Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Secrets of the Heart

What is Catherine Morland’s Reading List? The idea came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen I devoured books, (and I still do), that I know, if Catherine Morland was real and alive, she would be reading or interested in reading.

It started with one review, and then before I knew it I had a list of thirty I was planning on reviewing. What can I say, other than:

Secrets of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #1) by Jillian Kent

This book is also a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers.

Madeline Whittington is the daughter of the deceased Earl of Richfield. She has been deeply depressed and heartbroken since her father’s passing, along with her siblings’ passing, and has just ended a year-long period of mourning. Her best friend, Hallie, Lady Gilling, a widow, is trying to get her out and about but Madeline is still suffering.

Life is grey…

Devlin Greyson, is also suffering, but not deaths but from people bullying him and not wanting to befriend him because of his new title, Earl of Ravensmore. As the second son, Devlin had never planned to be the Earl, but instead wanted to pursue his dream of being a doctor. After his brother passed, he received the title, and to the chagrin of the ton he has decided to forgo what is expected and continue his doctoral studies.

Madeline is feeling lost and spends her days meandering the property by walking or on horseback. She is deeply troubled when she discovers a a mute girl on her property that looks as if she has been suffering from terrible things, she decides to help her-hiding and feeding “Brown Eyes”. This gives her something new to devote her attention to as home is not so pleasant with her mother’s new beau, Lord Vale. Lord Vale claims to be her late father’s friend, but Madeline doesn’t know him or trust him and she has a bad feeling about him. He is just too slimy and creepy.

Madeline continues in this despondent way, not going to any parties or events as she doesn’t want to be involved with what the ton likes. The grief she encountered from the loss of her family coupled with seeing the heartbreak her mother faced, she never wants to be married, but then what is left for her? What should she do with her life?

Hallie doesn’t mind her friend wanting to do something else, but is worried over her despondency and hoping to spark some light in her, she has invites her to join the latest hunt. Although Madeline is not into hunting, she agrees to go as she enjoys horseback riding. During the hunt Madeline gets injured and Devlin is introduced and looks in on her as she has injured her arm, but Madeline is not having it. She wants zero to do with Devlin as he killed her father.

Relax, Devlin is not a murderer, but he was the physician-in-training who was unable to help as her father arrived too far gone.  Devlin instantly falls for Madeleine, but is unable to start any relationship with her as she hates the very sight of him. She’d rather be concussed and lying on a field with a broken arm than receive any help from him. In fact she only gets treatment because of the insistence of her friends.

Wow!

So this wouldn’t be a gothic novel if it didn’t have a creepy building and the creepy building in this one is Ashcroft Asylum. The Asylum is located behind Madeline’s home and guess which creepy dude is in on board and in charge of a lot of asylum decisions? Lord Vale.

One day when Lord Vale is visiting the Countess, Madeline’s mother, he talks about a missing mute murderess, a child. Madeleine figures out it is “Brown Eyes”, but doesn’t believe him as the girl is so nice. Madeleine does all she can, but unfortunately the little girl is discovered and sent back to the creepy Asylum.

Creepy…

Ashcroft Asylum continues its creepy grasp as it holds dread for Devlin as well. His mother went insane and his father sent her away to the asylum where she passed away. Devlin does all he can to stay far away from it, and the fear of mental illness has a strong grip on him.

One day he can no longer avoid it as his school gets a call that the asylum is in need of medical assistance and his instructor volunteers Devlin. When Devlin looks at the wounded inmates, he feels very suspicious of the “self-inflected” wounds, they have but without any concrete proof nothing can be done. Fearing that there is something not right going on in the facility, he decides to tell his instructor and have him check up on it.

Hmm…

Hallie and Madeline run into Devlin and his fellow trainee Melton repeatedly, with Hallie and Melton being very interested in each other, but Madeline doing all she can to get rid of Devlin. Devlin honors her requests as a suitor, but as a doctor he feels he must check up on her health after the horseback riding incident, and then a later carriage accident. On one such visit to see that her arm is healing properly, the two go horseback riding (Madeline’s insistence) and when they return they discover Madeleine’s mother is gone!

She has eloped with Lord Vale to Gretna Greene.

They run after them, but are too late. They have been married and Madeline has a wicked stepfather. Madeline becomes so angry at it all, that when Devlin goes to check on her mental and physical state he discovers she has a gun, one she had wanted to use to keep Vale from marrying her mother. Devlin comforts her and helps her return home, but his visits stop as he will be busy with the upcoming tests to complete his training, leaving her alone in her thoughts.

Vale and her mother return and Vale slimily slips into every part of their lives, taking over. He even volunteers Madeline to help at the asylum, teaching two young boys who are awaiting transport. In doing so Madeline starts to see what really goes on in the asylum: uncleanliness, lack of food being given to the inmates, etc. Vale “listens” and agrees to consider her requests of going through the head of the Asylum’s practices and having  doctor check the inmates, but his compliance seems very out of character and as benefactor, does he really not know what is going on?

Hmm…

Madeleine finds herself attracted to Devlin, and turning to her with her problems, but she still doesn’t want to be with him if he is a doctor. She insists Devlin tell her what happened with her father, and when he reveals the truth, he wasn’t too far gone it turned out that her father didn’t like how tight the tourniquet was and when the doctors were busy with other patients, he loosened it and bleed to death.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Madeleine is furious at this statement and refuses to believe him. She tells Devlin she never wants to see him again and refuses letters, calls,  etc. all contact from him.

Of him

Madeline continues to fall into depression and melancholia.

Life is grey…from Anna Karenina (1948)

Then Madeleine’s mother grows very sick wasting away. Madeleine immediately grows suspicious of Vale and tries to get her away and send for Devlin. When Vale uncovers this, he sends her packing to the asylum.

In the asylum she encounters the horrors of the asylum:

The Wolfman (2010)

She also finds out the deep secrets that lie in the asylum and has to fall victim to the horrors of the asylum, Will she get out, or be stuck in the dreaded place forever?

Hmm…

Will her mother be saved, or will she die by the plotting of the dastardly Vale?

Hmmm…

And what terrible secrets does the asylum hold?

Hmm…

So this was a really interesting book as it talked a lot about grief and depression, and showed realistic reactions to it. I used to work with grieving people and we see parents and children hating doctors after their loved ones died, depression, isolation, wanting to not be involved romantically because of fear, pushing away from new people, starting a new relationship (the mother), etc. It’s actually nice to read about her being lost and confused but trying to journey through.

The conditions of the asylum were truly terrifying. And the way that people could so easily be thrown in one, made me think of The Woman in White. (An amazing book, you should definitely check out!).

This is of course a romance, so the end was a bit quickly resolved in a happy way but I still enjoyed it. I thought it was cute and mysterious.

This is also a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers as the character of Madeliene reminds me of Marianne Dashwood. Like Madeleine, Marianne has just encountered the death of her father and her whole world changed. With the estate entailed she and her sister lose their house, some of the furnishings, friendships, position in society, and have to move to a place rented to them out of the kindness of their hearts. Like Madeleine she is a whirlwind of passion and emotion, and also like Madeliene rejects a suitor adamantly. Madeline rejects Devlin believing him to have killed her father ad hating all doctors in general, while Marianne thinks Colonel Brandon is too old and not passionate-yet they both end up with those guys who patiently love them from afar.

As I said a good book to read.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Cat Burglar Black

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Homespun Bride

For more Gothic Fiction, go to The Poison Diaries

For more stories with asylums, go to Trapped in a Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere with a Psycho: The Cat and the Canary (1939)

Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Mystery, you say?

So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.

What??

At first I was what? Emma?

If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?

The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.

Let’s spill the tea.

It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them. 

So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery. 

But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

Hmmm…

Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery. 

It,

So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?

Hmm…

Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?

Time to get on the case!

So the definition of mystery is:

Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.

In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey. 

The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?

Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie. 

Hmm…

Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?

Hmm…?

Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?

And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?

Hmm…

And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?

I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.

What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?

Mystery, you say?

For more Emma, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

For more mysteries, go to The Conclusion to the Griggs Mystery…Or Is It?

It’s Time for All Good Little Ghouls to Return Home

So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monsters, thrillers, etc.

I started doing this because I watch something for Halloween everyday in October, and it was an easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.

Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, Tim Burton film, Vincent Price, a film/TV episode from every decade, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.

Interestingly, they always end up to being completely unplanned but somehow go together.

Wow!

The first thing we seemed to have a lot this October is Vampires. We had Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part I, The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part II, Northanger Abbey and Return of the Vampire,

From The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula

This year’s theme is “mysteries” to tie in with it being the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. That being the year’s theme, I reviewed quite a few mysteries, such as: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Batman Returns, Criminal Minds, Ellery Queen, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part I, The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part II, Knives OutMiss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, Raising Hope, Rear Window, and Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers.

We also had a few dystopian futures with Fahrenheit 451, Ghost in the Shell, and Mad Max.

Watching neighbors and it leading them to being involved in a mystery with Men at Work, Raising Hope, and Rear Window.

I also included Jane Austen when I ended this year with a review of Northanger Abbey.

Along with trying to encourage others to #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey something I think I will continue every year.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
  • Alfred Hitchcock with Rear Window
  • Animated Film with Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)
  • Disney with The Moon-Spinners
  • Lifetime/TV Film with The Stranger Beside Me (2003)
  • Stephen King with Sleepwalkers
  • Tim Burton with Batman Returns
  • Vincent Price with The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

The full list of films and TV episodes reviewed for Horrorfest IX:

The Cat and the Canary (1939)

The Return of the Vampire (1943)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Rear Window (1954)

The Blob (1958)

The Moon-Spinners (1964)

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

“The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario” from Ellery Queen (1976)

“The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I”: from The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

“The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part II”:  fromThe Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

Mad Max (1979)

Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)

My Mom’s a Werewolf (1989)

Men at Work (1990)

Batman Returns (1992)

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Bon Voyage (2003)

The Stranger Beside Me (2003)

“North Mammon” from Criminal Minds (2006)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

Epidemiology”: from Community (2010)

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Murder She Hoped: Raising Hope (2013)

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

High Seas Season Two (2019)

Knives Out (2019)

High Seas Season Three (2020)

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

 

 

Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

It’s Time for Our Jane Austen Pick!

It’s exactly as I imagined. It’s just like what we read about.

Are you prepared to encounter all of its horrors?

 Horrors? Is Northanger haunted, then?

That’s just the least of it. Dungeons, and sliding panels; skeletons; strange, unearthly cries in the night that pierce your very soul!

Any vampires? Don’t say vampires. I could bear anything, but not vampires.

Miss Morland, I believe you are teasing me now. I have to say, there is a kind of vampirism. No, let’s just say that all houses have their secrets, and Northanger is no exception.

So every year I have been trying to find a way to include Jane Austen in my Horrorfest posts. I lucked out with Death Comes to Pemberley as that gave me two years, (I posted in between as three years seemed a really long break.) Then last year I did the Midsomer Murders episode “Death by Persuasion“. This year I was like, ugh I guess I have to watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (I didn’t care for the book so I’m not enthused about watching the film.)

Oh, if only Jane Austen had written a Halloween-y book.

Then it hit me, how could I be so blind- she did!

So I decided that this year would be the year I review Northanger Abbey (2007). I’ve wanted to review this movie for a while, but haven’t as when I do then I can’t review it again. Does anyone else ever feel that way?

I’m happy to include it as I know of Catherine was around today, she’ be all over Halloween,

So in my post on The Blob, I mentioned that back in January when my book club read Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon, I thought what better way to end Horrorfest IX than to end with The Blob. I thought it would be cute to have it a few months apart from the book review.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the review. I was still planning to end with it, but then I got an idea.

I was switching some posts around and was going to move Northanger Abbey to a different day when I decided why not end with Northanger Abbey? And if I’m celebrating? Why not encourage everyone to as well!

So I’m going to watch the 2007 adaption, but there are others to watch if that doesn’t interest you:

Or you can read the book or other adaptions:

And don’t forget to #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey so I can see what you do!

So Northanger Abbey is probably my favorite Jane Austen book as I just love Catherine, she’s so me.

And I LOOOOOOOVE this adaption. I felt that everyone who did this production really understood the heart of the novel and brought it to life perfectly! There are a few changes/additions, of course there always will be, but I felt these added to this film. And JJ Feild and Felicity Jones were beyond perfect!

But enough gushing, let’s get on to the review!

So I love the way we start off with this gothic creepy spooky music over the actors and title. I could just listen to this it over and over again.

We start the film off perfectly, the first lines of the text narrating and we get a great view of Catherine’s life. A family of 10, her father a reverend, she loves to play cricket and baseball (how can you not like a heroine like that?) Although, at 15 she settles down and changes her hobbies to reading. I like how we see her playing with her siblings and sports, but then off to hide away and read.

I am soooo jealous I wish I could go off in the beautiful English countryside and hide to read.

When Catherine reads she imagines herself in the stories and I love it. It is just like how I imagined her to be when I read the novel. I love how the characters in her imagination are played by the same actors in the film, but we don’t see their faces until she meet them in the story.

The Allens have arrived and want Catherine to come with them on their trip to Bath. This was the first book Jane Austen wrote, although not published, and it makes sense that she used Bath as she stayed with her aunt in Bath when she was young.

As they are traveling Catherine is reading and I love how she imagines herself in the story and then attacked by highwaymen. I LOOOOOOOVE, LOVE this movie! So much!

I mean it is so relatable, don’t tell me know of you bookstgrammers and book lovers haven’t done that because I am sure you have!

I like how when Catherine first comes to Bath it is beautiful but then right away we see an ugly underbelly as two jerks call her a “tasty piece”. Ugh, some things ever change-but also alludes that a pretty facade can hold ugliness, makes me think of the people she is to meet but also has me think of Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet. 

And their names are Thorpe and General Tilney

Felicity Jones as Catherine is cute and adorable which is exactly how I imagined her to be in the book.

Mr. and Mrs Allen are so sweet:

Mrs. Allen: Have you ever seen anything prettier Mr. Allen?

Mr. Allen: You mean besides yourself.

I love how they have Catherine from a small parsonage thrown into this crowded room full off gross men, snooty men, and crowds, crowds, crowds.

Mr. Allen ditches the ladies right away, for the men’s room I believe.

See ya!

Then JJ Feild as Mr. Tilney enters, and he is utter perfection.

I’m all about that Henry!

I love their whole interaction together, JJ Feild is just perfect-a joker, sarcastic, but at the same time fun. I love when he says Catherine’s line about how her gown will fray, and such a white knight getting rid of the wolves and getting them a table, then procuring an introduction.

But I love how when he is following protocol he looks like he will spurt out laughing at any moment. The teasing-it’s too perfect.

I love the jokey sillyness of them talking, such a contrast to the “we have to talk when dancing” scene you see in Pride and Prejudice. JJ Feild says the lines perfectly-so theatrically “astonishing” that it fits his character perfectly. I just love it!

Ugh, but then the horrid-John Thorpe (William Beck) skulking in his bulldogg-ish way. He spots Catherine and eyes her like a piece of meat.

I love this scene.

Catherine: [Puzzled] Why does he look at us?

Mr. Tilney: I imagine he likes what he sees.

Catherine: [Incredulous] You don’t mean me?

