I had never heard of this film, but if it has Vincent Price you know I’m all over it.
Then I watched it and saw it is one of the best horror films ever made, with everything you could want:
So do you dare continue on?
So the film starts off with the scariest opening I have ever seen. All we have is a black screen and screaming from men and women.
Can you imagine hearing that full volume in a darken theater?
I can imagine people were freaking out.
We then are met by Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.) who warns us about the house and how we should stay away:
Watson Pritchard:The ghosts are moving tonight, restless… hungry. May I introduce myself? I’m Watson Pritchard. In just a moment I’ll show you the only really haunted house in the world. Since it was built a century ago, seven people, including my brother, have been murdered in it. Since then, I’ve owned the house. I only spent one night then and when they found me in the morning, I… I was almost dead.
We then cut to wealthy businessman Fredrick Loren (Vincent Price). He has rented the House on Haunted Hill for a party,
inviting five people to attend and promising them each $10,000 if they stay the whole night.
As soon as they pull up to the house, strange things begin happening. A chandelier almost kills a guest when it falls,
And another guest gets knocked unconscious,
And it doesn’t stop there. It turns out that all is not happy with the Loren life. Fredrick is angry with his wife as he believes her to be a gold digger and trying to murder him.
Frederick Loren: Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?
Annabelle Loren: [laughs] Something you ate, the doctor said.
Frederick Loren: Yes, arsenic on the rocks…[grabs Annabelle] Annabelle, you’d do it again if you thought you’d get away with it, wouldn’t you?
But Annabelle (Carole Ohmart) says that he is a jealous, crazy psychopath who has already killed three wives and is going to add her to his dead list.
Annabelle Loren: My husband is sometimes insane with jealousy. Nothing matters to him!
Lance Schroeder: Would he hurt you?
Annabelle Loren: He would kill me if he could…You know, of course, that I’m his fourth wife. The first simply disappeared; the other two died…All his doctors said heart attacks. Two girls in their 20s. Lance… I don’t want to join them.
Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? And which is a killer?
We are given the history of the house with its gruesome murders, from beheadings to being thrown in acid.
They are locked in with no way out, one guest is nearly strangled to death, one having a nervous breakdown, and one murdered!
Which one is the killer? Or is it a ghost?
Watch it yourself to find out. I will not ruin the ending of this masterpiece.
So I hope you all had a great Halloween. Mine was pretty good, and I had an awesome costume. I was a ghostbuster, and designed a suit and proton pack; making it as close to the film as possible, but using a name patch with my own last name. In fact, I plan on wearing it every Friday the 13th. Awesome right?
So I’m sure you all have been wondering, what was going on with Horrorfest? I missed days, posted unedited pieces, and only completed 28/31 posts. Well, October was really full. I had two weddings; both of my cats were injured within two days of each other and I had to take them to the vet for stitches, having to monitor them, administer medicine twice a day, and change their box constantly; worked my usual jobs; went to the Back to the Future trilogy at my local cinema; and I had a graduation for one of my works, and more.
And that’s just the tip of it. I also had some family issues that came up, causing me less time to work on this.
So I am sorry for the delays and unfinished work, next year I promise it won’t be like that. Next year will mark my fifth Horrorfest, and I’m planning to go all out for it.
So as there are only three posts that weren’t done, I am going to finish writing and posting them. After I do so I will update this post with those completed works. So let’s go to our Horrorfest wrap-up!
So this year I reviewed 23 films, 4 TV episodes, and had 2 editorials.
So one thing I noticed about this year was that my first Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1962, in the second Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1954, in the third Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1941, and this year’s first post was made in 1931. 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, and 1930s. I did that all without realizing it. Pretty cool, huh?
So this year I ended up with quite a few themes. The first being mad scientists; this occuring in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, along with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Classic literature once again proved to be a prime place to find film adaptations perfect for Horrorfest. This year we had Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Study in Scarlet, and The Brothers’ Grimm Fairy Tales.
Aliens were also a big theme this year. There was Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Alien vs. Predator, a Twilight Zone episode, The Iron Giant,Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Total Recall.
I also thought that doing three Alfred Hitchcock films was something I should continue. This year I reviewed Jamaica Inn, The 39 Steps; and after talking about it for three years, I finally reviewed Psycho.
This year I decided that every Friday would be a TV show review: choosing episodes from The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Twilight Zone, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Midsomer Murders.
I also had the theme of boyfriends/husbands/wives who are more than what they seem. These were Dangerous Crossing, The Screaming Skull, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Rosemary’s Baby, Gaslight,The Stepford Wives, and Total Recall.
We also had quite a few robots. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, The Iron Giant, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and The Stepford Wives.
Witches made a comeback; in Rosemary’s Baby and the Midsomer Murders episode.
And after reading every year how I really, really, really wanted to do a famous Vincent Price thriller/horror/mystery; well guys you don’t have to hear me whine anymore, I finally did it with The Bat. Yay!!
So for those who have missed it, here is everything in Horrorfest IV:
They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next, You’re next…!
