I Don’t Understand, I Just Wanna Be Your Friend!: Death of a Cheerleader (1994)

I don’t understand – I just wanna be your friend!

So amazon brought this film back and I just had to watch it again. As you know, I love Lifetime movies, and this was one of the top Lifetime movies. I was only two when it came out, but I have watched it again and again through the years.

It is Lifetime at its best-based on a true story and full of over the top drama!

It is based on a true story of the murder of Kirsten Costas by Bernadette Protti. And I just want to say, this review in no way is meant to hurt or poke fun at the victim or their family, I know what it is like to have someone close to you be stabbed to death-this is just a review of Lifetime’s depiction.

So the film is pretty low-budget and ’90s to the max. One of the many reasons to love it.

We start off with Stacy Lockwood (Tori Spelling) knocking on a door and asking to use their phone. She explains she was out with a friend, but their friend started acting weird so she left. She tries to reach her parents, but no dice.

The father of the family drives her home and drops her off. As he is driving away, he hears screaming. He witnesses her being stabbed by a “friend” and calls the police. When the Lockwoods arrive, they find the paramedics and police outside the home.

They flashback 10 months, to the start of the school year. Angela Delvecchio (Kellie Martin) is going to Santa Mira High this year instead of St. Josephs. Angie is a shy girl who wants to be the best she can be. She wants to be devout, do well academically, be the most popular, most beautiful, and above all-a cheerleader. Just like the beautiful and perfect Stacy Lockwood.

Angie feels this year will be her year-no doubt. Her best friend Jill tries to talk her out of it, but Angie has a manic devotion to her goals. Angie tries as hard as she can to get into the coveted school sorority, the Larks.

By the skin of her teeth she makes it in-and just a short regress in 80-90s book and movies they always had these “special” high school sororities/clubs that were for popular people that did community service and threw all kinds of parties-the Pearls, Unicorns, Pi Belta Alpha, etc. Did people really do that? I never went to a regular school-I went to an art school so my high school life wasn’t normal.

Hmm…

Anyways, she gets in and reconnects with her old friend from Saint Joseph’s, Jamie, and tries to do all she can to get close to Stacy-to be Stacy.

Angela loves the Larks, her favorite thing being the community service.

Jill: Great, Angela, my friend the do-gooder. Honestly, you make me feel like I should go to church and confess or something.

Angela sets herself to her next goal-the school attendance office. To be chosen is to rule the school as you have the power for hall passes. Only the coolest can get it, so when Angie gets picked she is over the moon.

Angela Delvecchio: I got a job in the Attendance Office, and guess who I’ll be working with!

Jill: From the way you sound, it must be someone important. Who is it? Nancy Reagan?

Angela Delvecchio: Stacy Lockwood!

Jill: Oh. Miss Queen Bee herself! What? Are you one of her drones? I’m sorry, Angela, I just don’t wanna see you get hurt.

Jill tries to be friends with Stacy, but Stacy is incredibly mean and cruel-Regina George has nothing on her. Stacy rules the school with an Iron Fist-what she says is cool is cool and what she says or who she says is lame is destroyed!!! Such as a girl Monica who wears all black. Stacy constantly taunts her in class:

Stacy Lockwood: [reading her poem] Face like a ghost, hair black as sin/the witch of Santa Mira scratches her chin/she cackles, she gloats, she summons her broom/and flies like a banshee right out of the room.

Monica: [furiously] I‘m gonna KILL you, Stacy Lockwood!

Teacher: Monica! [to StacyStacy, I think you better apologize.

Stacy Lockwood: I’m sorry, Mrs. Chadfield. It was just a poem. It wasn’t about her.

Actually, now that I think about it, Stacy is like Regina George and Heather Chandler rolled into one.  Speaking of Heathers, this film has the same type of vibe of that with a touch of David Lynch. Beautiful on the outside, with evil and ugliness lurking on the inside.

Angie fawns over Stacy and strives to be her friend. She’s kind of like Anna Kendrick in A Simple Favor.

Angel works hard to go on the Ski Trip with the Larks, even though her family isn’t wealthy. There Stacey steals Monica’s diary and reads it in front of EVERYONE.

[after Monica threatens Stacy about her diary]

Angela Delvecchio: Monica, just let it go. She didn’t mean anything by it.

Monica: [angry] I’d like to kill her.

Angela Delvecchio: No, Monica, you don’t mean it. You’re just angry.

Monica: [to Angela, darkly] What would a wannabe like you know about it anyway, huh? Go on, go. Get away from me, run back and lick her boots. That’s what your dying to do anyway, isn’t it?

As said before-Stacey rules the school. And all must bow to her will.

Angela sets her sights on the next part of her goal-yearbook. But isn’t accepted. She contiues to try for cheerleader and tries to be noticed to be known, but is continuously looked over by teachers and others. She has to be a cheerleader, just has to be.

But she isn’t picked-Stacey is.

That really gets Angela, after all everything on her list-Stacey has gotten it. Sure Angela is a Lark and Office Aid-but she doesn’t have true popularity. Stacey has achieved all she has wanted. She will never be Stacey Lockwood…but maybe she can be her friend?

Jill comes over one night and the two drink and hang out. Jill brings up a party that is coming up. That’s when it hits her-that is how she will become Stacey’s friend. She lies to her parents about baby-sitting and borrows her sister’s car. She calls the Lockwood home and tells them about a party for the Larks that Stacey is invited to, something she will be honored for.

The night comes and Angie picks Stacy up. Stacy is not happy being with a nobody loser like Angie, but she convinces her that she lied about the dinner so her parents wouldn’t find out about the rager they are going to. But things don’t turn out well,

Stacy Lockwood: [looks at a knife and vegetable next to her] What’s this, hors d’ouvres?

Angela Delvecchio: Oh, my sister. She sometimes fixes lunch in the car.

Stacy Lockwood: Mmm, now that’s real class, Angie. So, who did you say was gonna be at this party?

Angela Delvecchio: Oh, the older crowd.

But when Staey pushes for more information, she gets Angie to admit that she wasn’t  invited to the party, Jill was. Stacey is not going to crash a party and be laughed at. She starts calling Angie pathetic and refuses to go to the party.

Angela Delvecchio: Why are you so mean?