So I love this scene because for a girl who was sporty and never considered pretty as a youth it is so difficult to believe when someone says you are pretty. I also think this is another reason why Catherine is a favorite as she has gone through body image issues like most teen girls. Not to say that Elizabeth doesn’t suffer some, constantly being compared to the “beauty” of her elder sister, but with Catherine she is in a different situation and younger, plus she isn’t as powerful a wordsmith as Elizabeth or able to laugh off her hurt in front of others. I think she and this scene resonate really well. Her being baffled at the thought that she could have the interest of two men, let alone have a man to watch her from across the room because he thinks she is pretty just puzzles her. I also like that Mr. Tilney uses pretty to describe her multiple times. On one hand pretty is more jestful, he just met her he doesn’t want anyone thinking he’s proposing, but at the same time him saying it is more of something for Catherine to cling to. Someone who has never been called beautiful, but cute or nice-being called beautiful they would never believe it. But being called pretty after being considered “almost pretty” is more something they can can accept.

When Mr. Tilney teases her about writing a journal and Catherine sasses back it is beyond adorable. I love it except how could he ever think Thorpe more handsome than him.

And then that night we see she is writing in a journal. I love it!

Catherine again reads but this time in her mind she sees the people as Thorpe and Tilney-the handsome hero of course being Tilney

The next day they are out and another horror-Mrs. Thorpe and Isabella, Mrs. Thorpe being an old friend of Mrs. Allen. They hone in on them, wanting to join their party, Catherine and Isabella immediately going out together, You know I always felt like the interaction between Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe was weird, the way Mrs. Thorpe “just happened” upon them, but this time watching it I can see how contrived it is. The Thorpe’s must have been planning the harpooning the Morland’s for quite some time. Something in their manner must have made them think they were a great catch. Thorpe sees Catherine at the dance (knows what she looks like and probably heard from James she would be there, not to mention the book where people signed in) and the next day the other Thorpe’s were on the hunt. I’m not sure if the plan was always for them to snag both siblings but from what I see of Isabella she’s been working on James for some time, the “beloved friendship” of his sister helping capture him even more.

You know I never noticed it before there are a lot of creepy dudes in Bath.

SUPER creeped

When they go out, Catherine looks for Mr. Tilney’s name and Isabella says that there is something strange about the family. Not going to lie, that would probably intrigue me more. Oh, do tell.

Hmm…spill please.

They are followed out of the place by two men-creepy, but Isabella seems in to it. Weird.

Strange girl.

Catherine is afraid, but Isabella laughs it off. She is trouble.

Do not be friends with her!

They come upon John Thorpe and James Morland (Hugh O’Coner) as they have come to Bath as well.

Poor James

James: [To Isabella] When I heard you were here nothing could keep me away.

John is the opposite of Henry-John is brash, bulldoggish, curses-although he was introuduced the proper “way”. I’d rather do things the Tilney way.

John doesn’t read novels as he thinks them silly and for women (ugh) We don’t like him. We don’t like boys who don’t read.

Ugh…this guy

At the dance, Catherine sees Mr. Tilney with a beautiful woman and her whole face falls. Then she hears it is his sister and her face lights up like a Christmas tree. I love it!

Eleanor and Catherine are so cute I ship their friendship-Catherine needs a wiser woman to help her not horrible Isabella.

They see General Tilney (Liam Cunningham) across the room and Eleanor’s cryptic message about her father sets him up as a perfect villain. Henry look is grim after talking to him, Eleanor calls it “his way”, he does look positively scary. He just casts a shadow over everyone.

Catherine and Eleanor get on smashing, both like to read and walk-while Isabella likes being in town, in a party, with men hanging off her every word. Don’t go with Isabella-stay with Eleanor and Mr. Tilney.

This next scene is perfection with showing the story and the characters so let’s break it down.

The next day Catherine is preparing for the date she planned with Mr Tilney walk she planned with the Tilneys when Isabella, Thorpe, and her brother James all come in convincing her that the Tilneys are out of town and she should come with him-John stats this  with “I think I saw them leaving”, Isabella backing him up, then he says he knows, then he insists that in this brief passage in the street from far away that he heard them saying they will be gone. Of course when I say it like this you can obviously tell it is a lie, but when he and Isabella work in tandem it is incredibly well done. Catherine bring up a point, one sibling parries it while the other puts in a stab that gets to her. Isabella “my dear one, in this false world, people often make promises they have little intention of keeping. Remember, we are your *true* friends”, when they are in fact doing the very things they are warning her against. This is a perfect representation of the Thorpes who will lie, scheme, and do anything to get what they want and how they manage this so perfectly off the cuff. Immediately, you can tell they have done similar schemes before bur above all that we get a great sense of their character as they see no wrong in it, experience no guilt, Isabella dosen’t even blink an eye when she is the very person she warns Catherine about.

And then we have brother James. True he’s no brother John (Sense and Sensibility) but he is not a good brother. He so badly wants this alone time with Isabella and is so consumed by his “love” for her that he doesn’t even see the inconsistencies in the Thorpe’s speeches. Instead he insults his sister, being her brother he knows where to get at her. The Thorpe’s pulled down Catherine’s defenses, but the betrayal of her brother-his stab is the thing that really gets her to join in with them. Harsh. And the use of “scatterbrained sister”, for some reason that really gets her moving, the need to show him she’s not that. It’s not hard to imasgine that maybe that insult was used a lot growing up. It is such a quick scene but a really good one that let’s is know each character’s motivation.

Speaking of James, does any Austen heroine have a good brother besides Fanny Price? I mean Elinor and Marianne have John, who is ugh, the Bennets have no brothers, Emma doesn’t have a brother and hasugh John Knightley as a brother-in-law, and in Persuasion no brothers. The only good brother out of the three is William Price, Fanny’s brother. I mean James isn’t as horrible as John, but not as good as William. Jane Austen had six brothers, I wonder if each brother and brother-in-law where based off of them? Anyways, that’s for another day-back to the renew.

From Clueless

We see more of how rude Thorpe is when Mr. Allen is crossing the street and Thorpe almost hits him. He interrogates Catherine about Mr. Allen saying they are rich with no children and she’s the favorite. She doesn’t really answer, so he takes that as a yes.

Then she sees Mr. and Miss Tilney. Now Thorpe here is awful. Catherine wants out and he purposefully speeds up so that she can’t. He flat out tells her that he doesn’t care that he lied and then goes on to manipulate and convince her that she is “needed” to chaperone so her brother and Isabella can be together, uh..why can’t you do that if you “care” about your sister sooo much.

He then goes on to explain that he was not lying or manipulating to her (my words) with any evil intent he is just “protecting” her against the Tilneys. John insists there is something strange about the mother’s death-and then continues to lecture her about being more careful about making new acquaintances they are not as honest as you and I.

You just lied and admitted you lied…like do you not hear yourself?

This is another reason why I love Jane Austen-remove the carriages, regency clothes, and language and you could set this scene in any time period. Her work is beyond relatable. Who has not met someone like this in their life, espechially when you are young, friend or romantic partner people like this abound. I wish Catherine just stormed out of the carriage and away from him, but of course she’s young, she does want to help her brother, and she doesn’t want to disappointed. This whole manipulation is abuse and that is another reason why Thorpe is a horror. Run Catherine! Run from him!

So Catherine goes with them…

And it rains and they get blocked with sheep. Good! May Thorpe always be sheep-blocked.

Sucks to be you

Then we have Catherine and Isabella in their underwear waiting for clothes to dry-I think this exchange is odd as why not wear robes-aren’t they cold after being in the rain? But it is part of the “sexy” Austen they have since added in.

Isabella encourages Catherine and John, although Catherine is not that interested besides someone being pleased at someone finding her cute. Isabella encourages her to red the very “naughty” book The Monk as it is John’s favorite. It doesn’t surprise me that the only thing John wold deign to read is a “naughty” book.

