Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels, nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are actually a prince
  • One is  a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it  vulgarly, what do you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

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

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

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I Always Knew and I Didn’t Care: Usual Suspects, Young Justice (2012)

Romantic Moment #13

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“Usual Suspects”, from Young Justice

So I haven’t gotten around to adding this show to my list of fangirling, but this is a show I thought was just fantastic.

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My friend actually got me interested, and once I started watching, I just couldn’t stop.

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Why did they only have three season? It was amazingly well done in presenting the characters, the backstories, and the issues they face. This should have kept going.

Why?

Why?

Anyways, let’s move on.

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So this episode comes at the very end of the first season. Having been rejected into joining the Justice League, they have their own group, Young Justice, that consists of Superboy (Superman’s clone): M’gann/Megan as Miss Martian (John the Martin Manhuter’s niece); Artemis (Green Arrow’s niece); Dick Grayson’s Robin/Nightwing (Batman’s protogeé); Wally West as Kid Flash (the Flash’s nephew); and Kaldur’ahm’s Aqualad (Aqua Man’s sidekick).

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The team work hard to prove their worth; showing that are more than secondary characters. There is also secrets, betrayal, love; and a lot more twists and turns that make this series solid.

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Most Romantic Moment: I Knew and I Didn’t Care

**Spoiler Warning**

So Megan has been blackmailed by a villain into doing her bidding or else it will be revealed as to what she really looks like. You see, on Mars there is serious racism between the Green and White martians. Megan was born as a White Martian, and not gonna lie is pretty terrifying. She’s always hated how she looks,

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As she has the power to change her appearance all the way down to a cellular level, when she comes to Earth she pretends to be a green martian and copies the form of an actress she admired.

But when this secret threatens the group, she decides to reveal all, but is terrified that they will have the same disgust as those on her home planet.

However, when she reveals her true form; her boyfriend Superboy and the others don’t care. In fact Superboy has known all along, even before they were a couple, and it never mattered to him.

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Aw! How sweet!

Aw! How sweet!

And to make it even cuter. In an earlier episode, Image, Megan lies about how she looks and Superboy told her then he didn’t care.

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He knew then, but never let on: letting Megan reveal herself when she was ready. How sweet!

Aw!

So romantic

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to Even Though You Are Only Using Me and Made Me Look Like a Jerk, I Only Care About Helping You: Picture Perfect (1997)

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For more superheroes, go to But If Any of It Fell Into the Wrong Hands…:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze (1991)

There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

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You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

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You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows

So this is an Alfred Hitchcock film.

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Most people don’t. This is one of his early films, and the first “talkie” he made. In fact this is the first British talkie.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Originally Hitchcock wanted it to be silent, but was forced to add sound so that England could catch up with the USA. This caused quite a few issues as the leading actress, Anny Odra, looked the right part, but her accent was so incredibly thick that no one could understand her and she had to lip sync her lines.

ouch Hermione

It also has quite a few music heavy scenes as theaters weren’t quite ready to just have the sound of voices, and neither was Hitchcock. He thought talkies were ridiculous.

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Now I thought about doing three Hitchcock films again, but I wasn’t sure what to do after Psycho. I decided to do this early film as I think it is unfair that a lot of his work that set up the later films are ignored. Thus far I have only planned on reviewing this Hitchcock film, but you never know. A lot can happen in a month and I might change my mind and add another.

Who knows!

Who knows!

So on to the review.

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So the film starts off with a group of police officers, Scotland Yard [as this is when Hitchcock was in England], are off in a paddy wagon searching for a man. Their is no sound in this beginning part, just chase music.

 

The man they are looking for is smoking in bed. He sees the men approach his door through a reflection in the mirror. There is a gun next to him in the bed and he looks at it, while pretending to read the paper. He tries to reach for it, but the detectives stop him and force him to dress. He is under arrest.

Or in this case "we"

Or in this case “we”

They carry him down and take him in the wagon to New Scotland Yard. The spend a long time questioning him, the passage of time being shown through multiple cigarettes being burned.

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After the hours of questioning, the days not over yet. They still have to put him in a lineup, wait as the witness looks over the men and ponders of one is the one they saw. When their man is selected he is formally charged, taken fully into custody, fingerprints are taken, he is sent to the cells, etc. The detectives work is over for the day.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

Two of the detectives were involved stop in a bathroom to polish up. One of them is Detective Frank Webber (John Longden), he has a date tonight and heads out to meet his girlfriend who should be waiting in the foyer.

Alice White is waiting, as she has been there for thirty minutes. She is very upset with Frank as she hates waiting.

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Frank tries to greet her, but Alice is just angry with him. She won’t let him hold her arm or hand; and keeps looking away from him. This attitude doesn’t please Frank as Alice has been doing this a lot and he feels she is overreacting.

You need to calm down

You need to calm down

He’s a detective, sometimes things won’t go according to plan, it is part of the job.

The two take a train, and here we have the longest cameo of Hitchcock in any of his films.

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It is hilarious. The whole trip he is trying to read and a little kid just will not leave him alone. After this Hitchcock decided to make his cameo’s short, quick, and early on as to not take away film.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

They go out to a tea room, but have trouble finding a place to sit as it is packed. Alice is still mad at Frank for being late and blames him for their current trouble.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

Now I personally think that Alice is overreacting. First of all you are dating a detective, you should know that things will come up and they might have to work later than planned. I mean, come on. It goes with the territory. And secondly, from the way the room is mobbed with people, if you had arrived 30 minutes earlier, it really wouldn’t have helped you out.

So there! tongue sticking out pug

They have to literally fight for a table, managing to scoop one from another couple. But when they sit down, Alice complains that she left her glove at the previous table they had tried to sit at. Frank being a gentleman, goes to retrieve it.

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Frank returns with the glove and jokes that he could tell it was hers because of all the holes in it. Alice doesn’t laugh but continues to be angry and snippy at him for making her wait around, acting like he does it for fun. Frank explains that it is work, but Alice continues on feeling wounded.

Now Alice is not really angry at him for being late, but upset because she feels he doesn’t pay enough attention to her, but puts her behind his work.

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But instead of telling Frank why she is upset she kind of tries to play games with him. Frank is trying to get the waitresses attention, because they were going to see a new Scotland Yard film, and he doesn’t want to be late. Alice, upset and trying to get him jealous/pay attention tells him she doesn’t want to see the film as she’s “seen all worth seeing.”

No thank youhowaboutno

Frank goes to speak to the waitress to get their order and while he is gone Alice spots another man.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

He greets her and heads to another table. Alice then pulls out a note given to her by him earlier.

I’ll be there 6:30 Tuesday, will you?

I don't think so

What a jerk! There is no excuse in all the world to ever justify cheating on your relationship.

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Frank returns, ready for them to stay as they aren’t going to the movies. But Alice tells him she has changed her mind and wants to go.

Okay...

Okay…

But then Alice changes her mind again (this is the third time) and doesn’t want to go.

What?

What?

But then she changes her mind again and doesn’t want to go with him.

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This makes Frank angry as he is tired of this mood Alice is in and doesn’t want to play any games. He tries to get the waitress to take care of their order but can’t flag her down.

 Things are not going as Alice imagined they would in her head and she tries to fix things and get him to stay, but Frank is done. He leaves money on the table and exits the restaurant.

See ya!

See ya!

Frank doesn’t actually leave but paces outside reviewing what happened in his head. He decides he overreacted and starts to go inside to apologize when he sees Alice leave the restaurant with another man, the same one she had made plans with earlier.

OMG gasp

Poor Frank!

right in the feels broken heart

I truly think she engineered the whole fight to get rid of Frank and wasn’t sorry.

Seriously!

Seriously!

So the guy Alice is with is never given a name, he is The Artist in the credits so that is what I will call him.

Anyways,  Alice and the artist walk back to his place. Outside it, is a man waiting to speak to the artist.

suspicious Hmm

Originally, the Artist was going to walk her home; but “as they are right by his home” he offers to show her his “studio”.

Really? His "studio"?

Really? His “studio”?

Alice doesn’t want to go at first, kind of playing that she “can’t”. But then decides to head in.

Don’t do it Alice, it is nothing but trouble.

trouble Twilight Zone

Before they go in, the artist is called over by the man. They have a quick discussion, with the artist he saying no and then he and Alice continue in.

I wonder what that was all about.

I wonder what that was all about.

Before they head up to the top floor, his studio, the artist looks at his mail first and sees something distressing. He sends Alice up while he deals with it. He questions the landlady about the note.

Who is this man? Why does it distress him so?

Hmm...

Hmm…

Anyways, the artist’s studio is on the top floor. When they get there he makes a fire to keep them warm. Seduction 101.

Alice looks around the room at the art and sees a weird Jester picture that makes her laugh. I’m not sure why as I always thought it just looked odd.

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However, the painting laughs and Alice laughs with it. Maybe she is laughing to hide her hurt over Frank. Maybe she is laughing because she wants to convince herself that the artist is a better guy. Maybe she is laughing because she is doing something out of character, wild. Maybe she laughs because she is breaking the rules; in a man’s room at night. Well whatever the reason, the two laugh together.

