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

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: House of Salt and Sorrows

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 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 eventually reviewing. What can I say…

The next book I think Catherine Morland would read is…

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

So when this book passed my desk at the library, I immediately had to read it. The title, cover, fairy tale foundation, all tied up with a Gothic bow…you know me!

So the foundation of the story is The 12 Dancing Princesses, one of my favorites. In the original tale a King has 12 daughters who he locks up in his house every night, but every morning they are tired and their dancing shoes worn out. The king decrees that any man who finds out where they go each night and how, can marry any of the girls, and be King. However, if he does not figure it out in three days-the man will be killed. A soldier wounded from war and at a loss of what to do, is wandering through the woods were he mets an older lady. Some versions he helps her, others she sees his heart, but either way she gives him advice not to drink the wine served by the princesses and gives him an invisible cape.

That night, the soldier is almost convinced to drink the wine by the pretty princesses, but remembers the warning. He pretends and after he falls asleep, a trapdoor opens up in the floor and the girls get dressed, grab their shoes, get in a gondola, and pass silver, gold, and jewel encrusted trees to a ball in the underworld. There all the girls dance with dead princes, clearly under a spell. In the version I like, these princes want the girls as their brides to rule the underworld with them, and as the girls sleep less and less they are knocking on death’s door. The soldier goes reveals the truth, marrying one of the princesses. I have always been interested in the macabre tale, you know me and Gothic tales, so I was excited to see what Craig was going to do in her adaption.

Annaleigh lives in a beautiful castle, Highmoor, on an island in the sea. She is sixth of 12 daughters, having a happy childhood until her mother passed in the last daughter’s childbirth.

Since then, life has turned grim. Not too long after their mother’s death, the eldest sister, Ava, passed away when plague slipped through the island. Ava was followed by Octavia when she fell off a tall library ladder and broke her neck. Then Elizabeth, who always suffered from bouts of melancholia died by suicide. Annaleigh and her sisters follow the custom of wearing black for six months, followed by six months of gray. The girls have been wearing mourning colors for the last few years, secluded in their home, not allowed to take part in balls and festivities, etc.

Life is grey…

Their father, Duke of Salann Islands, has been free to travel, attend to business, etc. He remarried a young woman he met on the mainland, Morella, a woman young enough that many assume she is one of his 12 daughters.

Wow…

Not too long after the marriage, another sister died, Eulalie…but this death feels different, wrong. Ava’s death was easily explained, all saw the pustules and knew of the fever. Octavia was always clumsy and falling or bumping into things. And Elizabeth, she had a long history of depression. But Eulalie was nothing like any of them. She was healthy and strong, she was graceful and never awkward or off balance, and above all she loved life. She wasn’t interested in inheriting the Duchy and becoming the Duchess of Salann, but she loved being a lady of the island and she loved men. She was the most gorgeous of the 12 and had so many admirers.

So why did she fall off the cliff? What was she even doing out at night? Was she meeting someone? Was she murdered?

Hmm…

No one believes Annaleigh, but she feels something is not right at all and starts investigating the death of her sister, against her father’s wishes.

However, life takes a far different turn when Morella announces in the middle of Eulalie’s funeral that she is pregnant, and with a son. Morella also refuses to follow the customs of the island and wants a ball to celebrate her pregnancy and combine it with a party to celebrate the younger girl’s reaching womanhood.

Annaleigh is against this whole thing, as it looks and feels like no one cares about Eulalie, but she is outvoted and a ball is set with each sister getting their own set of “fairie slippers” dancing shoes.

Annaleigh begins investigating on the sly and visits with the fishermen who found Eulalie’s body. They found her with a locket, the chain smashed, but they could read the inscription on the piece. It was from a lover…a lover she planned to run away with, but was stopped? Or a lover that murdered her?

Hmmm…

She also meets a mysterious, handsome stranger, Cassius, who is on the island to take care of his sickly father. Cassius has otherworldly beauty and Annaleigh immediately falls for him.

All I can think is this stranger to be trusted, or is he going to bring more ruin on the household?

Hmm…

The ball comes, but it turns out to be a gloomy event. No one dances with the girls as they believe the house is cursed, that the girls carry death with them, people find it shocking that they aren’t even observing the proper grief rituals, etc. The ladies are sad, disheartened, lonely, and feel they will never escape grief, death, and gloom.

The house is full of grief, death, gloom, and tension. Verity, the youngest, starts feeling spirits and seeing things. Annaleigh starts to feel it too, seeing monsters. Are they full of grief and pain, or going crazy and cursed? Or could someone be trying to destroy the girls? Destroy their family?

Hmm…

An old family friend, Fisher, returns from being the lighthouse keeper and aids Annaleigh as her soundboard. He doesn’t offer much help, but does express a wish they could leave the island and the gossip of the curse. Annaleigh wishes the same thing, but knows her father will never let them go anywhere, they are in “mourning”. Fisher tells her stories of the gods, that there are “magic doors”, ones that allow them to go from their world to our world, easily transporting from island to capital, etc. If only, right?

Annaligh continues her investigations and finds a watch that Eulalie had. Inside was a lock of hair, a lock of blonde hair that matches Edgar Morris, the clock worker. He tells her they planned to run away that night, but when he got to their meeting place in the boat-someone, or something, knocked Eulalie over. So who, or what killed Eulalie? Or is Edgar lying and he is the murder?