The worst!

So feel like after Catherine reads a part of The Monk, she has a fantasy where she is in a bathtub, but that isn’t i my copy. Did I just imagine that?

The next night they go to the opera, the Thorpe’s joining them and John Thorpe “compliments” Catherine, ugh.

Why are you with him?!

Catherine see the Tilmeys and runs over to apologize, I love how she speaks to Mr. Tilney when apologizing not Eleanor Mmmhmmm.

How sweet!

She also tells Mr. Tilney she would have run out of the carriage and back to him (using you not the two of you.) Felicity Jones is so cute as Catherine, I just love it!

Soooo cute!!!!

I also love how hurt Mr. Tilney is and trying to pretend that all is fine, when you can easily tell it is’t and the look Eleanor gives him is priceless. She knows her brother was hurting.

I see people talking about Georgiana having to put up with a heartbroken Mr. Darcy, but what about Miss Tilney? She probably had to spend the whole walk hearing about how hurt Henry was and how Catherine was just whisked away from him and all in the rain!

Mr Tilney: I felt a little slighted.

Mmmhmm a little?!!

I love how Eleanor states you were quite cast down when you heard that Miss Morland preferred the company of others. Good job Eleaor, good sister-prodding your brother.

They renew the invitation and we see John Thorpe talking to General Tilney about how rich the Allens are, oh no. General Tilney then engages an introduction and he invites Catherine to spend the day with them. Catherine is so sweet but the Tilneys siblings exchange a look, oh no-Dad’s getting involved this won’t be good.

That’s not good.

They go walking and Catherine is cute she’s never traveled but has seen pictures and read books.

Catherine assumes that Tilney wouldn’t read books, but he shares that he loves novels and that there can be more life in it then in some sermons- cough cough Mr. Collins. Aw, he likes to read!

Guys who don’t are not.

By the way, Mr. Tilney’s green coat and cream breeches are the same that Mr. Darcy wears although I don’t love the cuffs. Speaking of costumes, fantastic choices. I love everything they have except the cuffs.

I noticed that Eleanor just happened to need to fix her skirt “it caught on something” allowing Henry and Catherine go on ahead. Mmmhmmm.

I like this exchange between Catherine and Mr. Tilney about the themes in books being ones you see in life. So true. Catherine doesn’t think so and we have this moment when we get a glimpse between the teasing, sarcastic nature we love to something vulnerable Mr. Tilney comes from a wealthy estate so he hasn’t had a harsh life materially-but we see that their has been pain and darkness. Catherine comes from a loving home so she doesn’t see the world the same way. I like this as often the people who laugh the loudest and are so flippant have some emotional scars we can’t see. It also rounds Mr. Tilney out, it would have been easy to write him as just  two-dimensional character.

The walk is interrupted by a man hurriedly riding a horse and Mr. Tilney explains that it is a secret, Eleanor is in loves with him, but their father doesn’t approve. He is leaving to make his fortune and wanted a final good-bye.

Aw!

The next day Catherine is reading when Isabella interrupts her as James’ has proposed. “You know my nature I can never trifle with a man’s affections.” MMhmm…

Catherine is pleased although in strage twist she’s the voice of reason thinking this is all rather fast. But James and Isabella laugh off  as they have been “in love” since last Christmas. Poor James is a blind fool in love.

James leaves to speak to their parents and John is going too. He then delivers one of the worst proposals

John: Perhaps I might look for one [a ring] for myself, do you think I should? [Catherine surprised says nothing] Frightfully good this marrying scheme, what do you think?

Catherine: I think it is good.

It’s not even a real proposal. They leave and Isabella is blue. She thinks that Catherine’s parents will not be interested as she has no money while Catherine is like thinking in her head we don’t have that much money, I guess.

Huhhhhhhh

That night they go out and Isabella goes on and on about how sad and heartbroken she is not to have her “love”. They see General Tilney, Mr. Tilney, and Miss Tilney. General Tilney leaves taking Catherines hand and placing it on his son’s and then vanishes. Oh my gosh, General Tilney has zero subtlety he makes it clear to everyone in a 400 mile radius that you want the two to get together. It makes me laugh, but it is so indicative of General Tilney’s style. He is General, he commands and all must follow his orders.

We also have another horror enter the scene, I believe this is number 4, Captain Tilney-the eldest Tilney.

He’s such a snob blowing Catherine off (although thank goodness)

Mr. Tilney: He’s always been iIl mannered. He was even ill mannered as a baby.

Catherine: [Teasingly] How do you know he was ill mannered as a baby, you weren’t even born yet.

I love Tilney and Catherine’s interactions:

Mr. Tilney: My rival having left bath.

Catherine: He’s not your ri- [breaks off]

Ugh Captin Tilney is so ill mannered. He wants to dance with Isabella, and Catherine tells him Isabella isn’t dancing with anyone tonight, shouldn’t have said that as it just raised the challenge he’s going to ask Isabella. Or did he? Could she have approached him? Hmm….

Hmm…

Catherine sees Isabella dancing and then later Isabella explains it away, hmm… She gushes about him, but reassures Catherine, she loves James.

Really Isabella?

That night Captain Tilney is the bad guy in the fantasy and he looks so devilishly evil. Perfect.

The next day Ctherine comes over to hear how James’ trip went, and Isabella is not immediately happy. James will recive 400 pounds in two years, so they will have to wait. She’s really hurt, and Catherine defends her father. Isabella thinks Mr. Allen might give money, but Catherine is extremely surprised. They have no expectations from him. Isabella realizes she’s losing the crowd and changes her tone to insisting that she doesn’t care about money but the wait to marry. Sure

The next day Catherine learns that the Tilneys will be leaving, but is invited to Northanger Abbey. Omg I wish I could go. I would say Yes! but Catherine does the right thing and asks the Allens, the Nothanger spooky music playing!

Creepy…

Their last time together Isabella drops that John thinks Catherine and him are engaged. You know I just realized if your name is John in an Austen novel you are a jerk. Catherine defends herself and shares she never did any such thing. Isabella is upset but all is forgotten when she sees Captain Tilney. Captin Tilney lays the flirt on thick…eyes give us torment, etc. Catherine is upset at the exchange and tries to get her and Isabella out of there, but Isabella refuses to go and instead is off with Captain Tilney, oh no.

That’s not good.

The Tilneys arrive to pick up Catherine and you know we talk a lot about Ms. Bennet, Mrs. Jennings, and the other women who are always trying to plan and scheme marriages for our heroines, but it seems like everyone forgets General Tilney practically throwing his child at Catherine.

Marry my son in this case.

Poor Eleanor. She looks so abused right here, she probably is with an emotional vampire like her father. Even Mr. Tilney stands at attention and ready to do the orders of his father. It is interesting as when both are apart from their dad they are completely different, but when father is around they are quiet, quick to respond, and follow his commands like good little soldiers. I never noticed just how like “at attention” they are around him Its very good as that will be important later ****foreshadowing****.

Hmm…

The general offers his son like the fattened calf and Catherine of course is eager to sit with Mr. Tilney.

They ride and Catherine asks about Captain Tilney, worried about Isabella. Mr. Tilney instantly responds with were you wanting his company and I love how fast Catherine tells him no. I can just imagine in her head HECK, NO! She shares her concerns for Isabella, Catherine is such a good friend.

My problem with Isabella is not the part of her liking men’s attention or whatever. I just hate people who play around with other’s feelings, liars, and those that do whatever they want never thinking of the hurt and pain they cause in others. Isabella is a completely toxic friend that everyone should immediately avoid.

Seriously!