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Alice waits for the artist to finish with the fire and plays with the piano. She then spots the painters palette and asks him how to hold it, of which he comes to show her. She accidentally paints the canvas and he has her keep going. All she can do is make a stick figure like face, so the Artist “helps” her paint, holding onto her.

Really? His "studio"?

Really? His “studio”?

They two make a body for the girl, a naked body. Foreshadowing.

dun-dun-duuuun

Alice then signs the painting, while the artist goes to get them some drinks. Alice looks around the room and sees a costume and holds it onto her, asking about being painted.

The artist asks her to put it on so he can paint her, but Alice refuses as she has to go home.

Gotta go!

Gotta go!

This makes the artist is “sad” as he thinks she would make the most lovely painting. But no, now that he thinks about it his costume wouldn’t suit her.

Really? That old line?

Really? That old line?

But Alice falls for it and decides to put the costume on. Alice goes to one side of a screen and undresses as the artist plays the piano.

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Artist sings to her playing the piano, and Alice listens to it in her little costume. When she comes out, the artist really lays on the flattery telling her the song he was singing was all about her. Alice comes out in the little costume as she can’t zip it up and neither can he, Alice chooses to leave it alone.

Bad idea. Stop Alice.

Bad idea. Stop Alice.

He then sets her just right, caressing her body, and going in for the kiss. Alice says no, and decides she needs to go. She starts to undress, when the artist approaches her, taking her dress away. He won’t give it back until she comes out to get it.

It's getting worse!

It’s getting worse!

He wants to be with her but Alice says no. Unfortunately, she didn’t know this guy very well before she decided to go up in his room alone with him, as he doesn’t take no for an answer.

The next scene is done very well and in true Hitchcock fashion. Out of any director, he always knew how much to show, and how much to leave up to the viewer’s imagination.

Master

Master

So the two struggle as the artist tries to rape Alice. We never see the fight but through a shadow and the way the curtain moves. Alice manages to grab the bread knife on the table next to the bed, and stabs him.

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Now here is where I can see why Hitchcock choose Ondra as his leading lady. Prior to this act, Alice was silly, innocent, childish, selfish, and acting only on her needs. After this act, her whole personality changes in the film; reflecting that shattered innocence and trauma she faces.

I’m getting ahead of myself. So Alice is in shock after murdering the artist and moves about sluggishly, mechanically, almost robotically. In fact, she reminds me a lot of the robot Maria in Metropolis

Alice doesn’t know what to do, but knows she needs to get out. She grabs her dress and sees the Jester. No longer are they laughing together, but instead the Jester is laughing at her. And how she was so foolish. Angry, Alice punches the picture.

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This causes her to wake up from her distress and she throws her dress on, and coat, in such a hurry that she doesn’t even zip up the dress. She quickly grabs her bag and umbrella, quickly painting over her name on the other canvas.

Getting out of here

Getting out of here

She turns out the lights and starts to sneak downstairs. We see his signature style in the cinematography with the stairs, lights, and use of angles.

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Something that will be done in future films, such as Shadow of a Doubt.

As Alice walks away we see the shadow of the man who had accosted the artist earlier, trying to speak to him about something.

It's getting worse!

It’s getting worse!

Alice walks home almost in a trance, zombish as everything she sees makes her think of the dead body. She sees a bar sign that shows a shaking of a drink, but instead sees a hand stabbing with a knife. Alice just walks all over, hurt, shock, uncertain, afraid, and seeing the dead hand, the dead arm, the dead man she killed.

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We then hear a scream, the landlady found the body.

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Scotland Yard is called on the case, and Frank gets called in on it, topping off his sucky night. He starts poking around the apartment, looking at everything, looking out the window, and spots the broken picture. He looks at the costume and the painting. As he looks at the laugh, he shares in the joke that this guy thought he was going to have a fun night but instead ended in death.

But then he finds a glove.

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Full of holes like his girlfriend’s…It looks and feels like hers. He then sees the body, that face He knows!

It's getting worse!

Instead of giving evidence, he hides the glove.

Now he too is stuck in the coverup

Now he too is stuck in the coverup

Alice sneaks into her room and quickly gets out of her coat and jumps into bed before discovered. Afterwards she quickly changes and fixes herself up. Instead of her furry coat and dark dress, she changes to something light colored, floral, an innocent dress, young looking, more demure. Trying to recapture what she lost and go in the opposite direction of what she was before.

Meanwhile, downstairs at the house and the smoke shop, everyone is talking about the murder. Alice goes into the telephone booth and searches for the police number, ready to call them and admit everything..but loses her nerve.

I don't know what to do

Her parents notice that Alice doesn’t look well, but she doesn’t say anything, just remains quiet. A dramatic shift from her previous performance of silliness and gaiety; too quiet, contemplation. A real talented actress.

So her act continues to haunt her, and she still sees and hears knife everywhere.

 

Frank comes in and Alice is happy to see him as she realizes he’s the only one for her,  but also afraid. Is he still mad from last night? Is he here to arrest her?Frank says hi and leaves, but then comes back and asks to speak to Alice for  minute.

It's getting worse!

He takes her into the phone booth for privacy and tries to get Alice to tell him what happened, but she can’t talk about, still too traumatized. Frank gives her the glove.

While they are talking, a guy, Mr. Tracey, knocks on door and asks to talk on the phone since they aren’t using it. He is the one from the night before that say Alice enter the building. He lets them know he wants to speak to Scotland Yard, letting them know by his innuendo why he wants to talk to Scotland Yard.

Blackmail!

Blackmail!

Alice is frightened and worried, but Frank quickly asses the situation. The Tracey lets them know what he saw and that he wants to be treated right or else.

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Frank buys him the most expensive cigar, at his request, and then the two make him breakfast. Might not be much, but this guy is planning on milking them for everything!

Meanwhile, back at the police station they are questioning the landlady. They discovered the note that had the artist all aflutter and want to know more about who wrote it. Unfortunately, the landlady is not very observant and the only thing she noticed was that he tilted his head and twisted his hands around. They have her look through the criminal books, until it come up as Mr. Tracey.

Mr. Tracey who at this moment is living like a king. Best cigar, great breakfast, cup of tea…

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Frank gets a call from Scotland Yard, catching him up on the latest news of the case. He hangs up the phone and he has an idea. you can sees it in his eyes.

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Frank has Alice lock the door. Then he starts discussing that there was a suspicious looking man with a criminal record hanging around the murdered artist’s place. Alice is freaking out, and doesn’t want to do this, this blackmail. Yeah, I bet you never saw that one coming? Eh? We all knew that Alice would be blackmailed, but did you ever see Frank turning the tables coming? I sure didn’t the first time I saw it.

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 But, lets not get too hasty…Mr. Tracey has one more trick up his sleeve. Tracey says that he will talk, all about Alice. But Frank isn’t worried saying that Tracey’s word is nothing. His plan to sit and wait for the squad car who is on its way now.

The two argue, and Alice freaks out.  The chains of guilt weigh heavy on her and she doesn’t want Tracey pay for her crime. Frank doesn’t really want to listen to her as he is still a angry and hurt over what happened with Alice going off with another guy and that she hasn’t told him anything about what happened.

Tracey tries to convince Frank to let him go. He tells him “I’m not bad I was just in a bad situation…”

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Yeah right you were trying to blackmail that other guy and then you were trying to do it to them.

Some people

Some people

Frank and Tracey’s eyes are locked on each other as the other police officers come. Tracey jumps out the window and the chase is on! Music for this next part as we repeat the opening scene of these guys trying to hunt him down and take him off to jail. when they were looking for him.

Here we have a great repeat of Alice’s earlier trance of seeing the knife everywhere; except instead of a weapon Tracey sees cops everywhere. Cops searching for him!

Meanwhile, for the first time since everything started, Alice actually thinks on what happened and tries to figure out what she should do.

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

Tracey takes off to hide in a museum, but doesn’t look at any of the exhibits making him seem super suspicious.

He eventually heads up to the roof, climbing over the famous building. Oh Hitchcock and you love for having people climb the tops of famous architectural creations. I mean there is the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur, Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest, etc.

Tracey ends up killing himself accidentally when the glass breaks on the roof. And that is the end of that. They believed him to be the murderer, the evidence pointed toward him, and with him dead: case closed.

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Oh, but not quite as Alice has decided to turn herself in, leaving Frank a note and heading to the New Scotland Yard.

When she arrives the Officer thinks she is here to see Frank but she lets him know that she is here to see Inspector Walls.  She is sent to his office and walks down the hallway, with certainty that every step brings her closer to doom.

It's getting worse!

Worried and afraid Alice goes in and sees Frank is there with Inspector Walls. Frank tries to stop her as they “solved the murder”. Alice is scared trying to get everything out, but before she can Inspector Walsh is called away, and Frank is to take care of her.

