The Witch’s Curse: Murder She Wrote (1992)

I love Murder She Wrote, I grew up watching the reruns on TV Land and Hallmark. The story was of widowed, retired school teacher, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) who becomes an author-published under the name J.B. Fletcher.

As she goes about life she gets pulled into all these different murder mysteries. using her intellect and observational skills to solve the crimes.

So this episode is 12 of season 8. In this we are back in Jessica’s hometown of Cabot Cove where her good friend Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) is casting people for the community play he is putting on-a historical tale about the beautiful Rachel Abbot who was falsely accused of being a witch.

In the middle of casting a storm quells up, wind and thunder and beautiful woman enters to try out for the lead.

Her name is Mariah Osborne and she is new in town, living in the old Walker home. She blows everyone out of the water-giving life to role as if she was Rachel Abbott. She gets the role while the judge is played by Judge Willard Clinton and the prosecutor by the local insurance rep, Nate Parsons.

Great choices

Sheriff Mort Metzger and Jessica aren’t impressed with the story or on how her line of the bells ringing-bells did ring. He tries to tell them how shivers ran down everyone’s spines, but the two just laugh at him.

Jessica goes to the archives to do some research when she runs into Mariah. They introduce each other as Mariah explains that she was checking out the actual court transcripts.

Mariah says that she thinks Cabot Cove has a history of ganging up on people. Hmm-wonder why she fells that way?

Suspicious

Mariah heads to the Winthrop mansion, to return Lydia Winthrop’s shawl she borrowed the night before at rehearsals. There she meets Lydia’s husband, Charlie Winthrop, who is recuperating in a wheelchair and suffering from muscle spasms. Again Mariah mentions standing up for wrongfully accused-hmm wonder what or who she is getting at?

Now we know Mariah is not a witch, but there is something so creepy about her-how she appears everywhere, Every word seems to be dripping with a deeper meaning.

Just so creepy

As she leaves the house she notices that Charles isn’t really injured-he’s faking it. He walks over to his safe and takes out something in it.

Oh?

That night someone breaks into the safe at the Winthrop house. When the police question them, Lydia points the finger at Mariah.

Nothing appears to be missing, just rose petals everywhere-weird. But then Lydia reminds them of Mariah’s line “rose petals scattered in memory of blood spilled.”

Things get complicated. Stories of Mariah having a black cat, a cauldron, and walking around at midnight in black. Sheriff Mort talks to Jessica, and she tries to bring them all back to reality but it is hard as the stories grow and Mariah’s actions kind of feed into it.

Mariah goes to Nate to get fire insurance and question about the house-but they do not have records that far back as there was a really bad fire and the records were lost.. Lydia also is there to speak to Nate abut more insurance since their break in.

In the next scene we see Dr. Seth helping Mariah carry paint home. Jessica sees them and warns Mariah to beware of fires-the paint is highly flammable. Hmmm.

Suspicious

That night Nate’s shed burns down and there was a pentagram on the door. They try to question what was in it, but that is all buried under witch questions.

Everyone starts talking about how Rebecca Abbott said she would return in storm and fire and death, which is what happened since Mariah Osbourne came to town.

Things don’t get better at rehearsal. She has all her lines memorized, making people believe maybe their were no lines to memorize-maybe she knew already.

During the rehearsal Mariah adds in some lines at Lydia’s character, calling her a bitter and barren woman. Lydia becomes furious-everyone protests-but Mariah assures them she pulled it from the actual trial records.

Hmmm….

Seth calls a break, and Mariah and Judge Willard Clinton flirt. That night he finds a note from “Rachel” to meet him at the belltower for a secret rendezvous. When he gets there, rose petals are everywhere and he is pushed out the window to his death.

SPLAT!

Sheriff Mort and JB discuss the case-Mort knowing that Mariah isn’t a witch-but just doesn’t know how to explain all the witchy stuff.

They go to question Mariah and she tries to defend herself and even gives them a writing sample. JB searches the room and finds a scrapbook on “Monica Walker” articles and one of Mariah by a boat.

Oh?

JB tries to get more info-but all the records are gone from city hall and the newspaper. She turns to the only source left-Dr. Seth. Dr. Seth tells her that Monica used to work for Charles and Lydia but was accused of stealing a necklace, and served years in jail-on her release she sold her house and left, never coming back.

JB goes to question Lydia and Charles. Charles is recovering nicely from his fall on the stairs and Lydia put more insurance on he house since the break-in. JB questions what happened to her original necklace, but Lydia never received it back.

Hmm…

JB also sees Charles walking-sees that he is a liar. Jessica doesn’t comment on it, but asks who oversaw the Monica Walker case, it was Willard Clinton.

JB investigates the crime scene and runs into Nate who is also investigating. Jessica finds dark hairs on a nail and takes them to the police.

On the case

Meanwhile, the sheriffs have been working hard. They discover that Mary Lynn Walker was the one who broke into the Winthrop house. They go to Mariah and found out the truth-her name is Mary Lynn and she returned to Cabot Cove because she wanted to clear her mother’s name. She is searching for the necklace or other proof. She claims she did not kill Willard Clinton. She gets arrested anyway.

Jb questions Nate and is pretty sure she has it all figured our when the hairs come back as wig hair instead of real hair.

What?

JB finally puts the screws to Lydia and she spills. Her husband was cheating on her with Monica Walker. So Lydia conspired with Nate to stage a fake robbery, and have Monica Walker framed for the murder, with Willard Clinton helping her. When he met Mariah/Mary Lynn he started to feel bad, and in order to keep her secret, she murdered him.

JB has solved another case and kept her head in the midst of it all.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to You Don’t Know Which Way to Turn, There’s No Place to Hide, Nowhere to run…: The Blue Gardenia (1953)

For more Jessica Fletcher, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Angela Lansbury, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

For more witches, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

Day 1) A is for Apocalyptical: Choose a book with an apocalyptic theme

Fahrenheit451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my absolute favorite books. I first was introduced to it at the age of 10, when I came across my parents watching the German film. I didn’t quite understand it, so my mom gave me the book to read. Since then I read it at least once a year.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

Every time I read this book it shocks me with how accurate it is in portraying the culture of today. I was amazed at that age, but this most recent time when I read the book, it really struck me with exactly how spot on it is.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The book was published in 1953, and is set in a Dystopian future. No year is given, although it is done after 1960. In this future reading is outlawed

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Books are an illegal substance,

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and the firemen’s job is to burn the offensive material.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t know about you all, but a world without books sounds like a catastrophic end of the world to me. After all:

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Guy Montag has always lived life the way culture dictates; has a good paying job, married, no kids as they are bothersome and their are already too many, multiple wall screens to stream TV, etc.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

But then one night everything changes. He meets the daughter of his new next door neighbor, Clarisse, who doesn’t like firemen.