Hmm…

No on believes him, but Annaleigh. The house grows darker and more depressed as the remaining girls realize the deaths of their older sisters have tainted them and they will never be able to escape…

Annaleigh wants raise their spirits and proposes searching for one of these “doors” Fisher mentioned earlier. They search the whole house and grounds but find nothing.

They decide to check the mausoleum, and when they get to the statue of the girl’s mother, they discover a door behid her. Fisher goes in first, followed by Annaleigh’s sisters Ligeia and Rosalie. After what seems like forever, the two return with an invitation to a masked ball. Uh oh, masked ball? Masked balls in Gothic stories don’t go so great.

Erik: [at the Bal Masque as “The Red Death”] Beneath your dancing feet are the tombs of tortured men! Thus does The Red Death rebuke your merriment!

All the girls are excited for the ball, for a chance to be free from gloom and doom. The theme is nightmares and daydreams, each sister excitedly coming up with beautiful costumes after beautiful costume-again so pleased to wear something other than black or gray.

The girls continue to dance night after night, except for Annaleigh, and start changing from the girls she knew. Fisher tells Annaleigh he loves her, but when she refuses him, he disappears and so does her help. Edgar passes away, and with him Annaleigh’s link to finding more about Eulalie. And then some more of her sisters pass away.

What else?

Annaleigh continues to see, smell, and hear things-things no one else does. Is the house haunted by ghosts, by one of her sisters? Are they cursed? Is someone trying to make her go insane, or did they bargain with a trickster to drive them all insane?

Annaleigh is running out of time. She must find out who or what the culprit is.

I really enjoyed this story as it blended many things I love-gothic fiction, fairy tales, etc. It was a compelling story and a good mystery, one that I enjoyed and tried to guess who was behind it all. I figured it out who was doing it and why, but not the how.

Hmm…

I liked how Craig built the doom and gloom which explained why they wanted to go out and party, even at the risk of death for others and the change of who they are from the drinking and partying in the god’s world.

Pleasure Garden from Metropolis 

The only thing I didn’t like was that there was a character I really liked and he ended up passing away. Darn.

But otherwise, very good. Even my niece enjoyed it. She was drawn to the cover, like me, and sucked into the Gothic tale.

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

For more on Gothic Novels, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Inn at Half Moon Bay

For more mysteries, go to An Insane Doctor, A Hysterical Herbalist, and Murder in a Magician’s Mansion + A Possible Persuasion Reference?

For more Fairy Tale retellings, go to Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

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 I devoured all these books that I know, if Catherine was 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 eventually reviewing. What can I say…

The next book I think Catherine Morland would read is…

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

I read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton and really enjoyed it. I was shelving books in the library and spotted this book and it called to me, you know like books do. I picked it up and knew I had to read it, as it is perfect to add to this list.

So first of all this book is amazing in how it was printed. The cover pages are set up like the cover pages of old books, looking like they are worn, torn, folded, etc. The prologue begins with a snippet from gothic story, The Mud Man, and I was instantly hooked.

This story is a Gothic Novel Lovers dream! It has a scattering of references to other novels, like the trail of breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel left-this one leading you to the conclusion.

W have the prologue of the Mud Man and I wish it was a real book. It is so creepy!

The book is told between a few different timelines, we have 1992 (present) and 1940s (past). The story starts off with our main character narrating the story, reminiscent of Wuthering Heights, which continues as she tries to search for the truth of a family secret, just like how the main character does there.

I’m telling you, this is like Gothic Novel bingo!

Edie works for a book publisher as she loves reading. It is very small and starting to die out, only saved by Edie’s moxie as she doesn’t really want to start over.

So it starts off with an unlikely beginning, (after the Mud Man story). Back in WWII a postman became a bit too inebriated and forgot to mail a bag of letters. Said bag was discovered years later, with it becoming a huge story in the media.

Wow!

Edie’s mother was one of the people who received a letter, but instead of being happy about the missive that went away she became extremely upset about it, and asked Edie to leave.

Edie forgets all about it until she heads to Kent to sign an author. There she passes this amazing castle, Milderhurst Castle, the owner being Raymond Blythe-the author of Edie’s favorite book, The Mud Man.

Wow!

She purchases a copy of The Mud Man and another book on the history of the Blythes, and when she hears of tours to the castle she heartily wants to do it!

However, the Blythe sisters don’t allow tours anymore as they are growing older and have a younger sister who has dementia. But for some strange reason they agree to let her.

Edie is fascinated by the castle, and the strange family. (There is this part where they talk about the tubes going through the castle like in the Vincent Price radio drama Fugue in C-Minor). But it isn’t until the younger sister Juniper calls her her mother’s name-that Edie is hooked!

Huh?

Why did she think she was her mother? How does she know her mother?

What the heck?

Meanwhile, back in WWII the Blythe sisters are having some issues. The world may be at war, but they are too.

The elder sister Percy loves the castle, as if it was a part of her. She doesn’t want any thing to happen to it, and will do anything and everything she can to keep it going. She especially doesn’t want her sisters to leave as she has no knowledge or use for cooking, laundry, or any thing that really keeps the castle going and with no money to do it she needs her younger sister.

The middle daughter Saffy dreams of being a writer, a nanny, a research assistant, pretty much anything if she can get to London. But every time she tries to go-her twin Percy makes her stay. Poor girl, she’ll be stuck here forever.