Frank takes Alice aside and tells her that he knows what happened. Alice tells him he doesn’t know, and starts to relay the whole story, how she was attacked and was defending herself.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Alice and Frank walk out, with a better understanding and a hope for the future. The officer asks if Alice told him who did it, and Frank says yes. The officer jokes that he better watch out she might have his job. They all laugh. Except Alice, she sees the jester painting…

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What a great film for cinema history and to see Hitchcock working out things that he would become known for later.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to It Was the Curse. My Curse: The Cheerleader Murders (2016)

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For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more films centering on blackmail, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more films that center on a painting, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

 

I Choose You: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Most Romantic Moment #13

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 Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

This film takes place shortly before the “official” start of WWII in London, England. The film is based on the novel of the same name, published in 1938

 Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a governess/nanny, who has quite some trouble keeping a job. At the start of the film she is fired and denied her pay. She bumps into a young man who mentions he has just been released from prison and flees from him, leaving her luggage behind. She heads to a soup line, but gets bumped into again and loses her meal. This noise attracts the attention of a fashionably dressed couple from across the way

The next day Miss Pettigrew heads over to the employment agency where she learns that after her last firing, she has run out of chances. While she is pleading, the phones rings and a Delysia Lafosse asks for a person to be sent over. While the people at the employment agency are distracted, Miss Pettigrew takes off with the address in hopes of getting the job.

When she reaches Delysia Lafosse’s apartment, she finds an undressed, half-asleep woman (Amy Adams). After Miss Pettigrew introdices herself and tells her what time it is, Delysia gets freaked out as she has to have the entire apartment cleaned up, with Phil up and out of there. Miss Pettigrew tells her she will help get her little boy out, only to discover that Phil is not a little boy, but one of Delysia’s boyfriends. You see Delysia wasn’t asking for a governess, but she needed a social secretary. Anyways, Delysia is sleeping with Phil in order to get the part in the musical he is producing and her big chance to become a real star. The only problem? Delysia’s other boyfriend, boss, and the man paying for her clothes, food, and apartment; Nick is on his way and will NOT be happy if he finds Delysia with another man. With the help of Miss Pettigrew Phil is out the door, and shortly Nick is bumped out too.

Then the two head off to a fashion show where Delysia’s friend, Edythe Dubarry, is showing some pieces. Edythe is dating the famous underclothing designer, Joe Blomfield (Ciarán Hinds). Edythe and Joe are on the outs as Joe thinks Edythe is cheating on him as she was out when he called her the night before. Miss Pettigrew realizes that Edythe is the same woman she saw the night before, carrying on with a man that was clearly not Joe. Joe and Miss Pettigrew also meet and talk, with Miss Pettigrew deveoping a slight crush on him. Then Miss Pettigrew is whisked away by the girls for a complete makeover.

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While shopping, Edythe recognizes Miss Pettigrew from the soup line and knows Miss Pettigrew saw her with another man. She blackmails Miss Pettigrew into helping her get Joe back or else she’ll tell Delysia the truth about her being a “social secretary”.

When the girls finish shopping, Miss Pettigrew and Delysia return to Delysia’s apartment. There they find a young man playing the piano. It turns out to be the same man recently released from prison that ran into Miss Pettigrew the day before. His name is Michael and he plays the piano in Nick’s club, accompanying Delysia, the singer. You see Michael is her third boyfriend. Unlike Nick who uses her for sex, and boy Phil who has never had the attentions of a woman before; Michael is in love with Delysia. He planned this big romantic scene on a boat in the river Thames, equipped with champagne and a ring to propose. Delysia never showed up, so Michael drank all the Champagne himself, got drunk, tried to steal the crown jewels; and was arrested and thrown in prison. Michael is planning on leaving for America and wants Delysia to marry him and come with. Delysia is unsure as she wants more than Michael can give her. Miss Pettigrew tells him that Delysia will have an answer by the end of the night.

That night holds a lot for them as Delysia has the announcement of the casting of the musical to worry over and how to handle young Phil. What to do about Nick as he is expecting payment for all the things he buys her. And whether or not to go off with Michael, the man who loves her but is poor. For Miss Pettigrew she has to help Delysia get the part in the musical, keep Nick at bay, encourage Delysia to make the right decision involving love, get Joe and Edythe back together, and figure out just what her role as social secretary really is.

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***Most Romantic Moment***

One of the most romantic moments for me comes near the end of the film. Delysia has just won the lead in the musical, but had to declare her undying love to Phil to guarantee it. Nick understands, but still expects to get his payment from her. Michael, after hearing Phil shout his and Delysia’s undying love, is leaving to America, never to see her again. Everything in Delysia’s life is going as planned but yet, completely wrong. Just then the city is warned to take cover from an air attack. As Delysia is hiding under the piano she and Miss Pettigrew discuss love, Miss Pettigrew telling her about the man she loved but lost in WWI. They had nothing really, but to Miss Pettigrew their love was more than enough to build a life on. This encourages Delysia, and as soon as it’s safe she rushes toward Michael to tell him how she feels.

As she is running after him, Nick stops her and tells her to sing. Michael comes to her rescue, but Nick is a better fighter and knocks him down.

dean_punching_supernatural

While Michael is recovering from that great hook, Delysia rushes over to him and proposes!

Delysia: Is the offer still open?

Nick: Get up!

[Michael stands and Nick knocks him back down with a punch to the nose]

Delysia: Well, is it a yes or is it a no?

Michael: What?

Delysia: Well will you doggone marry me or will you doggone not?

Michael: [he grins in delight, scrambles up, socks Nick square in the jaw, and pulls Delysia to her feet] Yes. God help me, yes! [they kiss fervently]

I love this scene because Delysia asking Michael to marry her showed him that she really, truly, completly loved him and wanted to be with him. Plus it gives him the strength to knock Nick out of the way.

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Yep it’s not the money that matters, but the man.

bestguuynotbestlookingrichtreatyou

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III from the beginning, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Want to Own You, I Just Want to Be With You: A Room With a View (1985)

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For more on Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Line List

For more on Amy Adams, go to I Don’t Dance or Sing, Except When I’m With You: Enchanted (2007)

For more on Ciaran Hinds, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more films based on a book, go to What a Fanatic!

For more period piece films, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

Shall We Dance?: What Happens in Vegas (2008)

Romantic Moment #2
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What Happens in Vegas (2008)

So you know, I’ve always been fond of a Vegas wedding. If you recall from my post, A True Princess, I mentioned how I always wanted a theme wedding.

To see what your dream wedding is, go here.

To see what your dream wedding is, go here.

So in the film we have Joy McNally, Cameron Diaz, who is a stockbroker and engaged. Her fiancé’s birthday is today and she is throwing him a surprise party. When he gets to their apartment he breaks up with her, in front of all their friends and family!

Ouch

Ouch

Her friend tries to make her feel better:

whenaGuyBreaksYourHeart

They decide to get over their troubles by taking off to Vegas.

Meanwhile, Jack Fuller, (Ashton Kutcher), is living a mundane life.  Not really trying anything, but just getting by. He gets fired…from the company owned by his dad…by his dad.

Ouch

Ouch

And he and his friends decide to go to Vegas for one last hurrah.

In Vegas, their reservations get messed up and the four end up in the same hotel room. They get everything straightened out and agree to go out drinking. And drinking. And drinking….and you get the gist. They wake up the next day with Joy and Jack married and before they annul the marriage, Jack wins the grand prize at the slot machines. Joy and Jack are sentenced to stay together for six months and see a marriage counselor to see if the wedding actually has a chance of making it.

At first they try and get the other to end the marriage or get caught not trying to make it worth. But eventually like It Happened One Night, these two getting stuck together, start falling in love. But both are afraid to admit it, and Joy agrees to divorce Jack.  And just like in Anastasia, telling him to keep the money. She quits her job and takes off, with Jack following her and asking her to be his wife again.

Can'tDoWithout

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****Most Romantic Moment****

So the most romantic moment for me is during Joy’s corporate retreat. Joy has to go and is asked to bring her husband. She doesn’t want to, but knows she could lose her job if she doesn’t deliver. She asks Jack to go, but he is being disagreeable and doesn’t want to. Jack’s friend convinces him he should as it would be the perfect time to get everyone to love him and blackmail her into divorcing him or else he’ll tell her boss how they really got married. Jack isn’t sure, But heads to the retreat.

At the retreat, he quickly befriend’s Joy’s boss and the two have a ton of fun. He also connects really strongly to Joy. Everyone loves Jack, and he wins the MVP award of the retreat. He gives a great speech:

“Jack Fuller: [accepting an award] I have to thank my wife Joy. She probably never told you all the story about how we met. It might come as a surprise to many of you that we didn’t know each other for very long before we got hitched. What can I say – when you know, you know.”

He then tells everyone that they were never able to get their first dance as husband and wife and asks the band to play them one now.

(Sorry for the bad quality)

So romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic! Making sure she has her first dance because her wedding was nothing special, and for once doing something because he cares about her instead of actually trying to get something from her.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

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For more of my favorite quotes, go to The Biggest Bill You Should Be Paying

For more quizzes, go to Are You the Dread Pirate Roberts?

