Trapped in a Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere with a Psycho: The Cat and the Canary (1939)

“Trapped in a mansion in the middle of nowhere with a Psycho.”

This movie was sooooo good!

I saw it at the library when we were reorginizing and it sounded really interesting-a will, multiple people inheriting and fighting each other, locked in a house in the middle of nowhere, starring Paulette Goddard, Edith Head did the costumes, and it was early Bob Hope-so hopefully he won’t be too silly.

I have to watch it.

So the film is based off a play and it is one of those horror comedies that spoof horror films-you know like Arsenic and Old Lace or One Body Too Many.

Cyrus Norman was an eccentric millionaire, who insanity ran in his family. He passed away and determined that ten years from that date on midnight the will, will be read. They never say why-but I believe that he wanted certain family members dead, like in Mystery of the 13th Guest

10 years in this movie.

The night has came and the lawyer, Crosby arrives by canoe to the mansion, he will be stuck there until the next day as no boats run after midnight. Trapped like in House on Haunted Hill.

Haunted house!

Crosby goes there and is greeted by the creepiest housekeeper ever. She’s like Mrs. Danvers, Nancy, and Milly rolled into one. This is set in the Louisiana Bayou and she talks about talking to her master, and spirits, and roams the house soundlessly with a black cat. Just an uber creeper!

SUPER creeped

Crosby goes to where the will was stashed and finds not one, but TWO wills!

Hmm…interesting.

Hmmm…

The family starts showing up, all second and third cousins twice removed. We have two older sisters (40-50s age range) Cicily and Aunt Susan who arrive. Both are very unhappy to be out in the swamp-Susan is the older one, loud, aggressive, domineering-while Cicily is sweet, submissive, ad nervous.

Hmm…

Then the men arrive: Fred Blythe, grouchy and sarcastic; Charlie Wilder (Douglas Montgomery), handsome ladies man; and Wally Campbell (Bob Hope), actor, funnyman, and nervous talker. This part was actually created for him, an addition to the play.

They settle in for the will reading, yet there is one left-Joyce Norman (Paulette Goddard). Fred is in love with Joyce and tells all the others to back off of her. Charlie and Joyce used to have a thing but haven’t seen each other in years-he trying to ignite the flame again. And Wally and Joyce were friends when they were younger, he was always trying to help her out or protect her (secret crush).

More like a quadrilateral

The will is read with all the money going to the ones who have the last name Norman. That being only Joyce-she inherits everything.

Except there is one caveat. This family is rife with mental illness-if Joyce should  succumb to mental illness in one month or die-the money will go to another person in the other will.

What are you talking about??

That seems like an awful thing to do-the relatives are going to try and make her be declared insane, drive her insane, or kill her. What was he thinking!!!!!

I guess maybe he thought that there would be more heirs, but still-this seems to be a horrible idea.

So all are happy for Joyce, except Aunt Susan who immediately starts psychoanalyzing her-and Charlie who starts trying to reignite the flames and get her interested in him again-really. She just got the money. 

All have the stay in the house overnight together-and then things start taking a dark turn.

The creepy voodoo housekeeper gives Joyce a private message. Joyce then goes to get ready for bed when there is a knock on the door. It is a guard from the asylum down the way who has arrived to let them know that a manic got loose. The maniac has long claws and is called “The Cat”. He warns them to lock the doors and windows and he is going to check the bayou.

So we have crazy relatives, a million dollars, a creepy housekeeper, and an escapee from the insane asylum-things are getting good.

I have to watch it.

Meanwhile, Cosby has discovered something when searching through the files. He goes to tell Joyce, but before he can get the words out-he is kidnapped by someone who creeped through a secret passage.

Yes this house is full of secret passages, has a portrait with eyes that someone can watch you through, and was one of the influences of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Yep, it’s that cool.

Someone’s creeping on Joyce…but who?

Joyce and Wally end up pairing up as he wants to hep her, and they discover a note about Cyrus’ hidden treasure-emerald and diamond necklace-that is on the property. They have to find the treasure, survive the night, and keep Joyce from being driven crazy by her family, and safe from the Cat.

This was an amazing film with great dialogue. I love the pace of the ’30s and ’40s films with such quick and pithy banter. This was just wonderful, I loved every minute of it and it didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend this and can watch it over and over.

