The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending: The Secret Window (2004)

You know, the only thing that matters is the ending. It’s the most important part of the story, the ending. And this one… is very good. This one’s perfect. 

So I watched this movie on recommendation from a friend and loved it. It is a psychological thriller from Stephen King’s book; Secret Window, Secret GardenKing got the idea for this novella from the many people who claim that that he has stolen plot ideas for different works from them. In this story, instead of the person being just delusional, they are also demented.

Now this film has had mixed reviews. I loved it and I showed it to some friends who adored it. However I have had friends who hated it. They thought it was too kitschy and predictable, but I thought the ending was very good, even perfect.

Johnny Depp plays Mort and is simply amazing as usual, although he has some real messed up and raggedy hair.

So the film starts out with Mort discovering his wife is having an affair. He decides to go to Maine, as they do in almost every Stephen King film, to an isolated cabin, another Stephen King Usual (SKU). Mort is a writer (SKU), and decides that he will be able to get over his writer’s block (SKU) in the middle of nowhere than at home (SKU). He also had to leave the house as his wife is getting the house in the divorce.

One day he is confronted by a man called John Shooter, played by John Turturro, who does an amazing job at being creepy.

Shooter has come to demand Mort to give him credit as he’s convinced that Mort stole his story, “Sowing Season”. Mort just blows him off, but Shooter leaves his manuscript and threats behind.

Mort tosses out the manuscript and moves on, but unbeknowest to him, his cleaning lady pulls it out and leaves it on the table. Mort than reads the story and realizes that Shooter’s story is just like his story, “The Secret Window”.

He stole my story!

The next day, Mort is out and aboout walking and runs into Shooter. They argue over who wrote it first; Mort happily telling him that his story was written and published a full year before. He has proof as he has a copy of the magazine it was published in at his home. Shooter is furious about this and tells him that he has three days to deliver the magazine as proof or else.

John Shooter: Do you wanna wake up from one o’ your stupid naps ‘n find Amy nailed to yer garbage bin? Or turn on the radio one mornin’ and find out that she came off secon’ best in a match with the chainsaw you keep out ‘n the shed? Do ya?

Mort doesn’t really care to listen to Shooter’s threats.

However, Mort quickly discovers that Shooter’s threats are not harmless. Shooter starts stalking him and his ex-wife. Bodies start piling up, as Mort goes down a road of insanity, trying to discover the truth of who is Shooter and why is he after him.

Just like in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Bad Seed, the end is too good for me to go into. This is a movie one has to see! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Hope you enjoyed Monday’s murderous tale. More to come!

Here’s a facebook cover I made for my countdown to Halloween.

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

To go to the previous post, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

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For more on Stephen King, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more films based on a book, go to A Fright on Halloween Night

For more on Johnny Depp, go to Whatever You Do Don’t Fall Asleep

For more on serial killer horror films, go to Camp Blood

For more on affairs causing incredible emotional pain on a person, go to I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil

A Tale So Strange It Must Be True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariI must know everything. I must penetrate the heart of his secret! I must become Caligari!

So I checked out this movie from the library, thinking that it would be weird, but I was not prepared for how strangely horrtastic it was. This was an extremely well done horror film, that really does the original film justice.

So this is a remake of the 1920s silent film. It was revolutionary for its time, and inspired countless others. What David Lee Fisher wanted to do in his remake; is still have the orginal story, but redo it in a way that it would connect to the modern generation.

It was truly amazing. I recommend that all watch it; for multiple reasons.

  1. This is one of the very, very few remakes that is as amazing as the original. They hardly changed anything, and took nothing away from the story.
  2. The background is amazing. Using a green screen they took the backgrounds from the original film, truly giving the film a demented and creepy space. It was seamlessly done, with the only times the fore and background being disconjointed is when you are at a point of the film that cannot tell what is really happening and what is in the mind. These out of sync scenes really help support the questioning of the characters’ insanity. 
  3. The cinematography is beautiful. Almost every scene takes your breath away at how beautifully it is set up.
  4. The actors are amazing! (Judson Pierce Jones & Neil Hopkins are very attractive! :D)
  5. The end is magnificent. They just twist everything that you are not sure what is reality and what isn’t.

So the film starts off at the end. The main character, Francis is speaking to an old man about his fiancé, and how she has been through such a strange event that she will never be the same again. She walks every night in a trance, and does not speak anymore. Francis starts to recount his story, warning the man that he probably won’t believe a tale so strange, it must be true.

We go back in time to a city and place that we don’t know where it belongs. Is it past or present? All one can tell is that the buildings slant, everything is triangular, misshapen, and strange.

Strangely beautiful

A man comes to the main hall to get a permit for his carnival. He calls himself Dr. Caligari, and speaks of having a psychic who can reveal all’s future. The clerk is rude to Dr. Caligari and forces him to pay an exuberant amount of money. Caligari does and walks away, but all does not seem to bode well for this clerk.

The next day he is dead. Murdered.

Then we are introduced to Alan, who is stopping by to visit his friend Francis and is begging him to partake in some kind of adventure. We learn that Alan has been combating depression and has been holing himself away these past months, even having to visit an asylum. He however, is feeling much better and convinces Francis to see the fair with him, “for old times sake”.

They start getting drunk, and then stop to see the psychic Cesare. Cesare is a “living dead” man who can fortell all. He lives in a coffin, only being released every once in a while, Cesare has a truly creepy wake up scene. There is just something about how Doug Jones jerks and twists his body that frightens you.

Francis wants to leave, but Alan is rooted to the floor. When Dr. Caligari calls on him to ask a question, Alan is compelled to answer. He is physically incapable of leaving or turning away. He asks Cesare his question, but all does not go well.

Alan: How long shall I live?                                                                                  Cesare: The time is short. You die at dawn!”

Francis quickly grabs Alan out of the tent and fearing a relapse in his friend, reassures him that Cesare’s tricks are stupid and do not mean a thing.

On the way they meet up with Jane Stern, a girl they are both madly in love with. (It is a reoccuring theme in movies. Out of all the women in the world the best friends always fall for the same one). Both are eager to get an answer from her as to who her choice will be, but she manages to slip away and into the night. The friends say good-bye and go their seperate ways.

The next day Alan is dead. Murdered.

This horrible tragedy leads Francis on a path of reality so intermingled with insanity that one can hardly tell the fact from fiction. Francis is so sure that Dr Caligari killed his friend, that he becomes obsesed with finding proof. Will this quest for vengence and justice end well? That I cannot tell you as you must see it for yourself. The film is so good, that like The Bad Seed, I cannot tell you the ending. You must view it yourself.

This marks the seventh post of scary tales. More to follow.

Here’s a poster/cover page I made for my facebook page as a countdown to Halloween.

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

To go to the previous post, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

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For more on psychics, go to That Video…is Not of This World

For more posts on films that have been remade, go to Anything Can Happen