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder

Do you really believe in the perfect murder? Mmm, yes, absolutely.

So after years of his absence from my Horrorfest countdowns, I have finally included Alfred Hitchcock in not one, not two, but three posts.

Double double yay

Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite director. He was influential in creating new ways of filming psychological thrillers, he is often credited for creating the true horror genre/slasher film with Psycho (1960), and was just a pure cinematic genius. He is just amazing.

Awesome

Dial “M” For Murder is one of his highly known films (although not as known as Vertigo or Psycho). It has been referenced or parodied in countless films and TV shows. In the ’90s they even remade the film under the title A Perfect Murder. It starred Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortenson; but it wasn’t nearly as good.

MeanGirls I know right!

This film also started Hitchcock’s filming relationship with Grace Kelly. This film was crucial in her career as it made her stand out not only to Alfred Hitchcock but other directors as well, a huge step to becoming a permanent leading lady. After this film she starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock was impressed with her ideas and thoughts on the script in how a woman would act (especially regarding clothing), that after this film he allowed her to make all her own wardrobe decisions. She, like Audrey Hepburn,  quickly became known for her style and class. But that wasn’t the only thing that Hitchcock found attractive, he really liked her and fell for her; but she wouldn’t give him the time of day, (romantically that is). (For more information on Hitchcock and his leading ladies, I strongly suggest the book Spellbound by Beauty by Donald Spoto. It’s an amazing read!) And sadly she had to retire from acting at an early age as she married the Prince of Monaco. However short a career, it was an amazing one.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This film also reunited Hitchcock and Robert Cummings, who had starred in an earlier film, Saboteur (1942).  In this film Cummings plays an important role, but a smaller one than his earlier collaboration.

This film is also the only Hitchcock film to ever be shot in 3-D. In the 1950s, 3-D was super popular, so popular that some people came up with the idea of Smell-O-Vision to beat it (I’m serious!). Hitchcock didn’t want to shoot in 3-D, but until the late 1960s, studios had a lot more pull and Warner Bros. wanted it. Hitchcock obliged, although it did cause a few issues for him as he had to rework his known style to incorporate what 3-D was able to accomplish at the time.

So the film is based on the play of the same name Frederick Knott, and he also helped write the screenplay. It is set in England and as  you can guess from the poster, the phone plays a huge role in this film as well. That really seems to be a theme this month. I swear that wasn’t planned.

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

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So before I start the film, let me give you the background on the characters. Now as you watch the film things are revealed to you, but it’s easier for me to give them at the start.

So we have a couple, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) and his wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Tony was a huge tennis star and met Margot when he was competing. She comes from a very wealthy family. The two were married and Margot convinced him to give up competing as she didn’t like him being away. He complied and now sells sports equipment. However, as he no longer is the dashing tennis star, she lost interest in him and had an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) an American Crime writer.

keanu Whoa

As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.

BMW Kiss

“Margot Mary Wendice: Let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that.

Margot Mary Wendice: I haven’t told him anything about us.”

Margot tells Mark that she burned all his letters, except one. That one was stolen by a blackmailer who demanded payment, but he never picked up the money or returned the letter. She is worried that her husband will find out.

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

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He wants them to tell Tony all about the affair so that Margot can get a divorce and the two can marry. Margot doesn’t want to as “she feels bad” about hurting “Tony’s feelings”.

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Now I’m no expert, but if the person doesn’t want to break up the relationship, it seems to me that they want, to quote an old cliché, “have their cake and eat it too.” I think Margot likes the respectability of her marriage and doesn’t want the divorce scandel, but at the same time is heavily intrigued by Mark. And who can blame her? Robert Cummings is a looker.

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

That night Tony is introduced to Mark, him being Margot’s “friend”. The two discuss Mark’s profession.

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?

Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.

Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?

Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.”

Tony invites Mark to join him for a tennis party, and Mark agrees. Its all men, so Margot will be staying home. After a bit more pleasantries Margot and Mark leave to go out “as friends” to a theatre show that Tony didn’t want to see, while Tony stays home to “work” on some stuff.

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After they leave, he calls up an old friend. Swann (going by the name Captain Lesgate) from his old Cambridge days. He brings him there under false pretenses of wanting to purchase a vehicle from him. He then tells Swann that he wants him to murder his wife.

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that’s all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.”

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

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Tony only married Margot for her money, and it really injures his pride to see her cheating on him and tossing him over like an old shoe. He followed her one day and discovered the affair.

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He wanted to kill Mark.

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He then moved to the idea of murdering his wife. But things changed…

“Tony Wendice: It’s funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn’t seen something that changed my mind.

C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

Back in the day, Swann was always getting into trouble for all kinds of stuff, and it struck Tony that he could commit the perfect murder. He then began extensive planning. He has been collecting £1000 over the year, under the guise of racetrack betting, etc.; compiling the money for such a purpose.

He even went to great lengths to get one of the letters from Mark and pretended to blackmail her. With Mark back in town he has set up the whole scenario on how to murder her even planning to use Mark as an alibi, as being the husband he will be the first suspect. All he needs is someone to do it for him. He has a lot of information on Swann’s background (as he has been tracking him) and uses it to blackmail him into completing his murderous plot. And he has to do it tomorrow.

He reveals his perfect plan.

“Tony Wendice: At exactly three minutes to eleven, you’ll enter the house through the street door. You’ll find the key to this door under the stair carpet here.

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

Tony Wendice: That’s the one. Go straight to the window, and hide behind the curtains. At exactly eleven o’clock, I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss. I shall dial the wrong number. This number. That’s all I shall do.”

His wife will answer the phone, and then Swann can strangle her and leave through the french windows.

perfect plan

Swann agrees to the plot as he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Tony is estatic as everything seems to be going along perfectly.

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But then things start falling apart. Margot doesn’t want to stay home. She is thinking of going out to dinner and seeing a movie. Mark thinks it’s a great idea but Tony convinces her to stay home.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Don’t make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Tony Wendice: Doing nothing? Why there are hundreds of things you can do. Have you written to Peggy, thanking her for the weekend? And what about those clippings? It’s an ideal opportunity.

Margot Mary Wendice: Well I like that. You two go gallivanting while I stay home and do those boring clippings.”

dial M for murder

Before Tony leaves, he stills Margot’s key from her bag and puts it in the marked hiding place. Keeping his key in his pocket, he and Mark leave for the party.

Back at the home, Margot has been working hard on her scrapbooking. She eventually goes to bed, putting everything away…at least almost everything. She actually forgets the scissors and leaves them by the phone.

That night everything starts being put into motion. Swann enters the place the same way that Tony planned it out. He leaves the key under the stair and hides behind the curtains waiting for the phone.

However, back at the party, things aren’t quite going as planned.

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.

What!

He hurries to the pay phone and makes the call, hoping that everything else goes accordingly. Margot gets up to answer the phone. As she is talking, Swann reaches out to strangle her.

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

But instead of overpowering her like he’s supposed to, Margot ends up getting him. As the two are struggling, she reaches for something…anything to stop him. She ends up grabbing the scissors and stabbing him with them, completely killing him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.

I don't know what to do

Tony tells her to touch nothing and wait for him. He’s on his way over.

As he heads over Tony freaks out. His plans have failed. But then something comes to him. A new plan, a way to fix things.

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

He decides to make it look like Swann was blackmailing Margot and that she murdered him rather than self-defense. He calls the police and sends Margot to bed. He then plants Mark’s letter in Swann’s coat, takes the key and puts it back in Margot’s handbag, and burns the scarf that Swann was going to use, replacing it with Margot’s stocking. He then tells Margot to make sure she doesn’t tell the police that he told her not to call the police. He’s worried how it might make her look. However, Tony is plotting very well, and the police begin to strongly suspect her.

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

The police figure out that Swann did not come through the French Windows. He must have come through the hall, as it rained the night before. If he had come through the garden there would be muddy footprints. Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) strongly suspects Margot and believes her to be the killer. We cut to a scene showing Margot on trial amd sentenced to be hanged.

perfect plan

Except thing are not quite perfect.  There are quite a few things Tony didn’t plan. One of which was getting rid of the money. As Tony mentioned, he’s been drawing a lot of money out of his bank every week, pretending to spend it on racehorses. He had planned to give it to Swann, but now is at a loss. He can’t put it back in the bank as there would be too many questions. He can’t keep it, if the police find it, it’s all over for him.

I don't know what to do

So he tries to spend it all. Unbeknowest to him, the police are watching him very carefully. And they notice this.

Months later, on the night before Margot’s execution,  Mark comes to speak to Tony. He tells him that instead of letting Margot die, he should say that he tried to murder her. That he hired Swann. This will give him some jail time but save Margot’s life. Tony does not want to do that.

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

Inspector Hubbard comes back to the flat to question Tony some more about the money he’s been spending. Mark hears this and starts searching, finding the briefcase full of money.

What!

Tony thinks of a lie quickly and says that this was the money Margot had to give to Swann, but then changed her mind and killed him. The Inspector listens and takes his comment as fact…or does he?