Juniper is beautiful, intelligent, talented, the whole package. But she needs to be cared for as her mood swings take her to dark, dark places; she seems almost manic depressive with her mood swings and possibly schizophrenic. She goes to London and wants to stay there and get married to an army officer, who happen to be Merry’s teacher.

Merry, Edie’s mother, did not want to leave London during the bombings in WWII. She cried the whole way on the train and was one of the last to be picked. She was saved when Juniper came storming in and claimed her for their house. Merry came from a lower middle class family and finds herself in a brand new world when she goes into the castle. Books upon books, a family that values daydreaming, writing, etc-all the things that Merry was looked down back at home for liking. She loved being in the castle so much that when her parents came to take her home, she didn’t want to go back. But she does have to…and while she still sees Juniper when she comes to the city, she developed a serious crush on her teacher turned soldier. When she finds out the two are getting married, she is heartbroken as she was sure he felt something for her.

Aw, that’s sad.

Like every castle, this one holds dark, deep secrets-generational secrets. Ones that Edie gets involved with. First she tries to figure out her mother’s connection to it, and then when her father is recuperating from a heart attack and bored-she reads to him The Mud Man and they begin searching what could have been the origin of the story.

Hmmm…

She also gets asked to help write the new edition of The Mud Man, going back to the Castle and interviewing the ladies. Will she discover the secret to the idea of The Mud Man, why her mother is connected and upset over the past, and what really keeps those sisters anchored there?

This is a fantastic book, with amazing characters full of depth. If you like Gothic novels you will go ga-ga over this. You can clearly see how much the author loved gothic novels and loves books-she goes on and on about them (I clocked Wuthering Heights, The Yellow Wallpaper, Rebecca, etc.) This author is a spooky girl!

The end was is very cute with her father getting interested in reading fiction and novels after they read The Mud Man together.

And the twist of how the mud man came to be, the truth behind who the monster is-wow!

Wow!

There were two things I didn’t like about this book though: there is a point in the third act where the book drags, I would have cut those pages as they didn’t really add to the story.

And there is a whole section about what did Juniper do that night? Everyone is scared as she is late coming home, covered in someone else’s blood, and coming out of a “mood”; but they never resolve it. What did she do that night?

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Tell-Tale Heart

For more on Gothic Novels, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

For more stories set in WWII, go to The Colonel

You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

So today is Valentine’s Day and the end of our postings. I always find this fun to do as we just focus on a romantic moment, which could be found in almost any film. Tradition is to end on an Austen themed film (I broke it once and I’m going to try to never do it again), so here we go with our last one on Austenland (which I have started watching every Valentine’s Day.

Most Romantic Moment #14

Austenland (2013)

I LOVE this movie. It is based on the books Austenland and Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale:

I LOVED these books, so when I saw they were making a movie I was so excited!

FangirledWhenSeeingPreview

One day I will review the whole movie, but not today-today we are just focusing on moment.

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a giant Jane Austen fan.

She decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending.

Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams?

Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?

****Spoiler Alert****

So this moment comes at the end of the film. Jane took back her vacation, and had fun, gained confidence, and fell for Mr. Nobley (J.J. Feild). However, Martin returned (urgh!) and convinced her to join “reality” and she turns down Mr. Nobley’s declaration of love.

She ends her vacation and when she is speaking to Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the resort owner, she discovers that Martin was the actor, not Mr. Nobley. Mr. Nobley was brought in to fill some time while they waited for another actor to finish his series-Nobley was never scripted for Jane, he wasn’t scripted for anyone.

What?

It turns out that what Mr. Nobley said was real, but Jane is so upset with Mrs. Wattlesbrook manipulations (and the fact that she wasn’t even seen as worthy to be paired with a gentleman) she can’t focus on that-made even more so when Martin and Nobley follow her to the airport.

Jane thanks Mr. Nobley and says good-bye, ready to head home and give up on her Jane Austen interest.

When she gets home she expects her friend to be over soon to talk about the trip, a knock does come-but when she opens the door it isn’t her friend-but Mr. Nobley!

He traveled all the way from England to give her-her sketchbook and tell her how much he loves her! OMGoodness!!!

He tells her that he is in love with her! “Could someone like me make you happy?”, and then says the line that makes my heart melt and brain turn to goo-“You are my fantasy”! Aw, it is just so romantic!!! Jane and Mr. Nobley both get their happy fairy tale ending!

Squee! I loved it!

Even more so, I love that this mimics Northanger Abbey, when Mr. Tilney comes after Catherine and tells her that he loves her:

Ad with both characters being played by the same actor, J.J. Feild? It makes my heart go into overtime.

For more on Austenland, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more J.J. Feild, go to The Jewel Carries a Curse: Ruby in the Smoke (2006)

For more on Jane Hayes and Mr. Nobley, go to Austenland

If you missed a post here are all the films and TV episodes I chose moments from:

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

I’m With Lucy (2002)

Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

“Valley Girls” from Gossip Girl (2009)

Beauty Pageant” from Parks and Recreation (2009)

The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

The Decision” from The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl (2012)

Austenland (2013)

Catching Fire (2013)

Before I Fall (2017)

Episode 14” from Strong Women Bong Soon (2017)

Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

But then Modesto Jane Con was created!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera to-of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

Our group decided against the genealogy as we knew we were not related to Jane Austen. My mom’s side of the family is Mexican with a little bit of Chilean and Chumash Native American. On my father’s side we are Danish and Sicilian Italian. Besides that, I was extremely interested in knowing everything that goes into the outfit of the Regency Lady, so for when I get a costume made I will know what I need. I had thrown something together (more on that later) for the event, but eventually I want to get an accurate costume made.

