The Jewel Carries a Curse: Ruby in the Smoke (2006)

So I was shelving films in the library when I spotted this. A mystery starring Billie Piper, the actress who played Fanny in Mansfield Park?

And J.J. Feild who was the incredible Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey?

I just had to watch it.

Victoria Beatrice “Sally” Lockhart’s (Billie Piper) father has died and left her with nothing more than questions and a mean relative that insults her and abuses her.

She receives a letter telling her to question Mr. Marchbanks and to stay away from The Seven Blessings.

Hmmm….

She has a lot of unanswered questions and heads to the merchant’s office where her father held a position. She tries to get answers from one of the head clerks, but as soon as he hears The Seven Blessings he becomes angry, orders her out, has a heart attack, and dies.

They call the police and deal with everything, the only good thing coming out of it is that an errand boy, Jim (Matt Smith, yes Dr. Who himself) agrees to help Sally.

Sally has no other leads so she sends a letter to Mr. Marchbanks to get some answers.

Meanwhile, there is an ugly (the character’s comments not mine) woman who has been torturing, killing, and hunting something. She has kidnapped a sailor, Matthew Bedwell, and is trying to get information out of him, but he refuses as he has a message for Sally Lockhart alone.

Sally hears from Mr. Marchbanks and heads out to meet with him. She stops to ask handsome and dreamy photographer Frederick Garland (J.J. Feild) for directions. The part that I really likes is how he looks at her when he is talking to her, but once she starts talking about photography he really looks at her-and is amazed: like what a gorgeous brilliant woman. I thought it was cute.

So sweet

I just love J.J. Feild in everything I have seen him in. He’s just so dreamy.

Anyways, he sends Sally on the right way hoping to get her name, but no dice. She goes to Mr. Marchbanks, but he tells her he can’t talk as Mrs. Holland is in the house. Sally has no clue what he is talking about, but listens to him as he gives her a package and asks her to leave as Mrs. Holland is dangerous and will try to kill her.

I’m out!

Sally runs off while Mrs. Holland comes and tries to get the package from Marchbanks. It turns out that Mrs. Holland is the woman who has been chasing and killing all the people-“the old hag”.

When Mrs. Holland returns from the other room, Mr. Marchbanks taunts her- telling her that she is out of luck and never going to get the package. Mrs. Holland becomes so angry she kills him.

A Maid sees her, and in fear for her life tells her that a Sally Lockhart was here and just left pointing the way she went. Mrs. Holland runs after Sally and Sally has only moments to hide. She runs to Fredrick, and he hides her in his photography tent. To show her gratitude she gives him her name and takes a train back to London.

As she rides the train back to her Aunt, she opens the package and sees it contains a journal. She starts to read and discovers that her father, Captain Lockhart, was given a giant ruby from the Maharajah when he was a soldier in India. But before she can continue she falls asleep.

Unbeknownst to Sally, Mrs. Holland has a thief on the train, Mr. Hopkins. He steals the journal but doesn’t notice one page falls out.

When Sally wakes up she discovers she only has the last page which give clues to where to find the Ruby. When Mrs. Holland sees that the most important page is missing, Mr. Hopkins travels to Sally’s aunt’s house to steal the last page. His arrival wakens Sally and instead of wondering if she is okay her Aunt accuses her of making the whole business up for attention, Sally moves out and in with Fredrick and his sister Rose (played by Hayley Atwell-who also starred in Mansfield Park as Mary Crawford,) an actress.

Fredrick is a very educated man and deduces the Latin in the riddle. Meanwhile, Matthew sends a servant girl, Adelaide to give them a message. Sally searches for Matthew Bedlam but ends up taking some opium and sees a memory from the past.

Meanwhile, Matthew and Fredrick break into Holland’s place to get Matthew out. Matthew reveals to Sally that a criminal called Ah Ling, head of the Chinese Triads called The Seven Blessings killed her father, Captain Lockhart.

Also Sally and Fredrick have been growing closer together…

Mrs Holland figures out the riddle and heads to find the ruby but it is gone. She has Matthew killed and Adelaide kidnapped. Fredrick and Jim run after and try to get her back, but while they stop her people, Mrs. Holland and Adelaide slip out of her grasp.

But what happened to the Ruby?

Sally goes under the opium to remember what happened as a child. She decides to go after the ruby, but Rosa reveals that Jim found it a long time ago and hid it to protect Sally’s life.

Sally goes to meet Mrs. Holland, against Rose’s wishes, and brings the ruby. The truth is revealed. Captain Lockhart is not Sally’s father.

Mr. Marchbanks was Sally’s father.

Mr. Marchbanks was an opium addict and actually caused the death of the Maharajah when he left for his fix. Captain Lockhart saw Marchbanks’ daughter in the opium den, and afraid for what would happen to her he traded the ruby for Sally.

Mr. Marchbanks said the Ruby belongs to Sally-her inheritance, but Mrs. Holland said it was hers. It turns out that when she was a young girl she traded her virginity in exchange for the ruby, but the Maharajah reneged in the deal.

Sally tosses the Ruby in the water, as she doesn’t need it. Mrs. Holland follows the ruby that she desire so much she has killed, stolen, and destroyed many things to acquire.

Meanwhile, Sally is approached by one of her father’s trusted men, Hendrik Van Eeden. She expects him to give her a ride home but he ends up kidnapping her!

It turns out that he isn’t who she thought he was. He is Ah Ling.

Not kidding, I thought the same thing. Turns out that he is biracial-Dutch and Chinese. H goes by Ah Ling as his criminal name in moving the opium, and then using his father’s name to fool the English soldiers. He has been killing all kinds of people who interfered with his opium trade, like Sally’s father. He threatens Sally with a knife, but unbeknownst to him her father taught her well, and Sally always carries a gun on her.

After all this turmoil with Sally returns to the Garland home with her friends-Frederick, Rose, and Jim-deciding to remain Lockhart (as he was her real father) and just taking each day by day.

It was a good movie-with a great twist. I did not see the Ah Ling being Van Eeden.

It has wonderful characters that I’m sure you will enjoy.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Go Ahead and Shoot…As Far As Killing Me, Well, I Don’t Think You’re That Good a Shot: Possessed (1947)

For more J.J. Feild, go to Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

For more Mansfield Park, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

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Quite A Horror Story: Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2011)

She is…a teller of the tall tales, a boaster, a little liar. So when she claims to have witnessed the murder, nobody believes her. And yet, she is… dead. 

So this was a film done by the BBC based on Agatha Christie’s novel, Hallowe’en Party. I think David Suchet is a perfect Poirot, as he looks just the way I always imagined Poirot to look like. However, something I don’t like about the modern retellings, is that  they tend to change a lot of the plot lines of the novel, and usually not for the better (Third Girl was awful. They didn’t use the best twist from the book). Rarely do I watch the film version before reading the book, which I did here, so I didn’t have the same unpleasantness as seeing them change plot lines that I thought were crucial in the book.

So the film starts out with Poirot’s friend, and mystery writer extraordinaire, Ariadne Oliver helping with a children’s Halloween party. All the kids are playing around, laughing, bobbing for apples, eating candy, etc. A little girl named Joyce starts talking to Oliver, telling her that she once witnessed a murder. Everyone makes fun of her, teasing and insulting her as she tends to always tell “tall tales”. No one believes her.

Later the children are all playing snapdragon, which they make sound so creepy. Instead of playing background music throughout the film, they play the children’s voices chanting the song in unison. It is as creepy as The Crucible scene when the girls are all “possessed”.

After the game is done, they are rounding up the children and discover Joyce missing. She is found drowned in a bucket that was used for bobbing for apples.

Oliver wastes no time at all, but immediately calls in Poirot to solve the case.

Poirot immediately looks into which murders in the town are unsolved, to see which ones have the potential to be the one Joyce saw. Many try to discourage him from doing so, telling him that Joyce was a liar and a storyteller. She did it to feel important and show off. Poirot is firmly decided that whether or not Joyce was telling the truth, someone out there is guilty of murder and thinks Joyce was a witness.

The possibilities of who Joyce might have seen are Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe, the aunt of Rowena Drake’s late husband, apparently died of a heart attack. Her death is suspicious because of her will, it said that her au pair was to inherit everything over the family. Authorities believe that it was faked by the au pair, Olga Seminoff, who mysteriously disappeared after the forgery was discovered. Other candidates for murder involve Charlotte Benfield, a sixteen-year-old shop assistant found dead of multiple head injuries; Lesley Ferrier, a lawyer’s clerk who was stabbed in the back; and Janet White, a schoolteacher who was strangled.

Which one is the murder Joyce saw? Who committed it? Did Joyce even see a murder occur? Just like The Bad SeedThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligariand The Secret Window, this is one you have to check out for yourself and see where the truth lies.

The only thing I don’t like about this film, is the fact that Poirot disapproves of those who take enjoyment in such a holiday as Halloween. He thinks the macabre is not something you should be so joyous about. Well, I don’t; I love watching horror movies and getting into Halloween. That’s why I did my 31 Tales of Terror and Woe. In fact today marks 11 days left to Halloween! 😀

Here’s today’s scary post. More to come!

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

For the previous post, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

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For more on murder, go to Camp Blood

For more on Masterpiece Theater, go to A Hunky Helping of Manwich

For more on Halloween parties, go to A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It

For more film adaptions of books, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more on bobbing for apples, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

A Squashed Mess: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)

Last year, more people were killed by automobile accidents, heart attacks, lung cancer, and natural causes combined than by any one tomato

This was one of the stupidest films I have ever seen! I rented it because I thought that it had the potential to be creepy, but it just turned out to be a major dud. Don’t waste your time watching it. The acting was horrible, the storyline completely idiotic, and  nothing made any sense at all. It has to be one of the worst films of all time.

I mean this film could have been great, but the writers really dropped the ball on this one.

Sorry to throw this rotten mess toward you. More posts coming your way.

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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 Monster Race

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To read me make fun of more horrible films, go to Sucky Sequels