that use “blanks”. He asks if she she knows German, she says no, and then he gives the guns a German name, words which mean he is lying. Veronica is so mad at the guys for spreading lies she goes along with his plan to “kill” them, thinking she is using blanks. I’m like Veronica no! Another red flag, but J. D. is kryptonite to her common sense as he can tell she wants to be a cool, rebellious, person of action-and totally plays into it. Plus he is hot. Unfortunately, attractiveness can really blind you to faults.

The next morning Veronica is happy and giddy to play their prank. She watches as J.D. pulls out all the evidence to make it looks as if they were gay lovers who decided to commit suicide. Again, it is so easy to be like Veronica how can you not see what is happening-but J. D. has really manipulated her. They go to commit their act, Veronica having the guys strip, before they “rip her clothes off”, and when they are in their underwear, they shoot. Ram dies with a bullet in the head, while Veronica misses Kurt. J. D. yells at her and shepherds Kurt back to their suicide circle and Veronica shoots him. They finish setting up their little scene and take off as they hear police, jumping in the car and pretending that they were out there making out.

They go to school and this is one of my favorite parts when Veronica has seen what is happening and realizes she doesn’t want this life. She didn’t really want anyone dead she was just being dramatic and upset, but she’s no killer. The two argue with her going did not (meaning she did not want them to die) and J. D. saying did too. The remaining Heathers see her and think they are just having an argument about their relationship.

She should not have gotten involved with him.

Everyone in school finds out about the football players and their note. All are shocked and the two become martyrs for the lgbtq+ cause. Again Veronica is amazed at how such horrible people could have their whole personality changed by death and an eloquent suicide note.

Heather M. is having a really hard time-she’s a follower and her leader killed herself. She poured her sorrows into this new relationship with Ram, who raped her, and then it turns out he’s gay? And he killed himself?! She’s really lost and confused and traumatized-poor girl.

Meanwhile, J. D. has some plans and blackmails Heather D. with fat camp pics of her and Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock to get people to sign a petition for Big Fun to come and play at the school their hit song “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It!)”. Heather goes along with it, lying about everything in order to get people to sign it. But what is he planning?

Veronica decides it is time to cut all the toxic people out of her life. She dumps J. D., fights with Heather D. over her wanting to wear Heather C.’s scrunchies and take over Heather’s spot, and tries to rekindle her old best friendship with Betty Finn, a real true friend she traded for the Heathers. The two go to play croquet, but the happy afternoon is ruined by Heather D.

Heather D. shares that Martha tried to kill herself only to fail when she didn’t get hit running into traffic. Heather D. makes fun of Martha trying to be cool and failing again. Heather D. and Veronica fight, with Veronica slapping Heather for her cruel words.

Veronica and Heather make up and again we see Veronica has a way out of this, but she doesn’t take it. Instead she goes along with Heather D. as they listen to a radio program Hot Probs, and listen as Heather M. calls in and complains about her perfect life. Poor Heather, she is just trying to figure out what is going on. The next day all the kids in school are making fun of her, and she starts thinking about committing suicide. Veronica notices her leaving class and goes out saving her.

“Veronica Sawyer: If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game show host.”

Veronica starts to unravel at the chaos she has created. Heather D. rules the school, J. D. tells her parents that she is planning on killing herself (laying the foundation to kill her and hide it as suicide), she finds a hanging doll in her room (courtesy of J. D. and she is full of strange nightmares that highlight the guilt she feels over the killings. Like Veronica should try and seek out help about J.D. or get a restraining order. He won’t give up until she is dead.

After she has a nightmare about J. D., she decides it is time to take control of her life. She pretends to kill herself, hanging so that when J. D. visits that night he reveals his whole plan to blow up the school. The next day Veronica finds him and takes him out, this is such an awesome scene. A fantastic scene!

Veronica Sawyer: You know what I want? [shoots J.D] Cool guys like you out of my life.

After the bomb goes off and kills J. D. we have a smoking Veronica who comes in for the 1-2 punch; first she takes out Heather being the new Queen B, and then she invites Martha to be her friend.

Veronica Sawyer: Hey, Martha. My date for the prom kinda flaked out on me. I was wondering, If you weren’t doing anything that night, maybe we could rent some new releases and pop some popcorn.

Martha ‘Dumptruck’ Dunnstock: I’d like that.