This workshop was led by Elizabeth Layton:

There’s a lot going on beneath those deceptively simple Regency gowns. Stays long and short, chemises, petticoats, and more. Costume College graduate and Costume Society member, Layton will walk us through the layers that make a lady.

Elizabeth Layton is a Costume Historian with nearly 20 years of historical garment research. She has a degree in history and is a costume College attendee.

By the elementary school age, women would be proficient in sewing. They learned it young, and unless they were very wealthy-continued to sew their whole life. The sewing machine was invented in 1790, but a widely used model was not patented until 1830. So Regency women had to do everything by hand. Can you imagine how long that would take?

So the first thing that comes in dressing is the chemise. A chemise was your underwear, basically, and would be washed often. Most women would have a minimum of seven chemises, one for each day of the week, to last them until washday. Chemises had a gathered neckline that come close to the chest and completed the stays. Chemises had to be worn under the stays as the stays were never washed.

Women made their own chemises, unless they were very wealthy and could pay someone else to do it. The women would also make the men’s shirts. Women of the Regemcy era were very thrifty, using every bit of material. Husband’s shirt gets messed up? Turned into a Chemise. Lose or gain weight? Reuse the material to create something else. Eventually as an item became too worn they were made into smaller and smaller things-until they went into the scrap container.

“And pray, sir, what do you think of Miss Morland’s gown?”

“It is very pretty, madam,” said he, gravely examining it; “but I do not think it will wash well; I am afraid it will fray.”

“How can you,” said Catherine, laughing, “be so—” She had almost said “strange.”

“I am quite of your opinion, sir,” replied Mrs. Allen; “and so I told Miss Morland when she bought it.”

But then you know, madam, muslin always turns to some account or other; Miss Morland will get enough out of it for a handkerchief, or a cap, or a cloak. Muslin can never be said to be wasted. I have heard my sister say so forty times, when she has been extravagant in buying more than she wanted, or careless in cutting it to pieces.” –Northanger Abbey

After the chemise, the stockings and boots would go next. It is easier to put the boots on first, as after the stays were put on, bending down would be extremely uncomfortable. Stockings would have embroidery, called clocking, over the ankle and seam to hide it.

The stays would go on next and had a busk that went down the middle, the breastbone area. It is called a divorce stay, as it lifts and separates the breast-showing two instead of creating one like the previous dresses did.

After the stays, went on a “petticoat”, which was essentially a slip. The top layer dress would be sheer, so this was on for modesty. The slip might be colored, fancy, simple and depending on the weather would be cotton or wool. The slip and dress would be buttoned up the back. The buttons would be handmade with thread and were called dorset buttons.

Layton mentioned that prostitutes wouldn’t have used a slip and girls who were on the wilder, wanting-to-show-off-their-bodies side would moisten the slip with water to show their legs. In the book, Victoria and the Rogue, Victoria gets engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey and he throws a party for her. In the book, here we get a glance that maybe the Earl isn’t the best person for Victoria as we see that he throws the party not only on Victoria’s dime, but that the people aren’t the most moral and had very loose behavior. I remember Victoria commenting on one of the ladies having a wet skirt and finding it odd. I thought it was weird too, but now I really understand why that lady was making hr legs wet-trying to show off to the guys.

After the slip, essentially to bags were tied on, that would be the pockets. The gown that would go on over would have big slits in the side so every dress would have pockets. The pockets she should is were quite large and it made me wonder-how come we don’t have pockets like that today.

After the pockets came the dress. The dress was kind of like a bib overall, or apron,  with a fitted top that they would pin together. The dress would be patterned muslin, as mentioned in Gowns and Groans.

From Emma (1996)

Yes, that was how the dress stayed together-it was pinned, not sewed, but pinned in the front.

Huh?

I know!

Yes, my thought was that is weird that everything is sewn, except for the last part of the outfit we will just pin it. We will pin the part that covers the breasts. That seems so immodest and all I can think is what if it falls open?

That’s not good.

My second thought? OMG that’s why Mrs. Allen had the pin!!! I thought it was in the dress and she had forgotten to remove it or overlooked it, you know like back when you bought a new button up shirt and it had the pins in it and you had to remove it. No, she had the pins because that is how her dress was held together!

“They were interrupted by Mrs. Allen: “My dear Catherine,” said she, “do take this pin out of my sleeve; I am afraid it has torn a hole already; I shall be quite sorry if it has, for this is a favourite gown, though it cost but nine shillings a yard.”

“That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam,” said Mr. Tilney, looking at the muslin.

“Do you understand muslins, sir?”

“Particularly well; I always buy my own cravats, and am allowed to be an excellent judge; and my sister has often trusted me in the choice of a gown. I bought one for her the other day, and it was pronounced to be a prodigious bargain by every lady who saw it. I gave but five shillings a yard for it, and a true Indian muslin.”   –Northanger Abbey

After the gown a ribbon would be put on to tie in the back.