Stacy Lockwood: [coldly] Come on, put a lid on it. Let’s go.

Angela Delvecchio: I don’t understand – I just wanna be your friend!

Stacy Lockwood: [sarcastically] Sure, and I wanna fly to the moon.

Angela Delvecchio: I admire you, Stacy. I’ve always admired you. You’re so pretty and funny and confident.

Stacy Lockwood: You’re pathetic!

Angela Delvecchio: All I want is to be like you.

Stacy Lockwood: That’s it, I’m out of here.

Angela Delvecchio: Wait! Wait, no!

Stacy Lockwood: You know what, you are even weirder than I thought! [exits the carWhy don’t you give Monica a call. Maybe SHE can be your date.

Angela Delvecchio: [yells] No, Stacy, that’s not what I meant!

Stacey gets out and knocks on the door of the house and uses their phone. With Angie she drives away but all she can think about is Monday at school, all the things that Stacey will say, how her social life will be OVER! She snaps and knows she has to go after and convince Stacey not to make her a pariah, not another Monica, NOT after all the hard work she did!

Going mad!

Angela grabs the knife left in the car by her sister-now this is so weird to me that her sister would carry a knife in her car to cut up vegetables and fruits for snacks. That always rang false with me, it just seemed too weird. And you are talking to a person who used to take her nieces to school in the morning, then go to work for five hours at one job, and then to another for two hours. I spent a lot of time eating in my car, but I wouldn’t bring a knife that would get dirty and make the car gross. Yeah, I don’t buy it. I’m not saying she planned the murder-but there is more there I know it!

Anyways, she speaks to Stacey but it is too late.

Angela Delvecchio: [approaches Stacy, voice breaking in anguish] I would’ve driven you home.

Stacy Lockwood: You are so weird! Just go away! GO AWAY!

[Angela attacks Stacy and stabs her leaving her for dead]

Her family returns home and find the scene of the police, paramedics, etc. Angela hurries home.

Angela is questioned as she fits the description and is a friend, but overlooked as she is nice, quiet, and not memorable.

[after the news on Stacy’s death and describing her killer]

Angela Delvecchio: [in disbelief] I’m a teenage girl with shoulder-length hair and we have a Nova.

Jill: [chuckles] Don’t be ridiculous, Angie, nobody’s gonna suspect you. You’re, like, the nicest girl in Santa Mira.

But Angie isn’t caught. Time passes and soon Junior year is going to begin. They want to disband the Larks, but Angela rouses everybody with a speech about how important the Larks were to Stacy, how they help the community and that it can’t be disbanded. This gains her popularity and title of secretary/treasurer.

She also does peer mentoring, candy stripping and more-being popular, confident, and achieving all she wanted.

I have everything I have ever wanted!

But the guilt starts to eat at her when everyone attacks Monica. They harasses her, attack her, vandalize her locker, and it starts to wreck her.

[Jamie and Angela notice Monica’s locker with the word “Killer” in red]

Jamie: She had an alibi, you know? There’s no way she could’ve possibly done it. And it didn’t matter… they just kept hounding her and hounding her.

Angela Delvecchio: I know.

Jamie: All because she was different. And you know what? I did it too. Stacy mocked her, so I mocked her. Stacy said “jump”, and I jumped. You know, Angie, I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, and I’m ashamed to admit it: I never really liked her. I was just afraid of her. And I’ve been thinking about her killer too. Maybe it was… I don’t know… someone like me.

 The FBI comes and resumes investigations, hounding Angie until she finally snaps and confesses to her priest, the police, and family. She is sentenced to prison until she is 25. 

The film ends with Jamie writing a letter to Angie, staying her friend and sorry to have not done more. She leaves Santa Mira to go back to Saint Josephs.

I think why this movie has struck a cord with viewers and became so popular is that it is very relatable. Everyone has either been or known the mean popular girl (Stacy), the “weird” girl who is picked on (Monica), the girl who wants to be popular and goes with the crowd (Jamie), the girl who doesn’t care and does her own thing (Jill), and the girl who is desperate to be popular she will do anything (Angie).

Plus there is a fascination with murders over the smallest things. Social reputation, that’s what set her over the edge and its crazy. Either way it is an entertaining film and captures your attention.

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

For more Lifetime movies, go to Lifetime Didn’t Go Psycho Enough: Psycho Mother-in-Law (2019)

For more Tori Spelling, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?: Scream 2 (1997)

For more horror movies with cheerleaders, go to It Was the Curse. My Curse: The Cheerleader Murders (2016)

Did the Bride Run Off Or Was She Kidnapped?: Veil of Secrets (2018)

What Happened to Kate?

So remember how I started playing that game Desire & Decorum from the app Choices?

I know it has been a while since I reviewed an episode.

Well Choices creates games that are similar to the game design in the film Big. A computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next.

Wow!

You have a mix of film and book storytelling in combo of a video game.

Wow

So last year I playing this one and wanted to renew it for Horrorfest, but I hadn’t finished playing it yet. I ended up doing It Lives in the Woods and decided to save this for this year.

So the story starts off with you, New York reporter, going to visit your best friend/college roommate Katherine O’Malley in Bridgeport as she is getting married!

Time for a wedding!

You haven’t had a chance to spend as much time together recently, so you haven’t even met the fiancé or the other members of the wedding part. But it quickly looks like this wedding will not be a happy affair.

When you get there you discover that she is marrying the supper wealthy Tanner Sterling-he’s seems like a Prince Charming-but his family is awful-looking down and treating Kate bad.

Then there are her “friends” who are horrible! The maid of honor Scarlett Emerson puts down Kate and treats her like dirt as well. Something is not right here.

You also meet lawyer and Scarlett’s brother, Grant Emerson, he’s okay; along with Kate’s brother Flynn-ex-con and dockworker.

Depending on your choice, you either you go out to an impromptu Bachelorette party, but either way you encounter a drunk Kate after at your hotel room later. She is worried about something, but drunk, and before you can get her to say what it is-angry Tanner comes storming in and pulls her away-all she manages to do is pass a note with the word “Ulysseus” on it.

Hmm, I don’t know about this…

The next day you go to the wedding, but when “Here Comes the Bride” plays, no bride walks down the aisle. The bride is missing!!!!