Mr. Tilney tries to reassure her as he knows his brother isn’t serious, but doesn’t want to say why. He is a gentleman after all.

They come upon Northangr Abbey and its just what I imagined! The music plays so spooky.

One of my favorites exchanges and where the title comes from. I like this as it show the progression of thei relationship and how much fun they have yet twinged with sadness as Northanger Abbey houses a vampire.

But an emotional vampire.

[Riding in the curricle, Henry and Catherine see the first view of Northanger Abbey]

Henry Tilney: There.

Catherine Morland: It’s exactly as I imagined. It’s just like what we read about.

Henry Tilney: Are you prepared to encounter all of its horrors?

Catherine Morland: Horrors? Is Northanger haunted, then?

Henry Tilney: That’s just the least of it. Dungeons, and sliding panels; skeletons; strange, unearthly cries in the night that pierce your very soul!

Catherine Morland: [sardonically] Any vampires? Don’t say vampires. I could bear anything, but not vampires.

Henry Tilney: [laughing] Miss Morland, I believe you are teasing me now.[seriously] I have to say, there is a kind of vampirism. No, let’s just say that all houses have their secrets, and Northanger is no exception.

General Tilney always looks so foreboding even when he’s nice. Like Jack Nicholson.

Eleanor acts completely different in her home like a reversal of Mr. Darcy. All shaken up, nervous, wanting to please-her elegance, coolness, replaced by anxiety and fear.

First thing Catherine does is look in the wardrobe. Same. I would defintely go inside.

She then sits on a trunk and starts looking through it, but is interrupted. Same as well. She then goes to get ready, leaving that trunk for later.

Catherine is the first to walk in and paid all the compliments and I love at what a loss she is. This is too fancy. Eleanor has to help her out.

Hmm…

I like when General Tilney is trying to pay her compliments and she is at a loss, so is General Tilney as he doesn’t understand why the Allens have so much money but less than him. Both of them are utterly confused and the Tilney siblings share a look. Mr. Tilney eats his soup so silly he has to be doing that to set Catherine at ease as she is a bundle of nerves herself.

The night there is lightening and candlelight and everything feels so spoooooky. It’s perfection!

Catherine opens the trunk and finds old papers. Treasure map, notes, secrets? The wind blows the candle out and she can’t see it, instead jumping into the bed. The maid tripping over it the next day. Catherine tells the maid to leave it and as soon as she is out the door picks them up to read.

It is….

A laundry list.

Maybe, maybe its is code? Could be! Probably not.

Darn!

Eleanor and Catherine walk together and Eleanor shares she and her mom used to walk along the same path. Eleanor shares she was away when her mother died of an illness, it was sudden and short. The body was buried before Eleanor got there.

Hmmm…

Strange…

At Northanger Abbey.

Eleanor wants to take Catherine to her mother’s room to see the portrait of her mother as Catherine resembles her. However they can’t as it is forbidden. The Rebecca vibe is strong. Like Northanger Abbey is like the great grandfather of Rebecca.

General Tilney comes upon them and stops them. Darn.

Catherine writes to Isabella mentioning her thoughts that maybe this house holds a dark secret. At dinner General Tilney has to leave and Catherine, Eleanor, and Henry have the house to themselves. As soon as he is gone a shadow lifts and Eleanor returns to the way she was before, so does Mr Tilney.

Party time!

Henry takes Catherine riding to see his parsonage, how adorable. It is so cute and I love his coat.

The two share a moment when he tenderly wipes mud off her checks and they gaze into each other’s eyes. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww my heart melts…

Soooo cute!!!!

Poor Eleanor, they are walking and she is a third wheel, I know it is her choice but still…sad.

Catherine tries to question Henry about what he meant earlier when he said that there was a darkness, but he doesn’t say wanting to keep it a secret, but encourages her to think of the worst things she can and write a novel about it. I have to say Henry I love you, but maybe you should think about some of the things you say.

Catherine shares he is teasing but also that she feels that the house is not a happy one. Henry shares a bit, such as he envious of her childhood. His sister wants to marry Edward the man that met with her secretly, but he is a second son and has to marry the first son of a rich estate, his brother has to as well, and him too. Catherine is worried as she does not have a fortune an asks if he will, marry someone rich. Henry shares that he hoped he wouldn’t have to choose between love or money.

Mr. Tilney has to leave and will return the next day. That night Catherine starts investigating, with the men out she makes a run for Mrs. Tilney’s room

Mystery, you say?

The room is in bad repair and dusty. Is it grief or like Maxim de Winter he does he feel guilty about his role in it?

Sad…trauma from Rebecca.

Mr. Tilney arrives and sees her in the room and I can’t blame him being upset, it is rude Catherine. Although Eleanor saying the picture resembled her I could see me wanting to, although this portrait doesn’t look that much like Catherine. Probably a good thing as as that would bring these crazy theories that Catherine is the reincarnated mother set to enact revenge and have a plot like Chances Are, that was freaky movie. How did it get green-lighted?

Sorry I am just everywhere today. So I really love this exchange between Henry and Catherine when she shares she believes that his father murdered his mother. I like it because you can see Henry is hurt and upset, I mean would be too if the person I liked called my father a murderer-but I like that he’s not screaming, yelling or calling her names. He is calm but he is clearly hurt and upset. I’m glad they went in that direction, him being the opposite of how his father (and brother) would most likely react.

Although in her defense you did tell her to dream up the most horrible thing she could imagine so you can’t really be mad at her for thinking it.  And not going to lie the first time I read this I totally thought General Tilney killed her, and I’m not wholly convinced he didn’t . Like I don’t think he out murdered her but after being in an abusive relationship for that long, I defintely think his behavior really sapped her will for living. And people who are abused have lower immune systems as their health greatly suffers, so he definitely killed her. I wouldn’t win a criminal case, but I bet I could prove it in a civil case, Any lawyers out there want to give me their thoughts?

At the end, I love how Tilney says Catherine how could you-so disappointed, so wounded-he says it softly like a cry of pain and walks way.

And poor Catherine crying thinking she has lost her chance at ever claiming his heart, internally berating herself for being so foolish.

Aw!

Eleanor comes upon her in the garden with a letter and sees her crying. She tries to reassure her, but Catherine is sobbing-this scene is so good. OMG this actors are amazing. I don’t think there could be a better adaption.

And as the adage goes when it rains it pours. James sends a letter that the engagement is over. He is a gentleman and doesn’t say anything else regarding why but believes Captian Tilney and Isabella will be engaged. Eleanor tells her probably not. She’s sorry “that anyone she [Catherine] loves should be so hurt but Captin Tilney will never marry Isabella. He can only marry a wealthy woman ad currently is not interested in marriage. Eleanor is classy but she clearly spells it out that things will not go well for Isabella.

She should not have done that.

And to make it clear for the viewers, the next scene we see that captain Tilney took her to an hourly rate lodgings and had his enjoyment and is tossing her back to her parents. Looking sinister the whole time.

Isabella tried to net a larger fish, but failed. I do feel bad for her, like a thimble’s worth as girl you did wrong. She the writes to Catherine hoping her “dearest friend” will help her get back with James.

Eleanor: I’m not surprised

Eleanor is a good friend and she can lock into a person’s character right quick.  Eleanor just throws more shade.

Catherine I feel sorry for Isabella.

Eleanor: I’m sure shell be fine soon enough.

Classy Eleanor on Isabella

That night is spooky and dark and General Tilney comes storming in screeching for Eleanor. Poor girl.

Catherine is worried for her friend and she shares that her father is forcing Catherine to leave, and that she has to leave now. You know this is incredibly awful as they don’t even have her leave the next day but that night drop her at the public stagecoach alone, dumped on the side of the road like refuse.  And not only that he forces Eleanor to drop this bomb instead of telling her himself.

