I am a big fan of Raising Hope. I love the characters, the storyline, and just find it fun and hilarious. I especially love the ’80s references.
I LOVE the ’80s
The show is about James Bon Jovi “Jimmy” Chance, who is in his early twenties and a slacker. He left school before graduating, works for his dad, and spends most of his time getting drunk with his friends.
His mom and dad, Burt and Virginia, had him when they were 15 and have made a lot of mistakes over the years in raising him as they have no clue in what they are doing. All live with Virginia’s grandmother, Maw Maw, in her house. Maw Maw suffers from dementia and they have to care for her as she swings in and out.
Everything changes when Jimmy has a one night stand with a woman who turns out to be a serial killer. She is sentenced with the death penalty but before she dies she gives birth to a daughter, this little girl being given to Jimmy to raise.
So now they all band together to try and raise this girl, with three of the adults having no clue about children and one who is not in her right mind.
Throw in some other great characters: Sabrina, rich girl trying to “make it on her own” as a grocery clerk; Barney, the dorky but heart of gold store manager; Frank, a strange coworker; an evil cousin Delilah; and more.
Will Jimmy be able to raise her right? Or will he make the same mistakes as his parents?
This was the first episode I saw as my friend knew I would love it. This episode is fantastic as it is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window:
So as this takes place in the last season-I’ll do a quick wrap up. Jimmy had a gigantic crush on Sabrina and after the previous seasons of his being friends with her, them dating, they ended up getting married and moved into Sabrina’s grandma’s house. Since then Burt and Virginia have stayed with Maw Maw taking care of her.
Unfortunately, I can’t rewatch this episode as it is on Hulu and I don’t have that streaming service. So we will be going off my memory.
In this episode, Burt and Virginia have new back fence neighbors and are super excited as they haven’t had any for years. They call that the “weirdo” house as no one stays very long-they are there for not that long and then gone. The meet them and the guy Gary seems like a lot of fun to Burt as he wants another best friend, and Virginia is happy to have people who she can talk to and borrow sugar from. Virginia also gets her hair done cheap at the local senior citizen home and gets it done in ’50s styles mimicking Grace Kelly’s style as Lisa. They are also doing themed weeks at her work (she cleans houses), and her dress looks just like the one in Rear Window.
So in this episode, they have started taking walks after dinner around their neighborhood. All the people they see are based off the different neighbors in Rear Window. A dancer, pianist, married couple who are sleeping outside on a mattress, etc.
As Burt is walking, he trips on a root and falls breaking his leg. He’s stuck in a wheelchair-just like Jimmy Stewart’s character.
That night they have the back fence neighbors over for dinner. Gary is all smiles, creepy smiles and Gina is acting really strange. She is worried, keeps flubbing answers saying the wrong thing-Gary correcting her. It’s so weird-something is clearly not right in this marriage.
Gary likes to thumb wrestle and really enjoys facing off with Burt. Burt enjoyed his company but he is done-they go home and Virginia enjoys being with Gina but Burt feels like something is clearly not right there.
The next day Virginia tries to borrow a cup of sugar but Gina tells them they don’t have any. Her husband comes back and starts acting weird giving them packages. He asks if they wouldn’t mind holding them and of course the Chances say no.
That night the hear yelling and something crashing. They are both afraid something happened and call the police. The police won’t come because the Chances have called too many times-birds were attacking them (The Birds), thought a murderer in the house (Psycho), etc. and instead they send a member of their auxiliary force-Barney-their friend and the manager of the grocery store.
He has a tooth ache and mimics Jimmy Stewart’s voice as he talks. He tells them they are overreacting and that Gary and the wife are fine.
Barney leaves and the two decide they were just overreacting. They continue to collect Gary’s packages but then Burt sees that the wife isn’t there, instead it is another lady. He starts getting curious and looks through he packages finding an axe and jewelry engraved with “Carla”. They begin to believe that Gary killed his wife and is trying to be with this lady-Carla.
They start investigating, using an old toy of Jimmy’s Miss Suzy Snoop. The telescope used for spying mimics the telephoto lens used by Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff.
They want to investigate and try to enlist Jimmy and Sabrina, but while Jimmy is into it-Sabrina is done and takes him and Hope home.
The parents keep snooping and it is a really great episode with a twist ending I don’t want to ruin for you.
This is a great episode and even some of the shots are done to mimic Rear Window. It really is a delight to any Hitchcock fan.
So I’m sure many of you Austen fans are like me, you see something Austen related and you’ve just gotta have it.
I’m not quite sure how I came across Northanger Soapworks. It might have showed up on my feed based on other things I follow, someone might have reposted something, or (most likely) I started following it when I entered to win a copy of Rational Creatures. All I know is I started following it, was hooked by the name (I adore Northanger Abbey), and loved the cute names/themes for each item! Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.
Or book lovers
She has items that reference each Jane Austen book, just to name a few: Norland Autumn Soap and Music and Reading: A Sense and Sensibility Candle from Sense and Sensibility;Brighton on the Sea and Mr. Darcy Soap from Pride and Prejudice; A Fondness for Reading Candle and a Proper Wedding Soap from Mansfield Park; Black Sheep and Donwell Abby Soap from Emma; The Black Veil Lip Balm and The Waters of Bath Soap from Northanger Abbey; Anne Elliot and Rational Creatures Soap from Persuasion; and more!