Veronica Sawyer: Yeah. Me too

Such a great ending to this film. It’s weird as it has seriously dark moments, comedic moments, is very sad, but also extremely enjoyable. It’s just one of those films.

We threw a Heathers themed croquet party where we served spaghetti with lots of oregano (Veronica’s favorite). Two dressed as Heather Chandler (red Heather), one as Heather Duke (green Heather), one person came as J.D., and I was Veronica, because I am Veronica.

Looks pretty close, right?

Also our Facebook cover

So with today’s topic, as J. D. is a horrible person 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

It can also look like the below cycle

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.

For more Winona Ryder films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more horror comedies, go to Dirty Deals, Murder, Mob Goons, and a Kidnapping: Men at Work (1990)

For more ‘80s films, go to Father Knows Best: The Stepfather (1987)

A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016)

Moonstone

So I LOVE Wilkie Collins. I feel in love with his work when I read The Woman in White, the title hooking me and the rest of the novel not disappointing me at all. That book has stuck with me, and when I first read it I devoured it!

Last year my sister and I started Period Drama Saturdays where we watch a period drama and have tea together. We had just fininshwd her pick of Victoria and it was my turn. I really wanted to watch The Woman in White, but Amazon had taken it down. While it didn’t have that Collins’ adaption it did offer The Moonstone. 

I hadn’t read this book yet, but as it is considered by many to be the first detective novel, it is on my list.

However, I decided to watch it and I loved this production. My sister amd I planned on watching only two episodes, but couldn’t stop and finished the miniseries that night.

So the story starts with a paper puppet opening about how a giant diamond, “the moonstone” was stolen by a colonel when he was in India, and after his death it was to be passed to Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards) on her 18th birthdy.

Before her 18th birthday Rachel and her artist cousin Franklin Blake (cousin to Rachel) had seemed really close-he even planned to ask her to marry him. But after the theft of her diamond she refuses to talk to him and returns all his letters. Sergent Cuff tried to solve the case, but it metted out as all members dispersed.

It has been a year since the theft and Frank (Joshua Silver) decides he must figure out who stole it and solve it-in order to win Rachel’s heart again.

Frank must go back and question all who was there that night-taking us, the viewer, back to the night of the crime.

Thar night Rachel wore the diamond and it was commented on by all. At the party were the following people:

Moonstone

Lady Verinder (Sophie Ward), Rachel’s mother, is very devoted and loves her. But could she have been tempted by the giant diamond? After all, she was skipped over inheriting it for her daughter.

Drusilla Clack (Sarah Hadland) is a very “moral” person and is always throwing tracts about. When she first saw the diamond she mentioned she said if she had inherited it, she would use it for good, by selling it and giving the money to the poor. She is very intense in her beliefs, could she have justified taking it? She is also very interested in Godfrey Ablewhite, but Godfrey only wants needs someone with money. Could she have taken in the hope to get her man?

Godfrey Ablewhite (Stewart Clarke) is a handsome young man after Rachel. He has good “business prospects” but in reality he really wants a wealthy person to take care of him. Could he have decided to take the diamond instead of the girl? The two now are engaged, so it seems like he doesn’t have the diamond, unless he decided to take both-keeping the diamond for himself.

A trio of Indian men show up outside the party and refuse to leave. They call themselves the guardians of the moonstone and want it back. A lot of people think they are the thieves, but it turns out that they have remained in the country the whole year. If they had stolen the stone, then why didn’t they leave for India with it?

Mr. Murthwaite (Guy Henry) is an adventurer and knows an awful lot about the moonstone and the group of Indian men’s belief that the stone belongs to them. Is he a part of it? Did he hire the Indian trio to cause a smoke screen?

Not guests, but still preset were the butler Gabriel Betteredge (Leo Wringer) and Penelope Betteredge (Nisa Cole). They both love Rachel, Gabriel helped care for her and Penelope grew up with her. But could ome of them be tired of being a servant? Could the size of the Moonstone be too much for them to resist?

Detective Sergant Cuff (John Thomson) has discovered that one of the housemaids, Rosanna Spearman (Jane McGrath), used to be a thief prior to working in the house. She was also extremely attentive to Frank. Was she helping him as he is the one who was supposed to take the diamond to the bank for Rachel? Did she steal it to get his attention/love? Did the giant diamond lead her back to her former life?