During the day the chest was covered with a fichu or chemise that went up to the neck. Thinking back to Gowns and Groans, there were quite a few movies who don’t follow this, especially Mansfield Park (2007), that we had watched right before Modesto Jane Con. In the evening the chemise was changed to a lower one or the fichu removed.

Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995)

After that would be a long wool coat:

Death Comes to Pemberley

Or a Spencer Jacket. The spencer jacket is a short jacket that the Earl of Spencer had named after him. Supposedly, he was too close to the fire when his tails burned up-creating the jacket.

After that a hat, or Chapeau, would go next and it would have big plumes.

Mansfield Park Opera

Then that they would put on gloves and grab their fan and a reticule.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

Austenland (2013)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

The reticule wouldn’t carry much, maybe a little pin money, but usually a letter of credit from the male relative or guardian that controls their money. Some families, guardians, or husbands wouldn’t give them anything and they would have nothing.

So we enjoyed the workshop and how Layton dressed her assistant as she discussed each layer, but this workshop wasn’t as enjoyable as the others. Layton often went off subject and spoke a lot about Victorian Era clothing and herself. At the beginning of the workshop she shared that she very nervous, and I’m sure that it was led to her going off topic. With the Victorian era I’m not sure if she kept talking about because that is her favorite time period, or if she wanted people to understand the difference between the time periods.

She mentioned that she is a substitute teacher, so I know she is used to speaking in front of a group, but maybe this was her first talk on Regency clothing. She probably just needs to practice and she will be fine. We still learned a lot and I have ideas for next year.

I like Catherine Morland’s outfits.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more Mr. Tilney, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

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

Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

So Horrorfest started I couldn’t tell you exactly when. I’ve always been a fan of horror, thriller, suspense, mystery, film-noir, etc. I would watch them all the time, but every day in October.

When I went to college, I continued and my roommates were thrown into my 31 Days of Horror films celebration.

Who knows?!

So when I started blogging in 2012 I decided to include it and officially create “Horrorfest”-blogging about a film every day. That way it would save my friends/roommates from something they weren’t as interested in.

Yay!!!

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, like this year I had all 31 done extremely early-the best I have ever been, it is just the editing that slowed me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes a LOT of time to do.

So last year I received quite a few comments questioning Horrorfest as it has nothing to do with Jane Austen. They felt that there was no reason to do it and didn’t want me to continue.

Hmmm

Well, they are right it does have nothing to do with Jane Austen.

Even though Horrorfest doesn’t really have anything to do with Jane Austen, I have tried to input anything Jane Austen related-I’ve reviewed Death Comes to PemberleyDeath by Persuasion-or things with Austen actors in it like Ruby in the Smoke and Dead Again. I’ve even reviewed some films that while not Jane Austen-are films that Austen fans will love.

But even if I don’t review something Jane Austen, I think its okay to include Horrorfest as there is one character who would love this:

Yep the Regency spooky girl:

So if you aren’t interested, feel free to skip reading me this October and join us back in November. For the rest of you, next October I’ll be back with more horror, mystery, film-noir, suspense, thrillers, etc.

So for this year’s review: how I do Horrorfest VIII is that I watch whatever, and review it. I mean I usually plan the first and last film-and of course I planned The Planet of the Apes series review after someone donated the set to the library-yet it always amazes me how many match up themewise.

This year we had gothic films with the Horror of Dracula and Rebecca.

We also had a multicultural Horrorfest VIII as my Jane Austen profile pic was inspired from my Mexican culture, we had Horror of Dracula from England, High Seas AKA Alta Mar from Spain, Spirited Away from Japan, and Strong Woman Bong Soon from Korea.

We had dystopian futures with Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, and The Running Man.

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 Soon.

We had superheroes with Batman, Strong Woman Bong Soon, and Unbreakable. 

Ghosts with The Fog, R.I.P.D., Spirited Away, and 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

And apes with the Planet of the Apes series and King Kong.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade of 1930s-2010s
  • Doubledose of Alfred Hitchcock with Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Rebecca
  • Animated Film with Spirited Away, 
  • Disney with Spirited Away, 
  • Doubledose of Lifetime with Death of a Cheerleader and Psycho Mother-in-Law,
  • Stephen King with The Running Man
  • Tim Burton with Batman
  • Vincent Price with 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo

The full list of films, TV episodes, and video game reviewed for Horrorfest VIII:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

King Kong (1933)

Rebecca (1940)

Lamb to the Slaughter” from Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1958)

Horror of Dracula (1958)

The Notorious Landlady (1962)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for Planet of the Apes (1973)

Logan’s Run (1976)

The Fog (1980)

Dark Crystal (1982)

To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before” from 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

The Running Man (1987)

Batman (1989)

Dead Again (1991)

Leprechaun (1993)

Death of a Cheerleader (1994)

“The Puppet Show” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

Unbreakable (2000)

Spirited Away (2001)

The Stepfather (2009)

The Last Christmas: Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders (2017)

Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Veil of Secrets (2018)

High Seas (2019)

Psycho Mother-in-Law (2019)

Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

Since the death of Jonathan Harker Count Dracula the propagator of this unspeakable evil has disappeared. He must be found and destroyed!

So typically when I begin Horrorfest I always start and end with a movie I love. As my drama teacher always said “you want to start and end hot. The middle can be a failure but you want them going in to love it, and exiting to love it.”

