So years ago my sister was looking to watch something on TV and put on Jeepers Creepers 2. I saw the part where he is a scarecrow, or actually pretending to be one, I guess. After that scene she changed the channel as she either thought it was too scary for me, or was tired of my asking questions about who the guy was and why he was doing that.
Since then I have never seen another Jeepers Creepers film, but the other day my friend and I were having a scary movie marathon and decided to check it out. She had never finished it, and I had never seen it before; so we thought we’d make good company.
So the film starts off with Darry Jenner (Justin Long) and his sister Trish (Gina Phillips) are heading home for spring break. They play a game of guessing the meaning of license plates as they drive. They are having a pretty uneventful trip when a van comes behind them and drives all crazy, frightening them.
The car eventually goes around them and they see the license plate says “BEATINGU”. They think that is the last of him.
They continue driving when they see an old church. And just who should be there? The guy who was driving frantically earlier. They see him dump a black bag tied up with rope that resembles a body down a large pipe. They quickly decide to call the police, but can’t because the phone is dead.
Trish: [Darry’s cell phone las a low battery] The point of having a portable phone, idiot, is so that it works when you need it.
Darry: I have a power cable for it.
Trish: Yeah, and I have a cigarette lighter *that doesn’t work*!
Darry: G****** it! What did I say? My car! We should’ve taken my car!
As they continue past, the guy sees them and drives after them, scaring them again, and running them off the road.
When they get their car running again, they decide to do the smart thing and drive until they can find a phone and report what happened.
Oh wait, no they do not do that. They decide to go to his place and investigate it.
He is crazy, he has twice tried to run you off the road, and you are pretty sure that he just killed someone. WHY WOULD YOU GO THERE???!!
You are just asking to be killed.
I thought these people were so stupid. No sane person would do that, that is until I saw what this was based on.
The director and writer insist that the film was an original concept and not based on anything but I think that is a lie. There is an Unsolved Mysteries episode that was aired in 1990, 11 years prior to the film, and is about a couple who likes playing games with license plates and has a similar experience of almost being run off the road, seeing a man toss a body, and trying to “investigate” it. One Youtuber put the two right after each other, and it is clear that Jeepers Creepers is based on this tale.
The killer in that case turned out to be Dennis DePue, a Michigan man, who murdered his wife when she wanted to leave him.
Anyways, so the two are stupidly looking around the area, when Darry gets the bright idea that he will go into the pipe and try to see if anyone is in there in need of help, while Trish holds his feet. All I can say is, bad idea.
Trish:[Darry wants to climb down in the pipe leading to the Creeper’s House of Pain] You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it.
Yes, you guys never should have gone there, but called the police.
So of course Darry falls in, when the two are surprised by some rats.
When he goes down into this pit he finds all kinds of horrors. Bodies that missing things, one that have been cut open and re-sewn. Some have been sewed together. Truly creepy and disgusting. And all the bodies are attached to the walls, like some crazy spider web/wall/cave thing.
Trish waits for him on top, not even looking to see if the PERSON IS COMING BACK!!! Seriously what is wrong with you?
Eventually Darry comes up, but they never explain how he got out. He is extremely traumatized, especially after he saw a dead girl from their home town’s body.
They drive to the nearest phone and to get gas. There they get a call on the pay phone from Jezelle Gay Hartman, the local psychic.
She knows all about them and warns them to get away. The creeper will be after them. They think it is a prank, hangup and call the police.
When the police get there they don’t really believe Darry as he sounds out of his mind.
The car license was registered years ago, and no longer valid. Some of the things he says, the people, have been missing for over twenty years. If they were dead that long, how was the body still full of skin? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but they decide to follow the two and head out to the church.
This next scene I thought was done really well. I liked how they do all the action with the Creeper in the background, through the back window. And watch for the sign placement when the Creeper eats the policeman.
After that they try and stop somewhere for a phone, and end up at a cat lady’s house. She’s pretty awesome as she grabs her shotgun and starts shooting the Creeper up, not letting him in her house. He kills her though, and reveals what he looks like. And it is pretty gross. He’s like a bat-person thing, and even has wings.
A little more man than bat though.
Trish hits the Creeper with her car and then runs over it five times. You go girl! You keep doing that, make sure that sucker is extremely injured or dead.