Poor Catherine doesn’t even feel bad about being treated that way. She thinks she deserves it for what she thought, believing Mr. Tilney told his father.  But this is seriously messed up . General Tilney is the worst as Catherine could be murdered, robbed, raped, kidnapped, injured, etc. She has to wait until a coach comes in the middle of the night in a strange place where she has no friends or protection. General Tilney:

Thankfully a coach comes soon.

Please, oh please! from Death Comes to Pemberley

No daydreaming this time, instead the journey home is spent in reflection. Catherine returns home so sad looking and hurt. She’s lost some of her heart and childlike innocence.

Darn!

They discuss this at her home with the Allens, the Morland’s being extremely upset. Thankfully these parents are on it-not cool and the mom is not impressed by these friends as no one even wrote. Catherine has pretty good parents in comparison to some other Austen heroines. Her mother s ays she is proud she dealt with it all maturly, she’s not so scatterbrained-aw there is it. They must have used that a lot when she was younger.

Mrs. Allen defends Mr. Tilney saying that she liked Tilney as he got them a chair and knew muslin. Oh Mrs. Allen. Knowing Muslin is all you need to impress her.

That night Catherine shares her trip with her siblings and one asks if she loves Mr. Tilney. She says no, of course, but we know that to be a lie. She’s in Love!

Catherine loves Tilney

Then Mr Tilney comes up on a white horse *SQUEAL*

Mr. Tilny tries to tell Catherine what happened-he shares he was upset with what she said but that wasn’t why she was sent away. He shares a little about his father:

Henry Tilney: Your imagination may be overactive, but your instinct was true. Our mother did suffer grievously and at the hands of our father. Do you remember I spoke of a kind of vampirism?

Catherine Morland: Yes.

Henry Tilney: Perhaps it was stupid to express it so, but we did watch him drain the life out of her with his coldness and his cruelty. He married her for her money, you see. She thought it was for love. It was a long time until she knew his heart was cold. No vampires, no blood. But worse crimes, crimes of the heart.

Catherine Morland: It was stupid and wicked of me to think such things as I did.

They are interrupted by her sister and the girl s the best little sister actress ever interrupting them all sassy saying they ned to come to the drawing room.

Then Mr. Tilney apologizes under the gaze of Catherine’s 5 siblings and mother.

Mr. Tilney wants to get Catherine alone so he can talk to her and asks her to show him the way to the Allen’s and mom’s a brick she knows why, she can sense what that “alone time” is going to be used for.

Wedding!

Tilney shares the rest of the story and why she was sent away. I love how Tilney is so angry at his father and doesn’t want Catherine to blame herself. I also like when Catherine asks, what did he say and Tilney refuses instead telling her what he said. I don’t need to know what General Tilney said, I can lready surmise it in my head.

Catherine Morland: He thought I was rich?

Henry Tilney: It was Thorpe who misled him at first. Thorpe, who hoped to marry you himself. He thought you were Mr. Allen’s heiress and he exaggerated Mr. Allen’s birth to my father. You were only guilty of not being as rich as you were supposed to be. For that he turned you out of the house.

Catherine Morland: I thought you were so angry with me, you told him what you knew. Which would have justified any discourtesy.

Henry Tilney: No! The discourtesy was all his. I-I have broken with my father, Catherine, I may never speak to him again.

Catherine Morland: What did he say to you?

Henry Tilney: Let me instead tell you what I said to him. I told him that I felt myself bound to you, by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong that nothing he could do could deter me from…

Catherine Morland: From what?

Henry Tilney: Before I go on, I should tell you there’s a pretty good chance he’ll disinherit me. I fear I may never be a rich man, Catherine.

Catherine Morland: Please, go on with what you were going to say!

Henry Tilney: Will you marry me, Catherine?

Catherine Morland: Yes! Yes I will! Yes!

I love this as earlier whenever Tilney was around his father he was a “good little soldier” and did what he was told. But here we see that he mutinied and went after the girl he loves, even if it means no inheritance.

And they awkwardly fly into each other’s arms and it so cute because it feels so real instead of Hollywood. Aw, I want a Mr. Tilney.

Aw, and all are happy as they marry and have a baby. And Eleanor’s love is rich and they too get to marry! And General Tilney is all alone, as he should be, so it is a happy ending for all!

I just love this movie, it is so perfect. My only complaint: it ends.

Why is it over?

So writing, amazing. The lighting was also really good as sometimes period dramas try to be authentic and are too dark you can’t see what is happening. Acting superb! And costumes? I love everything besides Mr. Tilney’s shirt with the ruffled cuffs. I espechially love this coat, although I couldn’t find a really good pick of it:

It’s beautiful, but also romantic as he rides across the fields, it flowing in the wind. It reminds me a lot of the romantic coat Ross Poldark wears in Poldark. 

I also love Catherine’s blue coat and I really want it. I might have to get my own made.

You know Catherine is not the wealthiest character in the Austen canon, but of all the adaptions I think she has the prettiest clothes. Everything she wears I love, and her hair always looks fantastic.

I like Catherine Morland’s outfits.

So that end another Horrorfest!!! I hope you all enjoyed it!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

For more Northanger Abbey, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more Northanger Abbey (2007), go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen variations, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

Holy Smokes! Your Mom’s a Werewolf!: My Mom’s a Werewolf (1989)

Holy smokes! Your mom’s a werewolf.

Really?

This was the weirdest movie I have ever seen.

It looked like a fun ’80s horror film, but it was not.

So Leslie Shaber is your average housewife-who is extremely bored. Her daughter, Jennifer, is a mean sarcastic teenager who doesn’t want to spend any time with her, her husband works late and then is glued to the TV, the only excitement she gets is making up new and strange (gross looking) dishes that she eats alone.

Her daughter takes off to go to some Horror convention with her best friend Stacey who loves it-and is totally me and my love of classic horror. It also makes me think of someone else…

While Stacey is off on a booth, Jennifer goes to the gypsy and gets a prophecy from the gypsy fortune teller. She tells Jennifer that she has the mark of the pentagram, and will be attacked by a werewolf.

There have been strange attacks going on with a man hunting people.

Hmm…I feel like this information will come in handy later. From Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Meanwhile, Leslie has become angry and her husband and kids and decides to go off to shop away her bad feelings. She stops at the pt store and meets a strange red-eyed man Harry Thropen. Oh no, this dude is trouble. Stay away from him.

From The Twilight Zone

Leslie leaves and a thief tries to steal her bag, but Thropen comes to rescue and saves her belongings. He invites her to come to lunch, brainwashing her with his powers to come with him.

That’s not good.

They go out to lunch, where Jennifer comes upon them as she had a change of heart and wants to fix things between her mom and dad. She planned on bringing her flowers to try and pretend it is from her dad, but when she spots her mom eating with another man-she’s drops them and follows her.

Thropen convinces Leslie to go off with him, again using his powers, and they start getting down, showing way more than I would have expected with a PG rating. He is kissing her legs, when he bites her toe. That makes Leslie mad as it hurts and she snaps out of it and heads home,  Jennifer having witnessed the whole thing.

Leslie goes home and daughter is extra angsty and angry. Leslie is upset about her cheating and makes her husband the perfect meal and later-because if you haven’t guessed yet, she was bitten by werewolf-and is beginning to transform-is in the mood to be with her husband- her and her husband being extremely loud that night with their daughter in the house.

After that Thropen wants her and Leslie starts turning into the werewolf. First her teeth start growing fanglike and she goes to see a dentist who gets his jollies filing her teeth down. He’s like the freak dentist in Little Shop of Horrors

Now this is where the movie gets weirder. Leslie looks like this:

But  Jennifer is the only one who sees her and finds it weird. Like Leslie goes to the beauty shop like that and no one freaks out about how she looks.