Gone Girl

Has Kate has run off…or has she been kidnapped?

It’s up to you to solve the case! You team up with Flynn and Deputy Naomi Silverhawk. You investigate the clues and have your choice of which romantic interest you desire.

Which way should I choose?

As is ever other choice in the game. Now you will reach the final conclusion either way, but you do have points where you will have to pay with your “diamonds” to investigate to get more information.

Mystery, you say?

So as you start investigating you discover the beautiful town of Bridgeport is straight  out of David Lynch-beautiful on the outside but something rotten under the surface.

Blue Velvet was an interesting movie. One day, I’ll review it, but not today.

Anyways, so time progresses and even though the Tanners are insisting that Kate ran off it is clear that something bad has happened to Kate. As you investigate you discover that the police force is corrupt (except Naomi) and don’t want you investigating:

Tanner was cheating on Kate:

You jerk!

Scarlet hated her guts and has some serious emotional issues:

Tanner’s brother is a total creepazoid:

And his parents do not want them to get married:

Did one of them do something to her? Could it have been more than one person?

Time to get on the case!

But as you continue with the case, you discover a secret so big-it could burn Bridgeport to the ground.

I thought this was an amazing mystery and extremely well done! I enjoyed it so much I have played it multiple times so that I can get every single clue.

If this is your kind of thing, you should play today!

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

For more on Veil of Secrets, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on Choices, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more on kidnapping, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more weddings, go to The Conscripted Seamstress

A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

DeathcomestoPemberley

So I am so excited about Death Comes to Pemberley.

ElvisPresleyDanceDancing

It’s not because I liked the book and wanted to see how it converted to screen, but because this means I will finally have something Jane Austen to review for Horrorfest!

Double double yay

The only thing I’ve been able to do that was Jane Austen in the month of October was a post where I dressed the Austen men up in costumes, but nothing like this! I can finally review something real! Oh, yay!

This is great

This is great

So the book, I didn’t really care for, and you can check out my post on that if you wish, but for now: let’s look at the TV show.

So this is the first time I have reviewed a miniseries for my blog and I thought about it and figured the best thing would be to review it episode by episode, rather than all at once like the Emma (1996) film review.

So I will just review episode one, and will continue to review the episodes every month or every two months. I haven’t decided yet.

Well that’s enough chit chat, am I right?

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

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So we begin with very serene landscape. Is this supposed to be contrast for what is to come or just the cinematographer showing off?

suspicious Hmm

Two maids are out in the forest, although they are not supposed to be. One is scared while the other, Joan is braver. What looms in the forest?

Stay out of the forest!

Stay out of the forest!

Both take off screaming. What have they seen?

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Were they afraid of the remains of his crazy grandfather?

So we move back to Pemberley

PemberleyPride&Prejudice

There all are getting ready for the Queen Anne’s ball. Elizabeth is doing well with her preparations but is interrupted when the girls return and shout about seeing Mrs. Reilly’s ghost. Who is Mrs. Reilly? I thought it was Mr. Darcy’s ghost that haunted the woods.

GHostFantasia

I’m not sure I like this actress as Elizabeth Bennet-Darcy, she just doesn’t seem right, but of course there is still time to change my mind. I’ll reserve judgement until the end of the episode.

Something about you just doesn't seem right.

Something about you just doesn’t seem right.

Darcy seems so crazy, with his introduction of him yelling at everyone, I don’t like that. He’s not one to loose his temper easily, especially as this is something he does every year.

I don't like it 11

He and Elizabeth seem to be having issues, the way they interact, but then he writes her a love note. I don’t know, that scene seemed off for some reason.

uh-no-gifuhno

Darcy needs to get out of the house so he takes his son hunting with him. In the book I thought they had two sons. Oh well, neither one played a large role in the novel so I guess it doesn’t really matter of they only have one.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

When Mr. Darcy is about to get his horse ready, he and the butler have a few words. The butler’s son Will Bidwell, is incredibly ill. His father is heartbroken that he can’t do anything and that his son won’t take up his legacy.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Back inside, Elizabeth’s duties are done so she and Georgiana are having a private chat. Georgina has a secret smile which means only one thing.

Cinderella

So this is love…hmm…So this is love…so this is what makes life divine…

She’s in love. But with who?

Hmm...

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives early as he has something on his mind. He wants to marry Georgina as he cares for her, has just inherited the family fortune (as his brother, the eldest died), and will be returning to war soon. Elizabeth isn’t sure how Georgiana feels about him, but has no objections as long as she cares for him.

Col. Fitzwilliam says he will have to ask Darcy first, and Elizabeth gets all mad saying it is Georgiana’s decision.

Whattheheck

Uh, seriously Elizabeth? You know how the world works. One has to ask the father, of if absent the guardian, and present his interest to them. It’s not like you just ran off to elope unless you wanted to disgrace your family like Lydia Bennet or Julia Bertram from Mansfield Park.

No thank youhowaboutno

So one thing I notice about this show is that it does  A LOT of shots of the beautiful scenary and landscapes. Now this isn’t something I would normally mind, but this is a mystery. You know it needs suspense, a different type of mood.

sensationhorrorshock_VincentPrice

Instead it is very light and pretty.

I don't like it 11

We then see Elizabeth visiting the Bidwells to deliver books to the sickly Will. Will’s sister has just returned from visiting their oldest sister and brought back her baby to visit, George.

They try to lift Will’s spirits, but his death is approaching and there is little that can be done, other than to try and make his last days happy.

And taxes

So all these pretty landscape shots are actually starting to get on my nerves. This is a MYSTERY!!  DEATH IS IN THE NAME.

It should be a certain way!

It should be a certain way!

Elizabeth suddenly comes across a well-dressed women in purple just standing in the forest. That was a bit creepy. She chases after her, but all that remains is her hat.

weirdtwilightzone

Then the music starts taking a creepier twinge and we hear rustling.

Now you are getting it!

Now you are getting it!

And the woman suddenly appears behind!

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And hisses?

hisssesangryupset

I don’t remember that in the book.  I’m pretty sure I would have remembered a hissing woman.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Anyways, it does not bode well for the ball, no it does not at all.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Mr. Henry Alveston arrives, a lawyer, and Georgina is ecstatic to see him.

Mmhm great gatsby

So this is what she was smiling about.

Then Mr. and Mrs. Bennet arrive.

Pride&PrejudiceMrBennetandElizabethBennet

Back at the local Inn, Denny and Wickham have been talking. Denny and him are fighting over something Wickham wants him to do, a note he would like delivered. Lydia joins them and they stop their arguments, continuing to the carriage.

Mr. Bennet sneaks off to the library for relief from the crowds.

LibraryOK

 They are all in the parlor where Georgiana is looking at the a book which has pictures of Col. Fitzwilliam’s castle. What started as a friendly discussion turns into a measuring contest between Fitzwilliam and  Alveston, as to who is the better man.

Men

Men

Colonel leaves suddenly for an evening ride. Strange….

Why is he leaving?

Why is he leaving?

Night comes and Denny yells for the carriage to stop, getting out. Wickham chases after him, leaving Lydia all alone in the carriage.

I don't like it 11

Mrs. Bennet finds a portrait of Wickham, and Elizabeth tries to get rid of it as it upsets both Darcys, but Mrs. Bennet can’t take the hint.

as always

as always

Luckily music always can change the subject.

MusicMakesaDifference

To stop Mrs. Bennet from going on, Darcy goes to ask Lizzy for a dance. While the two are dancing, Elizabeth lets Darcy know what is going on with Georgiana and how there are two men interested in her. Before they can finish their conversation they are interrupted as a carriage comes barreling through.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

It turns out to be Lydia who is in hysterics. She is so out of it that she has to be slapped to speak. When she finally can talk she tells them Wickham was shot.

OMG gasp

She heard the shot and came rushing back. She relates all that happened between Wickham and Denny being angry, them going off into the woods, etc. Just as they are preparing to go out. Col. Fitzwilliam rides up to the house.

Just at the exact time?

Just at the exact time?

 Lydia stops her freaking out to ask for her trunk as she doesn’t want her dress ruined.

Classic Lydia

Classic Lydia

Darcy just ignores it; calls for the doctor, and gets an expedition ready to head out. As they start, Darcy notices that Col. Fitzwilliam has a gun with him. Just in case he says.

suspicious Hmm

Now we go finally have some spooky shoots.

deathcomestopemberleyforestcreepytrees

FINALLY

 So the men split up as they start searching for Wickham.

Back at Pemberley, the doctor gives both Mrs. Bennet and Lydia a sedative as they are in hysterics. Elizabeth is hoping for the best, and that she can give them a hot meal and send them on their way, not planning for the Wickhams or Denny to stay long. Oh how our plans never quite go as imagined, eh.

The-best-laid-schemes-of-mice-and-men-often-go-awry-erobertFrost

They find Wickham with Dennys, him shouting that it is all his fault. His only friend in the world and he killed him. Fitzwilliam finds a pistol, and it has been recently fired.

Looks like Wickham is the killer.

Looks like Wickham is the killer.

It rains as they move everything back to the carriage to bring to Pemberley.

When they return to Pemberley, Wickham starts yelling that there is a killer out there somewhere, they need to go back and look in the woods.

Do the woods hold a killer or a ghost?

Do the woods hold a killer or a ghost?

Georgina has to face Wickham after years of hoping never to see his face and does quite well. But of course she is in love with Alveston, so it doesn’t affect her as much.

Over You

While Wickham is okay, Darcy has to call in Sir Selwyn Hardcastle the nearest magistrate, and must go get him immediately so as not to look like he is covering anything up. Darcy himself rides out to Hardcastle to inform him of the death.

Harcastle comes in and he doesn’t mess around. He looks at Wickham and is angry the housekeeper for cleaning his face, and tampering with evidence. They then go look at Dennys.

Dennys was bludgeoned to death, first smacked in the front of his head and then pounded in back. The news of this comes as quite a surprise.

What?

What?

But if he was bludgeoned in the head, why did everyone hear gunshots? What were they for?

Something just doesn't seem right.

Something just doesn’t seem right.

Elizabeth is wandering about Pemberley as she just can’t sleep. She then comes upon Col. Fitzwillliam burning a letter, Suspicious.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Hardcastle stays on to interview Wickham as soon as he wakes. Elizabeth is told of the murder and she an Darcy just hold onto each other as they try to ponder this evil that has come to their home.

The next day Darcy tells Elizabeth the story of the “ghost” in the woods. A young boy Reilly was found poaching and instead of just getting a slap on the wrist they hanged him. His mother was extremely upset and and hanged herself in Pemberley woods. And now superstition is that her ghost appears whenever misfortune is about to strike.

GHostFantasia

Elizabeth thinks maybe the woman that hissed at her is the “ghost” the maids saw in the beginning. But that woman was a real women, and who is she?

dethcomestopemberleyelizabethitsbehindsit'sbehind

They are called back to the house were Lydia is raving and ranting. Darcy’s son is upset and his father goes to comfort him, which gives us another touching scene of Darcy as a family man.

You're so cute

Hardcastle goes to talk to Wickham. Wickham says that he found Dennys dead and saw someone fleeing through the forest. He fired the gun at the guy, and then fired in the air again for help. When they ask about why Dennys was so upset, he left the carriage, Wickham tells him it is because he didn’t approve of Wickham crashing the party.

Classic Lydia

That just screams of a lie. Why would that make Dennys so infuriated that he couldn’t stand being around Wickham for another second. No, there is another reason…

But Wickham continues to proclaim his innocence.

“George Wickham: There is a murderer out there somewhere and you…you are wasting your time.”

Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, and Alveston are sitting waiting to see what will happen next when Alveston gives them some lawyerly advice. The best thing right now would be to think of sharing Wickham’s character. Do you think he could have killed him?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

Darcy doesn’t think so as he knows Wickham would do a lot of shifty and immoral things, but murdering his friend is not one of them. Alveston brings up that maybe he was changed by the war, but Col. Fitzwilliam quickly nixes that idea.

But the next question Alveston brings up is very interesting. When Denny got out of the carriage why did he go into the woods? Why didn’t he follow the road back?

Why not ask?

Why, indeed?

So Hardcastle has searched the carriage and found £30 in Wickham’s hat. Hardscastle sees him as the most likely man; money, a confession heard by three men to the death being his fault, only one in the woods, etc.  He going to stop looking and have Wickham arrested.

Not good

Not good

Elizabeth decides to scrounge in the fireplace searching for remnants of the note Fitzwilliam burned.

letterdeathcomestopemberleynote

She finds a piece that says “thank you for your support” and “meet me”. What does it mean?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

They take Wickham away, with Lydia in hysterics and Wickham cooly taking it.

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So while this is a review of an episode for Horrorfest V, this is also a review for a Jane Austen item, so we are going to go a little more in depth.

Set Design

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So the set design was really nice. They used the same Pemberley that they had in the 2005 film version. I liked the sets, the lighting, etc. The only thing that bothered me was how much time they spent on showing the beautiful and tranquil landscapes. It felt like they were padding the episode and just didn’t seem to work with a mystery. I mean Midsomer Murders shows the beautiful landscapes, but always lets you know their is something dark simmering, as murder shortly occurs. I think they should have done more of that, rather than having the beginning just a pretty Jane Austen film. I guess they were trying to pull a David Lynch and try and show beauty, then the evil; but it just didn’t feel as good as his work either.

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Costumes

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So I thought the costumes looked great. We’ve mostly been in everyday wear as all are preparing for the ball, traveling, or going out hunting. I especially like how Georgiana always looks pure, sweet, and ethereal in her pastel and light gowns. Lydia on the other hand, just looked perfect in her deep maroon traveling gown. The men also look dashing and I have to say good choices were made for all, so far, in this production.

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So let’s talk about characters, and I’m only going over the ones I felt we spent a lot of time with. How did everyone do?

Colonel Fitzwilliam

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Colonel Fitzwilliam is played by Tom Ward (who funnily had a bit part in P&P (1995) miniseries) and I hate his portrayal. Granted it probably isn’t him as I’m sure he is only doing what the script and director say. But he is just so cold, cruel, rude, and unlikable. It is totally weird from how he was in the book, which this is supposed to be a “sequel” or continuation of. In the book, Col. Fitzwilliam was the opposite of Darcy; fun, full of laughter, able to converse with anyone, liked to dance, etc. As a second son, he never grew up with the same responsibilities as Darcy did, so his character is lighter rather than burdened down with all he must take care of. Also as the second son, he has never had to deal with the throngs of daughters and mothers trying to ensnare him, and allowed him to be more open. Yes, I know this takes place years later and he has been through war; but his whole demeanor and the way he talked to everyone, even Georgiana, was so foreign from the original character. And I know they are trying to set him up as “the possible suspect”, but it would have been better if he wasn’t so harsh and rough all the times. I didn’t like him at all.

Elizabeth Bennet

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Elizabeth is played by Anna Maxwell Martin, but I didn’t like her performance. She always looks tired and out of it. I don’t know if she was trying to play overworked or stressed, but she just comes off really bland and boring. I didn’t like her at all.  Plus she keeps getting mad at the idea of Georgiana and Col. Fitzwilliam getting married. Why? Its not like he is a bad guy, I mean you even thought about the idea of him, until he said it wasn’t possible for a second son to marry whomever.

The sad thing is that Elizabeth is such a cornerstone character that she has to be spot on, or else everything is going to fall flat.

Mr. Darcy

What?

What?

At first I didn’t really like this Darcy. He wasn’t physically what I was imagining, but hey its hard when this was what came before.

Laurence Olivier Mr. Darcy mr darcy

You expect every Darcy to be as good looking. I also didn’t like his outburst in the beginning, and thought this guy isn’t Darcy. But as time went on, I began to enjoy Matthew Rhys’ portrayl of the character and thought that he captured who the Austen charater is better than any of the other actors in this production. He was kind, jovial, stern, serious, commanding; the perfect combination of married, fatherly, but still in charge of others Darcy. Good job Rhys.

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So what did I think? I liked it a lot better than the book. The book was a bit dull in places and at times felt it would bring something up and then never come back to it. With its transference to film, things can be shown instead of just talked about; they tie the ghost into the mystery deeper with the maids in the beginning, and I think they are trying to make the ending more mysterious and less a straight telling account of what occurred. Yes I didn’t like how some of the characters were, but BBC you have intrigued me and actually made me want to see what happens next.

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

For the previous post, go to I’ll Be Watching You: Cat’s Eye (1987)

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To read the review of the book this is based on, go to Death Comes to Pemberley

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

For more Pride & Prejudice adaptations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen films, go to Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more TV series based on books, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

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She’ll come back…she’ll come back

So a few years ago, my sister bought the Greatest 100 Horror Classics DVD collection. There were some great films on this: such as Carnival of Souls, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Night of the Living Dead, Metropolis etc. And of course some duds, like The Beast of Yucca Flats.  This film was also included in the collection, and a film I really liked.

This film was a new thing for director Alex Nicol, who also played the role of Mickey. The film is based on the book The Screaming Skull by Francis Marion Crawford, but borrows a lot from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

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So the film starts out with us on a bayou. There appears to be something in the water as a guy creeps closer to shoot it. It is large, scaly, with ginormous eyes.

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This isn’t how I remember the movie starting at all. I better check the DVD menu. Yep, whoops. I accidentally chose the wrong film.

So embarressed

So embarressed

I would have reviewed Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and you all would not have been ready for that. Now here we go with The Screaming Skull.

We open on a candle and flower arrangement. Dark depressing music…zoom out it’s a funeral Makes sense.

Narrator: “The Screaming Skull” is a motion picture that reaches its climax in shocking horror. It’s impact is so terrifying that it may have an unforeseen effect. It may *kill* you! Therefore the motion picture producers feel they must offer free burials for any that die of fright, during The Screaming Skull.

Let me stop and say this is one awesome beginning, like The Beast Must Die. I award it a thousand gold stars.

love it

So we open on a beautiful mansion, impeccable gardens, relaxing lily pond. A dream house.

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When we see something in the water. What is that?  A SKULL!!!!!

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It actually made me think of David Lynch and his constant use of a tranquil, pretty setting that has evil lurking below.

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So we have the opening titles/credits using the same music from Sleeping With the Enemy, but added a woman vocalizing is high it almost like screaming.

So that switches with a peaceful drive up to the house, and light airy music. They park the car and out comes the newlyweds, Eric and Jenni Whitlock. Eric is bringing his new wife back to his old house.

Jenni loves the house as the garden looks like a magician paradise, it even has peacocks.

love it

She sees a window and asks if that will be their room.

Jenni: Will that be our room.

Eric: Will need some fixing first.

Jenni: Was that her room?

The “Her” she is talking about is Eric’s first wife Marian. He is a widower. I know what you are thinking:

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

But it is not the same. In The Screaming Skull, Marian the first wife was the wealthy one and the house belonged to her.

So as the couple are walking around, we that the house is pretty much empty. Marian got rid of all her families’ furniture and was planning on purchasing new pieces to make it “their home”. The two hadn’t gotten far with redecorating before she died. Now Jenni and Eric will make this house “their” house.

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He wants to show her the rest of the house, but she stops and looks at the window into the room.

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Eric picks up Jenni and carries her around the room. Meanwhile, there is a guy behind them creeping through the windows.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

Who the heck is he? And why is he doing that?

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While the two are kissing, he sneaks away.

suspicious Hmm

The two walk around the yard and pass Mickey, the gardener’s, tool shed. He’s been in charge of maintaining the grounds since Eric has been away. Wow Micky sure has a green thumb, it looks amazing!

keanu Whoa

As they are seeing the yard, Eric tells Jenni that Mickey & Marian would spend hours working on the garden together. He doesn’t think Mickey ever got over her death, he was in love with her, and still believes she is coming back.

Missing You

So as the two are talking and walking, someone drives up. It is the Reverend and  Mrs. Snow. They came to meet the new bride and drop off something for dinner. As they are all talking, the Reverend and Mrs. Snow get invited to dinner.

As they are heading to the house, Eric spots the gardener, Mickey. It turns out he was the guy creepin’ on them earlier. So Mickey isn’t really a creep, he is developmentally disabled. He and Marian grew up together so it is hard on him not having her in his life.

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Mickey sees the land as his and Marian’s place, and anyone else is trespassing.

Who is that?

Back inside the house, the group is clearing things up a little. Mrs. Snow and Eric go off to make dinner, while the Rev. and Jenni hang out.

While they are preoccupied, Mickey sneaks  inside the house and goes to look at a painting of Rebecca…opps I mean Marian. Sorry, certain parts of the film are a bit similar it was easy to make that mistake.

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Mickey wants Marian to send them away, so it can just be the two again.

Gilmore girls creep

Eric is talking with Mrs. Snow and she is saying how much she likes Jenni, and how great she is. Eric thinks it is great Mrs. Snow likes Jenni, but there is something he has to tell her.

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I knew there had to be more to her than just a sunny personality. Here we go, give me the whole story.

So Jenni didn’t have a happy childhood. She lost her parents years ago in a horrible way. She is very impressionable, so talking about sad pasts is something best to stay away from. It sounds to me as if she and Ruth from Dangerous Crossing had a similar experience after they lost their fathers. Jenny probably had to go to a mental hospital afterwards too.

How did she loose them? They drowned in an accident, and Jenny saw it all. That is super damaging for a child to experience something like that. SUPER damaging.

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So the Rev. and Jenni are talking when she asks him how he knew they were in town. It turns out that the Reverend heard of them moving in from the lawyer, as the lawyer and Eric are executors of the estate. All that was left to Eric out of Marian’s tremendous fortune, was the house and grounds. He notified the lawyer he was back and moving in with his new wife.

Even more what Jenni wants to know is how did Marian die?

Reverend Snow: Didn’t Eric tell you?

Jenni Whitmore: I think the subject is painful for him. He doesn’t like to talk about it. Will you tell me? I’d really like to know

So it was a rainy day and Marian and Mickey had been working in the greenhouse. She left him to go back to the house for a few minutes. The way it was pieced together later was that she was probably coming back and slipped in a leaf, fell down, and smashed her skull in the cement wall around the pond, fell in the water and drowned. That was where Eric found her later.

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While they are talking, Mickey is sneaking about. I think it would be mean to say this, but the way he moves and creeps makes me think of Gollum from the The Lord of the Rings series.

After dinner the Snows are walking home and talking about the two.

Reverend Snow: Did you know that Jenni is very wealthy?

Mrs. Snow: Yes Mr. Mowry told me. She’s not at all like Marian. So gentle and timid, as if she is afraid of something.

OMG Jenni is Joan Fontaine from Rebecca. Sweet, young, shy, timid, like same character. Except Joan was poor while Jenni is rich.

That night, Jenni and Eric are sleeping in cots, as their furniture isn’t out of storage yet. That night Jenni is reading a book sent by Mrs. Snow, Beast in the Jungle. It seems like a very sad book, I don’t know why she would give such a book to Jenni knowing her background.

That night Jenni hears loud bumping and clanging noises.

Who is that?

Who is that?

She calls to Eric, but he is not there.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

She decides to investigate, calling to Eric, but receiving no answer. Eerie music starts playing as she keeps calling Eric. Turns out to be a shutter in Marian’s old room, not properly latched.

As she is leaving, Eric comes in and scares her as she leaves the room. She starts when she sees something on the ground, that looks like water and a lily pad.

Why is that in here?

Why is that in here?

Jenni thinks Mickey brought it in as he doesn’t like her as she is a replacement Marian. Eric, on the other hand, thinks it was just an accident. It freaks Jenni out and she looks at the painting sounding a bit crazy as she talks. She thinks the painting reminds her of her mother, who she hates. Almost as if she is haunting her.

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We find Mickey in the pond, by the lily pads. Did he bring it in? Is he trying to upset her? Make her go crazy?

Why is that in here?

The next day, Eric tells Jenni that he talked to Mickey and he is no longer allowed in the house. Jenni is worried Mickey might become angry and take it out on her, but Eric tells her not to worry about it. But Jenni is worried. She wants Mickey to like her, for them to be friends. Eric tell her to garden with him.

Eric leaves that day to get the electricity turned on, furniture out of storage, and see the bank and lawyer.

Now it just occurred to me, what does Eric do? What does he do that he had the ability to live away for two years, but then move back to his former home. They all said Marian had money, I mean he did move into her family house; but they never mention him having money. Does he have any? And if he doesn’t, he sure was lucky to bag two wealthy wives.