And she has even branched out to do a Sherlock Holmes themed soap and has A Christmas Carol themed box that is only available through pre-order (so if you want it order today!)
So of course it being Jane Austen, I wanted to review it-but that’s where I found myself stuck. Most of the time when I have ordered Austen-themed things, I review them and keep them or gift them-like the Babylit Austen series or Little Literary Classics.
But I couldn’t purchase a bar of soap, review it and then give it away.
But then if I bought a bar of soap for someone else, I’d have to make sure I was there to see it. And all the people who’s birthdays were all coming up, lived in other cities or states.
It’s a puzzle
I know you are thinking, “why not just buy it for yourself?” Well the problem is my skin.
If you have been following me, you know I have very sensitive skin. It is so sensitive I don’t even know half the things I am allergic to. Sometimes I am just going about my life and my skin gets irritated, hives break out, and next thing you know I’m scratching and breaking the skin.
Everything I use is hypoallergenic and scent-free-as it not only bothers my skin but I’m sensitive to scents (I have to keep antihistamines on me as some scents I have no issues with and others I can’t breathe). I cannot enter Bath and Beauty and nearly pass out if I have to cut through Macy’s perfume counter. When it comes to bath products I often feel like the Boy in the Plastic Bubble.
So I was resolved to wait until Christmas and gift it to someone who I can witness opening it and then have them tell me what they think.
But then I saw that Northanger Soapworks was doing a rep search! You know me and free-I can’t resist, but I wasn’t sure if I should apply. What if something was sent to me and caused an allergic reaction?
After some hemming and hawing, I decided to enter the search, but make sure that they knew I was allergic. In the end, I didn’t end up being chosen. But I figured I would just go back to my original plan and order at Christmas for a friend (or two!).
But then I was given a huge surprise when I was asked if I would be interested in getting a free something in exchange for an honest review.
I enthusiastically said yes. When asked what I was interested in, I told her send me whatever she wanted to, I didn’t want to make any extra trouble.
The package arrived quickly, too quickly, as I was in the middle of my Rational Creaturesreview and knew I couldn’t get to this post for a while. The package was in an adorable little box with a beautiful rose stamp on it.
I took a video of me opening it, but when I went to post it, it turned out that when I filmed it I had moved the phone and ended up filming nothing!
So the box came with a personalized note and card that were just beautiful!
Inside the box the item was wrapped in brown paper and muslin. And then when I opened it, I saw it was:
Yes, Mr. Darcy Bath Soap. I will let you all make your own jokes about Mr. Darcy in the bath with you:
So first of all I thought the soap was absolutely beautiful in green and cream with bronze running through it. It had the most beautiful little label that went around it and had a quote from Pride and Prejudice; along with a little information on Mr. Darcy:
“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report…of his having ten thousand a year.” ~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.
“Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, wealthy and proud, is a catch beyond the the grasp of the average lady. Though he ultimately wins the heart of Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, countless readers fell in love with him as well and wish that he were still available.”
As to why it was designed that particular way:
“Mr. Darcy is rich to be sure, and many will never see anything more. The shimmering bronze and green top of this soap is meant to convey his grandeur and wealth. But beneath the glitz lies the white heart of our beloved hero, the heart that Elizabeth found and loved.”
I loved the way it looked and the label as I felt that made it perfect for any Austen-fan (who will adore it) along with non-Austen fans (who will get a clear picture of what and why it was made the way it was.)
So when I opened the package the smell, cinnamon and patchouli, was wonderful and strong-but not too strong. Cinnamon and patchouli are both things I have to be careful around as too much can create an allergic reaction, but this was just the perfect amount. It filled my bathroom and apartment (it is very small), but was not in a cloying or overpowering way, but the perfect added scent.
So it was absolutely beautiful, smelled wonderful-how did it react with my skin?
It was fantastic!!!! We had had a bit of change in the weather and my skin was drier than normal, but I used this soap ad I felt great. NO itchiness, dry skin, hives, welts, nothing.
So I would say that this soap is something you should purchase for yourself or others. For an extremely reasonable price (I looked the whole site over), you get to support a small business, get a beautiful product (that works just as well as it is beautiful), and get an adorable Austen (or book-themed) item.
I already plan to purchase a minimum of two items for people on my Christmas list!
For those of you who might have missed the last few posts, Rational Creaturesis an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:
But not just the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.
This section is a little different as it is on the Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan parts as it just didn’t feel right leaving Lady Susan by herself. So to start:
I found this ’60s copy in a thrift store and just love it!
So I was so jazzed to see something from Northanger Abbey as I’m not ashamed to say it is probably my favorite. I know it is not popular opinion, but it is just so me. When I was a child/tween I was a mix between Anne from Anne of Green Gables and Jo from Little Women and Catherine Morland. As I grew into teenage years, I became less Jo and more Catherine and Mr. Darcy.
She and Mr. Darcy are probably my favorites and the ones I feel the most like (even though the beauty of all Austen heroines and heroes is that they are extremely relatable).
So I love anything that is Northanger Abbey related and as it is often ignored by people. I was also interested in the Eleanor Tilney story as I’ve always enjoyed her character and would love to see her point of view of all that went down in Northanger Abbey.
So for those who haven’t read it it- Catherine Morland seemed so average that no one would think she could ever be a heroine-but those people will be proven wrong. She loves to read, especially gothic stories and has an overactive imagination. She is gifted with a trip to Bath and ends up in her own romance suspense novel! A love triangle, an overbearing father, a mysterious death, a foreboding Abbey, and more! I love it and you all should read it if you haven’t!
There aren’t that many adaptations, the only true adaptation I have ever read is Dangerous to Know.
The Strength of Their Attachment by Sophia Rose
So this story begins after Northanger Abbey. If you haven’t read the book:
Anyways, Catherine embarrassed herself, Mr. Tilney sent her home after he found out that she wasn’t as rich as Mr. John Thorpe said, and Mr. Tilney followed her to apologize and propose. HIs father still does not approve, and Mr. Tilney has left to try and convince him to allow the marriage.
Catherine waits at home, but doesn’t have too much time to think on that-he brother, James Morland, has disappeared!
After his fiancé Isabella threw James over, trying to snare a bigger fish, he became despondent. They have tried to contact him numerous times, but there are no answers to them. Even their aunt who resides in Oxford has had one of her grooms deliver a letter but nothing.
That is not good,
Oh no! What if he’s been kidnapped?
Uh-oh, you know what this whole thing sounds like to me? A Mystery!
Mystery, you say?
Ready for any case
Wait, wait, wait-hold the phone. An overactive imagination is what got Catherine into trouble the first time. It is time to stop, think, and reflect. Catherine takes a moment to work away from kidnapping, gothic plots, and etc. Focus, think, plot out a reasonable plan.
She convinces her parents to let her go to Oxford and try a personal visit. Catherine prepares for the trip and gets an interesting bit of news when she stops at the store to pick up her father’s paper order and she is told that a stranger is asking questions about her brother. Catherine has a bad, bad feeling about this and wishes she was in Oxford, her brother would answer, or that Henry was near.
Catherine gets there and it appears her fears were not unfounded. The porter has not seen James, but his mail has disappeared. The porter went to James’ new room (as after all that happened he did not want to live with John Thorpe anymore) and some of things are gone with no one knowing where he has gone.
Then there are rumors that he has been gambling and running up large debts everywhere. Catherine worries about it and writes it all to Henry, but unfortunately does not hear anything back.
Time to get on the case!
Catherine grows more and more worried-nothing heard from James-nothing from Henry. Maybe Henry is regretting his engagement? Maybe he won’t want to be connected to her anymore? Maybe her brother is tortured or kidnapped? Or maybe, maybe, maybe…
Catherine tries to keep her imagination reined in, but continues to worry. Catherine goes out for long walks every day, searching every man, every robe, everywhere for her brother. On one such walk she overhears the person responsible for the whole terrible plot?! What can she do?
Catherine once again finds herself in a plot she’s only ever read about-dastardly plans, missing brother, missing fiancé, a viscount, goons after her-straight out of an adventure story. Will she be able to stop this plotter? Will she find her brother? What’s wrong with her fiancé?
I LOVED it. From the beginning I was hooked into this adventure tale and could not put it down. I had to find out what happened! Where was Henry. It was amazing!!
And Mr. Tilney and Catherine are so cute together!
“Miss Catherine Morland, you are an amazing lady. You are my lady and I am proud to own it.”
Eleanor is the only daughter of of General Tilney. General Tilney is a plotter and planner when it comes to his children’s love lives-like a mean, scary, rude, horrible guy version of Mrs. Bennet.
He has been trying to have his children marry wealthy and snag a title. He can’t maneuver his sons in the same way, but does all he can with his daughter to thrust her at titled men.
This time he is trying to win Edward Grantham, Viscount Lynton. He thrusts Eleanor at him, but she is not interested in a rake with such a bad reputation.
He’s a no
She and her friend escape the questioning that is soon-to-be from her father, where she shares with her friend how she couldn’t stand him. Her friend doesn’t care as he is handsome-but Eleanor wants more than that.
“In our society, the choice of husband is one of the few over which we can exert some control. It is the choice on which rides an entire life’s worth of felicity.”
Her friend goes in to try her luck, while Eleanor waits a bit longer outside. Unfortunately, it appears that the Viscount’s brother, Mr. Grantham, was outside, hiding, and overheard everything.
She apologizes to him, but inside is seething:
“Although a gentleman would have made his presence known rather than snooping like a servant girl.”
Hey, that reminds me of something…
Scarlett: [Rhett has heard Scarlett’s and Ashley’s fight] and Sir you should have made your presence known
Rhett Butler: In the middle of that beautiful love scene. Now that wouldn’t have been very tactful would it?
Scarlett: Oh! You sir are no gentlemen.
Rhett Butler: And you Ms. are no lady.
Book lovers too.
After that little meeting, Eleanor flees into the ball, and gets asked to dance by Mr. Grantham. The two dance, and he teases her about what she had been talking about, along with just making conversation. Eleanor surprises herself by actually enjoying his company.
Later, her father, General Tilney grills her about her night and whether she hooked the Viscount or not. She tries to dissuade him from that plan, and mentions that she danced with Mr. Grantham. Her father is not happy with him, as he has no title, and is involved with trade.
But never tell a daughter to forget about a guy, they tend to not listen.
Like The Little Mermaid
A year passes, and Eleanor and Mr. Grantham have been spending as much time together as they can. Her father still doesn’t like him, but Mr. Grantham doesn’t want to give up.
Unfortunately, he will be leaving-his business is taking him to Barbados. He wants Eleanor to run away with him…but Eleanor doesn’t want to. I really enjoy their exchange as this reminds me of the whole Anna Karenina situation. If a man runs off with a women-there will be talk, but eventually he’ll be back into society good as new. If a woman did that-oh no, we are held to higher standards and face harsher consequences. I liked the exchange, and how relatable it was, while still be perfect to the time period. Plus I like how strong and powerful Eleanor is.
“When I leave my father’s house, it will be as a grown woman, going toward the rest of my life, not running away from the past.”
Mr. Grantham leaves, and then the Viscount starts paying attention to her, but not in the way you might think…but that is all moot. If her father isn’t on board, will she be able to marry the man she loves?
I LOVED it! I thought this was a great story and I loved seeing Eleanor’s side of things. I also liked how she was a strong powerful woman. I do wish we could have seen her view of how the events in Bath went, as I would have loved to get her opinion of the Thorpes, but I guess that means Cox will to write another story.
Lady Susan is a novella that Austen wrote in the late 18th century and never published. After her death her family published the work.
Lady Susan has recently become a widow, and goes to stay with her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon. She has sold the family estate and enjoys being free from marriage. Unfortunately, she can’t stay free. She has to marry herself and her daughter off in order to keep the lifestyle she loves.
Lady Susan is a very callous and manipulative woman. She enjoys being with many men-along with manipulating/controlling others.
The book is in epistolary format, told in letters between all the main characters. I know it was adapted in a film not too long ago, which I haven’t yet watched, but besides that I haven’t heard of too many adaptation of this work.
The Edification of Lady Susan by Jessie Lewis
So you all know that I’m not really into diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistolary novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).
So this was a bit confusing for me. Because it took place before the novella some of the names are different and there are extra characters. This isn’t a bad thing, it just took me a little while to get my bearings. But that happens with most epistolary tales.
So in this, Lady Susan finds herself caught in a triangle of machinations and her own manipulations. Her mother wants Susan to marry Lord Doyle, as his mother is blackmailing her. If Susan and Lord Doyle marry, then it will save their family’s reputation.
Susan’s brother, however, wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as Lord Doyle is a rake and will never be faithful. However, her brother doesn’t have the best intentions either. He wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as he owes him quite a bit in gambling debts.
But Lady Susan will not be pushed around, she has her own plan.
I think Lewis was spot on. I think she really got the character of Lady Susan, and even though I knew which man she would end up with, it still was a major plot twist and awesome reveal when we see how deep her manipulations were. My bonnets off to you ma’am. She’s like Professor Moriarity level of planning.
An excellent story.
So that concludes Rational Creatures. What do I think about this book:
I think that this was an amazing collection of stories. You can clearly tell that each and every writer loves Jane Austen and really, really tried to get into the characters and present them in a way that was true to Austen and the novels, while at the same time giving it their own twist and view.
Not only do I think every Austen fan should read this, they NEED to read this. This is probably one of the best adaptations I have read. And I think even those who have never read Austen could easily follow and love the stories.
I cannot stress how much I loved that the way the authors portrayed the characters, but I also love that they chose people from evert book, and even ones that we don’t see a lot of.
Reading this will be a pleasure-you will laugh, cry, and enjoy every minute.
So I first came across this film on Amazon Instant Watch, I marked it to be added to my watchlist in the hopes of seeing it soon. However, my watchlist is like my to-read list, I add more than I see.
Then one day some friends and I were hanging out trying to decide what to watch, but in the mood for something suspenseful but something none of us had ever seen before.
We were going through the list when I spotted:
Now the description wasn’t very…thorough. I thought the film was that this group of people are having a party, someone gets brained, and then they have to figure out who the murderer is.
Well we watched the trailer and I discovered that was not it at all, it was a very different story.
But having seen that, it just made me want to watch it more.
So we start off the film with our protagonist, Jack.
Jack is from a well-to-do family and is a writer. Jack loves the past, eschewing all modern technology and lifestyles. He has a old fashioned phone, record player, etc. No matter what anyone says, he will not be convinced to take hold of a cell phone, CD player, etc.
Jack is also having an affair with his cousin Frank’s wife: Vera.
While Vera does not (and has not ever) loved her husband, she will not leave him-instead getting what she wants from that relationship:
And stepping out with other men.The two spend time together and then she leaves for work.
After she goes, Jack calls up his cousin Frank, uncle (not Frank’s father) Major Burns, Vera, and good friend Inspector Marcus Evans to invite them over that night for a a small get together to play games.
But when he calls each person, he gives them a different times to come. All agree except Inspector Evans as he might not be able to make it until later.
So it is clear that Jack has something in mind, some game, but what is he playing at?
The first to arrive is Frank.
Frank is a very kind, thoughtful, sweet, easily manipulated, and an insecure guy. You know the sweetest guy ever but never feels he is good enough and tries all he can to be even sweeter and kinder. It is easy to see how a shark like Vera could capture him.
But when Frank arrives it is clear that he is the center of the “game” Jack is playing. Jack tells Frank his wife is having an affair, giving him details (but of course leaving himself out of the equation). The rest of the night becomes a game of cat and mouse as Jack continues to try and see how far he can push Frank, hoping to have him kill Vera; and in front of the rest of the party guests.
Can he create the perfect murder of killing someone, but being unconnected in the crime by not having a motive yet also not being the one to have done the deed?
This Rope inspired setup wouldn’t be complete without someone for Jack to declare victory over. In Jack’s case his Rupert Cadell is his uncle, Major Burns.
Major Burns has always been able to outsmart, outmaneuver, outthink, and outdo Jack in every game they have played-whether physical or philosophical. Jack secretly hates him, but knows that if he pulls off this murder, it won’t really feel like winning unless he can pull the wool over Major Burn’s eyes. Plus Major Burn will be the perfect witness at Frank’s trial, if Frank does the deed.
The night starts off according to plan with Frank’s arrival, the dropping of the bomb (letting him know of the affair), the perfectly worded comments, and the pièce de résistance: placing a large heavy candlestick on the table (the perfect weapon).
But things don’t go exactly as planned. First, Vera arrived early and upsets some of Jack’s planned maneuvers, and Inspector Evans fails to show up. Yes, Jack has quickly discovered the fault of planning the perfect murder:
Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always. (Dial M for Murder)
But Jack decides to salvage his plan and continues to try and see if his idea of the perfect murder will succeed.
I thought this film was amazing and I strongly recommend anyone interested in thrillers or suspense films to check it out.
The director was clearly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, with many parts of the film alluding to some of Hitchcock’s famous films, but at the same time not feeling overdone, a cliché, or blatant copying.
The musical score builds just the right amount of tension, so that you can feel what the characters are feeling, but doesn’t give away what will be happening next.
Everything about the film just worked perfectly. The spacing of the film and character stories, the limited characters and their emotions, reactions, and energy were all just spot on. The angles and shots built the intimacy of the moment, making you feel as if you were a part of the room instead of a voyeur. And the ending I thought was a spectacular twist. If you are able to, I would check it out today.
And our banner (the first one I’ve been able to make so far):
There is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?
So this year I decided to do something very, very different. Now the in the past, all Horrorfests have ended on a film that takes place on Halloween. This wasn’t a credence that I set out to make, it just kind of happened along the way. With Horrorfest I had always planned on ending on Halloween (1978). I knew it was the best way to end the first year with a big bang. Besides, that year I had done the other slasher films that spanned numerous sequels and remakes (Friday the 13th& Nightmare on Elm Street). Horrorfest II I was trying to also end on a really great film that would produce the same kind of bang, and decided on Children of the Corn as that film was creepy. It also happened to take place on Halloween.
This year I was trying to decide what would be the best opener and closer. I was originally going to open with Metropolis as I had done a post in July referencing it. But after I wrote that post, it just didn’t speak to me as an opener. I started going through my drafts and that’s when I spotted The Wolf Man (1941). The Wolf Man has to be my favorite of the classic horror film monsters (along with The Phantom of the Opera). I hadn’t had a chance to review it yet, and since it was the last of the classics I decided it should be the opener.
Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t to a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. The possibilities were endless.
With the beginning finished, I then set my sights on the end. What could I do that would really pop? As I started thinking and looking, I saw my draft for The Wolfman (2010). And that’s when it hit me.
I could end Horrorfest III with The Wolfman (2010). It could be like bookends!!!! In the beginning the original that started it all and the end the newest rendition. !!! Yes!! It could work and it will. So here we are The Wolfman (2010).
So a little backstory before we begin the review. As you would have read in an older post, I love The Wolf Man (1941). It is one of my all-time favorite horror films. One day in my photography class, we were watching trailers of different films as we were looking at the cinematography and technique. My teacher was on a Mac which has Front Row, and shows you trailers of the past, present, and future films. One trailer I remember looking at was Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I wasn’t planning on seeing it, as I hadn’t seen the original. But as we reached the end, I saw The Wolfman.
I screamed ay my teacher, stop!! I want to see that. So we watched the trailer.
AWESOME!!! RIGHT!!! So I knew there were going to be changes, I knew it was going to be nowhere near as good as the original, but I was soooo pumped!! So I watched the trailer in February 2009, and saw the film was slated for that October. I couldn’t wait!!!
I ticked off the months, but then in October I discovered it wasn’t out in theaters.
Yep, there had been some production problems, so they pushed it back to February. FEBRUARY!!! V-Day weekend. I was upset, but what could I do? I just had to wait it out.
But then February came and I decided that it would be my V-day present to myself. You see I have never had a boyfriend or date for V-day, so I always just buy myself whatever I want. It’s actually pretty nice as you don’t have to fight with anyone over where to go or what to see; and you are never, ever, ever, disappointed.
I asked a couple of friends who were also single and we bought tickets for opening night. I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% pleased, but I was looking forward to those improved transformation scenes.
So moving on to the review.
So let’s go back in time. The year is 1891 and we are in England. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is the second son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He and his dad had a lot of issues and problems so he left as soon as he could. Since then he has been a renowned Shakespearean actor, famous throughout all England for his Hamlet and Macbeth.