That night Jennifer is holding a Halloween party and Leslie spends forever in Jennifer’s bathroom trying to get rid of her werewolf hair and such. I don’t know she doesn’t use her own (as it is off-limits to the party guests) It makes a huge line as all the guests wait outside to use the bathroom. It doesn’t do much as she can’t stop the hair from growing.

I’m a mess

So this film is really boring. I checked out of it. She keeps turning, she fights with the family, and she has a huge fight with Thorpen. Do be honest I didn’t care about the characters they all are rude, angry, don’t listen to each other, etc.

Ugh…

And a news crew shows up and films them, everyone knows at the end that werewolves are real?

In the end Jennifer transforms into a werewolf because she slayed the werewolf? What lore is that?

For more ’80s films, go to They Choose the Wrong Person to Be a Hero: Dark Crystal (1982)

For more on werewolves, go to Women are Like Werewolves

For more gypsies, go to Gypsy Justice: Thinner (1996)

Just Because I’m a Vampire Doesn’t Mean I’m Bloodthirsty: Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

Just because I’m a vampire doesn’t mean I’m bloodthirsty. It’s not about what you are. It’s about who you are.

So with COVID19, the library building has been closed, giving staff the opportunity to work on some projects we have been wanting to do. One project that was given to me was to reorganize the YA section by book series. As I was reorganizing them I came across the Darren Shan/Cirque du Freak series. Because the series had two names (mentioned on different books) it took a google search to see what was the official name, it turned out it had a UK series (the Saga of Darren Shan) and they changed the name in the US (Cirque du Freak)

I also discovered that the first book was made into a movie starring Josh Hutcherson in 2009.

I looked it up as I was completely surprised. I had zero memory of this movie coming out, even though Josh Hutcherson was a big name in the 2000s.The film intrigued me, but we didn’t have a copy because someone checked it out and never returned it.

So a few months later I was thinking of how I would like to see it and decided to search it across my streaming sites and found it on Netflix.

So the story starts with Darren Shan, normal 16 year old boy in a nuclear family-and a bit of a coward. His best friend is Steve, they have been friends since Steve saved Darren from being beat up years ago. Steve is a sad creature-his mother is an alcoholic, no one likes him except Darren, and the only reason he goes to school is to be with his friend. So young and to have so little to live for.

So sad.

They are going to school when they find flyers for a Cirque du Freak freak show. They decide to sneak out that night and go watch it.

When they get there, it is very strange show. They thought it would be fakes pretending, but things are too weird to be fake. One act, Larten Creepsley (John C. Reilly), performs with an incredibly poisonous spider, Madame Octa.Darren loved bugs, espechially spiders and he wants her.

Now Steve is a giant vampire fan and looking at Larten he recognizes him from his vampire book. He points him out to Darren who thinks Steve just has an overactive imagination from reading too many vampire books. Overactive imagination from too many books coupled with vampires-guess what popped in my head?

Darren goes to get Madame Octa, the spider-but before he can escape Larten comes in the room. He is with his friend Gavner Purl, (Willem Defoe), the two talk about vampire business and the Vampaneze, the rivals of the vampires who are bloodthirsty and cruel in their killings. They are interrupted by Steve who wants them to turn him into a vampire.

Nosferatu

This part was really sad to me as Steve shares he has nothing in life but his best friend Darren. Life sucks and he thinks being a vampire is the only way to get a better life, a family. Poor Steve.

Life is grey…

Larten and his friend refuse, telling him that he is evil, full of evil blood. They are really cruel and cold and Steve leaves-threatening them that they will be sorry.

Darren runs off with Madame Octa and right into Mr. Tiny and the Vampaneze Murlough. Mr. Tiny takes a bit of his blood and is interested in him, while Murlough sees him as not worth his time. They drop him off at home.

After they all leave, Darren sneaks out with the spider and takes him home. The next day he brings the spider to school-why? Steve finds him with it and Darren shares that he heard him. He tries to get Steve to talk about it, having not realized how bad Steve was feeling and what he was going through. Steve shrugs it off and tries to get a closer look at the spider.

As he is looking at it, the bell rings and he drops the cage and the spider escapes. Darren tries to get it while Steve tries to squish it. The spider bites Steve and he is in the hospital doing poorly. Darren goes to Larten and begs him to help. Larten doesn’t care, but finally agrees as long as Darren becomes his Vampire assistant.

You know I just want to pause here and say, for years I have said vampires and spiders should go together as spiders basically kill their prey in the exact same way that Vampires do. It makes perfect sense and I’m glad Darren Shan used that in his books (yes the author named the main character after himself).

Anyways, Darren agrees and after Larten administers the antidote Darren takes off.

Hurry!

Darren thinks he can go back on his word, but he starts behaving strange. This scene reminds me of Once Bitten when Jim Carrey’s character acts all weird after his vampire bite.

After Darren almost attacks his sister he realizes that he can’t do this and plans to go with Larten. Larten agrees and throws him out the window.

Larten Crepsley: Nice night, actually. [pointing up, causing Darren to look awayIs that the Little Dipper or the big one? I can never remember it. [breaks Darren’s neck and throws him downSorry about that. I had to do that or they would never believe you were dead. Don’t worry. There’s no damage to your spinal cord. And I’ll sneak into the funeral home and fix your broken neck. Oh, and… sorry about this next part.

Darren is buried, and all come to his funeral. Steve is espechially broken up as now he has no one. He decides he can’t leave his boy languishing in the afterlife and gives Darren his cellphone. While he does he sees the mark of the vampire and knows what happened-Larten said no to him but chose Darren. This makes Steve very upset.

I’m glad the mark is on the hand and not the upper thigh like in Once BittenThat’d be awkward.

Larten digs Darren up the next day and is attacked by Murtagh of the Vampaneze. Larten manages to fight him and they take off with Vampire speed. Larten takes him to where the Cirque resides and he meets the snake boy, Evra Von, and Rebecca, the monkey girl.

Meanwhile, Steve is upset and is considering suicide as he has no one to care for him anymore. Mr Tiny approaches him and Steve is turned into a Vampanze.

So we have teenage Vampire and Vampaneze, this has fulfilled some plan of Mr. Tiny. And when Steve takes Darren’s family and girlfriend to draw him out-you know a fight is going to go down. Vampire vs. Vampaneze, Friend vs. Friend-who will win. You’ll have to watch to see how it turns out.

{Picture from Ringu)

So I really enjoyed it.

I really liked the actors and the special effects. I think they did a good job giving it this macabre look and feel, but still having it in a colorful world. I’m sad I missed it in theaters.

So the nice thing about this is that they don’t just throw vampire lore out the window and create new stuff, they instead keep some aspects of Vampire lore. I like that they weren’t forgetting what’s come before.

I actually liked the fight scenes. I didn’t think I would, but I thought they were well done.

I really loved the costumes-the flowy trench coats, the red pleather coat Darren wears after he becomes a vampire, etc. Larten’s clothes had an old fashioned feel to them, like how the Addams dress in The Addams Family. Darren’s clothes are more modern but still have an old fashioned feel.

Josh Hutcherson as Steve really surprised me. When I read he was in it, I thought he was going to play Darren. It is a little weird seeing him in this role, as it wasn’t the part he usually played, but I guess he was trying to break out of the Little Manhattan, Zathura, Firehouse Dog, etc box.

I know Steve is supposed to be “the bad one”, but having just seen the films and not read the books-I felt really bad for his character. Life is pretty awful for him and the only one who keeps him balanced is his friend Darren, who then “dies” and “betrays” him by becoming the vampire he always wanted to be.

He is pretty creepy, although when the Vampaneze take him to be their leader, I laughed as there is a movie, I can’t remember which one, they say “Steve isn’t a scary name”.