Dr. Candy (Jeremy Swift) is the family doctor but he gives off a really creepy vibe. He gives Frank a sleeping draught that totally knocks him out. Did he do that so that Frank wouldn’t spot him stealing the diamond? Or maybe Ezra Jennings (Trevor Fox) his assistant, an opium addict, is the one that stole the precious gem.

Hmmm…

Frank continues to search and tries his hardest to find out the truth, but will he be happy with the answers he discovers? And what about Frank? Is his reasons for finding the diamond altruistic, is he just after Rachel for is money, or has he been seduced by the stone as well?

Hmm…

A great story and a wonderful adaption. I strongly recommend watching this as it was really good! The ending also has a fantastic twist!

For more mysteries, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more period dramas, go to Murder, False Imprisonment, Nuclear Bombs, and Nazi Spies: Bon Voyage (2003)

 

 

 

 

No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on! I killed you. Haunt me, then! Haunt your murderer! I know that ghosts have wandered on the Earth. Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life! I cannot die without my soul.”

The American posters for Wuthering Heights are super boring, while the foreign ones are all much more interesting, although I do like the one above a lot! I really love whoever decided to make Heathcliff green as he looks like a monster (or should I say Munster?).

When I was plotting out what film to start Horrofest X with, I was, as usual, struggling. I always want to be sure the first post is a good one, a film that I adore or is special to me. This year the first film was supposed to be from the 1930s and as I started looking at 1930s films, I realized I had already reviewed a lot of my favorite 1930s horror films. On a whim I decided to search backwards, starting with the last year of the decade, 1939, and when I saw Wuthering Heights, I knew it was the perfect film to begin with.

Wuthering Heights (1939) is an adaption of the 19th century gothic novel of the same name, by Emily Brontë. It is a novel I was obsessed with as a tween and teen. I used to read this book over and over again, and I loved Heathcliff more than I should have. But you know teenage girls, they tend to be attracted to the bad boy who “only needs someone to truly show them love and care and then they will change their ways!” Not true at all, but I believed it, and believed it of Heathcliff (at least until I married one and realized that it was a mistake). I essentially was Isabella.

I still enjoy the book, although my ardor for Heathcliff is not as it was a tween/teen, as it is extremely well written and sucks you in from the moment Cathy taps on the windowpane. And this adaption is one that I haven’t seen in a while but have loved because of one truly handsome and amazing man, Laurence Olivier.

Laurence Olivier has always been one of my favorite actors and classic Hollywood heartthrobs and he truly does this part justice. Jane Austen fans should recognize him as the OG Darcy (and even though that film heavily strays from the book I love his version of Darcy as well). He never would have gotten that part if it wasn’t for this film, this one made him a star! Laurence Olivier was just fantastic in this as he can do the moody mcbroody parts so well.

And speaking of Jane Austen, this film is a double feature as not only is it one I would recommend for Jane Austen fans, an Non-Austen Film for Austen fans:

It is also has a spot on Catherine Morland’s Viewing List as this gothic film is one that Catherine would have loved!

Wuthering Heights is a book where the characters all have issues with each other and spend a majority of time fighting or upset with each other. The process of making this film was another one of those cases of “life imitating art” as the cast spent a lot of time behind the scene not getting along at all. This film was directed by William Wyler and he and Laurence Olivier argued a lot. Olivier really resented his directing style of doing multiple takes with slight differences, (prior to this Olivier had done little film acting and more stage work). Later on, he credited Wyler for a lot of growth, but at the time he was heavily annoyed.

Merle Oberon and Olivier also had a rocky relationship. The two had gotten along in a previous film shoot, but spent this one yelling and arguing with each other whenever filming stopped and could not stand each other.

David Niven and Wyler historically did not get along and Niven was dreading this film. At one point Wyler was upset that Niven wouldn’t cry, and wanted to do repeated takes until he did; but Niven told him he had a no crying clause in his contract. Wyler made him get a copy of the contract to prove that this was true. Niven and Oberon also hated working with each other as the two had a romance go sour.

Merle Oberon did not care for working with Wyler as well as his methods of perfection and pushing his actors and actresses rivals Stanley Kuberick. One rain scene he made Oberon do over and over again until she became so sick she vomited and had a fever. When she came back from the hospital he immediately began pushing her as he had before, but she refused to film the scene unless heaters were brought in to protect her health.