This year I had a really hard time choosing a film to start with. I really wanted to do something from the 1940s, like Rebecca, The Phantom of the Opera (starring Claude Raines), or The Return of the Vampire, etc- but this year the pick needs to be from the 1950s. I also really wanted to start off with a Gothic film to honor Catherine Morland.

Eventually I decided on Horror of Dracula, as the Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing films are iconic, gothic, and not the classic classic monster films-but are Classic monster films.

This was called Dracula in England, but in the US it had to be changed to the Horror of Dracula as they still showed Dracula (1931) in theaters.

The only thing it, I have ever seen it before.

In fact don’t think I’ve reviewed any Hammer films yet, I didn’t grow up watching them but the classic universal films instead. I hope this goes well!

So as the film begins the credits rolls, and as I look at them I notice in the credits Michael Gough. I feel like I saw that name recently in something I watched…

Hmm…

I know he played Mr. Bennet in  version of Pride and Prejudice, but that’s not what I’m thinking of. Then it hits me! He’s Alfred in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin. 

Anyways, we see a crypt! As we zoom into the tomb we spot a tomb and the coffin of Dracula!

But then blood squirts on it-weird.

We then move to the diary of Jonathan Harker. It is May 3, 1885. A carriage brings Jonathan to Castle Dracula as Jonathan narrates. He is going to see Dracula as he wants to make good money to marry his fiance.

Majorly

Yes, it turns out that this is not like the original novel, but that Jonathan has come to the Castle under false pretenses. He’s there for another plan-to hunt slay Dracula.

You could say he is Harker the Vampire Slayer!

The castle seemed fine in the warm afternoon sun, normal except no birds. Now I’m not a fan of birds, you know-but even I know thats not good.

That is not good,

The house is nice but I wish it was in black and white. It’s not so creepy when you see it in color, especially all the bright red. I mean look how creepy this is:

And then Dracula is not even there to greet him! What, no awesome scene?!?

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about remakes and sequels:

And so far I’m not liking the changes.

I’m not happy

Jonathan does find a note from Dracula, after all he is a gentleman:

My Dear Harker,

I am sorry I was unable to meet you. Eat well, make yourself comfortable.

Dracula

Jonathan eats and it actually reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, the original fairytale when he is left a note by the castle owner.

As he looks around the castle he meets a beautiful woman who begs him to take her awry from here. Jonathan introduces himself as the librarian come to catalog Dracula’s books. In this Jonathan is a librarian and not solicitor/real estate agent? I know I should be upset at the change but all I can think is that I’ll be able to add another library to my list.

So the woman runs off when Dracula (Christopher Lee) comes. This portrayal of Dracula is very interesting-he seems normal, and a regular guy. He is helpful by picking up his luggage and shows him to his room, him a count! I have to admit I like his portrayal. It’s not Lugosi, but its not bad.

I mean when Lugosi entered the room, you were instantly freaked out as something was not quite right in the castle. With Lee, nothing seems off about him. He is polite, kind-the perfect employer. It is a nice way to lull you in (I mean it is Dracula, I know he’s bad).

Dracula shows Harker to his room and leaves, as he has to go out of town. Harker starts  unpacking and the first thing he puts out is a picture of Mina, aw!

Dracula return to give him a key to the library, when he spots a picture of Harker’s fiancé, Lucy?? LUCY!!!

What’s the heck?

It’s supposed to be MINA!!! Ugh

Ugh! You can’t even get the names right.

After Dracula leaves, Harker sees his room is locked and he cant get out!!!

Harker starts to write in his journal-it’s weird because obviously something is not right in this home, but you still trust Dracula as Christopher Lee plays him so open.

Hmm…

That night Harker is drowsing when something is at his door. He can see the handle twisting! When he checks it he sees that it is unlocked so he walks out and downstairs to the library. There he finds the woman who begs him to help her!

Jonathan Harker: You make it very difficult for me. After all, I’m a guest here. If I’m to help you, I must have a reason.

Woman: A reason! You ask for a reason? Is it not reason enough that he locks me up in this house, holds me against my will? You can have no idea what an evil man he is… or of the terrible things he does!

He questions her more, but she can tell him nothing. Now this is very well done. I mean, like I said in the 1931 version Dracula is creepy from the beginning. In this, Dracula has bee so open and kind so when she says he’s evil you kind of feel unsure what to believe, as what she said and what we have seem of him don’t match up. (Except for you know, he’s Dracula)

Harker promises to help her and hugs her to comfort her, when she then goes right for his neck. She bites him, but Harker is saved when Dracula storms into the room.

That is not good,

Dracula and his Vampire bride fight with each other, as she wants Jonathan and Dracula wants him to be let alone. Harker tries to help her, while Dracula throws him off choking him until he is knocked out.

Ouch

He then carries his bride off through a secret door in the library bookshelves.

The next morning Harker wakes up in his room The door is locked from the utside and he cant get out. Was it all a dream?

Hmmm

No, he has the bite marks with bright red blood on his neck. Yeah the blood doesn’t look right. I think this would have been better in black and white.

He pulls his journal out of the chest of draws (which is pretty cool, it has all these different sizes on it.) He writes that he has become a victim of Dracula and prays that he will not become one of them and that if he fails, someone with the knowledge to do what is necessary will release his soul.

He decides to do what he has set out to do. He’s on a search to find the resting place of Dracula and destroy him!

He hides his journal in a hedge and then goes looking for Dracula’s tomb. As he walks around the set, it reminds me of the Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf film I watched last year.

