There are thirteen chairs at the table.
Yeah, and that’s unlucky.
So I found this film on Amazon Instant Watch. It was an old film with not much of synopsis, but I thought I would take a gamble and try it out. If it sucked, I could just stop and watch something else; if it rocked, then I would have a new great movie to add to my list. A win-win situation.
And as 13 plays a huge role in this film, I decided to post it on October 13 at 13:13pm (1:13 civilian time). 🙂
So the film starts out with a type of dun, dun, dun music across the credits making it dramatic and bringing out shivers.
How come they don’t do that anymore? Today they do a voiceover, narration, or pop song to sell the soundtrack. *Sigh* The world we live in. I miss the dramatic flair we used to have.
So a girl (Helen Parrish) is coming to a house after it being closed up for thirteen years. Not only that, but she decides to go at like 12:00 am, why not wait until daylight?
She asks the cab to wait for her while she goes in the house. I wouldn’t want to, but he’s nice enough to.
She uses a flashlight to check out the rooms, when she notices a phone. A phone?
Weird. Why would there be a phone in a house that’s been closed for thirteen years? And who would do it?
Unfortunately, the phone switchboard operator can’t give out that information. As the girl continues to walk around the house, she decides to try the lights and guess what? They work too.
Someone has been in the house. Someone has opened it up. But who? Who would do that? And why?!
The girl doesn’t really think on it, as she has other things on her mind. She remembers the last dinner that was held here, thirteen years ago. In it she was given an envelope and asked to wait until her 21st birthday to open. That’s why she is here at 12:00am.
As she goes into the room she looks at the table and remembers where everyone was sitting.
Grandpa was at the center, with her next to him, then Mr. Barksdale, Uncle Adam, Aunt Lucille, Uncle John, Harold, Aunt Martha, Tom, Marjory, Uncle Wayne, Aunt Joan, and the 13th guest…. The thirteen chair was empty.
Grandpa is sick and dying. He knows it is his last party and that most of the people at the table want him dead. He gives an envelope to Marie, the girl who is remembering, telling her not to open it until her 21st birthday, forcing everyone to wait until then.
Kind of harsh grandpa, but it is his money so he can do whatever he wants with it. In fact no one knows what is in the envelope, not even the lawyer. And now the time has finally come. She can open it.
So she opens it and the paper says:
What’s this supposed to be? A safety deposit box number? Code to a safe? Thanks a lot grandpa.
As she is looking at the note, there is some creaking in the house. There is someone inside!!!!
Marie goes to make a phone call, leaving the room. Then we hear a gunshot and a scream!
The taxi driver is freaked out and takes off. He goes to the nearest phone and calls the cops. They head over, with Lead Detective Lt. Burke and his constantly asleep partner “Speed” Dugan. And seriously, he is always falling asleep.
He doesn’t seem to be a good detective at all. He should try another profession.
Meanwhile, whilst all that is going on, Uncle Adam has decided that the opening of the will, will bring out the worst in the family. He’s afraid that one of the remaining seven possible inheritors will try something, maybe even hurt Marie as she holds some kind of clue with that envelope.
He asks Private Investigator Johnny Smith (Dick Purcell) to get on the case and protect Marie.
Instantly I think, it will be one of those mysteries.
It’s going to be one of those mysteries where the P.I. and girl will meet and he will fall for her and try to protect her. She’ll be as tough as nails, while still a damsel in distress.
But in the end he will help her and she will fall for him. 🙂
In the next scene the police detectives have come on the scene and discover Marie’s dead body.
Yes, dead body.
NO, no, no, no, no, no, no ,no, no. She can’t be dead. She’s not dead, they must be mistaken. She has to end up with the P.I.
The P.I. comes in and explains he was hired to protect the girl, and the detective tells him too bad, you are too late. She’s dead.
You can’t do that! You can’t go around switching things!!!! There’s a formula to this!!!!!!!!
Sorry, back on track. Well…I guess…I guess they did kill her off. Weird, it’s like they pulled a Psycho before Psycho even came out. Weird. I thought Alfred Hitchcock was the first to do something like that.
So it’s odd that she is in the chair instead if by the phone, were we, the viewer, last saw her. That means only one thing, this killer, whoever they are, purposely moved her to the table to send a message by placing her at the table. But what message?
So 13 has a lot of fears surrounding it. There is the superstition of “13 at Dinner”, the first to get up will die. Friday the 13th is supposed to be full of bad luck, and there is no 13th floor on most hotels and office buildings. A coven of witches was made of 13 people. There were 13 steps to the gallows.
So the doctor examines the body and is unsure how she died. His best guess, until he can really examine her, is that she died of electrocution.
The detectives haven’t figured out how they did it, but know there must be a conductor around here somewhere.
When the phone rings the detective goes to answer, but they are hung up on. While the phone company is tracing the call, one of the detectives reports that the lightbulbs in the room are all burned out, reaffirming that electrocution was what killed the girl and what is causing these issues.
It turns out that the phone call was from the Lowry Hotel. Lt. Burke sends out his lazy or narcoleptic detective. But he can’t leave. Why? Someone stole their squad car.
Why would you steal a squad car? Do you want to go to jsil?
So they put out an APB on the car and also grab the rest of the Morgan family.
They question Marie’s cousin Tom, and her brother Harold, [aka Bud]. They discover that Marie’s 21st birthday was the day before, and that’s why she opened up the house so late. They ask about where everyone was laid out, and the police find out that not only was there a missing guest, but that the killer placed Marie in the exact spot where she had been sitting on the night if the last dinner.
They ask them for a diagram to be better understand where everyone was sitting.
By now, they have figured out the caller was John Barksdale, the lawyer. He also was the one who had the phone plugged in and the lights turned on. He left the hotel at 1:00am and hasn’t been seen since.
Back at the mansion, Speed is on duty and has, you guessed it, fallen asleep.
This makes it easy for John Barksdale to sneak into the house.
Somewhere in the house a shadow looms.
Barksdale heads straight to the library, and starts moving books around.
As he does this, we see in a secret room the shadow turns out to be a masked man.
He makes the phone ring and when Barskdale touches the phone,
Who is this masked person? Is it Uncle Wayne, Uncle Adam, Tom, or Harold?
When Speed hears the noise in the house he takes off. The detectives return to the mansion where they find Barksdale dead, and seated in his place at the table.
Johnny Smith is the only smart detective in this film, and he figures out that the killer is killing them off in the order they were seated at the table. That means that it has to be one of the original guests as how could anyone else know where they were.
But that’s not the biggest surprise of the day, Marie is alive!!!
YES! Marie is ALIVE. And guess who had it all figured out? Johnny Smith. He noticed scarring on the dead girl’s face, and suspected that she wasn’t really Marie but made to look like her. But who is behind it? And where has Marie been the whole time?
It turns out that Marie heard the scream and gunshot, and hid upstairs. When she thought it was safe she came out and saw herself, dead!
She freaked out, stole the police car, and has been hiding out, afraid for her life. Lt. Burke finds it fishy, Johnny Smith however, believes her wholeheartedly, and is also extremely attracted to her.
They put her in a room as they discuss what this all means. She decides to sneak out to the library to call her brother.
NOOOO! Don’t do it Marie, it’s the DEATH PHONE!!!!
The music starts building!!!!!
But luckily, Johnny steps in and stops her. Good thing as the man in the mask was watching her and was going to kill her.
They round everyone up and put them in a room together. They talk about who the killer might be, with Marie saying she thinks it is Uncle Adam. I don’t know if she is serious or not, but that is way harsh.
Johnny warns Adam that the murderer is killing people in the order they sat at the table, so Adam better watch out as he is next.
So all of Marie’s relatives suck. None of them care about her, espechially Marjorie. The only one who seems happy to see her is her brother Harold.
They are pretty horrible: bitter, brash, barbs flying all over, etc. Johnny Smith has had enough, and has them all arrested.
How can he do that? He’s not a cop? Whatever!
Johnny and the cops head back to the mansion where they find another dead body.
It turns out to be Uncle Wayne. He showed up late as he came from California. It looks like the killer left the phone electrocution device on. They still haven’t found the machinery, so it must be in a secret room. That clinches it, it must be one of the orginal party people. But which one?
They decide to release them all, and tail them.
Johnny Smith calls Marie and warns her not to share what was in the note, as someone is trying to kill for that information. And what does she do right after? Tell Harold and Tom that it was 13-13-13.
Come on, didn’t you just listen to what he said!
Marjory spots her tail right away as Speed is no good at all. He ends up failing asleep in a cab heading to Atlantic City.
The plastic surgeon hears of the story in the news, and comes down. They ask him if the man matches Barksdale’s appearance, but it turns out to not be him. They all head over to see Marie, but it turns out she isn’t there. She had received a message to go to the mansion to meet Johnny Smith. But Johnny Smith didn’t write any message.
This tends to happen in mysteries/thrillers/horror film/books a lot. I guess moral is to always double check that you are supposed to meet with that person.
As they are heading out to the mansion, the plastic surgeon sees a photo of Tom, and recognizes him as the man who brought the woman in.
They all hurry to save Marie! They meet up with Tom at the mansion and it turns out he and Barksdale were in it together, in order to steal the fortune away. But, he claims to not be the killer. Hmm…
While Marie is trying to figure out where Johnny is, the masked man attacks her from behind, trying to bring her down the cellar in the second room.
Luckily, Johnny and the police make it in time. They tear the library wall apart, and follow the masked man, taking him out and saving Marie.
And the masked man is……………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Yep, his kindly all I want to help my niece was a lie. He wanted her dead, and everyone else, so he could have all the money.
And it turned out Marie knew it all along and so did Johnny Smith.
It turns out that the Grandpa left all his money to Marie. He thought the best way to protect Marie was to make everyone wait 13 years. His thinking was that everyone would die or not care about who got the money after all that time. Oh the irony, as by doing that and making them wait, he did that he built up so much resentment that he almost caused her to be murdered.
And in the end Johnny and Marie get together. I KNEW IT!!!!!! Faith restored.
So you might have noticed, they don’t solve the mystery of the 13th guest. This film is actually a remake of a 1930s film, which is based on a book. I’ll have to get a copy of those to see if they answer it.
The best of my knowledge the 13th guest is A) left empty because of the superstition that the first of 13 to rise will die within a year; B) the 13th guest is the devious side of Uncle Adam, or C) the 13th guest is a red herring.
Whether they solve the “mystery of the 13th guest” or not, this was a good film.
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 Gypsy Justice: Thinner (1996)
For more on the mystery side, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)
For more films based on books, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes On There: Jamaica Inn (1939
For more remakes done well, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)
In other news, this is my 600th post. Yay!
This time, it only took me five months instead of six to reach that. Wow!
For my 500th post, go to Fantom of the Opera
For the 400th post, go to The After Party