For more on Haunted Houses, go to Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

For more hidden treasure, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

For more Horror-Comedy, go to What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

 

What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

What do they want you for?

Murder.

Drop me off anywhere along here okay? I don’t mess with the Big M.

So I don’t know about you all but one of my favorite actors is Gene Wilder:

It is a spoof of the thriller, disaster, and mystery films. In fact it reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes, but definitely more ’70s flavor.

George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) is a quiet book editor that is traveling from Los Angeles, CA to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. He is hoping for a quiet time alone on the train, but life is not planning that.

He meets Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), secretary for Professor Schreiner, who has a new book coming out on Rembrandt. She comes on to him and the two get close in a few short minutes. 

But then things start going a little strange. He sees a dead body hanging outside his window.

I know, right?

George wants to investigate it, but Hilly says he is drunk and should just come to bed with her. Of course George ignores the body and goes with Hilly.

The next day, George looks at the book Hilly gave him about Rembrandt and sees a picture of the author-who turns out to be the dead body he saw last night.

George gets thrown off the train by the minions that took Professor Schreiner out and finds himself meeting up with a fun farmlady who helps him make it back to the train. 

Finally

Afterwards, George confides in a vitamin salesman, Bob Sweets, who spoke to him earlier, and it is revealed that the guy is actually an FBI agent, named Steven, who is investigating an important art ring. While they go to make an arrest-Steven gets shot. Now George finds himself branded a murderer in the press, on the run as a fugitive, thrown off the train, and it looks like Hilly has moved on to the super rich Roger Devereau.

But George won’t give up. He needs to get the truth, get is girl, and get back on that train. He ends up teaming up with thief Grover T. Muldoon (Richard Pryor). The rest of the film is full of hijinks, hilarity, and thrills.

Now there is one thing that people won’t like. There is a scene in which Grover tries to help George hide from he police by painting him black and teaching him “to be black” with George failing of course. It is funny, but there is quite a few out there who might find it offensive.

If you like thrills, mystery, parodies, etc-you should check this out on Netflix.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more Gene Wilder, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns into the Twilight Zone

For more train centered films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more horror-comedies, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Woman! Woah-man! Wooaahhhhh-man! We had love, not just sex. Is she Mrs. X? I had to run for my life… Jane, get me off of this crazy thing called love.

I had always heard of this movie, but never had the opportunity to watch it. Every time I tried I would come in the middle or miss pieces. Then one day my friend and I were looking through Hulu and spotted it, deciding to watch it.

**Spoiler Alert**

Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Meyers) is a Scottish poet living in San Francisco. He performs at a coffee shop doing his riffs on love.

One day he stops at a butcher shop, Meats of the World, to pick up some haggis for his family dinner and meets the butcher-Harriet.

When he visits the family, his mother feels it is her duty to let him know of female serial killer, Mrs. X, that she read about in the tabloids. She hopes that Charlie will be careful and not end up he next victim.

Charlie Mackenzie: Hey Mom, I find it interesting that you refer to the Weekly World News as, “The paper.” The paper contains facts.

May Mackenzie: This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. “Pregnant man gives birth.” That’s a fact.

Charlie can’t get Harriet out of his mind and goes back to the butcher shop to spends time with her-actually being hired on as an assistant. There he entertains Harriet, they go out and eat, and ultimately spend the whole day together-and night.

The next morning Charlie meets Harriet’s sister who is really odd.

Huh?

They way she talks about her sister Harriet is a bit off.

Rose Michaels: Well… you know Harriet.

Charlie Mackenzie: Well, actually, I don’t.

Rose Michaels: But you did have sex with her.

Charlie Mackenzie: Hello!

Rose Michaels: Let me make you some breakfast.

Charlie Mackenzie: Oh, gee, you know, I’d love to. But you know, I’m really running late, but thanks!

Rose Michaels: What would you say to silver-dollar pancakes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, bacon, and Kona coffee?

Charlie Mackenzie: Well, that sounds great!

Rose Michaels:[Cut to Rose pouring cereal in Charlie’s bowlSorry. I didn’t have those other things.

Charlie Mackenzie: No, no, that’s fine. That other stuff will probably kill you… whereas “Froot Loops” are light, and reasonably high in fiber. I care for “Apple Jacks” a great deal.

But while Harriet is fun, charming, and gives Charlie a great time; there is something not quite right about her.

Hmm…

She is evasive, needy, and slightly odd. She also has all kinds of things from all over the country that were given to her by “friends”. These friends being similar to Mrs. Xs husbands.

Hmm…

He tries to do some research into Mrs. X:

Obituary Writer: There’s another one here. Native San Franciscan. Plumber. Elliot, Ralph. Moved to Dallas, disappeared four months ago, body was found in a sewer.

Obituary Employee: Well, guy takes his job too seriously, life goes down the drain. [both laugh]

Charlie Mackenzie: Did they mention anything about his wife?

Obituary Employee: All right, okay. Look, I know that we’re talking about real people here. I’m sorry.

Charlie Mackenzie: No no, I’m serious. Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: Look, I’m sorry you know. You know, I didn’t mean to make a joke about other people’s lives.

Charlie Mackenzie: No no, I’m really serious. Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: You win, you win okay? I’m a bad person!

Obituary Writer: Just take it easy!

Obituary Employee: No, he’s sayin’ I’m insensitive! He’s sayin’ I’m a s***!

Obituary Writer: He’s not sayin’ you’re a s***!

Charlie Mackenzie: [yelling] Did they mention the wife? Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: No! No! They didn’t mention the wife! Ya happy? [speaking to the whole officeYEAH! Oh yes, yeah. I’m insensitive! I’m a very insensitive man! Stop you’re job, look at the insensitive man! That’s what they’re paying you for! [leaves]”

So he then asks his police friend Tony Giardino. Tony tells him that Harriet is not likely to be Mrs. X; but Charlie isn’t convinced. He starts watching Harriet closely on their dates and her behavior is odd and off.

hmm…

He eventually gets so terrified that he breaks up with Harriet, happy to have outlived Mrs. X.

Or is he happy? He misses Harriet and keeps thinking about her.

Hmm…

Was he wrong to break up with her? Then his friend, the police detective Tony, tells him that they caught Mrs. X. It wasn’t Harriet!!! Charlie was wrong! He overreacted! His imagination ran away from him!

He tries to get back with Harriet, but after he dumped her no dice.

Does he give up?

So sweet, right?

Aw!

Everything is going well, so well that Charlie asks Harriet to marry him.

“Charlie Mackenzie: Marry me.

Harriet: No.

Charlie Mackenzie: Please?”

It is weird how Harriet was trying to make them more formal and pushing the relationship forward, but at marriage she balks. After Charlie explains how much he cares and talks to her, Harriet agrees, but then at the wedding acts weird again.

Hmm…

They head off to a romantic honeymoon. All is going well!

Yay!!!

Meanwhile, Tony is working when he finds out that the woman who claimed to be Mrs. X is a compulsive liar!

He tries to get a hold of Charlie, but a storm knocks out the power lines and the message is cut off. Tony heads up to their hotel to try and save them, he ends up commandeering a car from the dad from Beethoven and living out his fantasies of being a TV cop.

So now Charlie is trapped with an ax murderer!

So while they make it seem as if Harriet is an ax murderer, I was convinced the whole movie that it was really Rose?

Huh?

I know, Rose has like only a few minutes in the film but while Harriet is weird-

Rose seemed like:

Yeah, a real psycho. I think I suspected her because of the way she talked about “their” home and how Harriet always leaves for a little while, but then “always comes back.” The way she said “always comes back” made me think she was either obsessed with her sister or afraid of losing her forever-and was killing Harriet’s husbands without her knowing. Yep, I think Rose is:

Meanwhile, Charlie is terrified of Harriet-thinking she is going to kill him.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

But when he gets alone he discovers a “Dear Jane” letter. A letter that appears that it was signed by him! Saying he was leaving her!

What?

To make things even more surprising he finds Rose in his honeymoon suite!

And she has an ax!

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now he gets in a game of cat and mouse as he has to run for his life!

In the end they all live happily ever after. Rose gets the help she needs in prison, Harriet knows that she wasn’t dumped and left and that Charlie loves her, and Charlie loves Harriet and knows she won’t kill him.

No facebook cover for this one either. Man the movies I have picked have been hard ones to find a moment to use. Oh well.

Oh, well

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to The Cruel Giggling Ghoul: Teen Titans Go (2016)

For more serial killers, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

For more female serial killers, go to The Butcher of Burtonsville High: The Death of the Queen Bee, Bones (2010)

For more horror-comedy, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

China is here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, they’ve been fighting for centuries.

I have wanted to watch this movie for a loooooong time. I heard it was good, Kurt Russell looks fantastic; but every time I tried to see it I always came in near the end.

One day, my friend and I were cruising through Netflix and we decided to check it out.

Let me say this is one of the weirdest films I have ever seen.

What?

I don’t even know really how to review it. I mean it is hard to classify it. It is kinda horror-comedy-action-adventure-everything. Half the time I wasn’t even sure what was going on

Huh?

But surprising to me, I really liked it.

So the film starts off with Egg Shen (Victor Wong, the grandpa from 3 Ninjas), telling an account of what happened…

Flashback

Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a truck driver throughout California. He stops in San Francisco for a delivery and to meet up with some friends for some gambling. His friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) bets him double or nothing, but loses. Jack wants his money immediately, but Wang has to run to the airport to pick up his fiancé, Maio Yin. Jack doesn’t want to go, but whatever.

Meh.

When they get there, they are interrupted by a woman grabbing onto another Chinese woman and a gang of guys taking Maio Yin. The guys try to go after them and find themselves caught in a supernatural battle with mystical and legendary characters.

All kinds of crazy things happen, confusing crazy things-you totally need to watch yourself.

Jack Burton: All I know is, this Lo Pan character comes out of thin air in the middle of a ******* alley while his buddies are flying around on wires cutting everybody to shreds, and he just stands there waiting for me to drive my truck straight through him with *light* coming out of his mouth!

And this is one of the reasons that makes this film so enjoyable. It is a crazy film blending Chinese mysticism, history, and all blended in modern times. So a lot of the film you go:

Help me! I’m confused!

And the best thing is that Jack Burton spends most of the film this way. He is totally confused and lost; meaning that he gets to be us. He takes place of us in the film. You completely relate to him and everything he is going through and thinks.

So they are interrupted by Wang Chi’s cousin Eddie Lee who wants to help them (he’s a lawyer). While they are al taking, in bursts the woman from the airport who took the Chinese woman- lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattral).

Kim Cattral cracks me up in this, I could totally see her with her own little sitcom-with bumpity high music playing in the background as she charges in shouting “I’m Gracie Law”.

So what happened was that Gracie Law is an immigration lawyer and was helping a Chinese woman escape from being sold into sexual slavery. When she took the woman they paid for, the guys sent needed to bring someone back so they took the first Chinese woman they saw-Maio Yin.

Yep, Maio Yin just came in at the wrong time.

So they are trying to get her back, but it will be hard.

Wang Chi: Jack, listen, I need more of your help. I can’t pay you today, okay?

Jack Burton: Oh, s***.

Wang Chi: How can I? I need all my cash for Miao Yin.

Eddie: And it’s gonna cost. She’s got green eyes.

Gracie: Oh no, seriously? Oh, that’s an extra to these people. It’s like leather bucket seats, it’s double the price.

The group-Gracie Law, Jack Burton, Eddie Lee, Wang Chi and Gracie’s reporter friend Margo-concoct a plan to try and spring her from the brothel. I love him trying to act like a nerdy guy. And let me say that Kurt Russell totally pulls off the brawny-beefy guy and the cute-smart guy in glasses.

But they are interrupted by the mystical and magical Lo Pan. Lo Pan wants Maio Yin because of her green eyes, he has been looking for a green-eyed Chinese bride for centuries. When he realizes Gracie Law also has green eyes he decides to take her too.

“Lo Pan: Egg Shen… EGG SHEN! You have come a long ways to find me. But it is too late. There are two girls with green eyes, and I will marry them both. And then I will sacrifice Gracie Law to appease my emperor and live out my earthly pleasures with Miao Yin. [cacklesThat’s right, Egg Shen. The best of two worlds!”

Here is where things get crazy. Kurt Russell has a fantastic scene in the wheelchair, you’ve got to see it. What a hunk!

The rest you have to try to view on your own. I loved how Kurt Russell is this buff and manly dude, but then he ends up shooting his gun in the ceiling and knocking himself out and fighting and getting knocked out of it. Yes, in reality, Kurt Russell/Jack Burton doesn’t turn out to be the main character but the sidekick, Wang Chi being the real savior of the day with his awesome moves.

And the end is hilarious, it is so unexpected, I just love it! I just loved the film.

Not to mention I have a new couple goal. I’ve said I’d love to dress up as Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables but here is another. I totally want to be Jack Burton and Gracie Law. I mean I HAVE green eyes, and there are very few anything green-eyes, so I am down for that. Plus I love Jack’s style-you know me and boots. The only issue I see is trying to find the bride’s headpiece-and of course the guy to do it with. I know I could do it on my own, but it hard enough to know who we are together, never mind on my own.

Maybe one day.

Aw!

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to Because We’re Addams: The Addams Family (1991)

For more John Carpenter films, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare: Halloween (1978)

For more ’80s films, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more horror-comedies, go to I Died for You! I Came Back from the Dead for You! I Love You!: My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

Because We’re Addams: The Addams Family (1991)

Because we’re Addams

So I know, I committed a huge faux pas five years ago when I reviewed the sequel over the original film.

It was my first Horrorfest, I hadn’t established any “rules” but was just doing whatever I watched or films that just popped in my head.

Oh, well

However, since then, I have realized that I need to not ignore the first film. Even though it is not very good.

Meh.

Yes, I love The Addam’s Family. I watched the TV show, I loved everything about them, and have seen The Addam’s Family Values like a million times.

I love how kind and caring and macabre they are. It is fantastic.

So if it is such a great concept, why did this film bomb so? (At least in my opinion.)

Hmm…

Well let’s do a brief synopsis:

The Addams family is zany, fun, and awesome. They used to be a giant clan, but have lost people in zany and interesting ways through the years. Now they consist of Gomez Addams, his wife Morticia, and their two kids Pugsley and Wednesday. Morticia’s mother also lives with them in their old Victorian home. Along with the family is their butler Lurch and the servant hand Thing.

Gomez had an older brother Fester-but he and Gomez got in an argument and Fester took off, never to seen again. Through the years Gomez has tried everything to find him.

And has been heartbroken at the loss of his brother and hoped that he would return.

Meanwhile, their accountant Tully Alford has been trying to embezzle from their treasure room. He has no other clients and owes a ton of money to a loan shark.When she comes to collect bringing her goliath of a son, Gordon, Tully gets an idea.

If they give Gordon a few alterations, he’s a dead ringer for Uncle Fester. They decide to send him in with a story of him having amnesia in order to discover where the money is.

Gordon does, but as he pretends to be Uncle Fester he starts to enjoy the Addams’ Family way of life. Will he be able to stick to the plan, or will he instead become Uncle Fester.

Hmm…

So why doesn’t this film work?

Well the issues are that the storyline is boring.

It is something we have seen many times before and you knew immediately how it would conclude.

Meh.

The storyline is amazing in the sequel! You never knew what was going to happen with the kids, the adults, or Debbie.

The characters never go all out like they do in the sequel. I think it is just because they weren’t sure how far they could go.

It isn’t horrible, but it just isn’t fun. Especially in comparison to the sequel.

The only thing I really loved about this film was I thought it was cute when Margaret Alford and Cousin It get together, especially how at first she was all I can’t stand the Addams-and then she becomes one.

Aw!

And Raúl Juliá. He was such an amazing actor and he was Gomez Addams. I could watch hour after hour after hour of him being Gomez Addams.

If they had made a third film (not The Addams Family Reunion), that was just Raúl Juliá being Gomez Addams I would have paid to watch that over and over.

Sadly he passed away at an early age. So sad as we lost a talented star.

The best thing will be skip this film and check out the amazing and fun sequel.

To start Horrorfest VI, from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to Why Didn’t You Stop Me, Sam? You Know How Much I Hated Her! Why Didn’t You Stop Me?: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

For more on The Addams Family, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more Horror-Comedies, go to I Died for You! I Came Back from the Dead for You! I Love You!: My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)