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Jenni sees Mickey and tries to befriend him. But Mickey won’t say a word. She tries to reassure him that she wants the garden to stay beautiful in honor or Marian. They pick flowers to place at her graves.

Now her grave is a weird one. It is an obelisk with a relief of Marian’s face in it. And it is just creepy, like she was mixed into the stone or forever watching.

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While they are doing this, Mickey is overcome with emotion.

Mickey: She cries in the night.

Jenni Whitmore: Dead people don’t cry Mickey!

Mickey: I heard her.

 Jenni Whitmore: Heard?

Is Mickey really hearing something, or just messing with Jenni? And if he is hearing something who or what is it?

Who is that?

At the house, Jenni looks at Marian’s painting. She hears some creaking, but just assumes it is the house settling.

So earlier, Eric said he was going to be gone all day and out late that night. When night comes, the electricity still not on, forcing her to use candles, as she is getting ready for bed.

Once again, Jenni hears the shriek of  the peacocks. Creepy little buggars. Jenni decides to try to go to sleep, but feels weird not having Eric in the house.

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Jenni hears a noise and looks to the window, nothing. She runs downstairs to investigate…just the peacocks. Looks at the picture of Marian again. She is looking at the painting when the cabinet door behind her slowly opens.

She turns around and sees a SKULL!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly cuts appear on her hand!!!!

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And she runs away to her room, and locks the door jumping under the covers. Now Jenni is so freaked out that every noise is making her heart race. She hears tree branches scrapping, making sounds like something trying to get her.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

And then it sounds like something is coming up the stairs. A banging noise.

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Something is coming up the stairs!!!!!

OMG gasp

This scene is shot from the “thing’s” point of view so we don’t know what it is!!!!

Suspense have to know

I know there is a strong likelihood that it is just her husband, but I’m still a bit freaked, my heart os pumping. Who or what is it?

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Jenni is equally freaked, what is coming?! She goes to look and nlocks door to see what is making noise, but there is nothing there

Whattheheck

Jenni runs to window, the peacocks are gone, nothing is here. What could be making such a racket?

She looks at cabinet, and sees that the skull is still there and not a figment of her imagination. She goes to get the skull ad flings it out the window.

Good-bye

Good-bye

It rolls on the grass an stares at her with its eyeless gaze.

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She goes back to bed, but can’t sleep.

Then the camera zooms on the front door Something’s coming?!!! Something starts knocking…Don’t answer it!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Jenni is afraid, and she just sits in bed waiting for it to go away. Soon  she feels the need to check, after all it couldbe important. She looks down from room, unsure of what to do.

They're watching her!

She decides to risk it and opens the door. Creepy music playing again getting the blood pumping with fright. She calls to Eric, but no answer. Just more pounding on the door.

i'mscared

Jenni opens it and the skull is there!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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She screams and runs inside, the skull tumbles after her.

OMG gasp

She faints. And I don’t blame her.

Mickey pops out of the shadows. Could he have done this? If not, did he see who did? Or what did?

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Jenni wakes up in Eric’s arms. She asks him if he saw anything when he found her, but he says no. Just her on the floor.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Is it all in her head?

So Jenni weirded out. She had never imagined any such thing before, why should she see it now? She wants her doctor from New York to examine her, but Eric vetoes the idea, saying that Rev. Snow will be coming tomorrow and can help.

I think it is weird how Eric doesn’t want a trained psychologist’s help. Seems odd to me, especially as she asked for him. Hmm…

Why is that in here?

The Rev. comes and studies the cabinet. He discovers that the door is very loose, and can easily open on its own. The door is also damaged on the bottom, which caused Jenni’s scratches. Both look for a skull but find nothing.

Jenni feels like a fool, but knows that she saw a skull there.

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She asks the Rev. if Eric told him of her past. He says he knows a little. Jenni decides to gives him a bit more. She grew up loving her father and hating her mother.

Jenni Whitmore: I wasn’t a child when I wished my mother dead. One day I got my wish.

So both of her parents drowned. She tried to help them, but couldn’t overcome tide. She still hears their cries. She blames herself for the deaths, saying she killed them. This is common in grief, survivor’s guilt. For Jenni she became so unbalanced that she had to be put in hospital. She was released and told cured. So why would she be seeing strange things now?

Eric is outside looking for Mickey, but he can’t find him anywhere. He sends the Rev. and Jenni on ahead for lunch, promising to be there soon. After they leave he heads into the garden. He goes to Marian’s grave and calls for Mickey. Mickey hears him but keeps running away from him. Is he running because he is in trouble or running from trouble?

Why is that in here?

When Eric arrives at the Snow’s house, Rev. gives him a talking to. The Rev thinks he should take Jenni far from the house as it scares her and makes her think she is crazy. Eric refuses as if they left, it would mean Jenni is crazy. I guess that reasoning makes sense, but it still seems a bit off to me.

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Later eric finally find Micjey, grabbing him and questioning him, scaring Mickey and Jenni. Mickey says it isn’t him, but Eruc doesn’t listen tossing him aside. This is Another side to Eric. He has quite the temper.

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Jenni feels bad about Eric’d behavior toward Mickey, as she believes what is going on is all in her mind. I’m not so sure Jenni, there’s something rotton in the state of Denmark.

So Eric decides to burn the picture of Marian as it reminds Jenni of her mother, and is what Eric says is the root of Jenni’s current madness. They create a bonfire and Eric forces Jenni to light the match, even though she doesn’t want ti. As thepicture burns there is a huge screech!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric says it is only the peacocks, but is it?

dun-dun-duuuun

We are show the garden where the pond bubbles, the flowers at Marian’s grave are uprooted, and shrieking is heard. Sounds like Marian is not happy to be destroyed.

Th deed is done and Eric asks Jenni to help him bury the ashes. Jenni feels worse after the act, as if it’s not over yet.

Jenni Whitlock: She’ll come back…she’ll come back.

Jenni spreads the ashes while Eric waters them down. As she is spreading them, she unearths a SKULL!!!!!

The-Screaming-Skull-1958

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She screams for Eric, but he doesn’t see anything.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Jenni faints, and while she is knocked down, Eric touches the skull, picking it up and hiding it somewhere.