One day my family and I were driving home from somewhere, and my mom pointed to a house on our street and said how much she hated going by it. I asked her why, and she said the big pods on their tree made her think of the film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and how the pod people came for everyone.
I had no idea what she was talking about as I had never seen the film before.
A couple of years later, I was at a yard sale (the same one where I found The Stepford Wives (1975), and I spotted this film. The whole conversation about the pod people and our neighbor’s tree came rushing back to me and I knew I needed to buy this film and watch it.
So first let me say, with a name like Invasion of the Body Snatchers how can you go wrong? I mean seriously, I love this movie. I watch it every year around this particular holiday. It is an amazing cinematic piece.
There are also numerous studies into it’s portrayal of women’s and men’s roles in the 1950s (of which I am going to ignore because I think a lot of what people write about on this is stupid) and the prevalent McCarthyism. Yes, it is time for a little history.
So two years ago when I reviewed The Crucible, I discussed a little bit on how Rather Miller took a historical subject and tried to show the negative effects McCarthyism had. How it created witch hunts and caused people to turn in friends to save themselves from losing everything; causing us to side and relate more to the accused witches then those who were “righteous” (the ministers and good townsfolk/Joe McCarthy). Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the flip side of that. In this it show how something can sneak into a town (Communism) and destroy everything we hold dear with its atheism, value of group over individual, etc.
Now enough with that, let’s watch the film!
I love the opening creepy music with the credits. I know I have said it in nearly every post, but truth is, I just can’t say that enough. These old movies really knew how to set atmosphere.
So we open with cars speeding all over and a man screaming.
We hear a siren as the cops pick up a man they believe to be a real loon. , a siren call the doctor as they believe they’ve found a real looney. The man says he is Dr. Miles J. Bennell,Kevin McCarthy, a doctor from Santa Mira, CA.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: I AM NOT INSANE!
[guards grab him]
Dr. Hill: Let him go!
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Listen, Doctor, now you must listen to me, you must understand me, I’m a doctor too, I am not insane! I am NOT insane!
We then have a flashback as Dr. Miles is prepared to share his story.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Well, it started, for me it started last Thursday, in response to an urgent message from my nurse I’d hurried home from a medical convention I’d been attending. At first glance, everything lookedthe same, it wasn’t, something evil had taken possession of the town.
His nurse Sally picks him up at the station and relays to him how so many patients have been coming in, they won’t say what is bothering them, but were all willing to forgo seeing another doctor, instead waiting on him to return.
Becky Driscoll, Dr. Miles old high school and college sweetheart is one of the people who came to see him. Miles is surprised she is here as she married five years ago and moved to England with her husband, never visiting. He is also pleased as he still is interested in her. what she doing back?
As they are driving to the office, they almost hit a little boy. It is Jimmy Grimaldi, who would rather risk getting hit by a car than face whatever he is running from. When they stop him, his mom says it is because he is afraid of school. He must really be afraid if he’s running in traffic to get away.
Dr. Miles doesn’t think much of it. He heads on to his office and when he gets there he and Nurse Sally discover that there are six canceled appointments. Nurse Sally finds this so strange as they were begging to be seen.
Nurse Sally feel bad for calling him when it seems he is no longer needed. Dr. Miles looks outside the window and sees Santa Mira the same as usual.
Becky Driscoll, Dr. Miles’ old sweetheart, comes to see him. She is calling on him for help with her cousin Wilma. She doesn’t believe her uncle is really her uncle. Becky visited him and sees no difference, but Wilma insists he is not the same man.
Dr. Miles finds it odd, but is actually more interested in Becky and what has been going on in her life. Becky has recently returned home after a stint in Reno. Surprisingly, Miles was there not to long ago himself. And back then, Reno was code for D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Becky left her husband, for reasons unexplained. Miles lost his wife due to him being a very busy, doctor.
Miles runs into little Jimmy as he is walking home. This time he is with his grandma who reveals that Jimmy’s mother was lying earlier. Jimmy isn’t afraid of school, but his mom. He says she isn’t the same person.
Grandma Grimaldi: School isn’t what upsets him, it’s my daughter-in-law. He’s got the craziest idea she isn’t his mother.
Jimmy Grimaldi: [in hysterics] She isn’t! She isn’t! Don’t let her get me!
Dr. Miles doesn’t think much of it. Kids always have stages where they are running from home or hate their parents. He gives a sedative, and tells the grandma to keep him for the night.
Yes, present day Dr. Miles is mentally kicking himself for not realizing the sings and seeing that things were not right.
While he doesn’t think it is too serious, Dr. Miles decides to investigate Wilma’s case, He sees and speaks to Ira, completely certain that it is Ira. But Wilma still isn’t convinced it is him. He acts like Ira, looks like Ira, knows everything about Ira and her, but there is something missing. Almost like the love between them is gone.
Wilma is afraid she is going crazy, but Dr. Miles calms her down. He wants her to see a psychiatrist, not because she is insane, but because there might be a deeper issue here. you aren’t.