Harker finds the tomb, the girl is there as well. He unrolls his package which holds a stake and mallet to put the girl out of her misery. He should have done Dracula first instead of the girl so she wouldn’t wake him up. Dumb.

Night falls and the woman’s screams awaken Dracula. The girl turns into an old lady as she is now dead. Harker turns to stake Dracula, but he is GONE!!!

Bad things happen when you don’t listen

Always do the Prince of Darkness first boy. Who mentored you??

Seriously

Wait a sec…they aren’t going to kill Harker are they? The scene fades out so I am not sure if they locked him up in the tomb, or if Dracula killed him.

Hmm…

Back in the village pub a man walks in with aristocratic features and fancy gentlemen clothes who asks about Mr. Harker. It is Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) who questions the pub owners but they claim to know nothing.

The pub owner warns Van Helsing to get out of these strange parts, but Van Helsing won’t give up. The waitress, however, takes pity on him and Harker and gives Van Helsing the Harker’s diary that was found.

Van Helsing goes up to Dracula’s castle and sees a black hearse carriage carrying off a white coffin. This is obviously Dracula taking off.

Van Helsing goes into the castle searching for Harker, but finds him nowhere. He does find his room which has ben horribly disturbed. And the picture of Lucy  (it should be MINA), is gone! Oh no-Dracula took it! That means he has some nefarious purposes!

Oh no!

Van Helsing finds the tomb and steps inside. The dead female vampire is there, and Harker!???!! He’s a  vapmire?!!!!!! vampire???!!!!!! (sorry I was in such shock I couldn’t spell)

WHATTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, but, but the story! What’s going to happen?

What’s going on?

Aww, Van Helsing picks up the stake and mallet and has to take care of his friend. That’s heartbreaking.

Van Helsing returns to tell Lucy that Harker died, but she is ill so he meets with her brother Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough) and Mina (Melissa Stribling). Arthur doesn’t believe him-he finds everything suspicious. He is angry as they should have been told sooner.

Now this seems odd to me. Grief makes you angry, I know, but he seems to extra hate him. Van Helsing gives them the death certificate and is sent out.

Arthur’s wife tries to calm him down and they go to see Lucy. Poor Lucy! She has been ill and can’t wait for Jonathan to return. But he won’t be.

So when I was watching this I began counting off all the things they changed in this film. But I guess if they were competing with Dracula (1931) and Return of Dracula (1958), you want to do something new.

After Mina and Arthur leave, Lucy gets up. Is she faking being ill?

Nope!

Lucy goes to her window and opens the door, allowing the wind and leaves in. She then takes off her cross necklace, NOOOO don’t do that! And then waits in bed for her vampire lover.

Van Helsing is going through Harker’s diary while listening to his notes on killing vampires.This listening to his list is mostly for us-1) They can’t handle light, they can’t go out, 2) Garlic, they can’t stand it, and 3) The crucifix, the crucifix protects the human being but reveals the vampire or the vampire victim.

Van Helsing is determined to go and find & destroy Dracula!

Meanwhile, Dracul at this moment is with Lucy in her bed. He pulls up his cape and fade out.

That is not good,

Dr. Seward has been trying to help but is puzzled by why she is getting sicker. They think it is just anemia, and all I can think is too bad women wore such high collars or else they would spot the fang marks.

Mina Holmwood goes to see Van Helsing and confides her worries about Lucy. She was afflicted 10 days ago, the same time when Jonathan died…

Van Helsing goes to see Lucy, and spots the wounds on her neck right away. Mina noticed the wounds on the neck too, but thought she was stung by something.

Van Helsing tells Mina to leave the windows shut at night and to put Garlic flowers at the window and by her bed. He warns Mina to do what he says or else Lucy will die.

Lucy, however, doesn’t want them and begs the housekeepr Gerta to remove the flowers and to open the windows, and of course Gerta listens, NOOOOOO!!!

The next day Lucy is dead. Gerta admits she opened the widow and took the plants away. Arthur, however, doesn’t blame her. Instead he blames Van Helsing as he can’t stand him. But why blame Van Helsing? If anything, why not blame the doctor who was supposed to be treating them?

Van Helsing gives Arthur the diary to read so he can know the truth, and walks out.

That night the couple is grieving when a policeman comes with Tonya, Gerda’s daughter. Tonya tell Mina that Lucy was walking with her and then someone came and she took off.

That night arthur goes to the crypt and Lucy is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gasp!

So this movie has strayed heavily from the book and I have no clue what will happen next, beside of course Dracula and Van Helsing will eventually fight.

That night Tonya goes off with Lucy, who called to her. Lucy has giant fangs, but Tonya doesn’t see them. Arthur goes looking around, confused Then spots Lucy with Tonya. I like how she glides-unearthly walking.

Lucy tries to get Arthur, but Van Helsing is there! He puts the cross on Lucy’s forehead and it burns her. She runs into the crypt, with Arthur following. Van Helsing gives Tonya his coat and the crucifix as he goes after Arthur.

Van Helsing wants to let Lucy roam free to find Dracula, but Arthur won’t have that. So Van Helsing sends Tonya home with Arthur and then when he returns Van Helsing prepares to make sure she will not walk again but rest.

Arthur: [Van Helsing prepares to stake Lucy] Is there no other way? It’s horrible.