He recieves a letter from a Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). She was engaged to his older brother Ben, but he has been murdered. Not only was he murdered, but horribly mangled by something. When Lawrence gets the news, he immediately returns home for the funeral.
When he gets there he sees his father and the two have a harsh welcome. Unlike The Wolf Man (1941), where father and son were trying to work on repairing their relationship, Sir John doesn’t care. He still has huge issues with his son not being what he wants him to be. The way that Sir John treats him, causes Lawrence to want to leave, and go far away…but he can’t. He has to properly say good-bye to his brother.
Lawerence does try to get away from his father as he knows staying near him will just cause more fights. He also really wants to see his brother. So he heads down to the local slaughterhouse where the body is kept before burial.
I know but you have to remember this is a small village in 19th century England. They didn’t have a mortuary to hold the body until burial. They also didn’t understand how diseases spread and that it is not a good idea to have a dead body near your food.
There at the slaughterhouse, the butcher gives Laurence his brother’s items, that is everything found on him at the time of his death.
Later that night he heads over to the local pub for a drink and overhears the gossip on the murder. Most of the villagers blame a band of gypsies. Not long after they moved into the area, Ben was murdered. In fact, someone remembers a case occuring years earlier of gypsies moving into the area and dead bodies surfacing. As they discuss this, Laurence remembers that Ben had had a gypsy medallion on him.
This is the first time that Laurence has ever met his brother’s fiance Gwen. Now for you Wolf Man fans, you should recognize that it is the same name given to Laurence’s love interest in the original film. Except in that film she was to marry the hunter/groundsman of the Talbot estates. Anyways, Laurence meets her and can instantly see why his brother fell for her, as he himself is attracted to her.
Of course Lawrence is the most amazing, gentleman/good guy that he would never ever think of putting the moves on her. He does thank her for trying to be there for his father and for everything. He also let’s her know that if she ever needs him, he’ll be there for him.
Gwen is also attracted to him, and you really can’t blame her. If Benecio is in his early 40s, that means her husband to-be was hecka old. Also Benecio/Lawrence has this adorable hurt puppy dog look that makes you just want to show him he is special, and that you care for him. He looks so sad that it makes you just want to take him, and take care of him. Making sure is life is bright and never unhappy again. That look is killer on any girl as it flies through their best defenses. Major chink in the armor.
Sorry, digressing….So with Lawrence back, and the funeral over, Gwen decides to return to London. Laurence would like to leave too, but wth his brother’s death, he now is sole heir to the estate and the first son. When his father dies he will become Sir Lawrence and be expected to uphold all those duties (House of Lords most likely). This isn’t the life that Laurence wants, but at this moment he is too loaded with grief and confusion over his brother’s death that he doesn’t question or try to rebel.
So with Gwen gone, and his father an emotionless robot who only cares about himself; Lawrence takes it upon himself to try and figure out what happened to his loving brother. Now Lawrence is putting on the black cowl and trying to become a vigilante or anything, he just wants some closure about his brother’s death. He heads down to the gypsy camp to try to get some answers.
Where were you the night in question?
That night is a full moon
Which as you’ve guessed it means trouble is going to be roaming about. Lawrence meets up with the gypsy woman Maleva, who tells him that something truly evil has attacked his brother.
But before he can get anything more, the townspeople attack the village. They try to drive the gypsies from the area, and kill a dancing bear they believe to be the beast that killed Ben Talbot.
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
As they are attacking, a superhuman, wolfish creature descends upon the area and starts slaughtering people.
And I’m not talking about just a few people, this is like a Scream sequel. The body count by the end of this film is in the double digits.
Hey, my generation is the Millennials. They aren’t as classy, they need lots more blood and guts.
Anyways, the werewolf is attacking everyone, and Lawrence spots a young boy running into the woods. At the same time the werewolf spots the boy, causing Lawrence to put himself in the way in order to protect the child. As he does so, the wolf attacks him.
And he gets bitten.
Malvea find him and cares for him, despite the community telling her that it is better for all if they let him die. But Malvea can’t, she says he still is a man and deserves to be treated as such. She also states that only a loved one can kill him.
Malvea honey, I don’t think so. Anyone can kill a werewolf as long as they have some kind of silver object. Nowhere is that in the original film, as if you read my post you would know that film revolutionized werewolf mythology. Click here to check it out now.
And besides that, is there nothing you can do for him? You are a cinematic gypsy in a horror film! You’re supposed to have a potion or herb or special thing that can protect you from turning. Now if you have read my Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, or Scream 2 posts, you know I make fun of the films when the guy is given a special charm to protect him but then stupidly turns it over to the girl he loves, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NOT WORK FOR HER.
But I really enjoy that part of the film, as it humanizes the character and makes you adore them. I mean its sweet how much they love the girl in their life that if there is anything that can do to ward of the monster, they prefer them to have it. Even though by doing so they make things worse, hey it’s the thought that counts.
I also hate how gypsies have been giving “B” standing in modern horror films. I mean without their supreme wisdom and knowledge in the supernatural, they are just nomadic people. In real life they are still awesome, in a horror film? That’s just boring.
But I guess that’s just they way it is these days.