When he leaves, Dr. Miles finds everything very odd. Sick people wanting to see me, suddenly “well” , little boy saying his mom isn’t his mom; and a niece saying her uncle not uncle.
That night Becky and Miles make plans for dinner. When walking into the restaurant, they bump into two other doctors in the parking lot. One a psychiatrist, Dr. Dan ‘Danny’ Kauffman. He shares what is going on, and Dr. Danny says that the whole town is experiencing the same type of “mass hysteria”. Miles finds this strange, what could be causing a whole town to act that way?
They go in for dinner, but there is no one in the restaurant. It used to be packed out everyday, but now no one is going out. Strange. Before they can eat, Jack Belicec calls saying it is an emergency.
When he gets there, Jack and wife Teddy aren’t sick. Why would they call?
Jack Belicec: Will you be able to quit being a doctor for a while?
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Why?
Jack Belicec: I don’t want you to call the police right away.
They go in side. I love this scene. The way it is shot, the way it is set up in lighting, the actors, oooh it is a favorite of mine.
Miles looks on the table Pulls sheet off dun dun dun aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He studies the body on the table.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Who is he?
Jack Belicec: I have no idea.
There is no face really, it’s as if they have all the parts but no details, no lines, no character, bland, no fingerprints, as if he is not completed. Like a dummy or a mannequin.
Jack Belicec: Like it is waiting for the final face to be stamped on
Teddy Belicec: But who’s face?! Who’s Face?!!! [After she’s had a drink] Who’s face Miles?
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: I don’t know.
Teddy Belicec: How tall would you say he is?
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: About 5’10.
Teddy Belicec: And how much does he weigh?
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: 140 lbs
Teddy Belicec: Jack’s 5’10 and weighs 140 lbs.
Jack is startled by this and cuts his hand on a glass. Jack thinks it is nonsense to believe that thing wants to be him, but Teddy is freaked out and scared.
Becky wants to call the police, but Miles doesn’t as he doesn’t know what to say. He wonders if it is connected to everything else weird that has been going on, what the psychologist called mass hysteria.
Jack stays up to watch what this guy will do, deciding to call the police if nothing happens, and if something does, call Miles.
Miles takes Becky home. He hides it from her as doesn’t want to worry her, but he is scared.
Mass hysteria does not explain that body.
He drops Becky off and goes in for the kiss, when Becky’s dad comes up the stairs. Why is he in the basement so late at night? He says doing things in his shop, but that’s kind of unusual.
Jack falls asleep when keeping vigil and Teddy goes over to look at the body. It now looks just like Jack, even down to the scratch. It starts to move and she freaks out, both running out to see Miles.
They then call Dr. Danny. When he answers the phone he seems really reluctant to come. It’s so weird as if the doctor was calling in the night, for something, you know it has to be serious. Miles is about to make coffee when Jack asks if Becky is okay.
Miles passes his open basement and knows. He doesn’t know how or why, but he knows something was going on in Becky’s basement, her dad is somehow involved, and he must save her!
Miles rushes over and breaks into the house. He goes around the basement, and finds a body that looks like Becky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He creeps upstairs, searching for her room. He tries to wake her up, but she is in too deep of sleep so he carries her out the door.
At Miles’ house they talk to Dr. Danny, but he doesn’t believe them. He needs to see one of the “bodies”. They go back to Jack’s house, but find nothing. Only a blood spot. Danny keeps going on about how rational everything could be. A person killed, no fingerprints because took them off with acid, etc. Miles angry that he is not listening! IT IS NOT A REGULAR BODY!!!!!
They all head over to Becky’s house, and sneak down in the basement, but there is nothing there. Dr. Danny thinks it is all in their minds
The cops come, as Becky’s dad called them. He yells at them for not reporting a body. They try to to tell him it was a different body, but he shuts them up saying he’s just seen it. And then goes on to describe the body, using everything that Dr. Danny said.
Now that is really odd. How did he know that was the body they found? And how did he know exactly what the psychologist said to explain the strangeness of the body. It is as if the two are connected or reading from the same script. Very odd, very, very, very odd indeed.
They all go home convinced that it is nothing after all. The next day, Becky is making breakfast when they hear a big thumping in the basement. It is the gas man.
Becky and Miles are growing closer together, but interrupted by Jack and Teddy who had also stayed the night. Jack and Teddy ask to stay for a few more days as they are both still a bit freaked.
Miles is walking to his office when he is stopped by Wilma. She says not to worry as she is completely recovered from whatever she thought was going on with her uncle Ira. She woke up this morning completely fine. He tells her to call Becky at his house and relay the good news.
When he gets to his office he has another surprise, in the reception room little Jimmy is with his mother, happy and well.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: [voice-over narration] But driving home I had a lot of questions and no answers. How could Jimmy and Wilma be so normal now. Surely I had done nothing to cure them. Maybe they wanted me to feel secure but why?
Miles comes home to a BBQ. They are trying to grill steaks but the grill won’t light right so Miles goes into the greenhouse to get something. There we see the pods!!!!!!!!! They are cracking open and reveal bodies inside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He goes back to put the gas lighter away and sees them!!!!!!!! He starts creaming for Jack, and all come over. They start looking at them when Miles, being a doctor he has an analytical mind, starts theorizing that they must be from another place, another planet. They copy people and then terminate the original.
Jack want to destroy them all but Miles stops him, as there is no danger right away. Teddy points out, the body didn’t change until Jack fell asleep.
That’s right, the original Nightmare on Elm Street, warning you don’t fall asleep.
Are alien pod people scarier then him? I’d have to say yes.
Teddy asks if there is any difference between orginal and copy. There is as the emotions aren’t quite right. Jimmy’s mother, Wilma’s Uncle, Becky’s dad….
Miles believes they can stop it. They just need to make some calls and them check every building and person in Santa Mira. But that’s when Miles realizes, it is too late for Santa Mira. He thinks about the way the police acted, Danny the psychologist….they are all a part of it.
He goes to the operator and tries to call the FBI in Los Angeles, but the switchboard tells him they are not answering. In fact, all Los Angeles circuits are dead. They try Sacramento, but all are busy. They will call him back.
They got to the telephone operators!!!
Miles makes a new plan. He wants Jack and Teddy to head out of town and get help. He has to stay because they will call back, and if he isn’t there, they will end up blocking the roads. Jack doesn’t want to leave, but Miles urges him on, that he is their only hope.
Becky stay with Miles, waiting by the phone as Miles destroys the pods. After that, Miles realizing they can’t wait around, they need to get out of there too. He stops to get gas, and tries to call on a pay phone, when he sees the gas operator putting something in his trunk!
Pods! He’s in on it too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They drive a little, stop, and then toss them out, Miles lighting them up with a flare. He continues to see his Nurse Sally. But it is too late, she has been turned. The police chief is also there, waiting.
Miles and Becky take off, with a APB put out on them and everyone on the look out for Miles and Becky. They are the only normal ones left in the whole town!!!!!!
Miles and Becky drop the car off in a used car lot, and run to his office.
There they take some drugs to stay awake as they wait for Jack and Teddy to save them all. The phone keeps ringing in his office, as the two are waiting. But they don’t answer as they know it is the town looking for them.
The next morning they see everyone out in about in the town, being “normal”, but it is 7:30 in the morning. Way too much activity for this early. They see that the cops have been waiting for the bus to arrive, taking any newcomers away to pod them up.
Trucks come in, all farm family trucks, the ones who closed down their stalls and such. They stopped growing real food and are growing pods, preparing to take them to the surrounding towns. An INVASION!!!!
Miles, I cant wait any longer preparing to help. Becky doesn’t want him to go, and as two are arguing, the door handle is twisting!!!!
They hear Jack, and open it to let him in, he being followed by the psychologist. Too late, as he was captured and has been turned too. Everyone has been except Miles & Becky. They tell him not to fight it but, join them.
Dr. Dan ‘Danny’ Kauffman: Love, desire, ambition, faith – without them, life’s so simple, believe me.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: I don’t want any part of it.
Dr. Dan ‘Danny’ Kauffman: You’re forgetting something, Miles.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: What’s that?
Dr. Dan ‘Danny’ Kauffman: You have no choice.
They lock them up in a room with the pods in the others, waiting until they finally fall asleep. Miles grabs a knife, but quickly throws that idea away as he is not enough to go against three. Becky is prepared to help, two against three; but Miles has come up with a new plan. He locks one door, and then goes around, surprising them and stabbing them with needles full of drugs. When the third one comes in, the cop, Becky takes him down.
They try to sneak out the back door, but it padlocked. They go out the front, pretending to be emotionless zombies.
However, Becky ends up giving it away, when she sees a dog almost get hit by a car.
So a lot of people go on about how this film is supposedly saying that because Becky is a woman she isn’t capable of being able to pull of this emotionless act and ruins their cover, unlike Miles because he is a “man.” Well I don’t think that is true at all. These people are forgetting Miles is a Doctor. He is someone who has to deal with death a lot, so he has the ability to compartmentalize, and withhold his feelings. Becky is unable to, not because she is “the weaker sex” or because she is “how a woman is supposed to be in the ’50s”; but because she hasn’t had that training. She hasn’t had to face death or stressful situations like Dr. Miles, so she doesn’t have that cuplability to push down everything.
The police officer is suspicious of Becky’s behavior and investigate’s Miles office. When he finds the men there, he turns on the alarm. And the whole town chases after Miles and Becky.
Miles and Becky are trying to run to the highway, having to hike to it. Poor Becky, she’s wearing heels. That has got to be so tough, and it;s not like you can take them off, being shoeless would be way worse.
Becky is so tired, that Miles has to carry her to a mine shaft, where they will wait a bit. They find some loose floorboards, and hide underneath them until the townsfolk have passed over.
These two are dirty, sweaty, stinky, and look crazy. Becky and Miles are so tired, using water to stay awake. Then they hear something outside.