You’ll also notice that the clothing is not accurate to the time period as the director changed the clothing to be the 1840s instead of early 1800s as he liked those fashions better.

Samuel Goldwyn Mayer wanted to change the story too as he thought it was too dark for a romance, luckily this suggestion was not accommodated. I used to think Wuthering Heights was a romance, but now as an adult having experienced someone like Heathcliff but worse, the real romance of Wuthering Heights, is the spooky elements and the mysterious moors.

I haven’t seen this movie in years, but I remember really enjoying it. I know it isn’t your typical “horror film”, but I’m counting it as it has Gothic elements, ghosts, and plenty of psychopaths/sociopaths. I know a lot of people talk about Heathcliff’s behavior and dislike him, but to be honest he really doesn’t deserve as much hate as he gets as every character in this film is a truly terrible person.

The film starts off with the credits but use such romantic music, light and airy-but this manor holds mystery, decay, and trouble.

From Twin Peaks

“Only a stranger lost in a storm would dare knock on the door of Wuthering Heights”.

The story begins with poor Mr. Lockwood. He’s a tenant that started renting on Heathcliff’s land to get away from people. Now he’s lost in a blizzard about to go on a ghostly adventure.

In the house is Heathcliff, scowling, angry, harsh and as cold as the blizzard Mr. Lockwood came in from. This is also a woman, Mrs. Heathcliff, in the home, hard and worn-as weathered as the home they live in. I love this imagery.

Mr. Lockwood is trying to make the best of the rudeness received at the house but you can tell he’s like these people are strange. That night he struggles with sleep, especially when one of the shutters come open. He hears a woman crying and she grabs his hand and holds it tight.

From House on Haunted Hill

Frightened he calls for Heathcliff who storms over. Mr. Lockwood tells Heathcliff, who screams and pushes him out-pulling open the shutter and calling to “her” again. He’s so sad and brokenhearted, making you feel for Heathcliff.

Mr. Lockwood is shocked and the housekeeper Nelly tells him that Heathcliff is searching for the girl, Cathy, who died many years ago. Mr. Lockwood doesn’t believe in ghosts, but thinks he is just seeing things. Nelly then decides to tell him the story of what happened all those years ago.

We then go back to 40 years earlier, when Wuthering Heights was a bright and happy place. Wuthering Heights was never a truly happy place in the book. It was less miserable, true, but the late Mr. Earnshaw was not a kind man at all and produced a horrible son who then abuses his sister and Heathcliff. This house has housed misery for so long time; it is seeped into the bones of the manor.

Mr. Earnshaw returns from his trip to Liverpool and instead of just bringing gifts back he also brings a boy-dark skinned, dirty, a “gypsy” child. Mr. Earnshaw kindly admonishes his children for their rude behavior to Heathcliff and all I can think is this Earnshaw is nothing like the Earnshaw in the book. He puts Heathcliff in Hindley’s room, and Hindley is none too pleased about that.

Mr. Earnshaw has been coughing an awful lot ever since he returned home. You all know what that means-he’s on death’s door. He’s not long for this world.

Heathcliff and Cathy get along swimmingly, racing horses and getting into all kinds of mischief. In one game, Heathcliff wins the race against Cathy and wins her as his slave. His joy quickly ends as Hindley, resentful of the love Heathcliff receives from his father and hating the ire he gets, bullies him. He takes his horse from him, reminding him again he will never be anything as he is a nobody, an orphan; he doesn’t even have a last name. And in a time when where you came and your opportunities from were all tangled up in name and family; Heathcliff has nothing. And he is in a system where he will never be able to achieve or grasp anything-unless he does it in slightly illegal ways. In a lot of ways Heathcliff makes me think of Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Both are single minded and have an obsession with their first love. Both will do anything possible to get a position of power, wealth, status-even if they need to do it in illegal ways. Both have no qualms using others to get what they want-Heathcliff is just more rude and cruel about his methods lashing out in pain instead of living in denial.

Heathcliff and Hindley fight with Cathy defending Heathcliff and turning against her brother. Hindley beats Heathcliff up, although it is really badly choreographed. Heathcliff is angry and it is pretty odd but I have another comparison. The child actor who played Heathcliff is amazingly spot on, he does a fantastic jobbut the way he and Hindley interacted right now-it makes me think if a mafia movie like The Godfather. The way Heathcliff is so calm and cool-he’s another Michel Corleone.

Heathcliff is calmly furious, which is extremely frightening, and is prepared to wait and find a way to do anything possible to make Hindley pay. If I was Hindley, I would be very, very afraid.

Don’t mess with me!

Cathy wants to have fun, but Heathcliff only wants revenge! Cathy does finally convince him and they ride off together. The two play together with Heathcliff pretending to be Cathy’s prince, and it is a super cute scene that really gives you a view into their relationship and friendship.

Of course this isn’t a gothic story without some tragedy. Mr. Earnshaw dies and all happiness is gone from the home. Heathcliff wants to see Mr. Earnshaw, but Hindley is the master now and will not let Heathcliff. He also kicks Heathcliff out to the stables. Poor Heathcliff is sad and alone and crying. It breaks my heart-poor Heathcliff.

With Hindey as the master, the whole house is plunged into darkness and despair. Hindley and Cathy do well and are dressed well, with Heathcliff becoming Cinderfella, a slave-dressed in rags. Heathcliff listens and obeys, but you can see the rebellion in his eyes-he’s biding his time for one day…

Laurence Oliver is such a handsome man. You can pout him in dirt and rags, but he still is a shining star. 

As soon as Hindley leaves each day Heathcliff and Cathy are off to runningin the moors in their special place. Aw, they seem so sweet and happy together. Too bad it won’t last.

Cathy decides to try and “encourage” Heathcliff by insulting his appearance and manhood. She questions why he doesn’t just leave and go somewhere else. And I’m like, girl really? Why do you think he stays here?

Heathcliff is super romantic “I could never part from you”; while Cathy is all “get rich and come take me away.” The two are in two totally different mindsets with Heathcliff all focused on the emotional, and while Cathy is emotional she is also much more practical. The only way she will ever be able to leave Wuthering Heights, her brother, this despair; is through marriage. And the only way she get Hindley’s blessing or survive with nothing from him is if they have money.

Heathcliff begs her to run off with him now, but she declines. You know some people would say she doesn’t really love him or is just using him, but I like that she recognizes a life without privilege as a woman is hard and that is not the life for her. She wants to be with her love, but even more so she also wants to be taken care of. You know there is a big difference between being punished by your brother and sleeping in he stables for a night or two (which she has done) and having to live in stables because you have no money and no connections. Her practicality reminds me a lot of Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice, and her choice of money over love of Mr. Willoughby. Although she is much better than Mr. Willoughby as she made it clear to her partner what she needed and wasn’t running around taking advantage of others. Heathcliff is very Marianne in the way he doesn’t really think about what will happen next, how will they survive?

Heathcliff vows to stay and be treated cruelly if it means they can be together. He gives an oath, but Cathy ignores it as she hears music and goes to their neighbors the Lintons. The two hop a fence to get a closer look, but awaken the guard dogs. They try to hop back over the fence but one of the dogs runs at Cathy’s leg and injures her, Heathcliff being a fights the dogs off with his bare hands. WOW!

Soooo cute!!!!

The party come out and of course they take Cathy in and treat Heathcliff like dirt, trying to keep him from coming in-but he breaks through to se her. Everyone treats him horrible, and Cathy even tells him to go. Heathcliff is furious about his treatment and vows to leave, but will come back and bring ruin everyone’s head. I know we aren’t supposed to root for him as his quest to of vengeance on all these who have wronged him turns him into a crooked cruel man, but after the way they treated him I follow what he’s tracking.

Anyways, Heathcliff gives his strong amazing poetic vow to bring ruin to them all-and let me tell you Heathcliff has style. He knows how to command a room and do it right. He storms out in a powerful exit.

Wow!

Cathy recuperates at the Linton home and when she returns she has had a lot of her wild ways “calmed”. Cathy returns surprised to hear that Heathcliff isn’t gone. He tried but he couldn’t be away from her. Cathy cruelly insults him and shares that the Linton house was so much better. Heathcliff sees the divide between them and does not like this, storming out.

Edgar is such a pompous jerk and insults Heathcliff. Cathy does not like it; she is the only one who can demean him. Being back in the house the real her comes out and her wild ways have all come out. She yells and screams at Edgar Linton and kicks him out of the house.

Cathy then runs off to her room crying. She removes the Linton from her (taking off Isabelle Linton’s borrowed dress) and puts her old clothes on, old self, and runs to meet Heathcliff in their special spot. The wealthy items tossed for plain, showing Heathcliff she chooses him-but does she?

The two cling tighter on the hill, but all I can think is not for long, They pick heather, but while the scene is beautiful and romantic, like the flowers you know that this will not last forever.

Poor Edgar is not run off by Cathy’s bad behavior, he tries to win her by sending gifts and begs her to see him. Cathy agrees to have him over and she really enjoys the way she has manipulated him and all I can think is poor Edgar, poor little soul. Heathcliff has heard Edgar is coming over and he’s furious, even more so by the airs she puts on and stating that he has no control over her-he’s just a stable boy.

Cathy continues to break his heart calling him a beggar, dirty, etc He slaps her and leaves running right into Edgar. Oh no, things are going to get bad-but instead of fighting Heathcliff runs out into the rain to the stable. Morose and alone.

Heathcliff hides out in the stable until Edgar leaves. He returns to the house hands bloody from him trying to cute the “dirt and soil and lower class from them”. Nelly hides Heathcliff when Cathy comes down, as Heathcliff doesn’t want her to know how her words cut at his heart. But Cathy shares that Edgar asked her to marry him and that she loves him because he is handsome, rich, and pleasant. Nelly asks about Heathcliff, and Cathy shares she wished Heathcliff never came back. She wants to be free from the cold depressing life at Wuthering Heights and Edgar is the way for her to do it . They actually do Cathy a lot of injustice in this film, making her seem like a gold digger, when Hindley was horrible to live with. Cathy is a awful person, but she is in a horrible life and is trying to get out the only way she knows how.

Heathcliff runs away and Cathy follows trying to find him. Hindley comes home drunk and doesn’t care wanting to drink to celebrate the departure of Heathcliff. Edgar finds Cathy and brings her to his home.

Cathy recuperates at the Linton’s and Edgar does all her can for her. Poor guy, he’s so sweet and such a fool. He thinks that Cathy could actually love him and not just what he could provide for her-what a delusional man and a poor sad man. Cathy vows to be his wife and treat him well and that she will ever kiss another man (lies, all lies!)

The two are married and Catherine has everything she ever wanted: free from Wuthering Heights, among people who do not like confrontation and are always pleasant, the leading lady of the area, money, power, status, …yet she isn’t happy. Something unsettles her. Something cold is coming…

Cathy loved being lady of the manor and living with the Linton’s. Edgar is trying to marry Isabella off, but she finds all the men weak and boring. A kind peaceful night is interrupted when an old lover returns. Heathcliff has returned from America with money. He wants to see Cathy and she refuses knowing that with their love she won’t be able to resist him. Love? Or obsession? Edgar, however, makes her see him. He’s so secure in his love and affections, what a fool.

Heathcliff walks in even more handsome than before, clothes, hair, and style. He gazes upon Cathy with love and desire in his eyes. They ask how he has become so wealthy and he tells them he claimed his “princely fortune,” reminding her of all they used to say in their games. He also drops a bigger emotional bomb; he is the owner of Wuthering Heights. Hindley is a drunken fool that gambled everything away.

Step one of his revenge plot had started. Step two and three is to destroy Edgar and Cathy Linton. Now I feel for Edgar but he is also such a pompous jerk that he makes me want to slap him. He goes on about poor Hindley losing his home, him having his property stolen. It wasn’t stolen from him, he held it in so little esteem that he gambled it away. That’s life, plus Hindley is one if the most horrible people in this book (he’s not as present in the film) so I don’t gel bad. If it was me I would have kicked him out. Heathcliff actually acts with way more class that Edgar has and leaves.

Oh no, Isabella has fallen for Heathcliff and defends him against her brother and sister-in-law. Edgar tries to stop it, but is too late. She can’t resist that bad boy “that just needs love to fix him”. Don’t do it Isabella, don’t do it!

From Laura

Wuthering Heights is now Heathcliff’s home and he lets Hindley stay, but he has to be in the stables, just like when Heathcliff was a boy. My how have the turntables turned?

Oliver looks so hot in this film, he’s too distracting in his long coat. His intense gaze is so hypnotic I can’t look away. I don’t even know what he is saying; I’m lost in his dreaminess.

The business is interrupted when a lady comes to see him. He thinks it will be Cathy but is disappointed to see Isabella. Isabella came to the house as she was riding in the moors and her “horse went lame” and she “just happened” to be nearby. Poor foolish Isabella. She has this imagined view of who she thinks Heathcliff is, silly girl.

Isabella tries to endear herself to Heathcliff letting him know that she defended him, she cares for him, she can help heal his broken heart. She just lays it all out, shoots her shot. Poor romantic fool. Heathcliff recognizes what is really happening, he did from the beginning, and calls her out. Unfortunately he knows being with Isabella will help his revenge and woos her to get back at Edgar for his treatment and at Cathy for marrying another. Heathcliff don’t you know a path of revenge will only be a sad and troubled road.

The next scene the Linton’s are having a party and Heathcliff waltzes in, being the fine looking man he is. Isabella cheers and is so pleased to see him. Poor foolish girl.

At the party all Heathcliff can do is stare at Cathy and it takes every ounce of willpower for her not to stare back, often breaking as she cannot resist him.

Isabella waltzes with someone and Cathy and Heathcliff sneak away to talk. He tries to get her to admit she cares for him, but she refuses. She insists she loves Edgar and only him, but Cathy is not a good liar-anyone can see that isn’t true. The two have a line here when he tells her he came because she willed him to come from across the sea. Again I never noticed it before but again is very similar to The Great Gatsby. Gatsby thinks the same thing looking at her green light imagining it is a secret sign for the two of them.

Heathcliff: If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime he couldn’t love you as much as I do in a single day. Not he. Not the world. Not even you, Cathy, can come between us.

Cathy: Heathcliff, you must go away. You must leave this house and never come back to it. I never want to see your face again or listen to your voice again as long as I live.

Heathcliff: You lie! Why do you think I’m here tonight? Because you willed it. You willed me here across the sea.

That night Cathy comes to talk to Isabella and Isabella won’t listen. Cathy tries to warn her that Heathcliff doesn’t care and is just using her, but Cathy comes in yelling and screaming and just sounding like a jealous shrew, and she is jealous. Its so obvious to everyone watching, even to Edgar.

Cathy returns home and speaks to Edgar, but they are too late. Isabella has left and eloped with Heathcliff. Edgar is resigned and Cathy is crazed begging him to stop the wedding-killing Heathclff if necessary and for the first tim Edgar sees that he never really knew Cathy and is seeing her for the first time.

Unfortunately, poor Isabella gets no fairy tale ending- just darkness, despair, and decrepitness. Her innocence, lightness, gayess, etc all gone. The doctor tries to get Isabella to go home, letting her know that Cathy is sick and dying. Isabella is glad at that news, shocking the doctor as she thinks with Cathy gone they might have a chance of happiness.

Poor Isabella, she deserved better. She tries so hard to get his love, but gets nothing. He treats her bad because she isn’t Cathy, ignoring her and not treating her like the pretty little doll everyone did. Instead of pushing her away it makes her more clingy and desperate, what Heathcliff can’t stand.

Nelly comes to get Isabella as Cathy is dying and Isabella does not care. But Heathcliff run to his lady love. Cathy is dying and the one place she truly wants to be, with Heathciff.

Heathcliff storms into the house and runs to his lady love who is wasting away. Cathy dies but befoe she goes they kiss (she broke her vow). Heathcliff spurts out in anger releasing all that has fueled him through the years. Angry she choose money over love, she choose Edgar the unpassionate, etc. He throws curses.

We then bounce back to the present as Nelly finishes her story. Mr. Lockwood still doesn’t believe them. The doctor comes to see Hindley and shares he saw Heathcliff out there in the snow with a woman, but when he caught up to them he only found Heathcliff’s body. Yes, Heathcliff and Cathy are finally reunited in death.

So this film was very well written and had an amazing cast. They did cut out a lot of the book and removed the massive amount of cruelty these people inflict on each other to instead focus more on the romance. If you love gothic films and Wuthering Heights, you should definitely give this a watch. If you love gothic films and Wuthering Heights, you should definitely give this a watch.

So that is it for the first post of Horrorfest X. It was quite a challenge as all technology was failing me-it I will persevere. Stay tuned for more!

The usual Facebook cover I make. 🙂

For more on Wuthering Heights, go to Shame Book Tag

For more Laurence Olivier, go to Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca (1940)

For more gothic films, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more on Catherine Morland’s Viewing List, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has a Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, Walking on Sunshine (2014)