So where was I? Oh yeah, Lawrence has been bitten by the werewolf. He is moved back to Talbot Manor, and Gwen returns from London to nurse him back to health. While recovering he has really strange dreams. Lots of blood, murder, and even his mother appears. You see his mother died when he was very, very young and her death severely traumatized her as he discovered her dead body. But why would that death be haunting him now? Is it because of Ben? The slaughtered people seen in the gypsy camp? Or is it something else?
Lawrence actually heals pretty quickly, which he finds kind of odd. And that’s not the only thing that’s odd in the Talbot homestead. One day his father’s manservant, Singh (Art Malik), shows him a case of silver bullets and hints that something monstrous is walking through the woods.
He’s not the only one concerned. Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to town. Yes, yes I’m going to admit it. Any film with Hugo Weaving gets an 10x increase in awesome. I mean this guy is truly one of the most talented actors alive. When he ecomes a role you totally forget that he is Hugo Weaving and just think of him as that character. For me I’m always going, Hugo Weaving was in that film? Oh that’s who was that amazing character. I totally forgot that character was being played by an actor. I mean he is that good. You have Agent Smith in The Matrix, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V in V for Vendetta, the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s just to name a few.
Anyways, Inspector Abberline comes to town to investigate. He already believes he knows who the killer is…Lawrence.
Seriously? Lawrence? A Murderer? Come on, this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean look at him, really look at him. There isn’t a murderous bone in his body! Besides, he just arrived in town so there is no way he could have murdered his brother. Dude, you’re dumb.
But it isn’t completely ungrounded. You see, Lawrence has a history of “mental problems.” You see, I didn’t want to give you the full story so early, but Lawrence’s mother’s death really did a number on him. Now today, we would really try to help the child as we understand such events as those are highly traumatic and can cause serious issues. Then not so much. Lawrence discovered the body and was very upset. He was afraid and kept mentioning a monster had hurt her. Instead of trying to help his kid, Sir John sent him to an insane asylum, where he was tortured. And I mean torture. Many methods to improve these patients were electrotherapy, iron cuffs/collars, bloodletting, dipping the patient in hot or ice-cold water, and a gyrating chair “to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium”. By the 1900s, many hospitals had added lobotomies to their lists of “cures”.
Yeah not fun. So Aberline thinks he is the perfect suspect. Laurence though, is having none of that.
Lawrence Talbot: I get your implication, and resent it. You’re clearly aware of my personal history, as I believe I’m aware of yours. Weren’t you in charge of the ripper case a couple of years back?
Det. Aberline: You’re a direct man. So I’ll be equally direct with you. I am not your enemy, Mr. Talbot. You’ve been seen as Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, all with that same face. A prudent man would ask who else might be living inside that head of yours?
Laurence doesn’t quite know what is going on and asks Gwen to leave as he’s worried something might happen to her. That night he follows his father, and watches him go down to the family crypt, to the area where his dead mother resides. There he finds a chair with restranints. His father locks the door and stays in the crypt, leaving a confused Laurence.
As Laurence turns to go inside, he becomes…The Wolfman!
Now this was worth the price of admission. These transformation scenes are awesome!!!
So now that he is a wolfman, he does what they all do. Ravage the countryside.
The next day the Inspector comes for him and has him arrested to be sent back to the “mental hospital”
How horrible is that. I mean this has to be Laurence’s biggest fear, to be sent back to that horrible place. Poor guy. And I was doing some research last night, not only were insane asylums awful, but the one he has to go to, Bedlam, was one of the worst.
Dr. Hoennegar, the leading physician, takes Laurence under his wing and subjects him to ice treatments, that is to be consistently dunked into ice water and left there for long periods of time.
Can you imagine?
And oh joy, he also gets electroshock therapy.
While he is incarcerated, Sir John comes to visit and tells him a story. You see Sir John is the cause of all this.
Back in the day when he was younger and hunting in India, he heard this rumor about an unusual predator. He travels to the remote cave that the predator calls his home and while there was bit by a feral boy and became a victim of lycanthropy.
Except, it was more than “imagining” he actually became a werewolf and began attacking things.
That’s when Laurence realizes everything about his mother’s death makes total sense. He did see a beast kill her, but it was his father! His father killed his mother and then sent him to a mental institution!!! What a truly, truly evil man to allow his son to be tortured. And now for a second time!!!
Now this was my biggest issue with the film. Every other part of the movie was actually pretty great. It was an amazing homage to the orginal film. Benecio del Toro was actually a huge fan of the original and tried to bring a lot of Lon Chaney Jr. into his acting. But the thing I absolutely hate was the changed relationship with his father.
It just didn’t work in my opinion. I mean that is what truly made the original fantastic, was that everything in his life was going great, he was a great man; and this tragedy strikes that ruins everything. He and his father were finally, finally becoming close and working out all their issues. He had met a nice girl, even though she was engaged, and had hope for that relationship. He loved England and was getting back into the groove of it. But then this horrible thing happens and he has to say good-bye to it all. He knows he is going to die, but what does he do? He goes to his dad and makes sure that he has something to protect him. Because even though he has spent years hating and being angry at his father, he truly loves him. It’s just so wonderful and sad all at the same time
But having the dad the evil guy, I don’t know…it just makes the film feel as if it is missing a huge part of it. It doesn’t hit in the heart like the orginal.