OMG gasp

Aha! He is behind it! I knew it!!! This isn’t Rebecca, it’s Gaslight!

Eric places the skull in the pond and heads back to Jenni. Little does he know, Mikey was watching the whole time.

Tht night Eric has to go out of town. Jenni is freaked, but Eric tries to calm her down. The Rev. comes over to drop off some eggs for Jenni. Eric takes the Rev outside and tells him what happened, saying he saw “nothing”. What a jerk.

Jerk

Of course the Rev buys his bleeding heart routine. Eric also tells the Rev. “something I never told anyone.” When Jenni was in the mental hospital she tried to do away with herself.

So that’s his plan! Make his wife look crazy, murder her, and have everyone think it a suicide. After all you can’t have two accidents in a row.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

What? I think what? Yeah that’s right. I think he killed his first wife too. Probably wanted her money, and then when he ended up with none, decided to remarry and kill his second bride,

So Eric tells the Rev. he thinks Jenni will try again unless he get her to the hospital tonight. After tonight they are never coming back to the house.

Eric goes back in and talks to Jenni. She tells him the Rev. was kind. He told her he would search the whole estate for that skull. Jenni shrugs it off as kindness, but Eric is worried.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

If they find the skull,  it will bring up a lot of questions he doesn’t want answered. Jenni goes upstairs to pack. Eric goes looking for the skull, but it is gone!!!!!!!!

Where did it go?

Where did it go?

He spots Mickey and chases after him. Eric grabs him and questions him again, beating him. But Mickey tells him he didn’t take it, Marian took it.

Whattheheck

Eric laughs it off and leaves. After he is gone we see that Mickey does have the skull in his workshop, hidden away. Mickey put the skull in a basket, hidden under a cloth.

Meanwhile, Eric has checked the pond again, finding nothing. He then goes to the grave, hoping the skull is there. But he doesn’t find anything but uprooted flowers. Then when he looks at the grave, instead of her face he sees the SKULL.

Whattheheck

He throws a rock at the grave, angry.

Meanwhile, Mickey has taken his basket of skull over to the Snows’ house. They start questioning why Eric would lie about seeing the skull. Only one reason, he wanted to make Jenni crazy. They all head to the house.

the-screaming-skull-photo-crop

Jenni has finished packing and goes looking for Mickey. She wants to say good-bye, but can’t find him. She goes into the tooshed where she sees a headless body moving!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She runs for her life, while this ghostly hated figure chases after her.

Inside Eric is preparing a rope, going to hang his wife, when he hears her coming and screaming. She runs up the stairs where Eric is hiding. He grabs her and starts choking her, about to kill her when he hears a knocking at the door.

He goes to answer it, and when he opens it he sees the figure with a skull face!!!!

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Eric backs away, while the figure comes closer. It is wearing the same dress Marain wore in the painting, it must be her!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The skull winds up on the stair blocking Eric from going up. It tumbles down, chasing him as lightening comes out overhead.

The skull becomes large and astral chasing him, and causing him to fall down. He tries to run and get in his car, but he sees it again! It is everywhere!!

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The skull jumps on to his neck, biting him in the throat and causing him to fall back into the pond, drowning.

Jenni wakes up and is freaked out. She finds Miraian’s dress on the ground. Just then the calvary show up (the Snows and Mickey) but are too late, and have missed everything. They ask her if she is okay, and she tells them what happened. Crying and completely freaked out.

Rev. Snow goes looking, and finds Eric’s dead body, in the same place Marian was killed. Jenni is confused and wants to know why he did it. The Rev. tells her his suspicions about the money. Now the question is, did Marian really die in an accident? We’ll never know.

They all leave, while Mickey goes to the pond and tells Marian they are gone, she can now rest.

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This was a great film and I strongly recommend it. The characters are good, the storyline, etc. It is a bit predictable, but that last scene when the skull really attacks, very creepy.

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Back to the facebook cover/mini posters.

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

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For more on husbands who are more than what they seem, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

For more on the Greatest 100 Horror Classics, go to In Their Proper Place: Metropolis (1927)

For more films based on a book, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the Thirteen Guest (1943)

You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

Cotten, Joseph (Shadow of a Doubt)_01 phone call

His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

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She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

he gets me

Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of initials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

tugs arm Shadow-Teresa-Wright-Schock-004-295px

Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

paranoidAfterYou

When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

mr darcy

Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

Gilmore girls creep

Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

Tuesdaythe17th scream ah

Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

shadow of a doubt attack

The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

1943_Shadowofadoubt

 

 

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

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!

Food, Food, Food!

Let’s talk about food.

I'mahobbit

It’s like I’m a hobbit or something

2ndBreakfast Lord of the Rings

And of course after I eat I feel like a fatty

hungry

Like every time

don't eat

But how can I when food is so good!???!

BonesSweetsLoveChocolate

Yeah…so

Lovefood

But you know what? Food is always there for you:

friendshurtFoodDoesn't

So you know what, I’ve decided to give up the fight.

Fridge

I’m gonna just enjoy those fatty foods

extrafries

How could I live without fries? You can’t

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And Nachos:

Nachos

Pizza:

I love Pizza

I love Pizza

Cheese:

parmesanCheesetoomuch

Pie:

PieTwinPeaks

Cookies?

cookies

Yep:

AnAffairtoRememberillegalimmoralfatteningthingswelovemost

But you know what:

Large-Portion-of-Pasta-with-Meatballs-510xl339

I agree

julia child

Thank you Julia for approving of my life choices. After all

MentalistDeadIcecream

And BTW:

curvy

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I want to end this post honoring those who died on 9/11. Thank you to those who helped out in the aftermath, and an even greater thank you to those who gave their lives. We owe a debt to you and your families that we can never repay.

“That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”

-God Bless the U.S.A.

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For more on Lord of the Rings, go to Lord of the Cats

For more on Lydia Bennet, go to How to Catch a Man

For more on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, go to Pizza Power

For more on Mean Girls, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Jim Davis, go to For All the Men Who Wonder What It’s Like

For more on Friends (TV Show), go to I Will Survive

For more on Joey Tribbiani, go to I Don’t Wanna Be in Love (Dance Floor Anthem)

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Here I Go