Doctor Van Helsing: Please try and understand this is not Lucy the sister you loved. It’s only a shell possessed and corrupted by the evil of Dracula. To liberate her soul and give her peace we must destroy that shell for all time. Believe me there is no other way.

So vampires are supposed to be staled through the heart, but here he does it under her left breast.

robinhoodSheriffofnottinghamhmm

Poor Arthur hes traumatized by the screams of his sister.

So now that he does not have a bride, Dracula will be on the hunt for another.

Dracula

Arthur reads Harker’s diary and decides to join Van Helsing to stop the evil. The first thing they need to do is find Dracula. The vampire must rest in his own soil during the day. They must travel to the border to discover where the coffin was going.

ThinkingHmmwriting

Hmm…

They leave Mina alone as they travel off.  Poor Mina. I hope Dracula doesn’t come after her.

Later that evening, long after the men have left a boy comes to the l door with a message-Arthur  says to go to 49 Fredricks Street. Okay I actually am not sure what street he said and I couldn’t find it online, but that’s what it sounded to me. Uh, oh. We know it not the guys, that means it must be:

Dracula

So over at Customs on the border, Van Helsing  is arguing with the clerk, but Arthur has had enough of that and  just bribes him.

ShutUpTake MY Money

49 Fredricks Street! Oh no, the same address given to Mina! The mortician’s address! The perfect place to hide a coffin.

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Oh no!

Mina searches for Arthur, which really shouldn’t she be more suspicious? Why would her husband send her to a mortuary? Especially one that is closed? She  searches the mortuary and finds the coffin, Dracula poking out.

Dracula

Arthur and Van Helsing return home but Mina isn’t there. They find her, but she’s pale, not herself, and covering her neck! She must have been bitten too.

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

The two go to the morticians but the coffin is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!

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

They return to the house unsure where he went. He could be anywhere.

Mina questions them but they tell her nothing! Jerks, maybe if you gave her the whle story she wouldn’t have been running to mortuaries and getting bit.

MeanGirls I know right!

Arthur is worried and gives her a cross to wear, but when she touches it she faints! It leaves a burn mark in her hand-she has been bit.

Arhthur is angry, but this time at himself.  He knows he should have listened to Van Helsing. They decide to leave her alone and watch for Dracula. That night they wait and watch.

That night all is quiet, so when they head indoors to check on Mina they are shocked to find her dead!

OMG gasp

What they be killing everybody! I am super into this movie and have no clue where it is going next!

Oh no, she’s still okay, they give her a blood transfusion.

You know for a Dracula movie, we don’t sped a lot of time with Dracula. It’s very different, but not in a bad way, as we focus on Ven Helsing and Dracula becomes more shadowy and unknown. He only talks to Jonathan Harker in this making it only a few lines of dialogue. Although I definitely prefer that over Dracula 2000.

I hate that movie.

After the transfusion Van Helsing makes Arthur go downstairs to get something to drink. Didn’t he just HAVE a transfusion-have Gerda fetch him some, or you go get him something. He should not be walking.

Both the men are shocked how Dracula could have gotten in, they were watching all the entrances and never spotted him. Arthur is convinced he can shape-shift, but Van Helsing assures him that is not the answer. Then what is?

Hmmm

They ask Gerda to fetch another bottle of wine, but she refuses as she doesn’t want to go down the the cellar, Mina told her not to. The answer hits Van Helsing and he goes  running down there and finds the coffin, BUT ITS EMPTY!!!! Dracla has outsmarted them, he’s awake and he’s trapped Van Helsing in!

Arthur gets Van Helsing out but they are too late as Dracula has carried Mina off!

Vn Helsing knows they have him on the run and with them having his coffin, the only Dracula can go is home to his castle they are off!

Back at the castle, Dracula digs a grave for Mina and throws her in, like she’s a doll, even though she’s still alive, Arthur and Helsing get there just in time.

This film really gets you going!

Dracula goes running up the stair followed by Helsing. But the house is vast with many nooks and crannies and secret passage ways. Sidenote: Except for the vampire trying to make you undead, this would be an awesome place to live!

Anyways, Helsing finds him and Dracula starts choking him. Helsing passes out!

And Dracula is going to bit him but, oh no Helsing faked it. The music is pumping along to bring the excitement as Helsing runs for the curtains and pulls them aside-causing the sun to come in and Dracula to turn to dust!  Dracula tries to stop him, but Van Helsing makes a crucifix out of candlesticks and stops him.

Ew, thisscene is great and crazy, like Indiana Jones.

With the vampire that turned her dead, Mina is back to normal. And the evil is dead.

or is it? I know the DVD I rented from the library has four Dracula films so he must come back. You can’t kill evil after all…

So what’d I think? I really liked it! You know me, I’m not one for you know remakes, but I enjoyed this a lot.

It strayed heavily from the book. But I guess with something that has been around a while and remade constantly you have to do something to make it surprising. I actually liked how we focused so much on Van Helsing, and I liked Michael Gough assisting as Arthur. 

I’m interested in watching the other films but I won’t be reviewing them this Horrorfest, I already have the whole month planned out.

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So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest ViII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks, thrills, and chills that are to come.

For more Dracula adaptations, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

For more vampires, go to I’d Risk My Life to Save Yours: Earshot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

For more Van Helsing, go to I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

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

For more remakes, go to Did the Niece Poison Mrs. Harlowe?: The House of the Arrow (1953)

Or adieu in this case!