But moving on, so his father murdered his mother and then sent the only witness to a torture chamber (mental hospital) to ensure that those memoris would never come to light as they are only crazy “child fantasies”.
Since then, Sir John has had his manservant Singh has been locking him up so he doesn’t wreck havoc anymore. However, Ben was planning to leave with Gwen once they were married and this enraged Sir John. He wasn’t locked up that night and killed him to keep him from going away. He became so incensed with the power that he ran wild later, killing all in the gypsies camp and biting Laurence purposely.
Omg what a–
He did it on purpose because he wanted a fall guy. He wants to roam free as a werewolf and he allows his son to be caught and tortured. Argh!!! Urhg! this man! I;m so angry I can’t spell right. He needs a good sock in the face.
After he finishes his story he leaves, intent on never returning.
He deserves another punch.
That night Laurence is taken to the observation room, where the good doctor presents him as a curio to his collegues. Unbeknowest to him, moonlight is coming through the window and landing on Laurence. This causes him to turn into….the Wolfman!
This is one of the coolest scenes, but unfortunately I could only find it in Italian. Sorry! But you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to enjoy the effects/makeup.
Dr. Hoenneger: Ah, Mr. Talbot. We are here tonight to illustrate conclusively that Mr. Talbot’s fears are quite irrational. So, we will remain in this room together, and once Mr. Talbot has witnessed that the full moon holds no sway over him, that he remains a perfectly ordinary human being, he will have taken his first small step down the long road to mental recovery. We are all aware that Mr. Talbot has suffered quite traumatic personal experiences. He witnessed his mother’s self mutilations. His young mind, unable to accept it, created a fantastical truth, that his father is to blame. That is father is literally a monster. But, your father is not a werewolf. You were not bitten by a werewolf. You will not become a werewolf, any more than I will sprout wings and fly out of that window.
Totally fangirl over that.
Laurence runs away, being chased by the Inspector, and also wreaking havoc. There are some truly amazing shots of him by the bridge, on statues. Just plain awesome!
The next day he visits Gwen in her antique shop. They realize they have fallen in love, but Laurence knows nothing can come of it. He has to kill his father and himself in order to protect others.
Inspector Abberline comes to see if Lawrence is there, but he is too late. Lawrence has already left for Talbot estate.
Gwen refuses to believe that they can’t be together. She starts studying lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva the gypsy for more advice. Maleva cannot help her, as there is no cure for werewolf.
Meanwhile, the Inspector has also headed back to the village and this time armed with silver bullets. That show in the Observation room must have finally convinced him that werewolves are real. Gwen also heads toward Talbot Hall.
Lawrence is the first to arrive and discovers a murdered Singh. He takes his gun loaded with the silver bullets and starts hunting his father.
Sir John Talbot: You have me at a disadvantage. It makes me happy.
Lawrence Talbot: What does?
Sir John Talbot: Well, seeing you here like this. My son returned. It is glorious, isn’t it?
Lawrence Talbot: No, it’s hell.
Sir John is a freak. He needs help. Serious help.
Anyways, it turns out there are no bullets in Singh’s gun, but blanks. Sir John did that on purpose as he will not be destroyed. Sir John attacks his son and the two begin fighting. The full moon comes up and transfroms them into werewolves. And yes, yes we have a werewolf fight. I personally thought it was a little cheesy (and dumb) but this is the millenal generation. And it is something the people want.
So after Laurence burns and decapiitates his father, Gwen walks into the house.
The wolfman, Lawrence, attacks her. Luckily, the inspector had also just arrived on the scene. He tries to use his gun, but misses allowing him to be bit by the werewolf. Gwen steals the gun and takes off, being pursued by the wolfman.
He chases her to a waterfall. With nowhere left to go, Gwen starts begging and pleading with the wolfman, hoping to get to Lawrence. Lawrence reason faintly returns to the beast, who hesitates. He then hears the sound of a posse coming to attack him.
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
While he is concentrated on them, Gwen shoots him through the heart.
Laurence changes back to his human form, and before he dies thanks Gwen for saving him.
Lawrence Talbot: [his eyes open after being shot by a silver bullet and transforming back into a human] Gwen?
Gwen Conliffe: [crying] I’m sorry…
Lawrence Talbot: It had to be this way.
Gwen Conliffe: I’m sorry.
Lawrence Talbot: [he holds her hand] Thank you. [Dies]
The posse and an injured inspector arrive just as Laurence dies.
So that is The Wolfman. Now do I think it is as good as the original? HECK NO! But that does not mean it isn’t an awesome film. Besides that one thing that majorly irks me, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a pretty awesome film. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting incredible, and those transformation scenes? Freakin’ awesome! And I did like how they moved the story to show how harshly “mental disabled” people were treated. And you know what? Most of the people who were in those didn’tr even have serious problems. They would throw in the homeless, those with learning disabilities, women of large fortune who had husands that wanted the money but not the girl, etc. It was horrible. Horrible.
But back to the film, I think it is a worthwile view. It may not be exactly how I imagined it, but you do have some great werewolves in this, and no Jacob ones. Real werewolves.
And so ends another Horrorfest. I am so pleased with this years as I was able to redeem myself from last year’s only half the month’s posts. 31 days of terror and woe once again. I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.