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

Now, if Tony was really smart he would have made up a different lie. I would have said that I realized there was nothing between me and Margot and was planning on leaving her. However, I knew that I wouldn’t get much money in the divorce (he signed a prenup), so I’ve been taking some money out, bit by bit. When the murder happened, I knew it would come to light and was afraid that it might put me in a bad light or under suspicion. I mean its not the perfect excuse, but at least it shows he wasn’t going to kill her as why remove money when he was planning on getting it all. But he doesn’t think that way.

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Hold on, that is illegal. He doesn’t have a search warrant or permission to be searching the house. Anything he finds will be immaterial and thrown out of court. I looked it up and  this is what it said:

By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.

So technically, anything he finds can not be used in a court of law. That’s it, Tony is allowed to go free.

TheEnd_Title_2

But of course this is a movie, and things go differently. Inspector Hubble discovers that the key in the purse does not work on the front door. He instead finds it under the stair carpet. This gives him the great idea of creating a little trick to discover if Tony is the true killer.

John Williams (Chief Inspector Hubbard) Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Inspector visits Tony and steals his raincoat, leaving his own, therefore taking Tony’s key. He calls the station and asks them to release Margot. She immediately returns home, but finds out that her key won’t work. Hubbard watches her and discovers that she does not know the key is under the stairs. The Inspector let’s her in and gets a policeman to take the bag back to the station. They then begin to wait for Tony.

perfect plan

Tony comes home from his errands and finds that he can’t get inside. His coat belongs to Inspector Hubble and he has the wrong key. When Tony discovers his key doesn’t fit, he goes down to the station to get Margot’s bag. When that key doesn’t fit, he looks under under the stairs and finds the key, giving himself away.

dun-dun-duuuun

Tony enters and figures out they caught him. Being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t fight them. He knows when he has been defeated.

Tony Wendice: [pouring a drink] As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way… How about you, Margot?

Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

Tony Wendice: I suppose you’re still on duty, Inspector.

TheEnd_Title_2

It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.

1954dialmformurder

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Dial “M” for Murder, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Past of a Man

For more on blackmail, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more films based on a play, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime

It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?: Scream 2 (1997)

scream-2

It’s happening again, isn’t it?

So welcome to another Screamin’ Saturday. Yep, every Saturday this month we are going to cover the Scream franchise. Go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie? to read about the first one.

**** Contains Spoliers ****

Now the first Scream film was a parody of horror films. Scream 2 is similar, but takes it one step further by making this a parody of horror sequels, and sequels in general. Kevin Williamson actually came up with the ideas for Scream 2 while writing the script for Scream. Scream 2 began principal photography just six months after the release of Scream, and it was released less than a year after its predecessor.

keanu Whoa

So Scream takes place two years since the last film, and Gale Weathers has not only written her book about the Woodsboro murders, but her book has been turned into a film, Stab. They are having a midnight showing for the film in which all those who attend receive a free ghostface mask + costume.

So we open with a boyfriend and girlfriend going to see the film. She’s not really into it, but her boyfriend is all over the slasher flick. The two start watching the film, when her boyfriend goes off to the bathroom. Just like in Friday the 13th, he meets his end.

Ghostface attacks!

Ghostface attacks!

Making it body #1

Victim #1

Victim #1

Back at the theater, his date is chilling, watching the film, when she too meets her end.

Victim #2

Victim #2

Everyone hears her screams, but does nothing as they think it was just a publicity stunt.

The next day we go to Windsor College, where the dead boy and girl attended school; and also the place that Randy and Sidney go to. Randy is in his film class where they are discussing whether or not violent films really encourages people to become killers. The reason this plays such a crucial role in the film, was because after the first film came out there were a ton of people trying to copy the murders and they way they killed people in the film. In fact many tried to blame it on scary movies and try to get directors like Wes Craven to be held responsible for it.

“Film Teacher: You could say that what happened in that theatre was a direct result of the movie itself.

Cici: That is so Moral Majority. You can’t blame real life violence on entertainment.

Film Class Guy #1: Yes you can. Don’t you ever watch the news?

Film Class Guy #2: Hello? The murderer was wearing a ghost mask just like in the movie. It’s directly responsible.

Cici: No, it’s not. Movies are not responsible for our actions.

Mickey: Its a classic case of life, imitating art, imitating life.

Film Class Mopey Girl: Its not hypothetical, it’s not about art. I had biology with that girl. This is reality.

Randy: Thank you. I agree with you. Let me tell you about reality, Mickey. I lived through this, okay? Life is life. It doesn’t imitate anything.

Mickey: Oh come on Randy, with all due respect, the killer obviously patterned himself after two serial killers who were immortalized on film.

Film Class Guy #2: Thank you!

Film Teacher: So, you’re suggesting that someone is trying to make a real life sequel?

Randy: Stab 2? Who would wanna do that? Sequels suck! Oh please, please! By definition alone, sequels are inferior films!

Thank you Randy!

Bad Sequels psycho-1960-alfred-hitchcock-janet-leigh-pic-21

And this spurns a debate on whether or not sequels are horrible films. I have to say that I usually hate sequels, but there are some that are better than the original, such as Aliens, or just as good, like Terminator 2.  Anyways, as they are debating, one student, Mickey, says that Godfather II is so much better than the original. Mickey you are stupid. Godfather II is no where near as awesome as the original GodfatherThe Godfather was an amazing film about this family and one man’s struggle to get free, but getting trapped in something he does not want. It is AWESOME! The second one isn’t bad, but the plot is a little scattered with the juxtaposition between Vito’s start in America, and Michael’s life. I don’t think it’s awful, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Mickey, I only have one thing to say to you:

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

Sorry! Back to the film…

So Randy still is in love with Sidney, and I personally hate how the directors never put them together. I wanted Randy to win the girl. But sadly, that’s not in his future.

Scream 2 geek get the girl

He checks up on Sidney who is scared about everything happening again.

scream 2 start again

We are then introduced to the rest of the crew. Sidney’s new boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell),  his best friend Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) and…wait a sec. Timothy Olyphant? the sexy guy from Deadwood and Justified? He’s in this film???? Woaaaaaah!! This dude is one incredible actor. He goes from yucky creep:

Uber Creep!!!

Uber Creep!!!

to:

look behind watching

Excuse me again. Sorry! And Sydney’s best friend Hallie (Elise Neal). (Funny it mimics the old crew. In Scream: Sidney, Randy, Billy, Stu, & Tatum. Scream 2: Sidney, Randy, Derek, Mickey, & Hallie. 3 boys and 2 girls). Soon to join them is Deputy Dewey, as he wants to watch over Sidney and make sure she is okay. He does suffer from a limp and other ailments, as his stabbing almost killed him. Following after him is Gale, who is once again, not received well.

verbalbeatdown

Meanwhile Sidney continues to get harassed on the phone:

when-a-stranger-calls

“Sydney: Hello? Hello?

Phone Voice: Hello Sidney.

Sydney: Yes?

Phone Voice: What’s your favorite scary movie?

Sydney: Who is this?

Phone Voice: You tell me.

Sydney: [picks up caller ID] Cory Gillis, 555-0176.

Phone Voice: S***!

Sydney: Hot flash Cory…

Phone Voice: S***!

Sydney: …prank calls are a criminal offense prosecuted under penal code 653M.

[caller hangs up]

Sydney: Hope you enjoyed the movie.”

Meanwhile, that night in a sorority house, Cici, the girl from the film class (and played by Sarah Michelle Geller) recieves a lot of phone calls and is attacked that night.

Ghostface attacks!

Ghostface attacks!

Making her

Victim #3

Victim #3

That night Sidney gets attacked by ghostface, and just manages to get out okay with Derek’s help. He saves her but gets a flesh wound in the process. She is then is given two policemen bodyguards to protect her.

The next day, Sidney is totally freaking out, as she herself also gets attacked. Derek tries to make her feel better by singing her a Partridge Family song, I Think I Love You:

This is one of my all time favorite songs! I find it so incredibly romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And gives her his Greek letters for protection.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Derek NO!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Have you not seen any horror films?!!!!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

 

This is why Randy is awesome, he would know about this and he would not make this stupid mistake. OMG movie heroes make this mistake all the freakin’ time. The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Draculaetc. If you have been given a necklace just for you DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT GIVE IT AWAY! IF YOU DO YOU WILL DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every single time! I mean it is true that this is just Greek letters and not something given by Van Helsing, or a Gypsy ,or whatever, but still. If you hadn’t given it away you wouldn’t have marked yourself as a dead man. Just saying.

Ouch

Ouch

Randy and Dewey meet up to try and figure out who the killer might be. While they are discussing it, they see clips from the film Stab. Now I do have to say I love the movie within the movie as they show scenes from the film. And good job Wes on continuity. In Scream, Sidney mentions how she wouldn’t be lucky to have a great actress play her, she’d probably end up with Tori Spelling.

Randy also goes over the rules for sequels.

And also discusses our potential killers. Is it Derek, the boyfriend? Could Sydney have made the same mistake twice? How about creepy Mickey? Or the supposedly sweet Hallie?

Everyone's a suspect!

Everyone’s a suspect!

Sidney, meanwhile is suffering from PTSD. She is supposed to be the star of the school play, but has a complete breakdown in rehearsal.

And this is something that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I know Wes did it this way so that when Ghostface is attacking her she can go all loca, but still who would ever be in a play where people in freakin’ masks are attacking you? There is no way whatsoever that someone with that much trauma would dare even do that. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe it.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

Now I want to take a brief sidebar from the film (I know again…sorry!) But let me just say that I love how this film is such a great representation of the ’90s. You have that one side of the culture with the dark clothing very goth (Sidney and Gale). And on the other hand you have the prep look with floral and pastels (Derek and Hallie). You have everyone running around in denim, stonewash of course. Ah, it’s such a throwback. They even give a Saved By the Bell reference, and call each other bonehead. Oh ’90s.

Sidney_&_Friends Scream 2

Anyways back to the film. So Randy, Dewey, and Gale have now teamed up to try and find the killer. Poor Randy. He loves Sidney so much, but she won’t give him the time of day. Now I cannot understand why Sidney won’t date Randy. Randy is awesome. He has great taste in film. He is tall and buff. He does a great British accent. Why Sid? Why? He’s perfect.

perfection

So they get a call, and while Randy talks to ghostface, Dewey and Gale hunt around the area trying to find the murderer.

Victim #4

Victim #4

RANDY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

padme-youre-breaking-my-heart-gif-1

Why, why why!!!!!! Why did Randy have to die? Why?????????!!!!!!!!! Just like the garage scene was the biggest mistake of Scream, killing Randy was the biggest mistake you could make for the sequel. Randy was awesome. Randy was hot. Randy was the only one who had seen horror films. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

right in the feels broken heart

So Sidney, even though her life is threatened, has schoolwork to do. She goes to the library and her guards go to the other side of the building.

SayWhat?

MeanGirls I know right!

WHY AREN’T THEY NEXT TO HER?

Then Sidney gets threatened and her bodyguards take off to investigate.

Say What

So what is up with Sidney’s bodyguards? Do they want her to die? She gets threatened and they live her alone to investigate. SHE WAS JUST THREATENED!!!!! DO YOU WANT HER TO DIE??????? Ugh! One of you should have stayed while the other went out looking.

hmm_yes_i_see_youre_a_moron_trollcat

While they are gone Cotton Weary comes onto Sidney. I’m sure you guys remember Cotton. He was played by Liev Schreiber, and was the man that Sidney thought had murdered her mother. He had been released after the whole Stu & Billy issue. He’s been trying to reach Sidney to have her go on TV with him and discuss the past, but she has been ignoring him.

Scream 2 Doubts

Okay Cotton is a real creep. The way he just pops out of nowhere and how he is obsessed with Sidney, I’m having Phantoms flashbacks. Let me just say that I don’t like Liev Schieber. I think he is creepy in everything! (Well except Kate & Leopold). 

Certified Creepo Ribbon

So after that they decide to take Sydney and Hallie to a safe house. She stops to say good-bye to Derek, but it turns out he gets kidnapped by his frat brothers as he is going to get a beat down for giving away his letters.

post-32452-this-is-a-fight-gif-we-are-fig-xWvc

Okay this is a weird scene. Seriously what is with all the Troy references? They are doing a Greek tragedy about Troy as their school play. The Greek frat/Sorority yells about how this is for Troy and call themselves gods. Who talks like that? What is their obsession with Troy in this film?

whatsthedeal

Anyways, so the four of them are on their way to a safe house, when Sydney asks the cops where they are going. They tell her that they can’t, because if they tell her, then they’ll have to kill her.

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

Sydney is being threatened BY A KILLER AND YOU THINK MAKING A JOKE ABOUT KILLING HER IS FUNNY?

jerk_alert32

Like dude really? Bad form, bad form

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

I mean like

Get out

Anyways, back to the film.

So as they are driving they get attacked by Ghostface.

Ghostface attacks!

Ghostface attacks!

Now this makes no sense to me. How did Ghostface know where they were going? I mean they were taking her to a secure location, a safe house, yet he reaches the intersection way before them. I mean he could have guessed they would exit and go down that way, but every campus has at least four exits, how did he know they weren’t going to double back? And how did he make it there on foot? And what was his plan if they didn’t happen to get a red light? I mean he is on foot, and they will be driving at least 35m/hr, maybe faster.

Shame on you!

Shame on you!

So the two take a really long time, trying to get out of the car without disturbing ghostface. They make it out and start running away. When Sidney decides to go back and take a look at who the killer is.

No thank you

This isn’t the time to stay there, this is the time to RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Scream 2

She goes back, but the killer has magically disappeared and kills Hallie. Bringing our total to:

Victim #5, 6, & 7

Victim #5, 6, & 7

The body count is racking up!

Sidney, finally takes the right advice and runs away, toward the theater/film department/building.

run-away

Meanwhile, Gale and Dewey go are in the theater to check out the film department and look at some tapes.

Ringu Watch TV

While their things get a little heated. Now Dewey and Gale, tsk. tsk. What is this Twin Peaks? You are going to sex while there is a killer loose?

clueless twin peaks

But they get interrupted by a tape that shows images from Cici’s murder, Randy’s, and then the two of them. Ghostface then chases them around stabbing Dewey in the process. Now Gale manages to outrun him for quite a while and it is  pretty B.A. how Gale is attacking and trying to take Ghostface down. The whole chase scene with Gale and the killer is very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. The raptors and Ghostface could be best buds.

27c_jurassic-park-image-4

Sidney has reached the stage, where she sees Derek tied up. She goes to help him when ghostface comes upon her and reveals himself to be……….

dun-dun-duuuun

Uber Creep!!!

Uber Creep!!!

Mickey

Yep, Mickey is crazy and the killer. He tells Sidney that he isn’t working alone, but has a partner.

“Mickey: Don’t you know, history repeats itself? Hmm, Sid? [removes mask to reveal Mickey; uses voice-changer] Surprise, Sidney.

Derek: What the f***?

Mickey: Since Derek here disappeared on my a**, I’ve been on my own, all f****** night. Thanks a lot, partner.

Derek: You motherf*****! Sid, you know me better than that. Untie me.

Sydney: Oh my god, Derek!

Derek: No, no, no… Sid.

Mickey: It’s okay, Derek. We got her.

Derek: No, no, Sid, listen to me. You know me better than that. He’s lying.

Mickey: What do you think, Derek? Sidney’s experiencing a little deja vu?

Derek: Sid, he’s lying! The man is lying! Sid, untie me! Untie me!”

So now Sidney is caught between the two. Could she have made the same mistake?

What else could go wrong?

What to do

Before Sidney can make a decision Mickey shoots Derek in the chest. Bringing us to:

Victim #8

Victim #8

Mickey: You should really deal with your trust issues Sid: I mean, poor Derek. He’s completely innocent and such a nice boy too. He’s bright and funny and handsome. Decent singing voice. And he was going to be a doctor. This is just the kinda boy you’d like to take home to mom. If you had a mom.”

Mickey tells Sidney to look behind her and she his partner. She does and it is Gale

What the

But behind Gale is another reporter who had been around earlier, Debbie Salt. The women who Sidney recognizes as Mrs. Loomis, Billy’s mom.

OMG

Now what’s really interesting about Scream 2 is that the cast didn’t know who the killer was until the last day. They had kept it a big secret and had actually gone through multiple endings with different killers. Everyone from Derek, Hallie, Mrs. Loomis, and Cotton; before settling on the deadly duo of Mickey and Mrs. Loomis.

Anyways, so Billy’s mom and Mickey have been working together. Mickey wanted to kill because he wanted to get caught and use horror films as his defense at trial. Mrs. Loomis, shoots Mickey who shoots Gale and knocks her off the stage. She then turns to Sidney and explains her real reasons behind it all. Pulling a Mrs. Voorhees, she wants to get back at the person who killed her son.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don't let her get away, Mommy! Don't let her live! [normal voice] Pamela Voorhees: I won't, Jason. I won't!

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!
[normal voice] I won’t, Jason. I won’t!

After Mrs. Voor…Loomis is about to slit Sidney’s throat, when Cotton comes on the scene.

I love this ending. Even though Cotton is a total creep and this is the meanest thing ever, I just love that he blackmails her into giving him the interview.

Gale is alive and after she joins the group. Mickey seems to wake up, but Sidney shoots both Mickey and Mrs. Precott.

Gale-Randy-Billy-and-Sidney-scream-23148646-499-198

Dewey is alive and gets taken to the hospital and Cotton gets his interview as the hero of the night.

TheEnd_Title_2

So tell me Wes Craven, how does Dewey survive another extreme stabbing and live? How does he live and not Randy? Randy is awesome, why’d he have to die? Why. I’m still not over that. Wes Craven you break my heart.