The town is playing a soft, beautiful lullaby, trying to get them to fall asleep.
Miles leaves Becky to investigate the song. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t leave her!!!!!!!
Becky is so tired, trying not to fall asleep. Miles spots the music coming from a truck carrying pods. He goes back to Becky.
He finds Becky tired, eyes closed!!! He tries carryoing her, but falls. They are on the ground, he kisses her when…dun dun dun….
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: I’ve been afraid a lot of times in my life, but I didn’t know the real meaning of fear until… until I had kissed Becky.
I love that line so much. It makes me laugh, while the same time making me very afraid.
Becky is a pod person and screams out to all the others to come.
So I’m going to stop for a second and go off on two separate thoughts.
How Did Becky Become a Pod Person if She Wasn’t Near a Pod?
This has always bothered me. I have thought on it, and thought on it, and thought on it, and I finally think I have figured it all out. So Becky has had four attempted pod people forms made of her. The first we see was in the basement of her house when Miles comes over to investigate. When he calls the psychologist, and they realize he is on to them, they destroy it. Better to destroy it then have Miles find it and leave or do something else that poses a threat to them. The second time is when they put the pods in Miles’ greenhouse. But that form didn’t last as Miles destroyed it with the pitchfork. The third attempted form was the ones they put in Miles’ trunk but he destroyed those with the flare. Now the fourth was when they caught the two in Miles’ office. When Becky and Miles are taking out the three guards they don’t destroy the pods. That means there are a Miles and Becky form just waiting for the two to fall asleep and take their brain. So when Becky falls asleep in the cave, the Becky pod is created.
Now the pod body form doesn’t come to life and kill the original like we’ve been imagining. It is much scarier, as it is transferred over into that body, leaving everything the same but the mind. Almost like a parasite taking over the host.
Now to the second thing, people always say that because Becky is a woman she of course is the weaker one that gives in to sleep. I of course want to bring everyone back to the fact that Miles is a doctor! Why do you think Jack was unable to overcome it? Because he is writer and isn’t used to the stressful scenes that Miles has had to deal with. He is the only doctor for a small town, so you know there has to be days he doesn’t sleep, when he is called all over. He is just better trained becuse of his occupation. It isn’t because he is a “man”.
Anyways, back to the film. Miles keeps running, as fast as he can to warn others. He finally reaches the highway. The pod people stopping as they know no one will believe him.
Miles runs around trying to warn everyone about what is happening, and of course no one stops.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next, You’re next…!
And as he sounds crazy, he gets carted off to the police where the psychiatrist is trying to figure out whether he should take him to the insane asylum or not.
Now THIS IS THE SCARIEST THING about this film. I mean take a minute and stop and think about this. Imagine if your school was taken over and filled with pod people, your work, you home, your street, your town, your suburb, your city, etc. And YOU KNEW IT and YOU were the ONLY ONE LEFT. Where could you go that someone wold believe you? Nowhere. Everyone would think you are crazy, and of course it is only a matter of time until you crash, fall asleep, and become a pod person yourself. That is if they don’t inject you with a sedative first.
This was were the director originally wanted to end the film. The studio didn’t like it though. Now I love the film how it is but I do think it would have been pretty cool to end it here.
So they think they Miles is crazy and are preparing to lock him up. Just before they do that, a man comes in who was injured in a car accident. He might not make it as it took forever to get him out from under some weird seed pods. Dr. Hill comes running out, where was the truck coming from? Santa Mira. Dr. Hill realizes that Miles is telling the truth and gets the police and the FBI after it. The credits end on Miles who is thinking, hoping it might be over and he can go to sleep.
I love that movie. It is so awesome. If you haven’t watched it, do so. The cinematography and story is just amazing.
I won’t be here when you get back, don’t you see? It’s going to happen before then. Don’t ask me to explain it, I just know. There’ll be somebody with my name, and she’ll cook and clean like crazy, but she won’t take pictures, and she won’t be me! She’ll – she’ll, she’ll be like one of those the robots in Disneyland.
So first, happy 40th anniversary! February 12, 1975 brought this great film to us.
So one day I was spending the night at my friend’s house, and her grandmother had a massive movie collection, although nothing made past the ’90s. We were trying to figure out what to watch, when she chose The Stepford Wives (2005). I thought it was funny, and even bought it for myself when it was on sale for $5 at Wal-Mart.
Then I was at a yard sale, where a friend who has a monster horror/mystery film collection was selling all the VHS he had just bought DVDs of. I saw The Stepford Wives (2004) and was shocked. There was another version of the film?
Then one day, I decided to watch The Stepford Wives (1975). And I LOVED it! I thought it was sooooo much better than the remake, in fact I never even watch the 2005 version anymore. I really should just donate it to the library or thrift store.
So this film was based on a novel, in fact written by the same man who wrote Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin. Funny that I should review both films the same year. I didn’t even realize they were by the same person until right now.
Anyways, on with the review.