[after running over the Creeper]
Darry: Is he dead?
Trish: They never are.
They go to the police station and try to report what has happened, but the cops don’t really believe them. There they meet the psychic Jezelle, who tells them the Creeper is after them. Every 23 years, for 23 days, he hunts people; taking those he can who have organs he can eat and will become a part of his body. He smells something in Darry and Trish; although Jezelle isn’t sure which one he is after.
He’s coming to get you
The Creeper is wounded and his body all broken in places. He cuts the power at the police station and feasts on the prisoners to heal himself. The police try to stop him but can’t.
Meanwhile Jezelle has warned the two that one will die a horrible death. She tells them they need to get away and stays behind to try and fight the creeper. The creeper doesn’t want her, and throws her aside, hunting the brother and sister.
He goes after the two, and takes Darry. Trish tries to change his mind and pleads for her to take him; but he looks at her and goes off with Darry.
The police check the abandoned church and find everything like Darry said; but no Creeper and no Darry. He has found a new lair, and has taken Darry’s eyes.
I thought the film was alright. I didn’t think it was that good, and there was a lot of stuff unexplained; but I guess I’m in the minority as it was a huge hit in theaters and for Long’s career, had a sequel that made even more money, and will be getting a threequel next year.
With Halloween approaching and the number of Horror films increasing, I thought it would be a good time to write a post on how to survive a horror film, just in case you happen upon this situation 😉 . Most of us have heard of the “Randy Rules” in Scream (1996), but in this we are going to look a bit more in depth in how to successfully survive a horror film.
1) Do Not Try Out Witchcraft, Ouija Boards, or any of the Occult for “Fun.” You Will Be Messing with Forces You Have No Control Over
It is never good to mess with the occult, play around with witchcraft, or use the ouija board. When you do such things you are opening a door to a lot of stuff you don’t want to mess with. Often you open yourself or others to demon possession or evil spirits. It is best to just stay far away from such things.
2) Do Not Make Deals With the Devil, Demons, or Other Supernatural Beings
Never, ever make a deal with the devil. It is like trying to mess with the occult or witchcraft, you are opening yourself up to serious trouble, and the devil will not like to loose his quarry. Besides, the deals/wishes you make never turn out exactly as you hope.
One of the things that bothers me the most is when people are surrounded by potential weapons and don’t use them. I mean look at Scream (1996), when Tatum is in the garage and attacked by Ghostface, she tries to squeeze herself through a tiny hole to escape rather then use something, anything in the garage. I mean she is in a GARAGE!!! There are hundreds of potential weapons! USE THEM!!! That is one example, but seriously, use anything and everything.
4) Don’t Stop Assaulting Your Attacker Until You are Sure They Are Not Going to Get Up
Now this is huge. In horror movies, if the person is able to outwit the killer and knock them out, they usually just leave it at that and take off. DON’T! You knock that sucker out until you are sure they are no longer going to try to injure you. Break their legs if necessary. Because if you don’t, they are just going to recover and come after you.
5) If Someone Gives You a Protective Charm Do Not Give It Away
I have mentioned this in Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941), Scream 2 (1997), and many more. If someone gives you some kind of charm that is supposed to help you and only work for you, DO NOT GIVE IT AWAY!!!! It will only work FOR YOU!!!! That is why it was given TO YOU!! And if you give it away you are just going to get yourself and the person you were trying to help in serious trouble. Keep it and protect yourself so that you can actually help others, instead of accidentally killing them.
6) Sex = Death
As Randy says in Scream, Sex = Death. Never overlook the purity angle, it is like a protective charm. If you don’t do it, you are less likely to die.
Sometimes Doctors can be good people, but if you are in a horror film, forget it; they are usually evil. Such as Dr. Hartz from The Lady Vanishes (1938), he seems kindly and trying to help, but in reality just wants the main character to think they are going crazy! Same thing in Dr. Hollingshead from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). Then you have doctors who commit horrible things in the name of science; like We have Dr. Frankenstein (from any Frankenstein film) who tries to create life and can’t control his monster. Or there is Dr. Arthur Carrington from The Thing From Another World (1951), who almost kills everyone as he doesn’t care about human life but scientific discovery is what matters. Not to mention Dr. Alfred Brandon from I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), who experiments on teenage boy. And lets not forget Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who eats people. I could go on, but there are too many examples to choose from.
8) Do Not Spend the Night in an Abandoned or Haunted House, Psychiatric Hospital, or Carnival
I mean seriously. Just do not go there. Nothing good will ever, ever, ever come of it! I mean look at The Uninvited (1944), House on Haunted Hill (1959), House on Haunted Hill (1999), The Hunting (1963), The Haunting (1999), etc. I could go on and on, but let’s continue with our list.
9) If There is a Curse on Something Do Not Touch It
I know curses, many laugh at them; but of you are in a horror film and you see something that says it is cursed DON’T TOUCH IT! It is better to live another day then to have yourself face all kinds of horrors.
10) Do Not Drink Any Potions or Test An Experiment On Yourself
NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER test a potion or try an experiment on yourself. It always ends badly! I mean you have Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Fly, Batman’s Man-Bat he had to fight, even Goosebumps did an episode where the dad ended up creating a plant clone of himself. I know many don’t like animal testing or get under the stress of trying to accomplish something; but just stop! Don’t test yourself or else something bad will be created.
11) If There is a Murderer Running Around, Do Not Go Out and Party
This drives me crazy! A murderer is running around killing people and people decide to: 1) not take any precautions; 2) go about their lives like nothing is different; and 3) party. If there is a murderer running around, yes it is good to be in a group (rule 12 & 17) but you shouldn’t be out partying, drinking (rule 13) or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
12) Never Split Up
NEVER, EVER, EVER go anywhere by yourself. There is power in numbers! As a group you could take a killer down, versus as a couple or single. When you split up, all you do us make it easier for someone to kill you.
While some of you might enjoy that type of thing it is never a good idea in a horror film. Anytime you try something that will keep you from thinking clearly, you are in serious trouble as you are likely to make bad decisions that will lead to your death. It is better to just say no.
If you are being attacked, threatened, harassed, etc.; call the police. Don’t try and take care of it yourself, don’t try to investigate, call FOR BACKUP! That’s their job!!! They have guns and can make an arrest!
Unlike the Terminator here, you won’t be back. Uttering these words is signing a death warrant, as soon as they leave your lips you become next on the killer/creature’s hit list.
16) Never Say “Who’s There?”
Never say “who’s there”. If the person was a friend, they wouldn’t be skulking around your house in the first place, trying to scare you. Instead they would knock, ring the doorbell, or call out to you. The only type of person who would be creeping in your house is one who intends on harming you. And if you call out “who’s there”, you’re just helping them find and kill you faster.
When you hear something strange outside, do not go out and look into it. You should wait for assistance or call in the police. If you try looking yourself, you are going to end up in a trap set by a monster, psychopath, murderer, etc. Besides, why unlock the door or turn off the alarm; allowing whatever is watching you the opportunity to come in and attack? Just stay inside snug like a bug.
Have you ever though of how vulnerable you are in the bathroom? Most have no windows to flee from or they aren’t the most accessible. Some do, but for most the only easy way out is the door, which is where most attackers will come through. Plus the reason you would be in the bathroom; shower or toilet, you won’t have any weapons to help you and it would be extremely easy to kill you. If you are in a horror film, just hold it or stay stinky. You are more likely to live that way.
Like I said before, the less people around you, the easier you are to kill. If you go off on your own to investigate, look around, run away; you are just putting a giant target on your back. Stay together, it is safer.
In horror movies, there are lots of people who have been bullied so much and hurt by others they end up becoming homicidal maniacs. And who do they tend to attack first? The last person to hurt them. Look at The Phantom of the Opera (any version), Carrie (1976), Hangman’s Curse (2003), Heathers (1985), etc. So if you don’t want to end up being first on the hit list be kind to those you meet.
22) If You Are a Girl Or Not White, Be Extra Cautious
Never judge a book by its cover. Someone who seems sweet, innocent, impossible to commit cruel acts, etc; could secretly have evil intentions lurking under the adorable facade. Always be watchful and once again, trust NO ONE!
When trying to figure out who the murderer is, never overlook kids. I mean sure some will be obvious in their creepiness, such as the one pictured above, but there are many who look innocent and sweet but are actually evil. Don’t be fooled!
NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER try to create Life. It just does not go the way you plan. You can’t control the beasts you create and they just run amuck everywhere. I mean look at Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Alien: Resurrection, the list goes on but I’ll stop here.
In any horror film, whenever they create life they always think they have complete control over it. Well, that never works out. You see, just because you made it doesn’t mean it will listen to you; every parent knows that. And more often than not, those creations will try and kill you.
28) If Someone Tries to Make a Deal with You to Kill Someone, Do Not Think it is a Joke
Joking around with the idea of murder might be something you would do with a friend, but be careful, you never know how far they might take it.
We all like to hear scary stories around a campfire and about areas. But if you are in a horror film, play very close attention as more often than not, the myths and legends turn out to be true or someone is copying them and making them true. It is always good to pay attention and know the details, it just might save your life.
30) Never Think You Have Destroyed a Monster, They Always Find a Way to Come Back
“One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face.”
So every year I talk about how great Vincent Price is and how he has made truly amazing films in which he plays a terrifying, horrifying, and thrilling person.
The past three years I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of his famous works (although I did review Lauralast year.) So this year I decided it was time to finally review one of his horror-suspense films. So prepare yourself for:
As I present to you The Bat!
So this is another film off the 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection, like The Screaming Skull, Night of the Living Dead, etc. This film is based on a play written by Mary Roberts Rineheart. Now I’m not a huge fan of this author, I find her boring, but if Vincent Price is in it, it must be good.
So we begin our story looking at a beautiful mansion, The Oaks.
Here mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder is staying while she works on her newest novel. But the events that occur here are more mysterious and terrible than anything Cornelia has ever written.
Cornelia van Gorder: As an author I write tales of mystery and murder, but the things that have happened in this house are far more fantastic than any book I’ve ever had published.
Right away we are sucked in. What happened?
So Cornelia is having a hard time keeping her servants. There was a killer called “The Bat”, who was murdering people. There is a rumor that he is back and on the prowl.
Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?
Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.
Cornelia van Gorder: That’s charming, I’ll have to try it some time. [Lizzie stares at her weird] In a book.
I guess he’s the pre-Freddy Kruegar.
To make things even worse, he has been releasing rabid bats into the community.
Now Cornelia doesn’t care if the servants are too scared to work there as she thinks the whole thing is silly. If everyone leaves, she’ll just replace them. She and her assistant Lizzie leave to run some errands.
When they reach the bank they meet a very surprised Victor Bailey, vice president to the bank. John Fleming, the bank president and owner of The Oaks, said he would never let the place.
Cornelia tells them that Mark was the one who actually rented it to them. They then meet Victor’s wife, Dale, who used to be his secretary. Lt. Andy Anderson also comes in and is introduced to Cornelia. Lt. Andy is on the bank board. Interesting…I didn’t think cops that much money.
So Cornelia and Lizzie go off to do what they came to do. Suddenly Victor comes back extremely upset and takes aside Lt. Andy and Dale. It turns out the bank been looted over $1 million worth of securities!
But who could do this? Only Victor and Mr. Flemming have the keys!
Victor wants to call him, but can’t as he is on vacation with his best friend, Dr. Malcolm Wells, on a huting trip on the deep woods with no phone.
So then we switch to another scene of two men in a cabin. They are John Flemming and Dr. Malcolm (Vincent Price).
John asks the doctor:
John Fleming: Doctor.
Dr. Malcolm Wells: Yes, John?
John Fleming: What would you do for half a million dollars?
Dr. Malcolm Wells: Anything short of murder.
John Fleming: Why not murder?
Dr. Malcolm Wells: Too messy.
John Fleming: Too great a risk?
Dr. Malcolm Wells: For half a million, yes.
John Fleming: I pinched a million from the bank.
Yes John is the culprit. He embezzled $1 million dollars from the bank, framed Victor, and know is in the stage of how to disappear without anyone realizing he was the thief and hid all the money in his house. And that’s where the Doctor comes in.
John Flemming: I have a weak heart. What if you called and said I died, and then ship my body back. We don’t need an open casket.
Dr. Malcolm Wells: Where do we get a body?
John Flemming: We’ll provide one. We could kill Sam our guide. He’s a hermit and no one would care.
Dr. Malcolm Flemming: The local undertaker would know.
John Flemming: Not if we mess up his face.
Dr. Malcolm Flemming: Why do all this if you set up Bailey?
John Flemming: The jury might acquit. I am a logical suspect, and could try to disappear, but it is safer if I am dead.
Dr. Malcolm isn’t really feeling it, but John threatens he will kill him if he says no. Better for him to say yes and get a part of the money. While the two are talking, the woods catch on fire. John goes to investigate and when he turns around he sees Dr. Malcolm with a gun.
John Flemming: Doctor, we need to get out the back way.
[Turns around and sees Dr. Malcolm pointing a gun at him]
Dr. Malcolm Wells: We will, as soon as I provide that body we’ve been talking about.
So back at the Oaks, Cornelia is trying to play solitaire but the lights keep flickering.
Never a good sign.
Lizzie comes in with the newspaper. Victor Bailey arrested for embezzlement, John Fleming is dead, and Dr. Malcolm brings the body back to put in tomb this Friday.
Meanwhile, creepy things have been going on at the Oaks.
Lizzie Allen: This is his house, and ever since he [John Flemming] died, some funny things have happened here.
Cornelia van Gorder: For instance?
Lizzie Allen: The housekeeper, the cook and the butler said that they heard strange noises at night, and the upstairs maid swore she met a man without a face coming up the back stairs.
Cornelia van Gorder: Oh so that’s why they quit and left me to run this place without a staff.
Lizzie Allen: They didn’t tell you, Miss Gordy, but the truth is they were scared to stay.
Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?
Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.
So the two ladies are the only ones at home. They have a chauffeur, but he is gone for the night. To make matters worse, it is super windy and in an old house everything seems to rustle, move, and go bump in the night.
Lizzie Allen: [The wind is banging a shutter against the house] That ain’t nothing, just something bumping against the house. [Wind blows a door open and closed] That’s just the wind banging the door, pay no attention to it. Listen to this, ‘One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face’. Honestly, Miss Gordy, I think that woman was exaggerating. [A tapestry blows against an open window] That’s just the taphestry at the top of the stairs.
Cornelia van Gorder: I know, I know, I’ve heard it before on a windy night [Tapestry clinks a shaking suit of armor] That sounds as if someone were on the stairs, I know there isn’t, at least there shouldn’t be.
Lizzie Allen: Them’s just the noises you hear in any old house on a windy night.
Even though it’s probably nothing:
So while the two go upstairs and continue talking, we see a man at the front door, opening it and sticking his clawed hand in.
They see it, lock the door and run upstairs calling the police. They think they are safe, but little do they know the Bat has cut a hole in the glass on the door and has come inside.
The officers are on there way, but Cornelia and Lizzie take extra measure. They not only lock the doors, but push all the furniture against the door. They think they are safe, but the transom over the door has no lock, or way for them to keep it closed. Cornelia decides to put something in front of it, that way if someone tries to come through there, they will set off her booby trap.
The two women are scared and decide to share the room that night. Lizzie goes to get her night items, but doesn’t know that the Bat is creeping outside her door.
Luckily lightening flashes and shows the shadow:
Causing Lizzie to run back inside the room.
The police finally call back, saying they see nothing outside her house. She tells them he is inside now and shouts that she has a gun and is not afraid to use (she doesn’t really. Just trying to scare the Bat.)
The police search everywhere, but find nothing.
Where did he go?
They go on guard outside, and the women try to sleep, but are having an extremely hard time.
Meanwhile, the Bat has opened the transom and released a bat into the room. It lands on Lizzie biting her, and then flying into the closet.
Lizzie is freaked!
So just knows she is going to get rabies and die.
They call Dr. Malcolm, but the answering service can’t get a hold of him. They promise to keep trying and if still can’t will send another doctor.
Meanwhile, Dr. Malcolm is home. He is in his lab working on some experiments. He is studying and testing bats.
But is he trying to study the bats to find a cure? Or is he trying to find a way to kill the women and get the million dollars John stole?
Unbeknownst to the doctor, Lt. Andy is creeping around his house. He touches his car to see if it is hot from a recent drive, looks through the windows, etc.
He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.
While he is watching him, the service finally gets through and reaches the doctor. He puts the bat away and heads out to help.
While he is gone the Detective breaks into office, and looks around. He opens the window shades sees a bat. Does this mean he is the Bat?
So it looks like they are trying to say that Dr. Malcolm is the Bat, but I don’t think he is the one as it is too obvious.
So the doctor goes to the house and examines Lizzy, asking for the bat to examine and see if it is rabid.
Dr. Malcolm Wells: Pity you are in this house. I don’t want to alarm you, but so many unexplainable things happen here. It has an apprehension of disaster.
He looks at the bat, but it is not rabid. He places him in his doctor bag and makes plans to return the next day. He starts to leave but sees someone, who’s there?
But it is just Lt. Andy. Should we sigh in relief or be afraid? Could he be the Bat?
Lt. Andy asks a lots of questions.
Lt. Andy Anderson: How did a Bat get in?
Dr. Malcolm Wells: There are lots of ways for bats to get in a house
Lt. Andy Anderson: Well you should know.
What is he implying? A Bat lover? Or The Bat?!!!
The Detective notices the cut glass on the door and figures that must be how the bat got in.
Dr. Malcolm Wells: I phoned twice, weren’t you there Andy?
Lt. Andy Anderson: No, but they called me. I have a man patrolling outside.
Dr. Malcolm Wells: No one inside, Andy?
Lt. Andy Anderson: Why should there be?
That is a weird answer. There is a crazy man who tried to get in the house twice!!! There should be more policeman, not less.
So I definitely think it is not Vincent Price, as it is too obvious. From what little I have read of Mary Roberts Rineheart is she tells you a mystery, giving you limited knowledge so she can do some big reveal at the end.
In my personal expertise in film watching, Vincent Price is far too perfect to be the Bat. My money is on Lt. Andy or the nephew we have heard so much about, but have yet to see.
So the Lt. is quite sure that the Bat is not in the house as he suspects it is Dr. Malcolm, but decides to put someone in the house anyway.
The next day the Lt. goes to see Mark Flemming, John’s nephew. He has just bought all new office furniture. Is he squandering his inheritance? Nope he hasn’t received it yet. The Lt. finds that strange as he left the whole fortune to Mark? But it turns out that the whole fortune is missing. What happened to it?
Lt. Andy needs to find the missing million dollars. All his money was in the securities stolen, if he can’t find the money, he’s out everything. He suspects John Flemming, even though the only fingerprints on it was Victors Bailey’s. To the Lt., he knows John is wily enough to plant everything. Besides the secretary has some new evidence she will give at trial.
At the Oaks the next day, there is quite a party. The secretary is there, getting a book from Cornelia. Dale Bailey is also there, hoping they might figure out a way to save him. The Dr. also comes to check on Lizzie.
Cornelia has her chauffeur back and has a new employee, John’s old housekeeper Mrs. Patterson.
They start discussing who took the money, and Cornelia believes it was John who did it. Judy agrees as she saw something that made her suspect him. Cornelia suspects that if John were the one to do it, he would hide all the money in the house. There must be some secret room or safe.
They need the blueprints to look it up. Dale decides to call Mark and ask if he has any blueprints. Mark was speaking with Lt. Andy, and when he hears Dale ask for the blueprints, he knows she is after the loot. Mark promises to come over that night and look for the blueprints in the house, also promising to call the Lt. if he does find them.
That night the women are having dinner when Mark comes over and lets himself in.
Weird. He was invited to the house so why is he sneaking around like a criminal. That means, he doesn’t want the girls to know he is there. He doesn’t want to share the blueprints, he wants them all to himself. But as he heads straight to the secret wall/compartment that holds them, the Bat starts creeping behind him.
Mark finds blueprint, but the Bat kills him before he can ever make a sound. The Bat has the blueprints, but hears the women coming, and moves the clock in front of the compartment. He then takes off before the women spot him.
The women go to the room, where they hear the clock working, even though it hasn’t in ten years. Dale looks at it and notices that there os a door behind the clock. They move the clock and open the door to find…
They call police, the Lt. isn’t there. They call him in his car and he goes on his way. The Doctor also heads out there, and finds that the body has been dead for half an hour. The bell rings, and it is Warner the Chauffeur/Butler. He had to use the front door as he lost his keys.
The Lt. question all the staff and doesn’t trust Warner, as they have met before. Where or when cannot remember, but will eventually.
So who knew Mark was coming the Lt. Andy, Warner, Judy, Dale, Lizzie, & Dr. Malcolm Hmm…
So that night all the women go to their rooms. Lt Andy promises to stay and protect them. But what if he is the Bat?
The Lt. promises they will be safe with him. Yeah right! No one is safe from the Bat!!
Warner is watching the police and doctor as they head to the door. Could it be because he is the Bat?
The Dr. leaves, with the Lt. staying until the windows and doors are good, then promising to return in the morning.
WHY???? WHY???? If he knows the Bat has been coming around, why would he do that.
That night the Bat goes into the house. He cuts all the wires for the phones, making sure no calls will be made. He goes into a room being used for storage, the women have all their suitcases and trunks in there. He starts banging on the walls, hammering them to find the opening.
Meanwhile, the women all hear the noises which freaks them out. Cornelia tries to call the police but the phone won’t work.
Meanwhile, Dale has decided she is going to investigate what that noise is. Her roommate Judy is trying to stop her, but Dale wants to save her husband, so she goes upstairs to look.
She goes to the room and tries to look inside, the Bat hiding behind the door. He pulls and tosses her in, running downstairs were Judy is, knocking her out of the way and down the stairs. Cornelia tosses something at his head, beaning him on the way out.
Judy is dead.
The Lt. comes back and heads straight for Judy.
They ask him where he went as he was, and he said he was following someone out the back.
They go looking for everyone, and can’t find Warner. He comes inside and says he was following the Lt. to help him, getting brained and knocked out. Was he?
It turns out that the Lt. finally remembers where he saw him before. On a circular for wanted men. Warner claims he was tried and found innocent. Just as they are talking, the Dr. shows up. All three suspects in one area. But which one?
They ask the doctor what he is doing back here, and he tells them he was in a car accident, and his wheel fell off in the ditch. He came to get help, as his head is bleeding. Hmm…?
We go back to Cornelia dictating the story. The next night she decided she was going to pursue this mystery alone. She saw the police downstairs asleep, and heads up to the room where the Bat was w0rking on the walls. All I can think is why didn’t they try open it up in the daytime?
While she goes up, we spot Warner walking around downstairs.
Meanwhile, The Bat is in the Doctor’s lab. He is leaving suicide note, planning on killing the Doc and lying all the blame on him. But just as he finishes, who should show up but the Doctor, who doesn’t take kindly to this plan. He threatens the Bat. It looks like the Doctor will be murdering him like he did John. The Bat races toward him and the two begin fighting. The Doctor is shot accidentally, Bat leaves having completed mission. I knew it wasn’t him.
Aw that’s sad, I liked the doctor, because I love Vincent Price. Too bad. 😦
That night, Lizzie wakes up looking for Corelia but can’t find her anywhere. She rushes downstairs and wakes the police officer up, looks like he’d been slipped a mickey tp be knocked out. She wakes up the housekeeper and asks her to fetch Warner.
WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!
So Cornelia is locked up in a secret room. The officer calls Lt. Andy but they are looking for him to investigate the murder of the Doctor. And it turns out that Warner is missing! Down to two! Who could it be???
They finally find Cornelia who is currently fainting from lack of air. When they get inside the Cop finds the control panel on wall and a safe. But just then the garage catches on fire!
The detective wants to put it out, but Cornelia says to let it burn.
Cornelia van Gorder: Can’t you see that fire was set to get us out of the house?
Detective Davenport: Out of the hou… are you talking about the…
Cornelia van Gorder: Yes, yes, I’m talking about the Bat! Now that the lights are out, he’ll think his trick has worked, and we’ve gone, here’ll be here in a minute.
Detective Davenport: So will Lieutenant Anderson.
Cornelia van Gorder: I hope so but the Bat will be here first, and he’ll KILL AGAIN if we get in his way… we’ve got to be as clever as he is!
They wait in room, when the Bat comes creeping in door. The officer gets knocked out and the Bat is about to shoot the women, when he is shot in the back by someone…who?
It is Warner!!! He saved them!!! Yay, I liked him.
And we see the Bat was the Lt. after all. He did it so he could get his money back. The only question I have, was he the orginal murdering Bat? Or was that a persona he choose to throw suspicion off himself? I guess we won’t ever know.
Whoops! Almost forgot the banner/facebook cover/mini poster:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well here we go!
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.
As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.
“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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
He wanted to kill Mark.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.
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.
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.
Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.