Wes Craven and I

Wes Craven and I

Tune in next Saturday for the third installment

1997_scream-2

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

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For more on the Scream saga, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more on Wes Craven, go to Kruegar Town

For more horror parody, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more on slasher film, go to It’s Coming From Inside the House

For more on Friday the 13th, go to Camp Blood

For more great sequels, go to The Boys Are Back in Town

For more films that spanned sequels, go to I’ll Be Back

For more of my fav songs, go to Rock You Like a Hurricane 

On the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

On the 9th day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

200px-Borrowed_Hearts_DVD_cover

Borrowed Hearts (1997)

This movie is one of my all-time favorite romance films. I remember every Valentine’s Day they used to show this on WE or Lifetime, even though it is a Christmas movie. I was in love with Eric McCormack, thought Roma Downey was extremely pretty, and envied the little girl’s room and toys.

So the film is about businessman Sam Field, Eric McCormack, who is trying to negotiate the biggest deal of his life. Javier Del Campo, played by the wonderful Hector Elizondo, is fully prepared to sign the papers after he spends some time with Sam and his family. The only problem is Sam doesn’t have any family. He is a confirmed bachelor and hates the idea of becoming a father or having children. His friend and spokesperson lied to Del Campo, and now Sam is stuck trying to find someone to pretend to be his family.

128895484207664252

Enter Kathleen, Roma Downey,  a single mom who works in Sam’s plant. She has been trying to save up money for a house for her and her rambunctious daughter Zooey. Zooey is a real handful as she doesn’t like to listen and has a habit of running away and climbing trees when she hears something she doesn’t like. Zooey’s dad left a while ago, because he didn’t want to deal with his responsibilities of being a father. However, Zooey is hoping and praying that he comes back. She wishes to have her dad for Christmas along with getting a house just like her dollhouse. I was very jealous of this dollhouse when I was young. I loved it and wanted it sooo badly. She prays that an angel will come down from heaven and make this happen for her and her mom.

images

(Sorry for all the random cat pics, it appears the internet is lacking in Borrowed Heart pics. I will try my best though)

So one day as the two are driving and looking at Christmas lights on the big mansions in town, Zooey spots one that looks exactly like her dollhouse.

Sorry its the only pic of the house I could find

Sorry its the only pic of the house I could find

Zooey yells at her mom to stop and runs into the house, claiming that it is hers because she asked the angel for it. Now this kid needs some discipline. She should not think it is okay to run into a stranger’s house.

Mhm great gatsby

Anyways, Sam was just discussing the problem of his “missing family” with his friend Dave. Did Dave think that the perfect people would just walk right through the door? Enter Zooey and Kathleen.

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So Kathleen and Sam strike up a deal for three days of services. To Sam’s dislike Kathleen gives the house a complete make-over adding all these homey touches. She also is given a wardrobe to die for, and Zooey has a room filled with toys. You totally start coveting their stuff.

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Javier Del Campo arrives on the scene and whenever he is around Zooey hears music although none is playing. This was something she was told that happens whenever an angel is around. She starts to suspect Del Campo of being more than what he seems.

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Everything seems to be running just fine. They had a few glitches, but they’ve managed to pass over every one swimmingly. They do run into a problem when Del Campo asks for the story of how they met. As they both haven’t planned out a story, neither wants to say.

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Everyone is saved when Zooey speaks up. She tells a cute story of an angel bringing the two together (*wink, wink foreshadowing). Afterwards everyone is off to bed but Sam and Kathleen realize that they have to share a room or raise Del Campo’s suspicions. They both sleep in Sam’s room, with Sam being sent to the closet, while Kathleen gets the bed. I always thought that was mean as Sam doesn’t even get a real blanket, instead he has to use one of his coats. 😦 This is a scenario that is played out in many films, but all stemming from the film It Happened One Night.

While Sam  was originally seen cold-hearted jerk, we get to see a softer side of him as he is around Kathleen and Zooey. He starts talking to the two and building a meaningful relationship. He and Kathleen start to heat up as a Twister game brings them much closer together.

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Del Campo decides to stay longer, causing the marriage to continue. While things go well not everything is perfect, as Zooey’s lack of discipline causes her to mess up Sam’s office and Sam to lose his temper. While Kathleen hates to hear any criticism, she grabs Zooey and walks out. After a heart-to-heart and two apologies, Sam is able to convince the two to return to his home.

The next day they all go ice-skating and Sam and Zooey have the cutest bonding moment. Sam is afraid he will fall, and Zooey promises that everything will be okay because she is there to catch him.

So sweet!

So sweet!

Afterwards, Zooey skates off and Sam gets hit on by a blonde bimbo. He quickly takes off his glove to show he is a “married man”, but Kathleen is comes over to talk to him and makes him feel very awkward.

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We also learn more about Kathleen’s issues and how she doesn’t trust anyone after what her husband did. Although, it appears some walls seem to be breaking down.

Just as things are getting good again, the bad also rises. Kathleen’s ex comes into to town and threatens to tell Del Campo everything, unless Sam ponies up and pays him. Sam agrees to the blackmail, only if the ex promises not to contact Kathleen or Zooey until after Christmas. Kathleen also finds out that this “great deal” that Sam is trying to do, will cause a lot of employees to lose their jobs. She decides to ambush Sam with a Christmas party at work, having all the employees share how thankful they are to Sam for the job he has given them. The whole party is extremely awkward for Sam.

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However the bonds between Sam and Zooey are growing even stronger. As Zooey tells Sam of her father issues, Sam begins to open up with all the issues he has with his father. He tells her of a time that the two were supposed to play catch, but Sam kept failing to get the ball because his glove was too big. The way his father treats him, just brings tears to your eyes. Sam never felt as if he measured up or was the son his father wanted. He always felt worthless.

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As things with Zooey are going great, Kathleen and Sam are building a better understanding and growing closer than ever. While Kathleen and him are wrapping presents, they have a moment where they might kiss, but are interrupted by Zooey having a nightmare.

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It is Christmas! And the gift giving brings many precious moments. Del Campo signs the papers as his gift, but Sam declines his signature saying he never does business at Christmas. At first Zooey is sad that her real father isn’t there, but quickly perks up as she gives Sam his gift. Zooey has given Sam a baseball glove. She borrowed one of his regular gloves to make sure it fit perfectly. This scene is so aw-worthy as Sam declares it the nicest gift he was ever given.

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Sam has another aw-worthy moment when Kathleen opens her present from him. It is a set of brushes and paints. Sam got it for her after hearing her old dream of becoming an artist in Paris. Sam encourages her to not give up on the dream, but to keep trying. As the two finish talking, Del Campo makes them aware of the fact that they are under a rather large thing of mistletoe.

I found this a little odd that no one has managed to come under it until this moment? Sounds like the angel made it grow out of the ceiling. After all how many people in that house were expected to fall under it? Anyways the two share their first kiss, both enjoying it.

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Zooey however, is not happy. She is still hoping for the chance that her parents will get back together. Sam realizes this and goes to get her father, bringing him to his home. The ruse falls apart, and Sam explains everything to Del Campo. Del Campo is a little miffed, but concludes that Sam already has his signature and he intends to not fight it. Sam decides to not go through with the merger, sacrificing his “big deal” for Kathleen. Kathleen’s ex-husband leaves, and Zooey becomes heartbroken at being abanded that she runs outside and climbs a tree. However, as these are not her usual trees, the branches don’t support her. They sap under her weight, and she finds herself hanging high up.

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Kathleen and Sam are freaking out. Sam calls up to her and tells her to jump into his arms, that he promises to catch her. Zooey is too scared that he won’t and she’ll fall, that she continues to cling to the tree. Sam echos what she said at the skating rink, promising that he will catch her, that he won’t let her fall. Zooey lets go, and Sam catches her. He holds her and promises that everything will be ok.

The film ends with us knowing for sure Del Campo is an angel, with his wings worn “on the inside” to give the appearance of being a human. Sam, Kathleen, and Zooey are all becoming a family; everything ending happily for all!

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Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

To go to the previous post, go to On the 10th Day ’til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

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For more on pretending to be married, go to Being Friends is Good Enough

For more on two who hate each other falling in love, go to I Don’t Want the Money

Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught: Perfect Stranger (2007)

Secrets are great. Unless you get caught.

So a week ago I had some free time and was flipping through channels, planning on just zoning out in front of the TV until my next class. I landed on FX and started watching this movie with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. It seemed really good, but I couldn’t finish it as I had to run off to my next class. I decided to rent it  and finish watching it as the plot really intrigued me. Unfortunately; it wasn’t very good. I thought it had too many sexual scenes that were just awkward and painful to get through, I ended up having to fast forward through them all. I also thought they dropped the F-bomb too many times. I’m not one who curses at all, but I think everyone who does will agree with me that there are times when the F-Bomb is said too many times that it loses its meaning and makes the person just look stupid.

I also didn’t like Halle Berry’s character Ro. I thought that she was a mean, selfish jerk. Her friend Miles is head over heels crazy for her, and Ro knows this and instead of letting him off gently; she is totally rude to him, just using him for all the information he can get. Now I know I have been a total witch to guys (check out the Elton Saga: 1,2,& 3 plus lame lines  and flirting post), but at least I never toyed with a guys affections to get him to retrieve information for me.

The only really good part about this film is the end. It was amazing! I wish there was a way one could just watch it and understand the rest of the film.

Here are the links if you want to check it out yourself.

FYI Spolier Alert

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So the movie starts out with Halle Berry’s character Ro, a journalist,  tricking a senator into revealing all of his dirty secrets.

Ro is pretty high on her recent sucess and goes out to celebrate with her best friend/computer whiz/guy madly in love with her that she doesn’t care for, Miles. After she becomes extrremely drunk, she ends up being told by her boss that they are burying the story. Extremely angry that her freedom of press is being stomped on, she quits.

She starts on home feeling angry and crappy. She’about to board the subway and head home, when her old school friend she hasn’t spoken to in years; and is really mad at, because she slept with her boyfriend, Grace approaches her.

Hey girl, what up?

Turns out Grace met this guy, ADEX, online and had cybersex with him, later meeting up with him in real life. It turns out that “ADEX” was really the rich and famous Harrison Hill. She and him had a big fling and now she is threatening to blackmail him. She also wants Ro to write this up for the paper and completely embarass Hill. Ro blows her off and continues on home.

A week later, Ro gets a call from Grace’s mom telling her Grace is thought to be dead. Ro goes and identifies the drowned body, confirming that it is Grace. From here Ro decides she is going to take on Hill, and get him for what he did. She enlists Miles who has all the knowledge and contacts to pull off a caper like this.

She starts working at Hill’s Ad agency and quickly makes friends with the biggest gossip there; thus learning all the dirty secrets on everyone. Apparently Hill has had many affairs, all of which his wife is tired of. In fact, if he does it one more time, she’s leaving him. Now you might think, so what? He can get along without her. Wrong-o! Turns out Hill has nothing, nada, zip! His wife has the money, the company, EVERYTHING! He wouldn’t dare let her know that he was having another affair or else he would be kicked to the curb. He pretends to be the dutiful husband, going along with her to fertility tanks, because his wife is infertile. Sounds like a motive to me.

Then Ro witnesses what Hill does to people he thinks are betraying him. He beats up on one of his employees that he thinks is spilling secrets to their competitor.

Don’t make me angry

So more and more he is looking like the villain. But is it ever that easy?

Now there are a lot of web chatting, and online sex, and gross things…between her, TruBlue (random guy she meets online), and ADEX.

Oh and Ro has these weird flashbacks throughout the film that involve her father. They don’t outright say it, but strongly hint that he was molesting/raping her as a child. At times they become a mishmash of flashback/present day dream/nightmarelike things. They get very confusing at times.

Then the movie gets intense again. Ro has pretty much confirmed that ADEX is Hill. And she starts talking to him online AT WORK! I mean COME ON! HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE?

I mean the stupidity level is on par with taking a shower when there are monsters running about. Just saying.

So of course she has stuff on her screen that she doesn’t want Hill to see, and he just HAS to come over to talk to her. The scene is actually pretty intense ands set up very well.

So Ro is able to get out of that tight spot, and turns down her boss’ offer to go out with him, wanting instead to keep things “professional”.

That night she meets up with Miles, once again being  complete dermo (a word I created for loser/jerk/b**** who uses someone. I actually found out the definition for the “true” word isn’t that far off. Cool, huh?) to him. Miles brings a friend who works with the coroner. Apparently Grace was not just drowned but drugged with Belladonna and had some put in her eyes. Hill’s wife’s family has donated a ton of money to medical research, a majority of that which used Belladonna. Hmm…suspicious. Also, after she was poisoned, Grace was drowned. She was also pregnant. Things are looking worse and worse for Hill.

*At this point in the film I have already decided that it is not Hill. It is way too obvious and I think that there is another character who has a stronger motive, Hill’s wife. What if Grace approached the wife right after talking to Ro. Maybe the wife was one of those women who couldn’t stand to lose her man and would take out any woman who dared try to take him from her. What if all those past affairs have just been compounding on her brain all these years, and she just snaps hearing about this one. But the most likely motive; she couldn’t bear to hear that after trying so long to be pregnant and being infertile, that this little tramp got pregnant by her husband. The one thing she could not do, being done by some harlot? That’s enough to drive any woman to the brink of insanity. It would be easy, all she would have to do is meet up with Grace to see the proof, give her a drink laced with the Belladonna, which of course would be easy for her to get, and kill her. If she didn’t want to do it herself she has plenty of money to hire someone to do it for her.

Anyways, so Ro goes out with Hill after all to try and probe his mind a little. She ends up being slightly charmed by him instead.

The next day he comes to pick her up and we see his wife is creepin’ on them from a taxi. Makes her look totally suspicious.

Ro is trying to get into Hill’s computer to get a look at his emails. Miles give her a spyware program on a flashdrive, but it tkes some time so she has to do it when Hill won’t be around. She waits until after work, when everyone is gone and sticks it in. Only prob is, Hill hasn’t left yet. She’s caught red-handed.

She ends up making up a dumb story involving a private joke the two shared the night they went out.

For some strange reason he buys her answer and takes her out to dinner. They are having fun, making out, etc; and Ro leaves to go to the bathroom. And she leaves her purse and phone behind.

Okay, hold up now, what woman does that? What woman would leave to go to the bathroom and not take her purse and phone. Bad call writers, bad call.

So while she is gone her phone goes off, and Hill decides that he’s gonna read her text message. Seriously, who does that? Does he not understand the word “privacy”?

She comes back, and Hill starts driving her home. He stops in a random place and then starts yelling at her. Telling her he knows her secrets, that she is a spy from their rival competitors. Ro, trying to save herself, admits to it. Hill becomes so angry that he almost hits her.

Let’s rewind and back that up. Almost hits her. At this point in the film I knew it wasn’t him. He just had the sense that he would never hurt a woman. And I found it odd that the only thing he thought Ro was trying to discover about him was spying for another company? It just seemed off to me. I mean if he had killed Grace, Miles message would have made him think that Ro was onto him about that, yet the only thing that comes to mind is a rival company spy? Hmm….

So Ro is fired. Now this is where the story gets weird.

Miles decided to go in and save the day. The next day he pretends to be an IT guy for Hill, ready to do a complete inspection on Hill’s computer. Hill tells him to wait a bit and check out the office. He looks at these photographs done by Mrs. Hill of eyes dilluted with Belladonna.

At this point I’m completely sold on the fact that Mrs. H is the murderer.

Meanwhile, Ro goes to Miles house to make him dinner and discovers that he has some freaky, jacking-off, man-cave, room thing. Really gross and freaky. She also sees that Miles was TruBlue and had been sleeping with Grace.

ew! Gross Yuck

He also channeled Helga from Hey Arnold with a super creepy Ro shrine. Its actually talks and says “Miles is sexy” in Ro’s actual voice. Very sick.

Yeah, pretty freaky!

Miles comes home and Ro starts yelling at him, and accusing him of being the murderer. Miles admits he’s a freak but shows her Hill’s company’s website with the Belladonna pics. He is now absolutely convinced that Hill or his wife killed Grace. Ro still won’t listen and walks out, never wanting to speak to Miles again.

The next day she takes all her info to the police and they set up a sting to catch Hill. Everything pretty much falls apart as the evidence is so high against him. His wife gives some pretty damaging evidence against him. Hill is convicted and sent to jail.

Ro goes back to work and starts writing an article on everything that went on. She has a really great opening:

Ro: It’s a world where you *think* actions have no consequence, where guilt is cloaked by anonymity, where there are no fingerprints. An invisible universe filled with strangers, interconnected online and disconnected in life. It will steal your secrets, corrupt your dreams, and co-opt your identity. Because in this world, where you can be anything you want, any *one* you want, you just might lose sight of who you are.

So here, the movie seems pretty wrapped up, but you just know there has to be one last twist. I’m waiting for the wife to go crazy or be discovered or something.

So then we have this great shot of Mrs. Hill going to the medicine cabinet (where she kept the Belladonna) and opening it. Then we see gloved hands pull out some hair spray, unscew the bottom (like in Jurassic Park) and pull out Belladonna. The person is………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ro.

Yes Ro. Ro is trying to dump out her secret Belladonna down the drain. Ro then has a flashback and we get the whole story. Her father was going to molest her, when her mom stepped in and beat her dad with the fireplace poker. Instead of calling the cops they buried him in the backyard, and Grace saw the whole thing and has been blackmailing her for years. Watch the video:

Great ending. Only great part of the film.

I especially love how they review the scene between her and Grace. You now get the full meaning of the words that she used when talking to Ro.

The only thing I didn’t like was the moving around of Miles and Ro when he is telling her he had it all figured out. I thought it was just weird. Ugh, and Miles was so gross trying to blackmail her into sleeping with him, yuck!

I love how in the end Hill wasn’t the “perfect stranger”, but they all were. Each character had secrets and things about them they were hiding; in the end being someone completely different than you expected.

So that’s today’s freaky tale. More are on the way.

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

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For more on unrequited love, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness