So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, etc.
It amazes me that have been doing this ten years already.
I only started doing this because I already would watch something for Halloween every day in October (and annoy my friends by doing so); and it was a real easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.
Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.
This is actually the first review I did of the Monsterverse trilogy, so I apologize if there are any repeats in this one.
So after Godzilla (2014)I resolved to never, ever again watch another one of the Godzilla films. You see I grew up watching all the old Godzilla films and I was so, so, so disappointed in the fact that we hardly had any Godzilla but it was just MUTO. It also was extremely boring and had a bunch of other issues. Yep, never-ever again.
But this past April I was watching my niece for her Spring Break and she wanted to see Godzilla Vs. King Kong. I did not want to watch it, but as it was my niece asking, I gave in. It actually was kind of circular as the last film I watched before everything shut down was King Kong (1933)and the first film I saw coming back in was a King Kong film.
So at this point in time I haven’t yet seen Kong: Skull Island but hopefully I can still follow everything.
Since writing this review I have watched the other two films that came prior to this one, (although I still have a lot of questions that were not answered). If interested in those reviews go to Kong: Skull Island or Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
So the world has changed since we last saw Godzilla, as the world is recovering from the destruction he caused. To me it seemed this film was split into three storylines:
Madison Russell and the Curious Case of What is Really Going on at the Apex Corporation
So one man has a podcast and he believes something strange is going down at Apex, a genetic corporation. He has infiltrated the company and believes himself to finally be on the cusp of a big scoop. As he tries to investigate what they are hiding, Godzilla attacks.
Everyone is upset and freaking out, except for Madison. They think they need to find a way to stop Godzilla, as all believe the way he protected them from the other Titans in the last film is over and that Godzilla is just going to harass and destroy everything and people everywhere. (Even though in every previous film he clearly only attacked when there was a titan/monster/alien.) But he did destroy a lot of things, so it does make sense that people are scared.
Madison still trusts Godzilla since he saved them last time and thinks something shady must be going down at Apex for Godzilla to attack when he only protects. Her dad, Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) does not agree with her, and even though we saw in the last film how he would go to the ends of the Earth for his teenage daughter, in this her dad is really kind of checked out. He doesn’t seem to be worried about Madison, hardly checks in with her to see if she is okay, and even heads out to China to help with relief efforts without even speaking to his daughter. Like he doesn’t make sure to see her before he goes, or just make sure she has all she needs as he will be on the other side of the planet.
I mean she is a minor, she only has one parent, and he’s leaving her home after Godzilla just attacked their state to help in a country where Godzilla is going to attack. If she died or was injured he wouldn’t know where to find her or even start looking. If he died or was injured who’s going to take care of her? But more importantly, what happened to his character development?
Anyways, she is reluctantly joined by her friend in the search for the podcaster, as Madison believes she and him are the only ones who can find the truth. She and her friend do mange to track him down and she convinces him to break into the facility with her. She treats her friend really bad though, bullying him into coming along with them. And neither child tells an adult where they are or planning to go to, so if anything happens-no one will be there to save them.
When they get to the Apex facility they hear people coming and of course hide in the pods that are to be shipped to China (something the podcaster had thought odd as they were shipping a lot to China, to a facility that can’t really handle the volume…or can it?) and end up being shipped to China. All I can think is what a nightmare that will be trying to come home. They have no money, no passports, they have illegally entered another country, it will be one serious mess.
After they arrive in China they don’t try to leave but continue to investigate and discover a large animal pen that it seems something is fighting something else. They also find some leftover monsters bits and all I can think of none of these people are moviefans as this room looks like the dinosaur pen they used for the demonstrations in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom when they were having the monsters “prove” themselves for the auction. It also made me think of the pen they throw Luke in, in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and the one the crew fights in, in Galaxy Quest.
There the group sees a mechanical Godzilla fighting, yes we have MECHAGODZILLA!!! So for all you who don’t know, I grew up watching the old Godzilla’s and LOVED them. My brother and mom were giant fans and it was the only thing that my brother, who was eleven years older, was willing to do with me. My absolute favorite was Mechagodzilla and I was so pleased to see MechaGodzilla in this, but it turns out he misses 2/3 of the film.
What a ripoff! I’d rather see more more fighting of him then some of the other storylines.
Yes, it turns out that Apex stole a Rodan head from the previous film and have been using it to create their own Godzilla to fight and put mankind on top of the food chain. Madison is horrified at this, but the scientists at Apex are convinced it is the only way. By using the Rodan head they are also able to use his telepathic powers and communicate from the Rodan skull to the MechaGodzilla. They decide to fill it with a giant boost of electricity, but when they do it goes all Frankenstein, becomes alive, takes out its creators, and runs free into China-destroying it.
Journey to the Center of Hollow Earth with Professor Lind, His Companions, and Associate King Kong
So this was what a majority of the film spent its time on and to be honest I thought this was the least interesting part of the film. Both my niece and I felt like the film seemed rather short and that there was too much Kong and not enough Godzilla.
So Kong is living on Skull Island where they keep him in a Truman Show like prison, including a fake top to make it always sunny and bright. The leading Kong specialist is there with the last remaining survivor of the native people from Skull Island, a little dead girl who is “friends” with Kong. The team there grows worried as the facility is not going to be able to hold him forever and they don’t know what they will do when it can’t. They also worry about Godzilla as the ancient drawings foretell of the two fighting and bringing destruction to Earth.
But what happened to all the other people? How did they construct this? They did not answer those questions in Kong: Skull Island. How did this woman become the expert on Kong? How long have they had this dome?
In a University in America, professor Linton (Alexander Skarsgard), is sitting in his little office when he is approached by the head of Apex. Apex tells him he is fascinated by his book and his theories of a Hollow Earth, the idea of a world inside ours where these monstrous creatures/Titans come from, and also possibly still roam. This is very much like Journey to the Center of the Earth and I 100% believe that the professor is based off the one in the book. I do like that in the previous film they had mentioned this Professor Linton and his book, nice job on the continuity.
Apex want Professor Linton to launch a new expedition, but he is not interested as his brother died trying to go into the center of the earth. The theory is impossible to test as the pressure is too great to handle with its reverse gravitational pull and kills anyone who tries to go through the only opening they have currently found, in Antarctica. (This makes me think a lot of Alien Vs. Predator.)
It turns out APEX has been building something to help conquer the gravitational pull as they encourage the professor to try it as it is necessary better understand these giant creatures and maybe find a way to lure them all home. This whole encounter gave me really weird vibes and I can’t believe the Professor wasn’t questioning why they were being so philanthropic. I would immediately be wondering what they were really after.
But professor wants to experiment, so he agrees. But before they can go he does need something, he needs someone originally from that area to lead them back-he needs a Titan. He needs Kong. He decides to pay a visit to an old friend, and possibly ex-girlfriend (there is a vibe), who is the leading Kong expert.
At first Dr. Andrews isn’t eager to help, but when he convinces her that Kong could go home, where he will be much happier than his gilded cage, along with the possibility that he might not be the only one and able to actually have a family: she agrees. But she will only help if she can join the expedition with her adopted daughter, the native girl. They are also joined by some other scientists, the military, and the daughter of the the head of APEX, Maia.
They travel through the sea and of course attract the attention of Godzilla. The two fight, them having to unchain Kong, and the fight was alright. I thought the Godzilla KOTM film was much better. I mean this whole concept is hard for me as Kong is just a giant ape while Godzilla can shoot fire from his mouth!
They manage to stop the fight only when they shut off all the power and pretend to be dead. They airlift Kong the rest of the way, the daughter, Jia, convincing him to go down and see his “family” and they all go through to Hollow Earth which reminds me exactly of Journey to the Center of the Earth book by Jules Verne.
There Kong finds “his” throne room and an axe made with a scale from Godzilla. He places it in a slot and it shoots out a signal that attracts Godzilla who shoots a hole down to Kong and Hollow Earth. There the APEX’s CEO daughter, Maia, uses a machine to send the signal back, I was a little confused at to how this worked exactly, but it is just what her father needed to power up MechaGodzilla.
Maia and her group try to leave but are crushed by Kong, making professor and co the only ones to escape. When they come above ground, Kong and Godzilla meet up and fight. Which leads us to…
Godzilla Versus Kong Versus MechaGodzilla
So for a film that is titled Godzilla versus Kong, it actually doesn’t make up that much of the film. The fights scenes were okay, but again one is flesh, fur, bone, and strength. The other has plates, is strong, and can shoot Fire! Godzilla can shoot fire, he is obviously going to win!
The two fight with Godzilla at a slight disadvantage as he used a lot of his Fire when shooting the hole to Kong. The fight scene is cool and of course Godzilla overpowers Kong and knocks him out, leaving him to go off to fight MechaGodzilla.
Kong is dying is like I said, Godzilla has FIRE! And the only way to revive him is to restart Kong’s heart. If only they had a machine with enough juice to light Las Vegas. Oh wait! They do! Good thing the APEX CEO had mentioned that one he first met the professor about his new machines. They use it to restart his heart and he is up again.
Meanwhile MechaGodzilla has been going on a rampage and fighting Godzilla, being too much for him to handle (false in my book). Kong and Godzilla team up to fight, Godzilla superpowering Kong’s axe.
Meanwhile MechaGodzilla’s controls are trying to be hacked by Madison and co but they are extremely unsuccessful. Her friend has the idea to use Bernie’s flask of alcohol that he always has on him (for his last drink) and throws it on the controls, short circuiting him as Kong gives the final whack. Afte they defeat MechaGodzilla, Godzilla and Kong give each other a nod and decide not to fight, each going their own way.
We end the film with Madison running outside APEX and just happening to find her dad in a city of a bazillion people, where everyone has been running around scared. Meanwhile, Kong, Prof, & co all head to Hollow Earht for a a happily ever after
Yeah, this was way better than Godzilla (2014) but I think King of Monsters was a much better film with plot and action. This one was not only really plot heavy but only focused on Kong instead of the two of them. I also think the use of previous characters were nice but they didn’t really add much to the story. We could have had the same story without them. This film didn’t make me want to get my money back like Godzilla (2014) or Kong, but I also felt really meh about it all.
Kong’s god on the island, but the devils live below us
So even though I am posting this first I actually watched it last of the three Monsteverse films. In April of this year I went to visit my niece in Georgia and she wanted to go to the recently opened movie theater and watch King Kong Versus Godzilla. I didn’t really want to watch it as one is a large mammal (Kong) and the other a giant radioactive lizard that shoots fire out of its mouth (Godzilla), so it SUPER obvious to me as to who has the real advantage here, but I love my niece and we did what she wanted to do. What can I say? I love my nieces.
When I was flying home to CA, I was planning on watching Emma (2020), but they didn’t have subtitles for the film and there was no way I would be able to hear what was going on with the air system, the engine, and all other plane sounds, so I kept scrolling. I spotted Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and decided to check it out and fill in the blanks that I had from the other film.
I wasn’t really planning on watching the Kong film, as I love the original and nothing can hold a candle to it, but when Redbox sent me a free rental I decided to complete the trilogy of the Monsterverse.
Here we go:
So we start with logos and planes shooting at something . What’s going on? Is this supposed to be the end of the original film?
Oh, it is the South Pacific 1944, this must be WWII fighting noises. Planes fall, crash, and burn but one man survives by parachute. But not for long as he is on Skull Island.
Looks like an enemy has also survived and the two continue to fight. But I am wondering why they are in the South pacific? I always thought Kong was in the Atlantic, toward Africa on the Madagascar side?
We then see the footage like in the horrible Godzilla (2014) but Kong was already big before the radiation? So that doesn’t really make ay sense to me, but they also say that they are putting up satellites and seeing parts of the world never seen before, so I’m guessing that means finding Skull Island.
We are now in 1973, but why doesn’t this take place in present time? Why would they set in the 1970s when the previous 1970s Kong sucked?
So Monarch is not doing well with the war going on, as they want to go out and do an expedition. John Goodman is the Monarch employee pushing the expedition as he really wants to go to Skull Island. He shows all these pictures of destroyed ships and all I can think is why would you want to go to an island that destroys ships and they were unable to kill whatever is out there with bombs? What do you think you will find that will really help humankind?
But they convince the senator to let them when they dangle that the Russians will want to go there and of course the senator wants to beat them They piggy back on an already planned operation and manage to scoop up a military escort to help them get there.
Army troops are chilling as they wait for transport to go home and we see the leader of this platoon is Samuel L. Jackson; he is the only guy I recognize, who are all these young guys? I must be getting old.
The Lt. Commander is having a hard time fought against the Taliban and then see that it was all for naught with all that is happening in the middle east. He gets the call to see if he will help lead them, and he readily agrees.
Meanwhile, John Goodman and his second are in Saigon looking for a tracker in a brothel. Weird choice, but whatever.
The guide is Tom Hiddleston who shows he is a worthy teammate as he fights off the guys he is pool sharking. He agrees for the right price, like always seen in movies. This film so far has been like a 100 others
And they play every ‘70s period drama soundtrack with war film/war tendencies issues.
Then we have Brie Larsen photographer, ugh I’m not a fan of the actress. She’s joining the crew as she senses there is something up. Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and photographer Brie Larson have a moment when they know everything about each other why?
So far this feels like a mix between King Kong (2005), any treasure hunter movie ever, and King Kong (1976)
So far the only character I like is Chapman and I know he’s going to die soon. He has talked about his wie and son, he has a job all lined up for Delta after the war, he is the only one memorable
Samuel L. Jackson does the usual hold on to your butts line as they head out in the storm. Of course there is a storm, as what would the movie be without a storm?
This whole thing feels very Jurassic Park as they come down the helicopters amazed at the beauty.
So far all the animals are regular ones, nothing “monsterverse-y” The scientists do something with seimic charges, they didn’t really explain why or what for but they see something special and important, what we don’t know. Again this film is really boring.
One helicopter is taken the down with a tree, the other a giant ape hand. The destruction has begun. I wonder if he is going to be obsessed with Brie Larsen or the biologist?
Kong be tossing the copters around like children’s toys, while everyone is trying to make sense of what they are seeing. They shoot at him, but that just makes him madder.
They are split into two groups-Hiddleston, Larsen, numbr 2 scientist, John Goodman, and an army guy. The other group has Jackson, Chapman, Cole, and Goodman.
John Goodman’s character is insane. Samuel L. Jackson’s character figures out that he knows more than what he is saying and question him. It turns out that Goodman is like Quint from Jaws, he was the only survivor of a ship and knows it wasn’t destroyed in war but by a creature. He’s only there to get info, proof, and hunt it.
The group with Hidleston passes by a pond and sees a guant water Buffalo, finally some intresting creatures.
I think it is interesting that one group has all the military and the other has only one with all the civilians. Seems rather impractical.
Hiddleston and co come upon some kind of monumnt, and discover the natives. The guy from the beginning (now played by John C. Reilly) is still alive and hanging out with the natives. He’s kind of crazy. He’s basically like Allen from Jumanji but not as cool.
Chapman goes to the river to clean up and get water, when Kong sees him. Chapman hides behind a rock, but Kong lets it pass as he is trying to take care of his own wounds. I guess this will be a bonding moment of some kind?
This movie is actually really boring, like what is even the point. There isn’t anything new or that different. We see Kong fight some squid like thing, which is weird that this giant creature could survive in the river. But like why did they bother making this? It isn’t interesting and there is nothing we haven’t seen in a previous adaption.
John C. Reilly’s character tells the others that on the island they live in a perfect world where they live forever and have no crime. But I’m like yeah, but you also live on a desertd isld with prehistoric creatures that has no modern ok so I don’t know if it is really a strong trade off.
Again, this movie is boring. I mean the 2005 adaption wasn’t good but it had a interesting world and there was stuff happenig. Nothing happens here but Brie Larson taking pictures and Samuel L. Jackson’s character is slowly losing it.
How much longer if this movie? It’s boring.
Oh no, poor Chapman was resting on a log and it turned into a killer walking stick, don’t die Chapman, don’t die. He shoots at the beast but it runs off as there are these other creatures here, Skullcrushers. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO he’s dead.
Brie Larsen wants to take a long exposure photo but her flashlight broke, Why are you wasting up your batteries on a photo when you have to cross a crazy island? This character is annoying and useless, I hope she gets eaten, but unlike Chapman I know she won’t. Hiddleston shares about his family and I think the two are supposed to be together, but they have zero chemistry.
Whatever I’m already checked out of this film. I mean Godzilla (2014) sucked because they didn’t put Godzulla in as much as they should have, but at least they tried something new.
This movie is two hours but feels longer.
So the both groups met up with each other and are reunited (minus a few that died along the way). Jackson doesn’t want to go to the meet up point because Chapman never returned from his, but isn’t it obvious-he dead.
One of the skullcrushers vomits dog tags and we learn that Chapman is dead (knew it). John Goodman character is dumb enough to try and take photos and gets eaten. Everyone is trying to shoot and sniper except Reilly who uses the katana, yeah that seems to be a better weapon.
The army decides to go look for him, ignoring Reilly even though he’s been on the island for the last 30 years and a soldier, you think they would listen to what he says. They find the Elephant graveyard, oops I mean Skullcrusher graveyard/boneyard. It is not only a dangerous place but full of gaseous material as it is hazy and red. Of course, the Skull Crashers are alerted (by a cigarette causing a blowup) and now we enter the trailer material.
All of a sudden we have flam throwers, why didn’t they use those earlier?
Reilly is like we need to get out of here, but Jackson won’t leave without Chapman, Hiddleston tells him he’s dead but Jackson won’t listem, he wants to get the weapons from the crash site and kill all the creatures on the island.
I’m like why are they even fighting, just leave and head for the pickup point. If Jackson wants to die he can. Like I’m not getting the conflict here.
So Hiddleston and Brie run into Kong and Kong and Brie have a “connection”. Why? It doesn’t explain.
Instead of going to the pickup place they all decide to go back and try and save Kong from Jackson’s plan.
Kong and the army fight, but then mama skullcrusher comes and Kong fights her. I’m like too little too late. This is why every other Kong film has a cool epic fight earlier in the film instead if wasting time.
Kong wins. the remaining few leave on the boat and Kong goes back to his Kong duties.
But what about all that happened in the third film? How did the doctor find the island? What about the little girl from the island who could speak to Kong in sign language? How they build that giant enclosure for Kong where they watch him all day as if he was on The Truman show? What the heck guys? This movie was dumb and didn’t answer any of my questions! Ugh.What kind of stupid universe is this?
I’m so glad this was a free rental because if I had paid for this I would have been really, really mad.
So I LOVE Wilkie Collins. I feel in love with his work when I read The Woman in White, the title hooking me and the rest of the novel not disappointing me at all. That book has stuck with me, and when I first read it I devoured it!
Last year my sister and I started Period Drama Saturdays where we watch a period drama and have tea together. We had just fininshwd her pick of Victoria and it was my turn. I really wanted to watch The Woman in White, but Amazon had taken it down. While it didn’t have that Collins’ adaption it did offer The Moonstone.
I hadn’t read this book yet, but as it is considered by many to be the first detective novel, it is on my list.
However, I decided to watch it and I loved this production. My sister amd I planned on watching only two episodes, but couldn’t stop and finished the miniseries that night.
So the story starts with a paper puppet opening about how a giant diamond, “the moonstone” was stolen by a colonel when he was in India, and after his death it was to be passed to Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards) on her 18th birthdy.
Before her 18th birthday Rachel and her artist cousin Franklin Blake (cousin to Rachel) had seemed really close-he even planned to ask her to marry him. But after the theft of her diamond she refuses to talk to him and returns all his letters. Sergent Cuff tried to solve the case, but it metted out as all members dispersed.
It has been a year since the theft and Frank (Joshua Silver) decides he must figure out who stole it and solve it-in order to win Rachel’s heart again.
Frank must go back and question all who was there that night-taking us, the viewer, back to the night of the crime.
Thar night Rachel wore the diamond and it was commented on by all. At the party were the following people:
Lady Verinder (Sophie Ward), Rachel’s mother, is very devoted and loves her. But could she have been tempted by the giant diamond? After all, she was skipped over inheriting it for her daughter.
Drusilla Clack (Sarah Hadland) is a very “moral” person and is always throwing tracts about. When she first saw the diamond she mentioned she said if she had inherited it, she would use it for good, by selling it and giving the money to the poor. She is very intense in her beliefs, could she have justified taking it? She is also very interested in Godfrey Ablewhite, but Godfrey only wants needs someone with money. Could she have taken in the hope to get her man?
Godfrey Ablewhite (Stewart Clarke) is a handsome young man after Rachel. He has good “business prospects” but in reality he really wants a wealthy person to take care of him. Could he have decided to take the diamond instead of the girl? The two now are engaged, so it seems like he doesn’t have the diamond, unless he decided to take both-keeping the diamond for himself.
A trio of Indian men show up outside the party and refuse to leave. They call themselves the guardians of the moonstone and want it back. A lot of people think they are the thieves, but it turns out that they have remained in the country the whole year. If they had stolen the stone, then why didn’t they leave for India with it?
Mr. Murthwaite (Guy Henry) is an adventurer and knows an awful lot about the moonstone and the group of Indian men’s belief that the stone belongs to them. Is he a part of it? Did he hire the Indian trio to cause a smoke screen?
Not guests, but still preset were the butler Gabriel Betteredge (Leo Wringer) and Penelope Betteredge (Nisa Cole). They both love Rachel, Gabriel helped care for her and Penelope grew up with her. But could ome of them be tired of being a servant? Could the size of the Moonstone be too much for them to resist?
Detective Sergant Cuff (John Thomson) has discovered that one of the housemaids, Rosanna Spearman (Jane McGrath), used to be a thief prior to working in the house. She was also extremely attentive to Frank. Was she helping him as he is the one who was supposed to take the diamond to the bank for Rachel? Did she steal it to get his attention/love? Did the giant diamond lead her back to her former life?
Dr. Candy (Jeremy Swift) is the family doctor but he gives off a really creepy vibe. He gives Frank a sleeping draught that totally knocks him out. Did he do that so that Frank wouldn’t spot him stealing the diamond? Or maybe Ezra Jennings (Trevor Fox) his assistant, an opium addict, is the one that stole the precious gem.
Frank continues to search and tries his hardest to find out the truth, but will he be happy with the answers he discovers? And what about Frank? Is his reasons for finding the diamond altruistic, is he just after Rachel for is money, or has he been seduced by the stone as well?
A great story and a wonderful adaption. I strongly recommend watching this as it was really good! The ending also has a fantastic twist!
“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on! I killed you. Haunt me, then! Haunt your murderer! I know that ghosts have wandered on the Earth. Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life! I cannot die without my soul.”
The American posters for Wuthering Heights are super boring, while the foreign ones are all much more interesting, although I do like the one above a lot! I really love whoever decided to make Heathcliff green as he looks like a monster (or should I say Munster?).
When I was plotting out what filmto start Horrofest X with, I was, as usual, struggling. I always want to be sure the first post is a good one, a film that I adore or is special to me. This year the first film was supposed to be from the 1930s and as I started looking at 1930s films, I realized I had already reviewed a lot of my favorite 1930s horror films. On a whim I decided to search backwards, starting with the last year of the decade, 1939, and when I saw Wuthering Heights, I knew it was the perfect film to begin with.
Wuthering Heights (1939) is an adaption of the 19th century gothic novel of the same name, by Emily Brontë. It is a novel I was obsessed with as a tween and teen. I used to read this book over and over again, and I loved Heathcliff more than I should have. But you know teenage girls, they tend to be attracted to the bad boy who “only needs someone to truly show them love and care and then they will change their ways!” Not true at all, but I believed it, and believed it of Heathcliff (at least until I married one and realized that it was a mistake). I essentially was Isabella.
I still enjoy the book, although my ardor for Heathcliff is not as it was a tween/teen, as it is extremely well written and sucks you in from the moment Cathy taps on the windowpane. And this adaption is one that I haven’t seen in a while but have loved because of one truly handsome and amazing man, Laurence Olivier.
Laurence Olivier has always been one of my favorite actors and classic Hollywood heartthrobs and he truly does this part justice. Jane Austen fans should recognize him as the OG Darcy (and even though that film heavily strays from the book I love his version of Darcy as well). He never would have gotten that part if it wasn’t for this film, this one made him a star! Laurence Olivier was just fantastic in this as he can do the moody mcbroody parts so well.
Wuthering Heights is a book where the characters all have issues with each other and spend a majority of time fighting or upset with each other. The process of making this film was another one of those cases of “life imitating art” as the cast spent a lot of time behind the scene not getting along at all. This film was directed by William Wyler and he and Laurence Olivier argued a lot. Olivier really resented his directing style of doing multiple takes with slight differences, (prior to this Olivier had done little film acting and more stage work). Later on, he credited Wyler for a lot of growth, but at the time he was heavily annoyed.
Merle Oberon and Olivier also had a rocky relationship. The two had gotten along in a previous film shoot, but spent this one yelling and arguing with each other whenever filming stopped and could not stand each other.
David Niven and Wyler historically did not get along and Niven was dreading this film. At one point Wyler was upset that Niven wouldn’t cry, and wanted to do repeated takes until he did; but Niven told him he had a no crying clause in his contract. Wyler made him get a copy of the contract to prove that this was true. Niven and Oberon also hated working with each other as the two had a romance go sour.
Merle Oberon did not care for working with Wyler as well as his methods of perfection and pushing his actors and actresses rivals Stanley Kuberick. One rain scene he made Oberon do over and over again until she became so sick she vomited and had a fever. When she came back from the hospital he immediately began pushing her as he had before, but she refused to film the scene unless heaters were brought in to protect her health.
You’ll also notice that the clothing is not accurate to the time period as the director changed the clothing to be the 1840s instead of early 1800s as he liked those fashions better.
Samuel Goldwyn Mayer wanted to change the story too as he thought it was too dark for a romance, luckily this suggestion was not accommodated. I used to think Wuthering Heights was a romance, but now as an adult having experienced someone like Heathcliff but worse, the real romance of Wuthering Heights, is the spooky elements and the mysterious moors.
I haven’t seen this movie in years, but I remember really enjoying it. I know it isn’t your typical “horror film”, but I’m counting it as it has Gothic elements, ghosts, and plenty of psychopaths/sociopaths. I know a lot of people talk about Heathcliff’s behavior and dislike him, but to be honest he really doesn’t deserve as much hate as he gets as every character in this film is a truly terrible person.
The film starts off with the credits but use such romantic music, light and airy-but this manor holds mystery, decay, and trouble.
“Only a stranger lost in a storm would dare knock on the door of Wuthering Heights”.
The story begins with poor Mr. Lockwood. He’s a tenant that started renting on Heathcliff’s land to get away from people. Now he’s lost in a blizzard about to go on a ghostly adventure.
In the house is Heathcliff, scowling, angry, harsh and as cold as the blizzard Mr. Lockwood came in from. This is also a woman, Mrs. Heathcliff, in the home, hard and worn-as weathered as the home they live in. I love this imagery.
Mr. Lockwood is trying to make the best of the rudeness received at the house but you can tell he’s like these people are strange. That night he struggles with sleep, especially when one of the shutters come open. He hears a woman crying and she grabs his hand and holds it tight.
Frightened he calls for Heathcliff who storms over. Mr. Lockwood tells Heathcliff, who screams and pushes him out-pulling open the shutter and calling to “her” again. He’s so sad and brokenhearted, making you feel for Heathcliff.
Mr. Lockwood is shocked and the housekeeper Nelly tells him that Heathcliff is searching for the girl, Cathy, who died many years ago. Mr. Lockwood doesn’t believe in ghosts, but thinks he is just seeing things. Nelly then decides to tell him the story of what happened all those years ago.
We then go back to 40 years earlier, when Wuthering Heights was a bright and happy place. Wuthering Heights was never a truly happy place in the book. It was less miserable, true, but the late Mr. Earnshaw was not a kind man at all and produced a horrible son who then abuses his sister and Heathcliff. This house has housed misery for so long time; it is seeped into the bones of the manor.
Mr. Earnshaw returns from his trip to Liverpool and instead of just bringing gifts back he also brings a boy-dark skinned, dirty, a “gypsy” child. Mr. Earnshaw kindly admonishes his children for their rude behavior to Heathcliff and all I can think is this Earnshaw is nothing like the Earnshaw in the book. He puts Heathcliff in Hindley’s room, and Hindley is none too pleased about that.
Mr. Earnshaw has been coughing an awful lot ever since he returned home. You all know what that means-he’s on death’s door. He’s not long for this world.
Heathcliff and Cathy get along swimmingly, racing horses and getting into all kinds of mischief. In one game, Heathcliff wins the race against Cathy and wins her as his slave. His joy quickly ends as Hindley, resentful of the love Heathcliff receives from his father and hating the ire he gets, bullies him. He takes his horse from him, reminding him again he will never be anything as he is a nobody, an orphan; he doesn’t even have a last name. And in a time when where you came and your opportunities from were all tangled up in name and family; Heathcliff has nothing. And he is in a system where he will never be able to achieve or grasp anything-unless he does it in slightly illegal ways. In a lot of ways Heathcliff makes me think of Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Both are single minded and have an obsession with their first love. Both will do anything possible to get a position of power, wealth, status-even if they need to do it in illegal ways. Both have no qualms using others to get what they want-Heathcliff is just more rude and cruel about his methods lashing out in pain instead of living in denial.
Heathcliff and Hindley fight with Cathy defending Heathcliff and turning against her brother. Hindley beats Heathcliff up, although it is really badly choreographed. Heathcliff is angry and it is pretty odd but I have another comparison. The child actor who played Heathcliff is amazingly spot on, he does a fantastic jobbut the way he and Hindley interacted right now-it makes me think if a mafia movie like The Godfather. The way Heathcliff is so calm and cool-he’s another Michel Corleone.
Heathcliff is calmly furious, which is extremely frightening, and is prepared to wait and find a way to do anything possible to make Hindley pay. If I was Hindley, I would be very, very afraid.
Cathy wants to have fun, but Heathcliff only wants revenge! Cathy does finally convince him and they ride off together. The two play together with Heathcliff pretending to be Cathy’s prince, and it is a super cute scene that really gives you a view into their relationship and friendship.
Of course this isn’t a gothic story without some tragedy. Mr. Earnshaw dies and all happiness is gone from the home. Heathcliff wants to see Mr. Earnshaw, but Hindley is the master now and will not let Heathcliff. He also kicks Heathcliff out to the stables. Poor Heathcliff is sad and alone and crying. It breaks my heart-poor Heathcliff.
With Hindey as the master, the whole house is plunged into darkness and despair. Hindley and Cathy do well and are dressed well, with Heathcliff becoming Cinderfella, a slave-dressed in rags. Heathcliff listens and obeys, but you can see the rebellion in his eyes-he’s biding his time for one day…
Laurence Oliver is such a handsome man. You can pout him in dirt and rags, but he still is a shining star.
As soon as Hindley leaves each day Heathcliff and Cathy are off to runningin the moors in their special place. Aw, they seem so sweet and happy together. Too bad it won’t last.
Cathy decides to try and “encourage” Heathcliff by insulting his appearance and manhood. She questions why he doesn’t just leave and go somewhere else. And I’m like, girl really? Why do you think he stays here?
Heathcliff is super romantic “I could never part from you”; while Cathy is all “get rich and come take me away.” The two are in two totally different mindsets with Heathcliff all focused on the emotional, and while Cathy is emotional she is also much more practical. The only way she will ever be able to leave Wuthering Heights, her brother, this despair; is through marriage. And the only way she get Hindley’s blessing or survive with nothing from him is if they have money.
Heathcliff begs her to run off with him now, but she declines. You know some people would say she doesn’t really love him or is just using him, but I like that she recognizes a life without privilege as a woman is hard and that is not the life for her. She wants to be with her love, but even more so she also wants to be taken care of. You know there is a big difference between being punished by your brother and sleeping in he stables for a night or two (which she has done) and having to live in stables because you have no money and no connections. Her practicality reminds me a lot of Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice, and her choice of money over love of Mr. Willoughby. Although she is much better than Mr. Willoughby as she made it clear to her partner what she needed and wasn’t running around taking advantage of others. Heathcliff is very Marianne in the way he doesn’t really think about what will happen next, how will they survive?
Heathcliff vows to stay and be treated cruelly if it means they can be together. He gives an oath, but Cathy ignores it as she hears music and goes to their neighbors the Lintons. The two hop a fence to get a closer look, but awaken the guard dogs. They try to hop back over the fence but one of the dogs runs at Cathy’s leg and injures her, Heathcliff being a fights the dogs off with his bare hands. WOW!
The party come out and of course they take Cathy in and treat Heathcliff like dirt, trying to keep him from coming in-but he breaks through to se her. Everyone treats him horrible, and Cathy even tells him to go. Heathcliff is furious about his treatment and vows to leave, but will come back and bring ruin everyone’s head. I know we aren’t supposed to root for him as his quest to of vengeance on all these who have wronged him turns him into a crooked cruel man, but after the way they treated him I follow what he’s tracking.
Anyways, Heathcliff gives his strong amazing poetic vow to bring ruin to them all-and let me tell you Heathcliff has style. He knows how to command a room and do it right. He storms out in a powerful exit.
Cathy recuperates at the Linton home and when she returns she has had a lot of her wild ways “calmed”. Cathy returns surprised to hear that Heathcliff isn’t gone. He tried but he couldn’t be away from her. Cathy cruelly insults him and shares that the Linton house was so much better. Heathcliff sees the divide between them and does not like this, storming out.
Edgar is such a pompous jerk and insults Heathcliff. Cathy does not like it; she is the only one who can demean him. Being back in the house the real her comes out and her wild ways have all come out. She yells and screams at Edgar Linton and kicks him out of the house.
Cathy then runs off to her room crying. She removes the Linton from her (taking off Isabelle Linton’s borrowed dress) and puts her old clothes on, old self, and runs to meet Heathcliff in their special spot. The wealthy items tossed for plain, showing Heathcliff she chooses him-but does she?
The two cling tighter on the hill, but all I can think is not for long, They pick heather, but while the scene is beautiful and romantic, like the flowers you know that this will not last forever.
Poor Edgar is not run off by Cathy’s bad behavior, he tries to win her by sending gifts and begs her to see him. Cathy agrees to have him over and she really enjoys the way she has manipulated him and all I can think is poor Edgar, poor little soul. Heathcliff has heard Edgar is coming over and he’s furious, even more so by the airs she puts on and stating that he has no control over her-he’s just a stable boy.
Cathy continues to break his heart calling him a beggar, dirty, etc He slaps her and leaves running right into Edgar. Oh no, things are going to get bad-but instead of fighting Heathcliff runs out into the rain to the stable. Morose and alone.
Heathcliff hides out in the stable until Edgar leaves. He returns to the house hands bloody from him trying to cute the “dirt and soil and lower class from them”. Nelly hides Heathcliff when Cathy comes down, as Heathcliff doesn’t want her to know how her words cut at his heart. But Cathy shares that Edgar asked her to marry him and that she loves him because he is handsome, rich, and pleasant. Nelly asks about Heathcliff, and Cathy shares she wished Heathcliff never came back. She wants to be free from the cold depressing life at Wuthering Heights and Edgar is the way for her to do it . They actually do Cathy a lot of injustice in this film, making her seem like a gold digger, when Hindley was horrible to live with. Cathy is a awful person, but she is in a horrible life and is trying to get out the only way she knows how.
Heathcliff runs away and Cathy follows trying to find him. Hindley comes home drunk and doesn’t care wanting to drink to celebrate the departure of Heathcliff. Edgar finds Cathy and brings her to his home.
Cathy recuperates at the Linton’s and Edgar does all her can for her. Poor guy, he’s so sweet and such a fool. He thinks that Cathy could actually love him and not just what he could provide for her-what a delusional man and a poor sad man. Cathy vows to be his wife and treat him well and that she will ever kiss another man (lies, all lies!)
The two are married and Catherine has everything she ever wanted: free from Wuthering Heights, among people who do not like confrontation and are always pleasant, the leading lady of the area, money, power, status, …yet she isn’t happy. Something unsettles her. Something cold is coming…
Cathy loved being lady of the manor and living with the Linton’s. Edgar is trying to marry Isabella off, but she finds all the men weak and boring. A kind peaceful night is interrupted when an old lover returns. Heathcliff has returned from America with money. He wants to see Cathy and she refuses knowing that with their love she won’t be able to resist him. Love? Or obsession? Edgar, however, makes her see him. He’s so secure in his love and affections, what a fool.
Heathcliff walks in even more handsome than before, clothes, hair, and style. He gazes upon Cathy with love and desire in his eyes. They ask how he has become so wealthy and he tells them he claimed his “princely fortune,” reminding her of all they used to say in their games. He also drops a bigger emotional bomb; he is the owner of Wuthering Heights. Hindley is a drunken fool that gambled everything away.
Step one of his revenge plot had started. Step two and three is to destroy Edgar and Cathy Linton. Now I feel for Edgar but he is also such a pompous jerk that he makes me want to slap him. He goes on about poor Hindley losing his home, him having his property stolen. It wasn’t stolen from him, he held it in so little esteem that he gambled it away. That’s life, plus Hindley is one if the most horrible people in this book (he’s not as present in the film) so I don’t gel bad. If it was me I would have kicked him out. Heathcliff actually acts with way more class that Edgar has and leaves.
Oh no, Isabella has fallen for Heathcliff and defends him against her brother and sister-in-law. Edgar tries to stop it, but is too late. She can’t resist that bad boy “that just needs love to fix him”. Don’t do it Isabella, don’t do it!
Wuthering Heights is now Heathcliff’s home and he lets Hindley stay, but he has to be in the stables, just like when Heathcliff was a boy. My how have the turntables turned?
Oliver looks so hot in this film, he’s too distracting in his long coat. His intense gaze is so hypnotic I can’t look away. I don’t even know what he is saying; I’m lost in his dreaminess.
The business is interrupted when a lady comes to see him. He thinks it will be Cathy but is disappointed to see Isabella. Isabella came to the house as she was riding in the moors and her “horse went lame” and she “just happened” to be nearby. Poor foolish Isabella. She has this imagined view of who she thinks Heathcliff is, silly girl.
Isabella tries to endear herself to Heathcliff letting him know that she defended him, she cares for him, she can help heal his broken heart. She just lays it all out, shoots her shot. Poor romantic fool. Heathcliff recognizes what is really happening, he did from the beginning, and calls her out. Unfortunately he knows being with Isabella will help his revenge and woos her to get back at Edgar for his treatment and at Cathy for marrying another. Heathcliff don’t you know a path of revenge will only be a sad and troubled road.
The next scene the Linton’s are having a party and Heathcliff waltzes in, being the fine looking man he is. Isabella cheers and is so pleased to see him. Poor foolish girl.
At the party all Heathcliff can do is stare at Cathy and it takes every ounce of willpower for her not to stare back, often breaking as she cannot resist him.
Isabella waltzes with someone and Cathy and Heathcliff sneak away to talk. He tries to get her to admit she cares for him, but she refuses. She insists she loves Edgar and only him, but Cathy is not a good liar-anyone can see that isn’t true. The two have a line here when he tells her he came because she willed him to come from across the sea. Again I never noticed it before but again is very similar to The Great Gatsby. Gatsby thinks the same thing looking at her green light imagining it is a secret sign for the two of them.
Heathcliff: If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime he couldn’t love you as much as I do in a single day. Not he. Not the world. Not even you, Cathy, can come between us.
Cathy: Heathcliff, you must go away. You must leave this house and never come back to it. I never want to see your face again or listen to your voice again as long as I live.
Heathcliff: You lie! Why do you think I’m here tonight? Because you willed it. You willed me here across the sea.
That night Cathy comes to talk to Isabella and Isabella won’t listen. Cathy tries to warn her that Heathcliff doesn’t care and is just using her, but Cathy comes in yelling and screaming and just sounding like a jealous shrew, and she is jealous. Its so obvious to everyone watching, even to Edgar.
Cathy returns home and speaks to Edgar, but they are too late. Isabella has left and eloped with Heathcliff. Edgar is resigned and Cathy is crazed begging him to stop the wedding-killing Heathclff if necessary and for the first tim Edgar sees that he never really knew Cathy and is seeing her for the first time.
Unfortunately, poor Isabella gets no fairy tale ending- just darkness, despair, and decrepitness. Her innocence, lightness, gayess, etc all gone. The doctor tries to get Isabella to go home, letting her know that Cathy is sick and dying. Isabella is glad at that news, shocking the doctor as she thinks with Cathy gone they might have a chance of happiness.
Poor Isabella, she deserved better. She tries so hard to get his love, but gets nothing. He treats her bad because she isn’t Cathy, ignoring her and not treating her like the pretty little doll everyone did. Instead of pushing her away it makes her more clingy and desperate, what Heathcliff can’t stand.
Nelly comes to get Isabella as Cathy is dying and Isabella does not care. But Heathcliff run to his lady love. Cathy is dying and the one place she truly wants to be, with Heathciff.
Heathcliff storms into the house and runs to his lady love who is wasting away. Cathy dies but befoe she goes they kiss (she broke her vow). Heathcliff spurts out in anger releasing all that has fueled him through the years. Angry she choose money over love, she choose Edgar the unpassionate, etc. He throws curses.
We then bounce back to the present as Nelly finishes her story. Mr. Lockwood still doesn’t believe them. The doctor comes to see Hindley and shares he saw Heathcliff out there in the snow with a woman, but when he caught up to them he only found Heathcliff’s body. Yes, Heathcliff and Cathy are finally reunited in death.
So this film was very well written and had an amazing cast. They did cut out a lot of the book and removed the massive amount of cruelty these people inflict on each other to instead focus more on the romance. If you love gothic films and Wuthering Heights, you should definitely give this a watch. If you love gothic films and Wuthering Heights, you should definitely give this a watch.
So that is it for the first post of Horrorfest X. It was quite a challenge as all technology was failing me-it I will persevere. Stay tuned for more!