“And you must be-…the fireman.’ Her voice trailed off.

‘How oddly you say that.’

‘I’d- I’d have known it with my eyes shut,’ she said, slowly.

‘What- the smell of kerosene? My wife always complains,’ he laughed. ‘You never wash it off completely.’

No you don’t,’ she said, in awe.” [pg. 4]

She starts talking about all kinds of things, like how firemen at one time didn’t burn things but helped stop fires. She even questions whether he ever reads the books he burns.

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Clarisse is completely counter to the culture of the day and a throwback to the past.

OldFashioned

 For instance, she doesn’t like this obsession with everything has to be in a hurry, driving all is blur with no one taking the time to look, examine, or have have patience. In fact her uncle was jailed for driving 40 mi/hrs, as it was far too “slow”.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Clarisse also likes to go out for walks and and look at the sky, stars, or moon. Something else everyone finds as weird or odd.

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This reminds me so much of our culture today. Everything needs to be instant-instant news, fast food, all TV shows, etc. No patience, no waiting. My niece and I were watching a show on Netflix, and she asked me why they would have these moments where they pause, go to black, and then do a review of what we already seen. I actually had to explain that they used to show these episodes on TV, and there would be commercials in-between. Because you might get people who just tuned in and didn’t see the beginning, and were unable to see the beginning (unless they purchased it on VHS or DVD, they would repeat it for them. And then I had to explain that streaming is something new, prior to it you had to  wait a week for the next episode; and when the season ended you had to wait 6 months to a year for the next season.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Now here is a child who has grown up on the world of streaming and the internet and never, ever experienced having to wait for something.

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Just like in this.

Anyways, when Montag returns home he finds his wife, Mildred, almost dead, having sucked down a lot of pills. He calls the hospital and they don’t even bother sending an ambulance. So many people these days are trying to kill themselves and end their life with pills, they have a machine like a black snake to pump the stomach.

The next day, Mildred doesn’t remember anything about what happened that night, and all she cares about is her “family” a TV show she follows.

Ringu Watch TV

There are all kinds of people suffering in the world or “real issues” that need to be talked about, but are all glossed over by entertainment. All people care about is the TV screens, wanting this giant Wall to Wall circuit. And the shows they watch have no real themes or content to them. Just mindless chatter.

When I reread this, it made me think of the reality shows we have that are just the same thing again and again, no real changes or real content. Keeping Up with the Kardashians for example. Or the endless dating shows looking for love like Flav O FlavMy Fair Brady, etc. Or The X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, etc, And people care more about these shows then real things.

We are strange people.

We are strange people.

Then Montag runs into Clarisse.  She talks to him, really talks just about anything and everything. Because she isn’t “normal” they force her to o to a psychiatrist.

“They want to know what I do with all my time. I tell them that sometimes I just sit and think.” [pg. 20]

In fact that is something she and her family like to do, just sit around and talk no devices, go out and walk just talking. In this world conversation is dead, no one really talks anymore. Sound familiar?

“He laughed.

She glanced quickly over. ‘Why are you laughing?’

‘I don’t know.’ He started to laugh again and stopped. ‘Why?’

‘You laugh when I haven’t been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I’ve asked you.” [pg. 6]

It gets him thinking, and thinking is dangerous in a dystopian world.

“He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding upon the other.” [pg. 21]

Clarrise is a great character because she represents a type of person that is fading out. The one who is still holding on to the values of the past. A type of person who wants to think for herself instead of being spoonfeed an idea from the Internet, government, or teachers.

“I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this…But I don’t think it is social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?…We never ask questions…they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing…It’s a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it’s wine when it’s not.” [pg. 27]

The other thing I love about Clarrise os that she is so easily relatable, at least to me she is. She is disconnected to her generation because she doesn’t have the same values as they do she is more old fashioned, and because of that she is an 80 year old in a 17 year old’s body. I know exactly how that feels. I love reading, creating things by hand, having things until they wear out, not getting the newest stuff. That’s how I been my whole life which makes it hard to find others who value the same thing. I mean I read Emily Post.

“You sound so old.’

‘Sometimes I’m ancient.” [pg. 27]

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Clarrise hates this world of blandness and nothingness.

“People don’t talk about anything.’

‘Oh, they must!’

‘No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else.” [pg. 28]

Clarisse opens Montag’s mind up to the way the world is and how it should be, and before he knows it, she and her whole family are gone.

You question in a dystopian world and you are gone.

You question in a dystopian world and you are gone.

He asks Captain Beatty if it is true that fireman used to stop fires instead of creating them.

Not good

Not good

The rest if the firemen are uneasy, but Captain Beatty knows it is natural for at one pint a fireman to question things. He shows him the history of the firemen and when they were first established.

“Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.

Rules

  1. Answer the alarm quickly.
  2. Start the fire swiftly.
  3. Burn everything.
  4. Report back to the firehouse immediately.
  5. Stand alert for other Alarms.

Before anything else can be done, an alarm sounds and the group heads out. They reach the place and apprehend a women, demanding to know where her contraband is. She won’t tell them but quotes Hugh Latimer.

“Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

The fireman don’t understand this, but Hugh Latimer was executed for his protestantism, under the ruling of catholic Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s older sister. He was burned alive for his beliefs, which is foreshadowing as to what is to come.

Not good

They find the books and are going to burn them like they always do, except this night is different. This woman, Mrs. Blake, stands their silently judging them.

Mehsleepyhollownotimportant

Montag begins burning everything, but instead of just being things, they feel more alive, like killing animals.

I don't like it 11

They burn everything, ready to decimate the building, but Mrs. Blake won’t leave. She refuses to give up her books. The fireman leave, ready to let her die; but Montag tries to help her. She refuses as she holds in her hand a match.

Not good

Not good

Willing to die for her beliefs.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

I think that is why I love this book so much, the fact that it truly explains a connection people have not just to the book but to the author’s thoughts and ideas. Destroying a book is more than destroying a physical object, it is trying to kill the person who created it.

“It’s not just the woman that died…Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I’d never even thought that thought before…It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life and then I come along in two minutes and boom! it’s all over.” [pg. 49]

Montag returns home after the horror with a secret:

“His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up his wrists and into the elbows and his shoulders, and then the jump-over from shoulder blade to shoulder blade like a spark leaping a gap. His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything…He balanced in space with the book in his sweating cold fingers.” [pg. 38]

Wordsdrug

Montag realizes how empty his life is, he married his wife ten years ago, but can’t fathom why. He doesn’t love her and she doesn’t love him. They don’t talk, they spend no time together, and all she does is watch TV or listen to her device with her little seashell headphones that go in her ears practically disappearing from view. Both people are empty, full of nothingness. There is countless walls between them through the TV shows she watches and she is more connected to those fake creations on the screen than her own husband.

All Mildred does is watch TV, yet even that is so empty that you if ask questions what is it even about Mildred doesn’t know. Mildred doesn’t know anything. It’s like she is on drugs, the way her memory and mind is so foggy.

She is like a zombie.

She is like a zombie.

The next day Montag is sick, not physically but mentally, and philosophically. The death of the woman has troubled him dearly and he can’t understand it.

“You weren’t there, you didn’t see,’ he said. There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” [pg. 48]

booksWordsChangetheWorld

Mildred doesn’t understand it and think that Montag is crazy for taking the death of a stupid radical this way. He should focus on work, on making more money, so they can get more things and TVs and such.

“Let me alone,’ said Mildred. ‘I didn’t do anything.’

‘Let you alone! That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long has it been since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” [pg. 49]

Then Beatty shows up as Montag has been missing from work. He figured it out that Montag has been questioning the world they live in. So he gives them the spiel he gives out to bring those on the edge back to reality.

“Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths…Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of paste pudding norm…in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids…Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve line dictionary resume…

Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click, Pic, Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom!…Whirl a man’s mind around so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought.

…philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?” [pgs 51-53]

Life today. Now this part here really gets me with how PC you have to be 24/7, the littlest infraction and you are out.

“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico…The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean.

Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca…But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive, And the dimensional sex magazines of course.

There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick…Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time…

With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual’, of course became the swear word it deserved to be…

We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man in the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, judge themselves against…”

Horrifying, yet that is the world we live in. You don’ like it, they destroy it; and that is happening now. A book about George Washington’s slave, who liked him because she saved his life from an assassination plot, making him a birthday cake was pulled because it isn’t p.c. Uncle Tom’s Cabin? No longer read because it is “cruel to blacks”, when it wasn’t. People don’t even read the book, but destroy it because it might hurt someone’s feelings. The remake of Red Dawn? Last minute had to be rewritten as it might hurt China’s feelings.

Captain Beatty lets them know they got rid of the girl as she was too crazy and out there.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Life’s better bland, nothing to worry about, pleasant life, no problems, no nothing.

He tells Montag it is okay to check out a book, just one, as there is nothing in there. He’ll read it and burn it afterward.

After Beatty left, Montag is furious, but instead of taking something to make him happy, he has 20 books hidden in the house. He has decided to read them, sharing them with Mildred.

Montag goes to see Professor Faber, a man he ran into before. Faber used to work at a liberal arts college, but they closed it down as it was no longer important. He wants to know how to understand the books, to learn and Faber is the only one he has left.

Faber tells him we need three things in life:

“Number one: Do you know why books such as these are so important? Because they have quality…This book has pores…You’d find life under the glass, streaming past infinite profusion…The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” [pg. 79]

And the second? Leisure. Now Montag brings up that we have plenty of leisure, but he means actual time set aside to read, not bombarded with all types of  things.

“You can’t argue with a four-wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’

‘…You can shut [books], say ‘Hold on a moment.’ You play God to it. But who has ever torn himself away from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlor? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason. But with all my knowledge and skepticism, I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred-piece-symphony orchestra, full color, three dimensions…” [pg. 80]

And thirdly the ability to carry out the actions learned from it.

Montag thinks they can change the world by planting books on all the firemen, to bring them down. But Faber knows it won’t help, it isn’t the fireman that created this rule but the public who wanted people to stop reading.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

That’s right, we did when we stopped reading.

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Montag is afraid to go out as Beatty might mix him up again. Faber gives him these devices so he can put it in his ear so that he can hear Faber. That night he goes home and sees that Mildred is having a party.

Montag is horrified by these women. One just marries, divorces, marries, divorces, no emotions whatsoever. The other has kids who are in school constantly, and never sees them as she doesn’t care. They discuss politics. voting for people based on how they look and their names, rather than what they actually say or want to do.

Montag reads to them but they don’t understand. They’ve been too distorted with TV and the culture with no substance.

Captain Beatty knows that Montag has been reading and plays with him, using the books he clings to to rebut his arguments. They leave as they have a call, and it turns out that it is Montag’s house

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Mildred put in the alarm and she is heartbroken. But what saddens her the most? Losing her TV family

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Yes, not her husband, home, etc.

Montag is forced to destroy his own home, and afterwards destroys the firemen. After all, his whole life he has been taught, you have a problem, burn it.

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He has now become a fugitive and runs. Not knowing where, but just continuing to run.

After running, he plants the books in other firemen’s houses. Montag stops to see Faber, finds out the Hound (the firemen’s robotic assassin) is after them, and continues to take off. Never knowing where he is to go next, but running.

He runs into the country until the end of the all known. He stops when he reaches an area with men siting near a campfire and TV set. They give him a potion to change his perspiration, but it is’t really necessary. The Hound needs to find someone, as after all this is TV, the people need the answer.

They find some poor sop who looks like Montag and kill him to save face.

These men are former professors , intellectuals, etc; who have been running from the law. Each one has taken in a new life, the life of a book. These books are locked away in an area they can never be taken from. The mind.

Eventually the hope is to one day reenter society and bring the books they have been passing orally to the world.

“Do you really think they will listen then?’

‘If not then we’ll just have to wait…you can’t make people listen. They have to come around in their own time…” [pg. 146]

And what book does Montag choose to be? Ecclesiastes.

Besides this fantastic story, we have the amazing language and the great way it was written. Take the beginning:

“It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmut numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.” [pgs. 1-2]

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This book is only 158 pages, barely any pages, but there is so much power is in that. Amazing amounts of power. I just love this book.

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Remember:

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Turn your TV, computer, cell phone, and any other device you have off for a while and pick up a book instead.

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To read more 30 Day challenges go to 30 Day Challenge: All About Me!

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For more on Fahrenheit 451, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Dystopian futures, go to Remember, Remember The 5th of November

For more on being old-fashioned, go to Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

For more Cassandra Clare, go to Drug of Choice

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So last year I posted a Christmas Carol every day in December and I really enjoyed it. I had so much fun picking out the songs, I decided to bring it back.

So with everything going on in the world, and the way people have been acting: I think we need a little Christmas in our lives. So I choose that song.

We Need a Little Christmas is from the musical Mame based on the novel Aunt Mame. In the story Mame gains guardianship of her nephew and starts to raise him. At this point in the musical, Mame has lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. With everything practically gone, she decides to have Christmas early as she doesn’t know what will happen.

Of course that isn’t the end of the play as Mame has many more interesting antics. However, this song is great and just the right thing to put us in the mood.

This version is sung by Angela Lansbury, from the first musical cast of Aunt Mame.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

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For more on Angela Lansbury, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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

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…Because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I’m mad, I’m rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!

So last year I reviewed the Alfred Hitchcock film Under Capricorn. In the post, I mentioned how it wasn’t widely received or enjoyed by critics and audiences, one of the reasons being its similarity to this film, and because starred two of the same actors; Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. I personally like Under Capricorn better, but let’s take a look at this film.

So the movie is based on a play, and a remake of the film that came out four years prior to this one. It won an Oscar for best set design, best actress, and critical praise for all actors.

This is a historical fiction film, taking place at the turn of the century. The name of the film comes from the gaslights used in houses. Lights in the London house are from fixtures with gas flames, and when you light one light, it reduces gas supply to the other lights in the house that are close by, causing the lights to dim.

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Renowned opera singer, Alice Alquist, is strangled to death in her London home, No. 9 Thornton square. The thief is searching for her famed emeralds, but is interrupted and flees. Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), Alice’s niece,  has been living with her aunt ever since her parents died. She finds the body and becomes completely traumatized.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She moves to Italy, where she studies music, following in the footsteps of her aunt.

Ten years later, Paula confesses to her voice teacher, Maestro Guardi, that she has finally been able to move past that point and has fallen in love.

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Maestro doesn’t want to lose his most talented student, but wants Paula to be happy, and encourages her to follow her heart.

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She does and accepts the proposal of the handsome Gregory Anton, a pianist she has only known two weeks.

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During their honeymoon, Gregory tells Paula he has always dreamed of living in a fashionable London square. Anxious to please her hubby, she suggests that they move into her aunt’s house.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

When they move in Paula begins to have nightmares about what she saw before.

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Gregory tells her that it will help is they remove everything that belonged to her aunt up into the attic, sealing it up. But then strange things start happening.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

The flame keeps going down, although no other lights nearby are being used. Why is it dimming!!

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

And what is making that weird noise in a sealed attic. Gregory doesn’t hear anything at all, and Paula begins thinking she might be going crazy!

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One day Paula discovers a note to her aunt.

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It was dated two days before her murder, from a Sergius Bauer. He begged to see Paula’s aunt, very intensely. She shows it to Gregory who becomes upset over the whole thing and quickly silences Paula.

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It is clear there is more to this man than his charming, suave, and handsome personality.

Meanwhile, Paula continues to hear things even though Gregory and the servants say that there is nothing. Paula starts questioning herself, and becomes more insecure every day.

I don't know what to do

To make matters worse, Gregory has hired a saucy, young maid, Nancy. She os played by Angela Lansbury in her first film role. This maid is rude and cruel to Paula, making her feel worse and even crazier. Nancy is also making a ploy for Gregory.

Nancy Oliver: Gonna work on your tunes again tonight, sir? You’re always working, aren’t you?

Gregory Anton: Yes. What are you doing with your evening out?

Nancy Oliver: Oh, I’m going to a music hall… [starts to sing ‘Up in a balloon’]

Gregory Anton: I’ve never been to an English music hall.

Nancy Oliver: Oh, you don’t know what you’ve missed, sir…

Gregory Anton: And whom are you going to the music hall with?

Nancy Oliver: A gentleman friend, sir.

Gregory Anton: Oh, now you know, Nancy, don’t you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.

Nancy Oliver: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself – when I want to.

Gregory Anton: You know, Nancy, it strikes me that you’re not at all the kind of girl that your mistress should have for a housemaid.

Nancy Oliver: [flirtatiously] No, sir? She’s not the only one in the house – is she?

Paula’s life is quickly becoming worse and worse.

Three months later, Paula and Gregory are going to go to a Tower of London tour. Gregory gives her a brooch that once belonged to his grandmother. He warns her to be careful, as the clasp is broken, and not to lose it. Paula puts it in her purse, but while they are at the tour she starts to worry that she lost it. When she checks the purse, it is gone!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

While looking at the crown jewels exhibit, she is approached by Brian Cameron. In the original play and film, this character was stout and elderly. However, that didn’t suit Hollywood. So instead they made him the young and very attractive Joseph Cotten.

LOL Cotton and Cotton

So Brian greets her very warmly. It turns out he was a huge fan of her aunt, and momentarily mistook her for the aunt. Gregory doesn’t like Brian and questions Paula about him, but she insists that she has never met him before.

That night Paula confesses about losing the brooch, and Gregory yells at her “forgetfulness” that is running rampant. It seems that Paula is always forgetting things and hearing things that aren’t there.

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That night Paula sees the gaslights dimming again, and also hears noises that sound like footprints.

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Why is this happening to her? Why is she going crazy??!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Two months later, Brian comes around Thornton Square. He is curious about Paula as he has never seen her anywhere, even though they run in the same social circles. He should have seen her at a party.

He goes to question Paula’s neighbor, when he notices Paula about to leave the house. Before she can go out, she is bullied by Nancy to stay in. It is clear who thinks they are the mistress of the house.

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From The Picture of Dorian Gray

It turns out that Brian is more than a music lover, he works for Scotland Yard.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

He goes to the office and starts looking into the case file on Alice Alquist’s murder. Alice was given some amazing jewels from a secret admirer, all which are missing now. Did the thief manage to get them all? Or did Alice hide them very well?

suspicious Hmm

He is convinced that Paula is in danger, and assigns a detective to watch over her house.

Meanwhile, Paula is convinced that the maid is trying to get rid of her. She tries to talk about this with Gregory, but he thinks it is just an addition to her madness, there is paranoia.

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Brian poses as the neighbor’s nephew. He tries to see her, when Gregory refuses. Paula is shocked at his behavior, why is he being so rude?

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Her mood quickly changes when Gregory tells her that he is taking her to the theater. However, before they leave Gregory accuses Paula of taking a painting down.

Paula never did any such thing.

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Gregory finds the painting on the stairs, and tells her that this is the third time she has done it. She is getting worse.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Paula reveals to him about the noises she has been hearing and Gregory tells her she is too unwell to go out. Now Paula is stuck at home and scared that she might get sent away to a mental institution.

Gregory leaves to his music studio, while Paula is home alone and hearing the strange noises.

Why is this happening?!!

Why is this happening?!!

Brian is invited to a piano concert at Lord and Lady Dalroy. Gregory and Paula were invited but Gregory refused, as he believes Paula is too sick. Paula is furious and tells him she wants to go and will go without him. Gregory changes his mind and agrees to accompany her.

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When they get to the concert, Gregory tells Paula that his watch is missing. Paula ends up finding it in her purse, even though she knows she never put it in there, and causes a huge scene, Gregory then deciding to take her home.

When they reach the house, Paula says that all her problems began when she found that letter to her Aunt from Sergius Bauer. Gregory tells her he has no idea what she is talking about as no such letter ever existed.

Is she crazy? Or is there someone trying to make her think she is crazy?

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Gregory yells at Paula, telling her she is going as crazy as her mother. He informs her that as she is going insane, he has already arranged for two doctors to examine and treat her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Gregory leaves, and when he does Brian and another officer follow him, but lose him in the fog.

Inside, Paula hears the footsteps again and asks the cook if she hears anything. The cook says no, this just reenforces to Paula that she is crazy!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Brian has been watching  the house and figured out that when Gregory leaves, he doesn’t go to his music studio but into the deserted No. 5 and crosses the roof into the attic of No. 9.

The next night, Brian waits until Gregory has left the house, and then goes in to see Paula, trying to convince her she is sane.

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Upstairs, Gregory is in the attic tearing everything apart as he is searching for something.

Downstairs, Brian forces Gregory’s desk opens and finds that Gregory’s gun is missing. Paula also finds the note that Gregory told her “doesn’t exist.”

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

They compare the letter to Gregory’s writing, and Brian figures out that Gregory is Sergius Bauer, the man he suspected killed Paula’s aunt. He was searching for the jewels and couldn’t find them, having to leave that night, and resurfacing to marry Paula to gain access to the jewels.

Upstairs, Gregory has finally found the jewels in an opera costume. When the gaslights pick up, Brian knows it is time to get out of there. He takes off and then goes up through No. 5 to the attic.

Gregory comes downstairs and finds his desk broken.

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He yells at Paula, but is interrupted by Brian who has come through the attic with the destroyed costume.

Gregory Anton: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.

Brian Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.

Gregory rushes upstairs and the two fight. A gunshot rings out!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

Paula runs upstairs to see what happened. There she finds Gregory tied up in a chair.

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And we have what I think is the best scene in the movie.

Brian comes to take him away.

Gregory Anton: I don’t ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire – a fire in my brain that separated us – those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don’t know why… Goodbye, Paula.

Brian consoles Paula, telling her he will always be around if she needs him.

From Under Capricorn

From Under Capricorn

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I know that Ingrid Bergman actually studied people suffering from different issues, observing at a local mental hospital, but I felt her delivery in Under Capricorn was much stronger than this one.

Otherwise, it is not a bad film and a pretty good thriller.halloween banner

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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For more Ingrid Bergman, go to The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

For more on Angela Lansbury, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who Was To Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

For more on husbands that are more than what they seem, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more historical fiction films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more remakes, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

LifeofaFangirl

Yep another Fangirl post, chock full of all the things I love. Be sure to check out a few of these as they are awesome and you are sure to enjoy them almost as much as me.

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Eureka

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Eureka is a show that is The Twilight Zone merged with Twin Peaks. Now I know most of you are probably scratching your heads at those references, but I will be talking about them later in a future post.

I remember when SciFi, or SyFy as it is now called, first brought this show on TV. I thought it was an interesting idea and happy that they set it in Northern California as people always forget that there is a lot more in California than just San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I wasn’t into it, but my sister would watch it. It wasn’t until Amazon put it up on Prime that I started watching it and getting into the series.

So U.S. Marshal, Jack Carter, is bringing his daughter home to Los Angeles from who knows where she had run away to. It is late and raining and the two get lost, crashing the car. They walk into the nearby town of Eureka, Oregon (I don’t know why they didn’t just use Eureka, California). With their car messed up, they have to stay in the town a few days and discover that it isn’t any regular area. It is a town full of scientists, giving them a place where they can work and create in privacy. Nearby is the company Global Dynamics that employees most of the scientists, contracting to the military. While they are there, one of the townspeople are creating a time machine that causes a huge rift in time and almost destroys the town. Jack Carter is able to come up with a plan to help over come it, and due to his efforts is promoted from U.S. Marshal to Sheriff of Eureka.

What I like about Eureka is that the Sheriff is very smart but also very much a regular guy. This makes him extremely relatable and also allows him to solve the hard cases, with help, in that he has a different way of viewing things than anyone else. Each episode revolves around a crisis involving an invention, along with giving us clues to a mystery that runs the whole season. It is a very fun and good show and I highly recommend it to anyone into science and mysteries.

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Make It or Break It

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I started watching this show because I loved the film Stick It and had wished, too late, to be a gymnast. If I could go back in time I think I would try it, whether or not I would compete and try for the Olympics. Anyways, this show is about four girls trying to achieve the dream of Olympic gold, while at the same time dealing with family, friends, and regular teenage girl stuff.

First we have Kaylie Cruz (Josie Loren), who is rich as both her parents used to be famous and are rich. She is secretly dating fellow gymnast Carter, which has to be a secret as dating is not allowed in the gym or by her parents. Carter ends up sleeping with Kaylie’s best friend Lauren, as Kaylie wouldn’t sleep with him. Most of the first season is Carter trying to keep it a secret, Lauren trying to win him, and Kaylie being oblivious. When she finds out she is pissed, but eventually forgives Lauren. Kaylie goes on to win the National Chap and has a better chance at getting the gold. Afterwards, Kaylie feels a lot of pressure as everyone had expected Payson to win, and feel as if Kaylie didn’t deserve her title as Payson was out with a back injury. She constantly feels as if she has to defend herself and her talents. The gym brings on Austin Tucker (Zane Holtz), who I really liked, but Kaylie dislikes. Kaylie also becomes anorexic as the pressures from the gym, her father and mother, her parent’s divorce, and a need to be in control. Now a lot of people made fun of this as abcfamily was trying too hard or something, but I thought this was done very realistically and well in regarding what it is like to be anorexic and how other issues can compound into it. Austin sees what is going on and helps her come to terms with it and seek help. While Kaylie is recuperating, she starts singing and hanging out with Damon. She eventually is ready for worlds, bringing in the gold. The third season sees Kaylie on the team in London, getting ready for the gold and Austin’s girlfriend.

Payson Keeler (Ayla Kell) is from a middle class family that is always struggling to get the money to support their daughter’s dream. Payson is extremely focused on her goals, being the best of all the girls on the team. In the first season Lauren‘s father blackmails their coach, getting rid of him. Sasha Belov is brought in, and Payson is ecstatic as he is one of her idols. When they hear of a party in the area, Payson does not want to go, but ends up coming too as she wants to make sure the other girls stay out of trouble. She has some back problems, but conceals it from everyone. She ends up damaging herself and loses her chance at worlds and messes up her back completely. In the second season she starts a relationship with Nicky Russo, played by Cody Longo. This didn’t go far as he ended up leaving the series. I was sad about this as I LOVED him. I was also sad as every guy Payson started to get with, ended up disappearing shortly after they proclaimed their feelings. Payson was the best as she worked through her trauma and disappointment to try other things, and was brave enough to try an experimental project, restoring her. When she comes back, her body isn’t exactly the same and she finds herself not being able to do the same things, changing to be one on grace. She gets involved with Max, Austin’s friend, and they start dating, but then he left to be the lead guy on Revenge. She goes on making it to London, and meeting a guy there.

Lauren Tanner (Cassie Scerbo) is the rich, spoiled, princess as she is the apple of her dad’s eye and used to getting anything she wants. She wants Carter, and his constant denying her for Kaylie makes her incredibly angry and want him more. Kaylie finds out and is angry, but the two work through their issues and become friends again. A new guy, Max, comes into the gym and is into Payson, but Lauren wants him and bad. She constantly tries to seduce him, not always getting the responses she desires. On one of their dates she gets in a car accident, she’s okay but Max is out of the competition. She eventually focuses on her gymnastics and sees herself setting off for London.

Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbes) is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She has a single mother who does nails, and later works as a waitress at a strip club to make ends meet. She also has a younger brother in a wheelchair. She has been trying for years to get into a gym, and eventually scores a scholarship. She faces the most issues out of the girls as she has money she is trying to earn to stay afloat, trying to take care of her brother, and trying to befriend girls who have been friends for years and hate her. Eventually, they all become friends, but it takes quite a while. She meets this guy, Razor at work and kind of likes him; but when he goes out of town, his best friend Damon fills in for him. Damon was the best character, and when the series got weird and too silly, he was the anchor I loved, the reason I watched.

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Yep, he was awesome. He was always there for her, he helped her practice, he got her family to Nationals, he brought Radiohead, when she wanted to wait to have sex he was all for it, when she decided she wanted to be with him and ended up pregnant (the actress was pregnant in real life) he went after to her to help raise the baby. He was awesome and hot…and I love him. 🙂

swoon dreamy

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Michael Crichton

History

For me the love of this author began with one book Jurassic Park. You see I have always loved the series, it is one of my all-time favorites, (and you can read a review here). After one of my constant viewings, my mother mentioned it was based on the novel. I decided to start reading his book, buying every one I would find in a book sale. I still have one to go, The Andromeda Strain, but besides that I have read everything he has ever written. I love all his writings as the characters are great, the plot always suspenseful, and I love the melding of science-fiction and technology with horror, history, etc. Almost every book has been turned into a film, but sadly I have yet to view how they all were done. Each one is amazing and I recommend them all.

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park- In this book, a genetic company has decided to try to bring back dinosaurs. By using frog DNA to fill in the gaps, they have created new versions of the creatures. John Hammond, the head of the company, has asked a group of people to visit and review his island. Ready to review is paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant; paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Slatter; Ian Malcolm; and Hammond’s two grandchildren. Of course, “life can find a way”, and these creatures do what they want to; causing havoc on the island. This has quite a few differences then the film, with the dinosaurs escaping the island; a pterodactyl fight, more deaths of the group, and no relationship between Dr. Grant and Dr. Slatter. However, I think both are done very well and could watch the movie or read the book again and again.

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The Lost World- Now when I first watched the movie, I thought it was okay and denoted it as my least fav in the series. However, after I read the book,  I had to agree that the movie was better. This book was okay, it moves much slower than the original and doesn’t have as many lovable characters. In this book, Hammond reveals that there is a second island of creatures that survived from the previous book. He sends in Malcolm with a crew of people, and two stowaway kids. This isn’t a horrible book, but just pales in comparison to the original.

Timeline- This is one of my mother’s absolute favorite books, and she would constantly talk about how great it was. I decided that this would be the next book that I would read of Crichton, and it was AMAZING! I love this book so much. We have group of graduate students and archeologists, all working in Medieval history. One is focused on architecture, one on technology, one on fighting, etc. They find an amazing discovery, and are immediately swept off to a secret organization that has produced a technology allowing traveling through time, right back to medieval times. The group goes to find a friend sent before, and find that living history is fun, but also incredibly dangerous. The film was also really good, starring Paul Walker and Gerard Butler, the only thing I disliked about it was that in the book each person encountered what they were studying, helping them further their research. In the movie they cut that out, sadly.

Airframe- Just an ordinary day and an ordinary flight from Hong Kong to Denver. That all changes when it crashes with a hundred injured and three killed. What happened to the flight? It’s up to investigators to discover who was at fault; the plane, the airport, or the pilot?

A Case of Need- This was Crichton’s first novel and utilizes his medical training. The book is set in a Boston Medical Center, where a patient receiving surgery is killed. Is it just an accident or murder?

Congo- Deep in the Congo, near the ancient city of Zinj, eight American geologists are brutally and mysteriously murdered. Karen Ross, the project supervisor back in America, watches video feed of the massacre. In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot has been able to teach a gorilla named Amy over 600 signs, finger painting, etc. Lately, Amy has been acting strangely and painting horrible things, that Peter thinks maybe it is time to take her home. A map from the 17th century supposedly leading to Zinj matches up with Amy’s finger paintings exactly. When all three parties intersect, a strange expedition sets out to discover what holds Zinj. This was made into a less than stellar film, of which I will review in Horrorfest IV.

Disclosure- This is an interesting book, although it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. Thomas Sander has had a bad day. He is passed over for a promotion by an old flame, and his new tech is having some glitches. When his boss asks him over for drinks, she immediately comes on to him. He refuses, and leaves. The next day she is charging him with sexual harassment and Sanders is fired. Luckily for Sanders, he accidentally recorded what happened and tries to turn the case around and sue his boss. But Sanders start wondering, why would his boss do that? Was she so upset that he turned her down? Or is there more to this case then meets the eye?

Eaters of the Dead- This is a retelling of Beowulf told from the point of an Arab courtier, who finds himself unwilling dragged along a quest to destroy the monster, Grendal. This too was turned into a film I have yet to watch, but starring Antonio Banderas.

Five Patients- This is a non-fiction volume that tells of Crichton’s experiences as an intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Great Train Robbery- This is another novel that I love. Based on the historical event, Crichton once again is able to meld the account with amazing characters. In this, the charming and persuasive Edward Pierce easily moves through society in Victorian London, all the while plotting the crime of the century…The Great Train Robbery.

Prey- This one of my all-time favorite books. The way Crichton writes it, it is so haunting and amazing. I don’t want to give too much away as you REALLY should read it.

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Jack Forman lost his job and took on being the one taking care of his daughter and the home. His wife works at Xymos Corporation and has been acting weird. Other things start to seem strange, but Jack thinks it is nothing but his imagination. When his wife hires him on, he discovers that the mirco-bots that Xymos produces are not as benign as he was told. In fact, there is much more horrifying things happening than Forman could ever imagine.

Rising Sun-During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of a Japanese company, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners. This two was turned into a film I have yet to view.

Sphere- This book always makes me think of the film Forbidden Planet. In this a spaceship on the floor of the ocean is discovered. Scientists prepare an expedition and head down to the ship, discovering a ship over 300 years old and holding a power much stronger than any could imagine. This power gives them increased abilities and paranoia. One scientists starts using his power to attack the ship and people, but which one? I really, really loved the book and couldn’t stop reading it the first time I had it. They turned this also into a film, of which I have had problems getting my hands on it. When I do see it, you can bet it will be a part of a future Horrorfest.

State of Fear- In this book Crichton spins a tale of political conspiracy. As eco-terrorists and global warming are the biggest issues ands causing all kinds of destruction, one investigator starts wondering if whether this is just a smokescreen for something far more sinister.

The Terminal Man- Harry Benson suffers from horrible seizures that cause violent outbursts. He is experimented on and has electrodes placed deep in his brain’s pleasure centers, effectively short-circuiting Harry’s seizures with pulses of bliss. The surgery is successful, but while Benson is in recovery, he escapes and his violent impulses have grown; leaving a horror in his wake.

Travels- An account of Michael Crichton’s travels abroad and all over the world.

Next- This is his last complete novel and is an amazing story. In a world where we focus on our genes, what diseases we might carry, taking apart our genome; Crichton speaks on how such technology can get out of hand. A man going in for tests ends up having his blood and genes patented and in a sense sells his children into slavery of a company. A man who wins custody from his wife on the basis of her high possibility of becoming afflicted with deadly diseases; and an ape human born of gene splicing.

Pirate Latitudes- This was Crichton’s last book, but was unfinished. It was a “complete” manuscript, but was missing the special Crichton charm that each story has. Jamaica in 1665 is the home of people willing to go after gold and riches of the Spanish and Portuguese. If caught they are pirates, if they make it out with the wealth then England gets a cut and everyone is happy. Captain Edward Hunter is one such type and decides to go after the dangerous island of El Trinidad. A crazy scheme that will have enormous bounty if it succeeds, or incredible death if it fails; leads Captain Hunter and his team on a a swashbuckling adventure.

For more on Michael Crichton, go to Just Follow the Screams: The Lost World (1997)

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The Mentalist

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So I started watching this show on accident. The episode “Red Handed” came on after something else I was watching. In the episode “Red Handed” the CBI (California Bureau of Investigations) team discovers a right hand straddling the California and Nevada state lines. After measuring it, they discover that it is inside the California boundary, and therefore the CBI’s responsibility. After that I was hooked. I caught up on the previous episodes and became a big fan.

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So the series is about Patrick Jane, played by the incredibly handsome Simon Baker, who is a “psychic” consultant to the CBI.

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Patrick Jane has such style. He only drinks tea, he has an Aston Martin, and always dresses amazingly sharp. Anyways, Patrick Jane isn’t really a psychic. He is extremely intelligent and observant, a sort of kind, sweet, and charming Sherlock Holmes. He never went to school, but was raised by his swindler father who touted him a psychic in his carnival show. He married a woman from a similar background and the tweo had a daughter, Charlotte. He went on to make millions off his “psychic ability”. It gained the attention of Red John, a serial killer, who murders his wife and child. This brings Jane to consulting with CBI as he does it from his guilt and in order to get a view of the official files. Red John becomes Jane’s Moriarity as in each season Jane continuously searches for him.

The team is lead by Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who is a no-nonsense cop. She is the perfect foil for Jane as Lisbon is tough and serious; while Jane is comedic and more fanciful. They have a platonic relationship, but like Bones and other cop shows there is something simmering under the surface.

Then we have Kimball Cho, who second to Jane is my favorite character. Cho is always reserved and speaks in a monotone.

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But he is very intense as well. He is honest, straightfoward, observant, and altogeether awesome. We later find out that there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. He used to be a baseball player, gang member, and Special Forces.

Then we have Wayne Rigsby who is absolutely adorable, sweet, and charming. He was raised by a dad in motorcycle gangs and coming in and out of prison. He’s more relaxed than Cho, but more serious than Jane. He is also in love with fellow team member Grace Van Pelt. Grace Van Pelt is tough, but sweeter than Lisbon. She has a famous father, and tries to live up to his name. She is always focused on the job, but Rigsby constant infatuation starts her thinking of maybe more with him.

I used to watch this every Thursday without fail, but school got in the way and I am way behind in desperate need of catching up. The show just ended this last February, which saddens me as it was an awesome piece of TV.

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Midsomer Murders

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So I love the library.

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When I was in college I would spend hours in the library; working, reading, watching movies or TV shows. The library had a great selection of movies and TV shows that I really utilized. But that library wasn’t enough for me. I also went to the city library for books and films. Every time I went there I would see the DVDs for the show Midsomer Murders and wanted to check them out, but never felt I had the time. This summer as I would write my blog posts on my computer, I would also watch movies and TV shows on my phone. Or at least try to as I had a little screen. One day Midsomer Murders popped up in related videos and I was estatic watching them. Now youtube doesn’t have every episode and I watched them out of order, but I really, really enjoyed the show. When I got another free month on Netflix I started rewatching the episodes and loved it all over again!

love it

This series is based off a book series and set in England. How their Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) teams works is that they have a county in which they travel all over investigating, sort of like the Sheriff’s department. Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is head of the Midsomer unit and is extremely intelligent and excellent at his job. Unfortunately for his wife, a murder tends to occur whenever she wants to do something, causing Barnaby to miss it. He also has a daughter,  Gillie, who is in college and studying to be an actress. He starts out with his assistant being Sgt. Gavin Troy, who I didn’t like as he wasn’t that bright, and same for his second assistant Sgt. Dan Scott. I really liked his third assistant Ben Jones, because he was very smart and actually helped solve the mysteries. The series is ongoing, but I don’t really like the newer episodes as Tom Barnaby retired and his nephew, John Barnaby, took over. He was good, but Tom was way better. Tom had a way of gathering information that made you not realize how intelligent he was until the end when he is the only one who has put the whole picture together. The mysteries were amazing, and often times really puzzling. The only thing that I kept questioning was, how do these small country towns survive with so many deaths? I highly recommend this for any mystery fan.

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Murder She WroteMurderSheWrote

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show. I grew up watching it and wish they had still played it on TV as I got older as I truly love this show.

Angela Lansbury plays J.B. Fletcher, former high school teacher and now famous mystery author. Every episode Jessica (the J in J.B.) will be minding her own business working on something or visiting a friend and get caught up in a mystery. Usually she can either get someone to share info with her, or is able to have some kind of insight that solves the case. If you love mysteries, then this is a show for you!

For more Murder She Wrote, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heros

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w:outFandoms

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For the previous fangirl post, go to A FANtastic Voyage

Stay tuned for part 11

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I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

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Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

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But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

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So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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

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If only it was the picture who was to grow old, and I remain young. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give for that. Yes, I would give even my soul for it.

So my roommate has been reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and I decided that it was the perfect time to include a post on this film version of the book.

So The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite classics novels, and this movie did a pretty good job of keeping things pretty similar only making a few changes.

So Dorian Gray is a handsome, wealthy, young man living in 19th century England.  While he is an intelligent and educated young man he is very naive and easily manipulated. He is also a people pleaser, and easily changes his opinions and views to suit what others think.

He is having his portrait done by the accomplished artist Basil Hallward. One day, Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton stops by right before a painting appointment. Basil tries to get rid of his friend as he knows that Lord Henry’s cynicism will destry Dorian. In fact Basil has been trying to keep them apart for a long time now. However, it doesn’t work as Dorian shows up for his appointment while Lord Henry is still there.

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Dorian is quickly taken with Lord Henry’s “wisdom” and “philosophy”.  Lord Henry tells Dorian that the only life worth living is one dedicated entirely to pleasure. Lord Henry convinces Dorian that youth and beauty will bring him everything he desires, and that once its over his life is too.

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Dorian becomes depressed at this and nothing Basil says will help him. While Dorian is being painted he wishes that his portrait could age instead of him. He makes this statement in the presence of a certain Egyptian statue, which supposedly has the power to grant wishes. (In the book, there is no mention of an Egyptian statue, in fact in the book they never explain how he stays young forever.)

Dorian’s wish is granted and his soul is transferred to the painting. Now the painting ages instead of him.

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Now that Dorian is only after beauty and pleasure he goes and visits a tavern and falls in love with Sybil Vane, a singer/entertainer. (In the book she was an actress who performed wonderfully and Dorian fell in love with her acting). Dorian hasn’t told Sybil what his name is yet, she refers to him as Sir Tristan her knight. Sybil is played by Angela Lansbery. Donna Reed really wanted this part, but was given Gladys instead.

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Unfortunately, when Lord Henry finds out he is none too pleased. He gives Sybil a “virtue test” which she fails. (In the book Sybil couldn’t pretend to suffer or be in love with her fellow actors as all her love and emotion for Dorian eclipsed them).

The next morning, Lord Henry informs Dorian that Sibyl killed herself. Dorian is freaked out and feels guilty but copies his mentor Lord Henry and acts indifferent. He goes to the opera right after and lives it up. That night, Dorian sees a change in the portrait.  It now has a cruel look to him and Dorian hides it away, afraid that others will see it.  He continues his sinful and heartless life.

Time passes by and Dorian is now entering into his 40th birthday. He still looks as young and beautiful as ever. The painting has now become atrocious and is locked away from everyone. Dorian has even gotten rid of his old servants who might see it.
Ivan Le Lorraine Albright's famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray - which took approximately one year to complete - is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright’s famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray – which took approximately one year to complete – is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

I can’t reveal the rest of the film as if you haven’t read the book it will give away the ending. You should definitely read the book and check out this film.
One thing that is extremely different about this film is that they add an additional relationship. In the movie Basil has a niece, Gladys (played by Donna Reed), that has always had a crush on Dorian and now that he remains young and she has gotten older they are able to connect.
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What else is really interesting is that the movie is black and white except for four times when Dorian Gray’s picture is shown in color.
Sorry to end so abruptly but I’m telling ya that you need to check the ending out for yourself. I would hate myself for ruining it for anyone out there.
Here’s a cover page I made for my facebook this year for my countdown to Halloween.
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For more on Oscar Wilde, go to The Two Times to be Over