The film starts out with Janna Eberheart (Katherine Ross) saying good-bye to her apartment they have been living in in the city.
She doesn’t want to leave, but moving to the suburbs will be better for her two young kids.
Now Katherine Ross is extremely beautiful, and her husband is only so-so. How did he score such a ringer? Not to be mean, but he looks old and is balding, and looks like the type to get a beer gut.
They are unpacking their stuff when a beautifully coiffed woman comes over with a casserole, Carol Van Sant. She walks and talks a bit weird, almost unearthly in grace.
Later Walter is walking the dog and tells his neighbor, she cooks as good as looks.
So it turns out that Joanna definitely did not want to move. It was all her husband’s idea. He thinks it is safe, secure, and there is more room for the kids and Joanna to have dark room for her photography. Joanna is still not pleased.
The next day Joanna’s kids take the bus to school. All the other kids are too perfect and not rowdy at all. Weird.
Now that the kids are gone, what is the city girl gonna do? She has tea, clearly bored.
She does get interviewed by neighborhood lady, who writes the women’s magazine. We found out that Walter Eberheart, her husband, is a lawyer; while is an inspiring photgrapher. The thing she misses most about New York? The noise.
The next day she goes to return the casserole dish to neighbor, when she sees a guy come up from behind and start feeling her up and kissing her. It is mid morning! Is that her husband? And what is he doing here instead of at work? Weird.
That night Walter tells Joanna how he has met the other Stepford commuters. They invite him to Men’s Association. It has only one rule, men only. Joanna is not pleased.
We see that their relationships actually are having some problems that have been happening for a while.
Joanna Eberheart: You pretend we decide on things, but you have already decided on everything. You ask me if I want to move out of city, and I find you have already been looking. You ask me if I like this house place and I find that you have already made a down payment. You ask me about the men’s association and you have already joined. Why even bother to ask me at all.
When they go out grocery shopping, it seeems as if all the other women are more in control of their kids, have planned out their list better, being perfect; while JOanna harried and forgetful.
Carol coming out of market, and gets into a car crash. She is taken by the ambulance, and keeps repeating herself over and over as if stuck on something.
Joanna Eberhart: [ambulance drives off] We may be new here, but isn’t Stepford Hospital that way?
Walter Eberhart: Oh, no, no, no, you’re wrong… No, no, you’re *not* wrong, the ambulance went *that* way, didn’t it?
That night Joanna wakes up in bed alone, and hears something downstairs. It is Walter in front of the fire, as he just got back from mens association. He is upset and drinking. What’s going on? Why is he so sad and upset? What did the men do?
The next day Bobbie Markowe (Paula Prentiss) comes to see her after reading about her in the lady’s paper. You notice she is the only other woman wearing pants as well.
Bobbie is like Joanna. She moved her from New York, not her decision but her husbands. She isn’t perfectly coiffed and doesn’t have a spic and span house. She is normal and the two quickly become friends.
That night Joanna is working in her dark room developing pictures. Walter calls and tells her the meeting will be at their house, in 20 mins. That’s really short notice to be given, what if the house was a mess? But i suppose those guys think a house should always be perfect.
After Walter gets off the phone, Dale, leader of the men;s association tells him he recognizes that Walter is not altogether sure, telling him not to worry the change is for the better.
So while Joanna is pouring teas and coffees, Dale is watching her, he likes seeing women in domestic settings.
Joanna Eberhart: Why do they call you Diz?
Dale Coba: Because I used to work at Disneyland.
Joanna Eberhart: No, really.
Dale Coba: That’s really. Don’t you believe me?
Joanna Eberhart: No.
Dale Coba: Why not?
Joanna Eberhart: You don’t look like someone who enjoys making other people happy.
Joanna sit in on the meeting, One guy draws Joanna, as the rest of the men talk about charity events they could do. The men are absolutely boring and horrible at planning and deciding on something. She goes to check on the kids to get out of there.
They all stop talking as soon as she leaves. Hmm…interesting.
When she comes back, the meeting breaks up and the guy gives her the drawing of her.
Ike Mazzard: [Handing drawing to Joanna] In case you’re wondering what I’ve been doing.
Joanna Eberhart: You’re not the Ike Mazzard are you?
Ike Mazzard: I’m afraid so.
Joanna Eberhart: Walter tell him, I’m just awful on names. You’ll have to forgive me. I used to gawk at all those girls in those magazines. You blighted my adolescence, you know that?
Walter Eberhart: [Grinning] I thought I benighted your adolescence.
Joanna doesn’t like the men, as she thinks they are boring. The women, besides Bobbie, are not friendly and also don’t seem to think that much beyond how they look or how to cook. She thinks her husband is acting weird by hanging with these people.
Dale give a barbecue, and Joanna and Bobbie dress casual; Joanna in a nice sundress and Bobbie in pants. However, all the other women are dressed SUPER fancy in long dresses. Joanna and Bobbie feel really out of place, but can’t quite put their finger on why exactly.
Joanna Eberheart: It’s all so dazzling, so why don’t I like it. I like it but I don’t like it. Does that make sense?
Carol starts talking to them, but keeps repeating herself. Something is not right with her. Is she drunk? Or is it something else?
The next day Carol comes and apologizes to Joanna and Bobbie. She explains that she used to be an alcoholic, one of the reasons why they moved out of the city, and the reason why I was acting weird last night. I had started drinking again. Her husband made her come apologize to the newcomers, didn’t want to frighten them off.
So strange to Bobbie and Joanna. Both ladies did women’s liberation in New York and decide they need to start something here in Stepford. They start inviting women, but they don’t really care and don’t want to. One too busy ironing, one too busy baking, another shopping, etc.
The last person they see is Charmaine. She is relatively new, only been here a little bit longer than Bobbie. She heard that the girls wanted to start meeting, and wants to join as she has had a hard time connecting. She used to play tennis with one girl, but now she is far too busy cooking and cleaning.
One of the men wants to do a speech experiment with her. Needs to know every place you have ever lived, and you have to read off a vocab list he made up. Joanna won’t do it, unless the wives come to her meeting.
Joanna Eberhart: I’m very busy…just like your wife. Bobby and I tried to involve her in one of our projects, but she had too much ironing. Maybe you could convince her. Kit Sundersen, too. If they could find the time for me… I could find it for you.
Claude Axhelm: Isn’t this uh… kind of blackmail, Joanna?
Joanna Eberhart: It’s what made this country great, Claude.
They have the Women’s Liberation meeting, but the other wives don’t seem really into it. Joanna starts by saying she thinks walter cares more about law than her. Charmaine says that she doesn’t think her husband ever loved her, but only married her because she looked right. After that emotional piece, one of the wives says she didn’t bake any thing yesteday because she didn’t finish cleaning. Then all the “other wives” start talking about products they use, sounding like a commercial.
Joanna goes out for a walk with her dog, when she is gone men come over and looking at room and all her stuff. They leave after their observations.
The next day, Bobbie and Joanna run into an older woman who tells them about a new family coming to Stepford, a black family. She says it doesn’t surprise her as Stepford is the most liberal place. Bobbie and Joanna are surprised and find out they used to have a ton of women’s groups, including a huge Women’s Liberation. What happened?
They go see Carol, who they discovered was the leader of the Women’s Liberation in Stepford. She tells them it died out because the women got bored.
Joanna Eberheart: Is it enough?
Carol Van Sant: It is enough for me, maybe not for you.
Joanna goes to New York to show some photographs to a gallery, but the owner turns her down. When she returns, she discovers that her dog is gone. She and Bobbie start driving around looking for him when they see Charmaine’s Tennis courts being destroyed!
They go see her and she is dressed like other wives and acting like them. She only cares about making her husband happy. Fired the maid and wants to do all the cooking and cleaning herself. She’s letting her husband get the heated swimming pool that he always wanted.
Both are freaking out about this. Bobbie is convinced that they must be poisoning the water or something. She wants to take a sample and give it to a trustworthy chemist, but doesn’t now any. Joanna does, and when they give it to him; there is nothing in the water.
Bobbie is scared.
She wants to leave, and is planning on asking Dave tonight to move. She doesn’t want to become one of those women.
Joanna wants to leave, but Walter doesn’t. After a bit of pleading, he gives in. But is it too late to move?
They start looking in different areas together. Dave, Bobbie’s husband is mad about house hunting. He was so upset that he almost canceled their annual trip to plaza. Bobbie has Joanna take care of her kids.
The kids are crazy and loud, and Walter hates it. Joanna takes tons of photos while kids are playing. Joanna is working in the dark room making Walter have to care for the kids. He wants Joanna to take over as he is tired and can’t think of anything else to do. Joanna tells him too bad, she deals with it every day.
Joanna goes to New York to get a gallery owner to look at them, thinks they are amazing.
Joanna goes to tell Bobbie about gallery accepting her work, but Bobbie doesn’t even care. She just wants to discuss clothes, looks, cleaning, all about taking care of Dave.
They’ve gotten to her, and she is no longer the same.
Joanna tries to tell Walter what is going on, but he doesn’t understand and won’t listen. He just keeps telling her that she is crazy!
Joanna is going to leave, and planning on it today. Walter stops her, telling her they will move, but only if she sees someone. He tries to get her to see one in town, but she refuses. She wants to find her own person and someone far from Stepford.
Getting out of here
Joanna visits a doctor far way, but is afraid to tell doctor the real reason why she wants to leave Stepford. Ater four months Charmain changed. After four months Bobbie chnged. And four months is how long Joanna has been in Stepford. She’s afraid that whatever changed them will change her as well.
Joanna Eberhart: I won’t be here when you get back, don’t you see? It’s going to happen before then. Don’t ask me to explain it, I just know. There’ll be somebody with my name, and she’ll cook and clean like crazy, but she won’t take pictures, and she won’t be me! She’ll – she’ll, she’ll be like one of those the robots in Disneyland.
Dr. Fancher: Alright, now listen. I’ll give you a prescription which you have filled, then you gather up your children and you GET THE HELL AWAY! Don’t tell your husband, don’t tell anyone, just go, wherever you feel safe. Now, do you have family?
Joanna Eberhart: They’re dead.
Dr. Fancher: Well, just drive, and stop some place. Then in a few days – I’ll be back on the 10th – you ring me, I’ll come to you, and we’ll sort this thing out. Now how does that sound?
Joanna comes home and plans to do just that. She goes upstairs looking for kids, but they are not here.
Joanna wants to know where they are, but Walter won’t tell her. He tries to get her to go upstairs and lie down, grabbing her.
They fight and Joanna breaks away, going upstairs and locking herself in. Oh no, just like in Rosemary’s Baby! But it didn’t save her!
The phone starts blinking, and Joanna can see that he is talking to someone. While he is on it, she sneaks out of the house and heads off to Bobbies to look for her kids. But when she gets there, they aren’t there.
After she short circuts Bobbie, she heads back home. When she gets there, she smacks him in the head with a fireplace poker, demanding to know where her children are.
He mutters “association” and Joanna decides to head out there. When she gets there she hears her children’s voices calling, follows the sound and it turns out to just be a recording. It was all a ploy to get Joanna there.
Joanna Eberheart: Why change the women?
Dale Coba: Because we can we make them perfect.
But Joanna won’t just go down, she still has a lot of fight in her and takes off running. She gets lost in the hallways and opens a door to her bedroom.
Camera slowly pans…………..tension building…………dun dun dun dun dun….and we see:
Her!!!! Brushing her hair with her black demon eyes. Robot Joanna. Body even more perfect. Probably one of the creepiest moments in any horror film, of all time there.
Next day all in supermarket, talking to each other.
And we end seeing that new family in town, fighting the same way everyone else did previously. They are next on list.
So after watching this a second time, there are a few things I have noticed and wanted to bring light to now that the “real” review is over.
1)The Husband was the one who wanted to move. So I wonder, did Walter know ahead of time that the town was like that? Is that why he choose Stepford out of any other suburb?
2) The clothes are great with the differences. Joanna and Bobbie are the only ones “in” with current fashion. They wear jeans, crop tops, no bras, and show lots of skin with their mini skirts and shorts. Originally the directors wanted the robot women to be “playboy bunnies”, but I think it was better having them in nice, lacy dresses. It definitely shows an extreme difference between the “fixed” women and those “still in need of alterations”. Plus the women in those dresses, defintely is a throwback to not the ’50s, like most assume: but the turn of the century. I mean look at those clothes, throwback to a time when women really had no rights. Or at least that is my views on the whole thing.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you
I love Archie Comics, as I grew up reading them. My mom introduced me to them as she used to read the comics when she was a kid. The TV show based on Archie’s Weird Mysteries is based off a spin off series of the same name, and they used to air the animated show every Saturday morning.
So the episode starts out with Jughead and Archie driving down to the TV station. Jughead had been watching a B Horror film movie marathon the night before, and saw that they were having a contest. He answered the questions correctly and became the big winner. As he can’t drive he asks Archie to help him collect his prize.
When Jughead gets to the station it turns out that his prize is a POTATO
Jughead isn’t that happy about it, but like who would be? You can get those at any grocery store. But Jughead is nicer than I as he takes his freebie and goes on home. When Jughead gets home, he parks himself back on the couch and starts watching more TV, getting into the “zone”. He is so focused that he fails to realize that the potato is not your average spud. It starts to take over, creating its own Jughead creation, very much like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, when they make the pod people.
The next day, Jughead is acting strangely. He is standing in a pot trying to “absorb nutrients”; he hands out potatoes to everyone, calling them his “friends”, and when Reggie starts eating French Fries Jughead freaks out. All are shocked at this behavior as Jughead has eaten more fries than anyone they’ve ever known.
That night at Betty’s house, Archie and Betty are watching a television program. Betty gets so engrossed in the show that the potato Jughead gave her earlier catches her off guard and she is about to be taken over, but Archie manages to save her. Afterwards, they decide to talk to Jughead about his new potato ‘friends’.
Soon Jughead’s potato friends have sprouted and taken over everyone in the town.
Eventually even Betty gets trapped and the only ones who are still “alive”, are Archie and Dilton. The two team up and discover that the potatoes must be coming from the TV studio, that is where it all began.
When they get there, unfortunately the potato zombies are there and attacking.
Archie and Dilton try to climb up the tower, but Dilton is taken down by one of the potatoes.
It’s up to Archie to save the day. He tries to climb up, but is caught by a potato; he reaches up; attempting to hit the button to destroy the potatoes…..
And he is barely able to make it, but does. All the potatoes burst and are destroyed. Everyone wakes up and are okay. No one knows where the Great Potato came from or where he has gone, but for now they are safe.
It’s a great story, the perfect amount of creepy and campy; all the tropes you desire.