The Mysterious Affair at Jane Austen Runs My Life

Happy New Year!

It’s 2020, you know what that means! 1920s style is coming back!

So throw on your glad rags and let’s go putting on the ritz!

Love Me or Leave Me

So the past few years, I have done “theme” years. 2015 was Back to the Future, 2016 Star Trek: The Original Series, 2017 Star Wars: A New Hope, 2018 Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and 2019 Dystopian future with The Running Man and Blade Runner. This year I’m all about the 1920s, especially one particular thing that came out:

For those of you who don’t know, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first mystery that Agatha Christie wrote and introduced one of the greatest detectives: Hercule Poirot.

So that is where this post’s title comes from, I will be reviewing a Poirot or other Agatha Christie movie for Horrorfest IX, and will attempt to work in mysteries somehow and sometime throughout the year.

You know how I love mysteries!

Mystery, you say?

But enough of that. Let’s move on to the year in review!

Let’s get started!

The Views

 

This year I had over 74.700 views!

Wow!

The most viewed day of the year was August 12th with 752 views! That was the day I posted I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

 

Although the number one post viewed that day was from Horrorfest VII Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although strangely none were posted this year-and amazingly my number one post for the past six years was knocked down to number 2. I know why too, the number one post is a confusing movie that I and my friend googled to figure it out-so I’m sure that’s what bumped the numbers.

5) A Real Man from 2014

4) Tea Time from 2015

 

3)Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949) from Horrorfest VII, 31 Days of Horror Films from Halloween 2018

I don’t know who to trust!

2) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002), from Romance is in the Air14 days of my favorite romantic moments (2013)

1)What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)from Horrorfest VII, 31 Days of Horror Films from Halloween 2018

The Followers!

So this community has really grown in numbers and I can not describe how pleased I am about that. We have gone from 14 followers in 2012, to 439 in 2015, to 1021 in 2017, and now 1,647 in 2019.

Book Club Picks

My book club read:

I am actually 11 books behind, but I will catch up in this new year…at least I hope!

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

So in 2018 I started a series on books to read after you have read all the Jane Austen novels and want elements of Jane Austen, but something fresher than another adaption or retelling. The following books I recommended for Austen fans last year are:

Dangerous to Know

So I was given the book Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd, in exchange for an honest review, and started reviewing it in 2018-but as I broke it up into multiple posts I didn’t finish it until 2019. We had:

Jane Austen

So of course there will be Jane Austen posts, that’s the name of the blog! I reviewed the following:

On Jane Austen & her works:

Sense and Sensibility:

 

Pride and Prejudice:

 

Mansfield Park:

 

Emma:

 

Northanger Abbey:

 

Persuasion:

 

Lady Susan:

Recipes

As C.S. Lewis says

Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”

And sometimes you want something to nibble on when you read Jane Austen or watch the films. This year we had the following recipes:

Books, Books, Books!

I love books and reading:

Holiday, Celebrate, Holiday, Celebrate…

I LOVE holidays, and love to celebrate. Here are the holiday posts:

Tea Time

What goes better with Jane Austen than tea? I love tea and we have the following posts on it:

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans

So as I enjoyed doing the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, that I decided to expand to another series- Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans. This has films that are not based on Jane Austen, but have elements we love from the films in a fresher source. I recommend Austen fans to watch:

Desire & Decorum 

So Jane Austen has entered the 21st Century with Pixelberry creating a video game based on Jane Austen’s works and set in the Regency time period. I started playing in 2018 year and continued last year:

Catherine Morland’s Reading List

Another series? Yes…I know, I just can’t help it. Yes, this series will be on gothic novels that Catherine Morland would totally love to read, if she existed:

Painted Portrayals of Christ

For Easter I discussed different artworks of Christ, (have to put that Art History degree to work). Last year I chose:

Jane Austen Stuff

Last year I reviewed a few companies’ Jane Austen stuff:

Austentatious (2015)

Last year I decided to review one episode from Austentatious (2015) every monthAfter I finish it, I’ll be picking another one to do this to. I really, really, really hate this show-so be prepared for the sarcasm and the hate.

Giveaways!

Last year I won five giveaways. The ones I have reviewed:

Rational Creatures

So like Dangerous to Know, this book was given to me by Christina Boyd in exchange for a honest review. Rational Creatures has stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams-all on the women of Jane Austen:

 

Horrorfest VIII

25 Films of Christmas

Christmas is hard to do posts on as it is so busy! However, in 2018 I watched a Christmas film every day and posted it on Instagram. Last year I decided to do it again (and ended up watching 29 films). Here are the 25:

The Thin Man (1934)

Somewhere in Dreamland (1936)

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) (In my family it counts as a Christmas movie)

Jack Frost (1979)

Babes in Toyland (1986)

A Garfield Christmas (1987)

Die Hard (1988)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

Die Hard II (1990)

Home Alone (1990) I watched it twice!

Batman Returns (1992) It was my Friday the 13th pick

Jumanji (1995)

Jingle All the Way (1996)

The Christmas Card (2006)

The Christmas Candle (2013) I watched it twice!

Christmas in the City (2013)

Dashing Through the Snow (2015)

The Mistletoe Promise (2016)

Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018) Recommended to me by martha.leith on instagram

Klaus (2019)

Other Posts:

Other posts that don’t fit a theme:

For 2018 in review, go to The Future is Bulletproof

For 2017 in review, go to Life Seems But a Quick Succession of Busy Nothings

For 2016 in review, go to A New Hope

For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

There’s Something in the Fog!: The Fog (1980)

So I don’t know about you all, but I love the fog.

I actually like driving in it, walking in it, just foggy days in general. I went to school in the bay area and loved mornings (not evenings-as that is a killer’s delight) when the fog would roll in. It just makes me want to drink tea, make cookies, bake or cook something, curl up with a good book, etc.

I hated having to bike in it though-soooo scary. When I went to university, I used to work at a music hall and they used the hall as a class some mornings. The class started at 6, and we had to be there at 5:30.

It was sooo scary biking to work every morning. The way to go from my apartment to the hall I had to bike up the highway. All I could do was pray every morning, please let no one hit me. The fog there was really bad-like mushroom soup bad.

I hope I can do it.

Where I live now we get really bad foggy days and nights too. Back in the 1800s the whole area used to be underwater, the winter rains would come and create a lake on the land, that would recede in the spring. Years later, the area my nieces live in are full of houses but still retain the bog-like quality they used to have hundreds of years ago-so when the fog comes it is really bad.

I like driving out there, as it is peaceful in a way-it almost feels as if you are the only one in the world. However, it is also still dangerous. There were a ton of accidents, a semi completely blocking the road, and I was almost in an accident when someone’s car broke down and they just left it in the road! Seriously, dude. Anyways…with all that in the especially in October-it made me think of:

There’s something in the fog!

Years ago my sister brought The Fog (2005) home for us to watch. It had Tom Welling from Smallville, that girl who was the bipolar superhero in Heroes, and the girl that Elle gets dumped for in Legally Blonde. It was kind of confusing, the effects were blah, and I remember not getting into it at all.

The whole time we watched it, my mom kept saying how she loved the original. Because of that, I have always wanted to watch it, but just never got around to it-until someone donated it to the library.

My time has come!

So this film starts off with a ghost story-no one knows its connection to the town, but we will.

The community Antonio Bay, CA is about to celebrate their 100th anniversary. That morning (12:00am) strange things begin happening. The first is that the minister, Father Malone (Hal Holbrook) in the old church discovers a piece of masonry falling off-for no logical reason-and a diary is discovered and with it an ancient curse!

That’s not good.

Meanwhile, fisherman are out at sea when the fog rolls in-it brings an 1880s ship and ghostly, creepy creatures that attack the ship.

Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) is driving home when he spots a young girl hitchhiking (Jamie Lee Curtis). She is weird.

I know blunt, but she is just so strange. If it was me, I would have kicked her out of my car.

Elizabeth Solley: Listen, I never hitchhiked before. I just really want to be careful. Can I ask you something?

Nick Castle: Sure

Elizabeth Solley: Are you weird?

Nick Castle: Yes, I am. Yes, I am weird.

Elizabeth Solley: You are weird. Thank God you’re weird. The last one was so normal, it was disgusting.

Yes, she basically has no character other than being nothing like a normal person. Like she does not react normal to anything, it’s almost as if Jamie Lee Curtis got a different script, like she thought the movie was about an alien pretending to be human going to a town with paranormal occurrences and trying to figure out “how” to do that without giving themselves away.

The two go to Nick’s place and sleep together. After they re done, something knocks on the large windows that Nick’s place has.

Now that I love-the way Carpenter creates these monsters in the fog-sooooo creepy.

As I mentioned above, I like walking in the fog, but not at night. It is so creepy as you can’t see anything, you don’t know if there is danger lurking there. When I was at university, I hated having to walk across campus at night. There was always that fear when turning a corner or passing an area thick with foliage-could there be someone waiting? Especially creepy when you hear footsteps, but can’t tell who or where they are coming from-or if the person coming your way is planning on hurting you.

I think Carpenter captures those feelings perfectly in his monsters/ghosts. Watching it, brought back all those feelings again.

Spooky…

So Nick is worried when the next morning, the fisherman aren’t back. He sets out, with-ugh-Elizabeth, in tow. When they get on the boat they found the corpse of Dick Baxter, while the other fisherman are missing. While there it seems as if everything is after Elizabeth?

Why? Who knows. She’s from “Pasadena”, maybe, but that’s all we get from her. We know nothing else and she is really bland. Why did Nick even take her along? Or even better, why does he continue to take her along when everything is after her.

Meanwhile, D.J. Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) finished up work and visits with her son. He found a piece of driftwood with the word “DANE” on it. He gives it to his mom, who has to go back to work to listen to some tapes, taking the driftwood with her. It begins to seep water, and her tape player playing a gravely voice saying that revenge must take place. The wood spells out that “Six Must Die”. Then everything catches on fire! Stevie puts it out and the wood goes back to Dane.

Back with the fishermen, the doctor reviews the one body they have and discovers a mystery.

Dr. Phibes: [the pathologist has just examined the body of Dick BaxterWhat the hell happened out there?

Nick Castle: There was rust all over everything. It was like the boat had been out there a long time, taking on water. He was down below, near the bunks.

Dr. Phibes: Nick, his wounds are covered with algae, his lungs are full, and there’s silt under his fingernails. I tell ya, I saw Dick Baxter three days ago in Salinas. Now he’s lying there on the table looking like he’s been underwater for a month!

That’s not the only weird thing. While the men step aside to talk, Elizabeth waits by the body. Suddenly, Dick’s body reanimates and attacks Elizabeth. What a Dick move! (LOL sorry, couldn’t resist).

When the men return he is dead again, with the number 3 carved into him.

Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh) is overseeing the centennial celebration, and is worried about her husband’s-one of the fishermen-disappearance. As she moves forward with the celebrations she stops by the church. The pastor is freaking out as he has stayed up all night reading the journal he found and frenzied by lack of sleep and what he discovered!

Father Malone: [reading from Patrick Malone’s journal] “December 9: Met with Blake this evening for the first time. He stood in the shadows to prevent me from getting a clear look at his face. What a vile disease this is. He is a rich man with a cursed condition, but this does not prevent him from trying to better his situation and that of his comrades at the colony. December 11: Blake’s proposition is simple, He wants to move off Tanzier Island and re-locate the entire colony just north of here. He has purchased a clipper ship called the Elizabeth Dane with part of his fortune and asks only for permission to settle here. I must balance my feelings of mercy and compassion for this poor man, with my revulsion at the thought of a leper colony only a mile distant. April 20: The six of us met tonight. From midnight until one o’clock, we planned the death of Blake and his comrades. I tell myself that Blake’s gold will allow the church to be built, and our small settlement to become a township, but it does not soothe the horror that I feel being an accomplice to murder. April 21: The deed is done. Blake followed our false fire on shore and the ship broke apart on the rocks off Spivey Point. We were aided by an unearthly fog that rolled in, as if Heaven sent, although God had no part in our actions tonight. Blake’s gold will be recovered tomorrow, but may the Lord forgive us for what we’ve done.” I couldn’t read any further.

Sandy Fadel: You’re grandfather had a way with words.

Father Malone: The celebration tonight is a travesty. We’re honoring murderers.

Yes the story that was told in the beginning, the truth has been revealed. These lepers cursed the town and have waited 100 years to exact their revenge. They have come to kill the descendants of the six men who murdered them. The six are:

  1. Al Williams
  2. Other Fisherman
  3. Dick Baxter
  4. Father Malone
  5. Tommy Wallace
  6. Mrs. Kobritz

At least that is what I am assuming-the problem with this film is it isn’t really clear on who are those involved and those that aren’t. They kill the other fishermen who were on the boat but if I include him, that would make seven-when there were only six. So did they just kill him for fun?

Hmmm?

The other problem is that no one knew about this secret. It makes it not as interesting in my opinion. Now the 2005 film was really bad, but one thing it does do much, much better is clearly state who the descendants are. That was a much needed improvement-I also liked how the descendants all knew about the murder. I think that made the film more…fulfilling then having the ghosts kill people who have no knowledge and are paying for a crime they had nothing to do with.

So as the night picks up, so does the fog. Stevie sees it and how it is going against the wind. She warns everyone and begs someone to save her son-urging all to flee to the church.

The ghosts kill the nanny, Mrs. Korbitz, and go after Andy (why as he isn’t a descendent), but Nick saves him. Elizabeth is just there, why? Who knows. Why is she even in this film?

I’m done

Now I know this is a small fishing town, but where are all the people? The only ones at the church are Kathy Williams, her assistant Sandy, Father Malone, Nick, Andy, and Elizabeth. Where is the rest of the town? Are they alive? Are they dead? There were a lot at the celebration, but what happened to them?

I really feel like John Carpenter wanted to copy The Thing from Another World (1951), where you have this small group of people being attacked and trying to overcome it-there it made sense as they were on a small research center in Alaska. Here you have a whole town! Where are all the people? What happened to them? Obviously they are not attacking just the descendants as they were going after Andy-yet they left Nick alone? Just doesn’t seem very thought through.

Hmmm…

Anyways, the gang hide out below the church in the room where there is a giant gold cross, a cross made from the stolen gold.

That’s not good.

So the ghosts attack Stevie in the lighthouse-why as she is not from there but moved there. She isn’t a descendent, why are they after her?

Hmmm

And they attack the people in the church. Malone feels the guilt and brings the cross out, begging the ghosts to spare everyone and take him. As he offers the cross-it and the ghosts disappear.

All seems to be fine.

Stevie Wayne: I don’t know what happened to Antonio Bay tonight. Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished. But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog.

But later, Father Malone is thinking over what happened. Why didn’t they take him? Then we have a fantastic twist!

So yeah, I didn’t love it. But I think it was way better than the new one. There was a lot in this film that just didn’t make sense, I mean there were so many unanswered questions.

I also hated the Elizabeth character. She makes no sense! Why is everything after her? Who is she? She doesn’t add anything to the plot and if she wasn’t there, it really wouldn’t change the film.

I do have to give the 2005 film credit for trying to make there be a reason why everything wants Elizabeth, and giving her a reason to be in the film. Even though it was still dumb.

I think the only thing I would watch it for are the ghosts, those are just done so well.

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 John Carpenter, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

For more Janet Leigh, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more on Jamie Lee Curtis, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare: Halloween (1978)

For more horror films with fishermen, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Jaws (1975)

Come With Me and You’ll Be in a World of Pure Imagination: Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl

So today marks the 100th Birthday of Roald Dahl.

Yay!

Yay!

He was such a big part of my childhood. I mean…how do I explain?

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I mean Matilda was the anthem for kids everywhere who loved to read a lot, and were misunderstood by others

.matildalovetoreadeverything

Then there was the wonderful magic and adventure of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I mean who didn’t want to visit Wonka’s and get a glimpse at all the wonder inside?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

And you might think it weird that I did a pic from the film, but Roald Dahl actually wrote the script for most of it. The parts were rewritten later as the director thought that it was too much like the book, but the heart of the piece is him.

The sequel, Charlie & the Great Glass Elevator wasn’t as good as The Chocolate Factory, but still extremely fun. They go into outer space, save astronauts, and have to fight Vermicious Knids.

Space Mountain

The B.F.G. was such a great book about finding a family, as orphan and outcast Sophie finds a kindred soul in the runt of the litter and always picked on, B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant).

Family

In James & the Giant Peach; dreamer James finds himself the owner of a gigantic peach and sets off to New York City with a crew of insects that range from a spider, to a grasshopper, to a centipede, and more. They have to fight countless obstacles and outwit his cruel aunts.

Adventure

In Fantastic Mr. Fox, a hardworking father tries to care for his family and the forest creatures; all the while trying to outwit the farmers of their wares.

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Sometimes he’s “got this” and other times he really doesn’t.

In George’s Marvelous Medicine, George is constantly tired of his grandmother’s abusive remarks. So he cooks her up a “special medicine” to release his anger, one that she actually drinks! It causes her to grow 20 times her size! Will George be able to change her back? And will he be able to remake the recipe to be sold?

igotstoknow

Boy: Tales of Childhood is a memoir and a great read. Dahl sure was a little scallion when he was growing up. These tales are extremely entertaining, especially the rat story.

felix_the_cat_laughing

Happy Birthday Dahl and thank you for all the wonderful memories and moments you gave me.

readbooks

Such an amazing imagination was an inspiration to us all.

enthusiastroalddahl

Read a Dahl book today!

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For more on Roald Dahl, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

For more book-filled posts, go to It’s Always Tea Time