I don’t know why the film wasn’t a bigger hit. I thought it was a fun story, a nice blend of macabre and comedy, and had great costumes.

The only thing I didn’t really like was the end. They left it open as you can clearly see that they definitely planned to make more films. It’s not horrible but it does have a clunky ending. But other than that I thought it was good, and I really wish I had seen it in theaters.

For more Vampire films, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

For more Teen Vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more Teen Horror films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Josh Hutcherson, go to I’ll Do All I Can to Keep You Safe: Catching Fire (2013)

Horrorfest IX: The Spookiest Time of the Year

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories. Every year I have enjoyed doing it although sometimes I have fallen behind because of life getting in the way. Usually I have the posts written, and it is just the editing that slows me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes SO much time to do.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock‘s
  • that is animated 
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • that is something Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although last year I had several. We had Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans with Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soonalong with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again

Another tradition I added is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did the Dia de Los Muertos calaveras mask. This year I had a harder time deciding, and finally settled on, Jane the Vampire Slayer-because of the film I will be reviewing tomorrow:

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, ghosts, spooky old houses, buried treasure, aliens, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

 

 

Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

I was reorganizing the library’s young adult graphic novels and came across this book. It has a gothic and spooky old house, a secret society, a mysteriously hidden treasure, and teens being trained to be a part of a thieving ring.

Of course it sounded right up my alley.

And not just perfect for me, but for someone else…Catherine Morland. Yep, another book for Catherine Morland’s Reading List.

What is Catherine Morland’s Reading List? The idea came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen, (and I still do), I devoured books that I know, if Catherine Morland was real and alive, she would have been reading.

It started with reading one, and then before I knew it I had a list of thirty I was planning on reviewing. What can I say, other than:

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala

We start off with Katherine “K” Westree dressed in all black with a mask, running at night from a wild boar.

We then go back three weeks earlier…K is a orphan who was placed in an orphanage run by a woman called Mother Claude, who was using the orphanage to create a ring of cat burglars, thieves, and pickpockets.

She forced the kids to do it, threatening and abusing them if they didn’t. If they tried to run away, she would hunt them down and force them back.

The were eventually found out and all the children sent to reform school. After K served her time she stayed on as a live-in counselor for the younger children. She was then located by her aunt who had been searching for her, and her aunt invited her to live with her at Bellsong Academy, a spooky gothic mansion.

Haunted house!

When she arrives at the Academy things are not as she expected. Apparently the school has lost funding and there are only three students there at this time, orphans who have nowhere else to go: Dory, Morrow and Zel. And it turns out that she can’t see her aunt as she is deathly ill and fully covered in bandages.

Now this made my radar go off. Anytime people are all covered up in bandages like that, it means they aren’t who they really say they are. That’s not her aunt, something must have happened to her.

Hmm…

The people running the academy are  the headmistress Mrs. Turtledove, teacher Dr. Kuvac, teacher Mr. Dell, and teacher Mr. Fahr. There also is a very creepy handyman who goes by Stump and the housekeeper Ms. Mund.

Everything seems off with the other girls and the faculty. And then K hears a voice in the wall warning her that she is being watched. Definitely creepy!

SUPER creeped

That night K sneaks out of her room ad uses all her training to try to get in her Aunt’s room, but is caught by the other girls as they have been watching her. It turns out the school is another thief ring,  but an “old, established” one called The Obtainers. Her mother and father were a part of it, and her aunt as well.

K’s father chose to leave the group when she was little and took K with him, that’s why she was never a part of it until now. The rest of the ring are glad she is here as she is incredibly talented and they need her help. Bellsong Academy originally belonged to the Quinn family. When Anodyne Quinn inherited the house she discovered that her family fortune came from pirating, she was deeply ashamed she had been benefiting from stealing from others. She decided to give back by opening the Bellsong Academy, the first woman’s college west of the Rockies. After she passed she left provisions so that it would continue on. There is a rumor of treasure hidden somewhere on campus and no on has ever found it.

Hmm…treasure?

The other thing she left behind was three paintings-one in her youth, one in middle age, and the third as an older woman posing with the graduation class. Each painting was given to a separate family in the neighboring village, they were given a large sum every year-and all they have to do is put their painting on display. The map to the treasure is rumored to be found within those three paintings.

Rebecca (1940)

K finds this extremely odd that they need her to “borrow” them, and I agree. Like if they are this all important and amazing league of thieves why haven’t they done it already?

I mean for real!

K isn’t interested but they insist they need it to keep the academy going and to pay for her aunt’s care. The other girls try to convince her as they give her the grand tour of the property-old time fountains, a sun dial, a “haunted cabin”, a prehistoric sinkhole, and share the stories of the serial killer, “The Moon Killer”, who was rumored to run around the woods.

Spooky…

K decides to train with them, as why not what else has she to do, and they have a practice room right out of a superhero comic. K outshines them all and that night joins them as they break into the first house.

Each house is eccentric and when they leave they are missing a girl. Did they decide to take off and get their freedom? Were they captured? Is The Moon Killer back? Is there something nefarious going on in those houses?

Hmm…

K manages to score every painting and starts putting the clues together. But finding hidden treasure isn’t the only surprise she will discover.

This was really interesting mystery/gothic tale and I liked the character K and the twist ending at the end. I had figured out half of it, but the other half surprised me.

Wow!

The only thing I don’t like is that we never find out what happened to the other girls. I searched but it doesn’t appear that Sala wrote a sequel. I guess it will be an unsolved mystery.

We’ll never know.

I really enjoyed the the style of it too, it has an Edward Gorey feel to it, and I just love Edward Gorey. I recommend reading it even if it has a few loose ends.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Poison Diaries

For more mysteries, go to Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

For more Gothic fiction, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: House of Salt and Sorrows

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Poison Diaries

So the idea of Catherine Morland’s Reading List came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen, (and I still do), I devoured books that I know, if Catherine Morland was real and alive, she would have been reading.

It started with reading one, and then before I knew it I had a list of thirty I was planning on reviewing. What can I say, other than I like to:

The next book I’m reviewing is…

The Poison Diaries by The Duchess of Northumberland

Weed is an orphan boy who is taken in by a drunk apothecary who delights in hurting, beating, and making Weed’s life horrible.

Aw, that’s sad.

One day this horrible man shows Weed a secret garden he found that was supposed to be destroyed. This garden is full of poisonous plants and after it’s creator died it was supposed to be wiped from the earth. …But for some reason it wasn’t destroyed (because evil can’t die)

It now becomes Weed’s duty to come every day and care for them. Weed of course has to follow the instructions, or else he will receive a beating.

When he goes to the garden to care for them, the plants speak to him.

At first Weed thinks that he is crazy, but as he continues in the garden he listens to them, as each plants calls out to him and share their secrets with him-how they can heal, help, and destroy…

Hmmm…

Every plant-Belladonna, Opium, Tobacco, etc. -have a tale to share. Some are on how they helped people, but most end in death or madness…some in worse ways than others.

Going mad!

Every day the plants encourage Weed to use them against his master, to get his freedom. At first Weed completely refuses, as it is morally wrong…but as each visit continues he becomes intoxicated with the power they have.

Will he give in to their poisonous power?

Hmmm…

This book wasn’t that long, but while the book may be short in pages, it is most defintely not a light read. These gothic tales are sad and macabre-very reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.

And this book has absolutely beautiful illustrations, look at belladonna. It is definitely worth reading just to look at them.

I also learned a lot about plants as it was very informative on what they looked like, grew, latin names, etc.

Wow!

It is not a book that I find myself wanting to read over and over, but I did enjoy it and recommend it to other gothic fans.

For more books from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: House of Salt and Sorrows

For more gothic fiction, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours