A Long Fatal Love Chase

LongFatalLoveChase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

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

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

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Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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…Because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I’m mad, I’m rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!

So last year I reviewed the Alfred Hitchcock film Under Capricorn. In the post, I mentioned how it wasn’t widely received or enjoyed by critics and audiences, one of the reasons being its similarity to this film, and because starred two of the same actors; Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. I personally like Under Capricorn better, but let’s take a look at this film.

So the movie is based on a play, and a remake of the film that came out four years prior to this one. It won an Oscar for best set design, best actress, and critical praise for all actors.

This is a historical fiction film, taking place at the turn of the century. The name of the film comes from the gaslights used in houses. Lights in the London house are from fixtures with gas flames, and when you light one light, it reduces gas supply to the other lights in the house that are close by, causing the lights to dim.

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Renowned opera singer, Alice Alquist, is strangled to death in her London home, No. 9 Thornton square. The thief is searching for her famed emeralds, but is interrupted and flees. Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), Alice’s niece,  has been living with her aunt ever since her parents died. She finds the body and becomes completely traumatized.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She moves to Italy, where she studies music, following in the footsteps of her aunt.

Ten years later, Paula confesses to her voice teacher, Maestro Guardi, that she has finally been able to move past that point and has fallen in love.

iLoveyou

Maestro doesn’t want to lose his most talented student, but wants Paula to be happy, and encourages her to follow her heart.

Gowithyourheart

She does and accepts the proposal of the handsome Gregory Anton, a pianist she has only known two weeks.

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During their honeymoon, Gregory tells Paula he has always dreamed of living in a fashionable London square. Anxious to please her hubby, she suggests that they move into her aunt’s house.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

When they move in Paula begins to have nightmares about what she saw before.

i'mscared

Gregory tells her that it will help is they remove everything that belonged to her aunt up into the attic, sealing it up. But then strange things start happening.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

The flame keeps going down, although no other lights nearby are being used. Why is it dimming!!

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

And what is making that weird noise in a sealed attic. Gregory doesn’t hear anything at all, and Paula begins thinking she might be going crazy!

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One day Paula discovers a note to her aunt.

letter

It was dated two days before her murder, from a Sergius Bauer. He begged to see Paula’s aunt, very intensely. She shows it to Gregory who becomes upset over the whole thing and quickly silences Paula.

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It is clear there is more to this man than his charming, suave, and handsome personality.

Meanwhile, Paula continues to hear things even though Gregory and the servants say that there is nothing. Paula starts questioning herself, and becomes more insecure every day.

I don't know what to do

To make matters worse, Gregory has hired a saucy, young maid, Nancy. She os played by Angela Lansbury in her first film role. This maid is rude and cruel to Paula, making her feel worse and even crazier. Nancy is also making a ploy for Gregory.

Nancy Oliver: Gonna work on your tunes again tonight, sir? You’re always working, aren’t you?

Gregory Anton: Yes. What are you doing with your evening out?

Nancy Oliver: Oh, I’m going to a music hall… [starts to sing ‘Up in a balloon’]

Gregory Anton: I’ve never been to an English music hall.

Nancy Oliver: Oh, you don’t know what you’ve missed, sir…

Gregory Anton: And whom are you going to the music hall with?

Nancy Oliver: A gentleman friend, sir.

Gregory Anton: Oh, now you know, Nancy, don’t you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.

Nancy Oliver: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself – when I want to.

Gregory Anton: You know, Nancy, it strikes me that you’re not at all the kind of girl that your mistress should have for a housemaid.

Nancy Oliver: [flirtatiously] No, sir? She’s not the only one in the house – is she?

Paula’s life is quickly becoming worse and worse.

Three months later, Paula and Gregory are going to go to a Tower of London tour. Gregory gives her a brooch that once belonged to his grandmother. He warns her to be careful, as the clasp is broken, and not to lose it. Paula puts it in her purse, but while they are at the tour she starts to worry that she lost it. When she checks the purse, it is gone!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

While looking at the crown jewels exhibit, she is approached by Brian Cameron. In the original play and film, this character was stout and elderly. However, that didn’t suit Hollywood. So instead they made him the young and very attractive Joseph Cotten.

LOL Cotton and Cotton

So Brian greets her very warmly. It turns out he was a huge fan of her aunt, and momentarily mistook her for the aunt. Gregory doesn’t like Brian and questions Paula about him, but she insists that she has never met him before.

That night Paula confesses about losing the brooch, and Gregory yells at her “forgetfulness” that is running rampant. It seems that Paula is always forgetting things and hearing things that aren’t there.

dangerouscrossing

That night Paula sees the gaslights dimming again, and also hears noises that sound like footprints.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Why is this happening to her? Why is she going crazy??!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Two months later, Brian comes around Thornton Square. He is curious about Paula as he has never seen her anywhere, even though they run in the same social circles. He should have seen her at a party.

He goes to question Paula’s neighbor, when he notices Paula about to leave the house. Before she can go out, she is bullied by Nancy to stay in. It is clear who thinks they are the mistress of the house.

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From The Picture of Dorian Gray

It turns out that Brian is more than a music lover, he works for Scotland Yard.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

He goes to the office and starts looking into the case file on Alice Alquist’s murder. Alice was given some amazing jewels from a secret admirer, all which are missing now. Did the thief manage to get them all? Or did Alice hide them very well?

suspicious Hmm

He is convinced that Paula is in danger, and assigns a detective to watch over her house.

Meanwhile, Paula is convinced that the maid is trying to get rid of her. She tries to talk about this with Gregory, but he thinks it is just an addition to her madness, there is paranoia.

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Brian poses as the neighbor’s nephew. He tries to see her, when Gregory refuses. Paula is shocked at his behavior, why is he being so rude?

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Her mood quickly changes when Gregory tells her that he is taking her to the theater. However, before they leave Gregory accuses Paula of taking a painting down.

Paula never did any such thing.

princess-leia-i-dont-know-what-youre-talking-about

Gregory finds the painting on the stairs, and tells her that this is the third time she has done it. She is getting worse.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Paula reveals to him about the noises she has been hearing and Gregory tells her she is too unwell to go out. Now Paula is stuck at home and scared that she might get sent away to a mental institution.

Gregory leaves to his music studio, while Paula is home alone and hearing the strange noises.

Why is this happening?!!

Why is this happening?!!

Brian is invited to a piano concert at Lord and Lady Dalroy. Gregory and Paula were invited but Gregory refused, as he believes Paula is too sick. Paula is furious and tells him she wants to go and will go without him. Gregory changes his mind and agrees to accompany her.

under capricorn ball

When they get to the concert, Gregory tells Paula that his watch is missing. Paula ends up finding it in her purse, even though she knows she never put it in there, and causes a huge scene, Gregory then deciding to take her home.

When they reach the house, Paula says that all her problems began when she found that letter to her Aunt from Sergius Bauer. Gregory tells her he has no idea what she is talking about as no such letter ever existed.

Is she crazy? Or is there someone trying to make her think she is crazy?

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

Gregory yells at Paula, telling her she is going as crazy as her mother. He informs her that as she is going insane, he has already arranged for two doctors to examine and treat her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Gregory leaves, and when he does Brian and another officer follow him, but lose him in the fog.

Inside, Paula hears the footsteps again and asks the cook if she hears anything. The cook says no, this just reenforces to Paula that she is crazy!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Brian has been watching  the house and figured out that when Gregory leaves, he doesn’t go to his music studio but into the deserted No. 5 and crosses the roof into the attic of No. 9.

The next night, Brian waits until Gregory has left the house, and then goes in to see Paula, trying to convince her she is sane.

still-of-ingrid-bergman-and-joseph-cotten-in-gaslight-(1944)-large-picture

Upstairs, Gregory is in the attic tearing everything apart as he is searching for something.

Downstairs, Brian forces Gregory’s desk opens and finds that Gregory’s gun is missing. Paula also finds the note that Gregory told her “doesn’t exist.”

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

They compare the letter to Gregory’s writing, and Brian figures out that Gregory is Sergius Bauer, the man he suspected killed Paula’s aunt. He was searching for the jewels and couldn’t find them, having to leave that night, and resurfacing to marry Paula to gain access to the jewels.

Upstairs, Gregory has finally found the jewels in an opera costume. When the gaslights pick up, Brian knows it is time to get out of there. He takes off and then goes up through No. 5 to the attic.

Gregory comes downstairs and finds his desk broken.

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He yells at Paula, but is interrupted by Brian who has come through the attic with the destroyed costume.

Gregory Anton: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.

Brian Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.

Gregory rushes upstairs and the two fight. A gunshot rings out!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

Paula runs upstairs to see what happened. There she finds Gregory tied up in a chair.

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And we have what I think is the best scene in the movie.

Brian comes to take him away.

Gregory Anton: I don’t ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire – a fire in my brain that separated us – those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don’t know why… Goodbye, Paula.

Brian consoles Paula, telling her he will always be around if she needs him.

From Under Capricorn

From Under Capricorn

TheEnd_Title_2

I know that Ingrid Bergman actually studied people suffering from different issues, observing at a local mental hospital, but I felt her delivery in Under Capricorn was much stronger than this one.

Otherwise, it is not a bad film and a pretty good thriller.halloween banner

1944Gaslight

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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For more Ingrid Bergman, go to The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

For more on Angela Lansbury, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who Was To Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

For more on husbands that are more than what they seem, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more historical fiction films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more remakes, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

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She’ll come back…she’ll come back

So a few years ago, my sister bought the Greatest 100 Horror Classics DVD collection. There were some great films on this: such as Carnival of Souls, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Night of the Living Dead, Metropolis etc. And of course some duds, like The Beast of Yucca Flats.  This film was also included in the collection, and a film I really liked.

This film was a new thing for director Alex Nicol, who also played the role of Mickey. The film is based on the book The Screaming Skull by Francis Marion Crawford, but borrows a lot from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

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So the film starts out with us on a bayou. There appears to be something in the water as a guy creeps closer to shoot it. It is large, scaly, with ginormous eyes.

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This isn’t how I remember the movie starting at all. I better check the DVD menu. Yep, whoops. I accidentally chose the wrong film.

So embarressed

So embarressed

I would have reviewed Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and you all would not have been ready for that. Now here we go with The Screaming Skull.

We open on a candle and flower arrangement. Dark depressing music…zoom out it’s a funeral Makes sense.

Narrator: “The Screaming Skull” is a motion picture that reaches its climax in shocking horror. It’s impact is so terrifying that it may have an unforeseen effect. It may *kill* you! Therefore the motion picture producers feel they must offer free burials for any that die of fright, during The Screaming Skull.

Let me stop and say this is one awesome beginning, like The Beast Must Die. I award it a thousand gold stars.

love it

So we open on a beautiful mansion, impeccable gardens, relaxing lily pond. A dream house.

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When we see something in the water. What is that?  A SKULL!!!!!

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It actually made me think of David Lynch and his constant use of a tranquil, pretty setting that has evil lurking below.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So we have the opening titles/credits using the same music from Sleeping With the Enemy, but added a woman vocalizing is high it almost like screaming.

So that switches with a peaceful drive up to the house, and light airy music. They park the car and out comes the newlyweds, Eric and Jenni Whitlock. Eric is bringing his new wife back to his old house.

Jenni loves the house as the garden looks like a magician paradise, it even has peacocks.

love it

She sees a window and asks if that will be their room.

Jenni: Will that be our room.

Eric: Will need some fixing first.

Jenni: Was that her room?

The “Her” she is talking about is Eric’s first wife Marian. He is a widower. I know what you are thinking:

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

But it is not the same. In The Screaming Skull, Marian the first wife was the wealthy one and the house belonged to her.

So as the couple are walking around, we that the house is pretty much empty. Marian got rid of all her families’ furniture and was planning on purchasing new pieces to make it “their home”. The two hadn’t gotten far with redecorating before she died. Now Jenni and Eric will make this house “their” house.

girlieButLoveit BuffyVS

He wants to show her the rest of the house, but she stops and looks at the window into the room.

dun-dun-duuuun

Eric picks up Jenni and carries her around the room. Meanwhile, there is a guy behind them creeping through the windows.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

Who the heck is he? And why is he doing that?

weird

While the two are kissing, he sneaks away.

suspicious Hmm

The two walk around the yard and pass Mickey, the gardener’s, tool shed. He’s been in charge of maintaining the grounds since Eric has been away. Wow Micky sure has a green thumb, it looks amazing!

keanu Whoa

As they are seeing the yard, Eric tells Jenni that Mickey & Marian would spend hours working on the garden together. He doesn’t think Mickey ever got over her death, he was in love with her, and still believes she is coming back.

Missing You

So as the two are talking and walking, someone drives up. It is the Reverend and  Mrs. Snow. They came to meet the new bride and drop off something for dinner. As they are all talking, the Reverend and Mrs. Snow get invited to dinner.

As they are heading to the house, Eric spots the gardener, Mickey. It turns out he was the guy creepin’ on them earlier. So Mickey isn’t really a creep, he is developmentally disabled. He and Marian grew up together so it is hard on him not having her in his life.

aw cry

Mickey sees the land as his and Marian’s place, and anyone else is trespassing.

Who is that?

Back inside the house, the group is clearing things up a little. Mrs. Snow and Eric go off to make dinner, while the Rev. and Jenni hang out.

While they are preoccupied, Mickey sneaks  inside the house and goes to look at a painting of Rebecca…opps I mean Marian. Sorry, certain parts of the film are a bit similar it was easy to make that mistake.

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Mickey wants Marian to send them away, so it can just be the two again.

Gilmore girls creep

Eric is talking with Mrs. Snow and she is saying how much she likes Jenni, and how great she is. Eric thinks it is great Mrs. Snow likes Jenni, but there is something he has to tell her.

dun-dun-duuuun

I knew there had to be more to her than just a sunny personality. Here we go, give me the whole story.

So Jenni didn’t have a happy childhood. She lost her parents years ago in a horrible way. She is very impressionable, so talking about sad pasts is something best to stay away from. It sounds to me as if she and Ruth from Dangerous Crossing had a similar experience after they lost their fathers. Jenny probably had to go to a mental hospital afterwards too.

How did she loose them? They drowned in an accident, and Jenny saw it all. That is super damaging for a child to experience something like that. SUPER damaging.

StarTrekBonesMcCoyPoorGirl PM

So the Rev. and Jenni are talking when she asks him how he knew they were in town. It turns out that the Reverend heard of them moving in from the lawyer, as the lawyer and Eric are executors of the estate. All that was left to Eric out of Marian’s tremendous fortune, was the house and grounds. He notified the lawyer he was back and moving in with his new wife.

Even more what Jenni wants to know is how did Marian die?

Reverend Snow: Didn’t Eric tell you?

Jenni Whitmore: I think the subject is painful for him. He doesn’t like to talk about it. Will you tell me? I’d really like to know

So it was a rainy day and Marian and Mickey had been working in the greenhouse. She left him to go back to the house for a few minutes. The way it was pieced together later was that she was probably coming back and slipped in a leaf, fell down, and smashed her skull in the cement wall around the pond, fell in the water and drowned. That was where Eric found her later.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

While they are talking, Mickey is sneaking about. I think it would be mean to say this, but the way he moves and creeps makes me think of Gollum from the The Lord of the Rings series.

After dinner the Snows are walking home and talking about the two.

Reverend Snow: Did you know that Jenni is very wealthy?

Mrs. Snow: Yes Mr. Mowry told me. She’s not at all like Marian. So gentle and timid, as if she is afraid of something.

OMG Jenni is Joan Fontaine from Rebecca. Sweet, young, shy, timid, like same character. Except Joan was poor while Jenni is rich.

That night, Jenni and Eric are sleeping in cots, as their furniture isn’t out of storage yet. That night Jenni is reading a book sent by Mrs. Snow, Beast in the Jungle. It seems like a very sad book, I don’t know why she would give such a book to Jenni knowing her background.

That night Jenni hears loud bumping and clanging noises.

Who is that?

Who is that?

She calls to Eric, but he is not there.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

She decides to investigate, calling to Eric, but receiving no answer. Eerie music starts playing as she keeps calling Eric. Turns out to be a shutter in Marian’s old room, not properly latched.

As she is leaving, Eric comes in and scares her as she leaves the room. She starts when she sees something on the ground, that looks like water and a lily pad.

Why is that in here?

Why is that in here?

Jenni thinks Mickey brought it in as he doesn’t like her as she is a replacement Marian. Eric, on the other hand, thinks it was just an accident. It freaks Jenni out and she looks at the painting sounding a bit crazy as she talks. She thinks the painting reminds her of her mother, who she hates. Almost as if she is haunting her.

rebeccapainting

We find Mickey in the pond, by the lily pads. Did he bring it in? Is he trying to upset her? Make her go crazy?

Why is that in here?

The next day, Eric tells Jenni that he talked to Mickey and he is no longer allowed in the house. Jenni is worried Mickey might become angry and take it out on her, but Eric tells her not to worry about it. But Jenni is worried. She wants Mickey to like her, for them to be friends. Eric tell her to garden with him.

Eric leaves that day to get the electricity turned on, furniture out of storage, and see the bank and lawyer.

Now it just occurred to me, what does Eric do? What does he do that he had the ability to live away for two years, but then move back to his former home. They all said Marian had money, I mean he did move into her family house; but they never mention him having money. Does he have any? And if he doesn’t, he sure was lucky to bag two wealthy wives.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

Jenni sees Mickey and tries to befriend him. But Mickey won’t say a word. She tries to reassure him that she wants the garden to stay beautiful in honor or Marian. They pick flowers to place at her graves.

Now her grave is a weird one. It is an obelisk with a relief of Marian’s face in it. And it is just creepy, like she was mixed into the stone or forever watching.

creep watching lovely bones Stanley tucci

While they are doing this, Mickey is overcome with emotion.

Mickey: She cries in the night.

Jenni Whitmore: Dead people don’t cry Mickey!

Mickey: I heard her.

 Jenni Whitmore: Heard?

Is Mickey really hearing something, or just messing with Jenni? And if he is hearing something who or what is it?

Who is that?

At the house, Jenni looks at Marian’s painting. She hears some creaking, but just assumes it is the house settling.

So earlier, Eric said he was going to be gone all day and out late that night. When night comes, the electricity still not on, forcing her to use candles, as she is getting ready for bed.

Once again, Jenni hears the shriek of  the peacocks. Creepy little buggars. Jenni decides to try to go to sleep, but feels weird not having Eric in the house.

Gilmore girls creep

Jenni hears a noise and looks to the window, nothing. She runs downstairs to investigate…just the peacocks. Looks at the picture of Marian again. She is looking at the painting when the cabinet door behind her slowly opens.

She turns around and sees a SKULL!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly cuts appear on her hand!!!!

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And she runs away to her room, and locks the door jumping under the covers. Now Jenni is so freaked out that every noise is making her heart race. She hears tree branches scrapping, making sounds like something trying to get her.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

And then it sounds like something is coming up the stairs. A banging noise.

i'mscared

Something is coming up the stairs!!!!!

OMG gasp

This scene is shot from the “thing’s” point of view so we don’t know what it is!!!!

Suspense have to know

I know there is a strong likelihood that it is just her husband, but I’m still a bit freaked, my heart os pumping. Who or what is it?

i'mscared

Jenni is equally freaked, what is coming?! She goes to look and nlocks door to see what is making noise, but there is nothing there

Whattheheck

Jenni runs to window, the peacocks are gone, nothing is here. What could be making such a racket?

She looks at cabinet, and sees that the skull is still there and not a figment of her imagination. She goes to get the skull ad flings it out the window.

Good-bye

Good-bye

It rolls on the grass an stares at her with its eyeless gaze.

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She goes back to bed, but can’t sleep.

Then the camera zooms on the front door Something’s coming?!!! Something starts knocking…Don’t answer it!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Jenni is afraid, and she just sits in bed waiting for it to go away. Soon  she feels the need to check, after all it couldbe important. She looks down from room, unsure of what to do.

They're watching her!

She decides to risk it and opens the door. Creepy music playing again getting the blood pumping with fright. She calls to Eric, but no answer. Just more pounding on the door.

i'mscared

Jenni opens it and the skull is there!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what what'shappeningSupernatural

She screams and runs inside, the skull tumbles after her.

OMG gasp

She faints. And I don’t blame her.

Mickey pops out of the shadows. Could he have done this? If not, did he see who did? Or what did?

shiver

Jenni wakes up in Eric’s arms. She asks him if he saw anything when he found her, but he says no. Just her on the floor.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Is it all in her head?

So Jenni weirded out. She had never imagined any such thing before, why should she see it now? She wants her doctor from New York to examine her, but Eric vetoes the idea, saying that Rev. Snow will be coming tomorrow and can help.

I think it is weird how Eric doesn’t want a trained psychologist’s help. Seems odd to me, especially as she asked for him. Hmm…

Why is that in here?

The Rev. comes and studies the cabinet. He discovers that the door is very loose, and can easily open on its own. The door is also damaged on the bottom, which caused Jenni’s scratches. Both look for a skull but find nothing.

Jenni feels like a fool, but knows that she saw a skull there.

weird

She asks the Rev. if Eric told him of her past. He says he knows a little. Jenni decides to gives him a bit more. She grew up loving her father and hating her mother.

Jenni Whitmore: I wasn’t a child when I wished my mother dead. One day I got my wish.

So both of her parents drowned. She tried to help them, but couldn’t overcome tide. She still hears their cries. She blames herself for the deaths, saying she killed them. This is common in grief, survivor’s guilt. For Jenni she became so unbalanced that she had to be put in hospital. She was released and told cured. So why would she be seeing strange things now?

Eric is outside looking for Mickey, but he can’t find him anywhere. He sends the Rev. and Jenni on ahead for lunch, promising to be there soon. After they leave he heads into the garden. He goes to Marian’s grave and calls for Mickey. Mickey hears him but keeps running away from him. Is he running because he is in trouble or running from trouble?

Why is that in here?

When Eric arrives at the Snow’s house, Rev. gives him a talking to. The Rev thinks he should take Jenni far from the house as it scares her and makes her think she is crazy. Eric refuses as if they left, it would mean Jenni is crazy. I guess that reasoning makes sense, but it still seems a bit off to me.

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

Later eric finally find Micjey, grabbing him and questioning him, scaring Mickey and Jenni. Mickey says it isn’t him, but Eruc doesn’t listen tossing him aside. This is Another side to Eric. He has quite the temper.

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Jenni feels bad about Eric’d behavior toward Mickey, as she believes what is going on is all in her mind. I’m not so sure Jenni, there’s something rotton in the state of Denmark.

So Eric decides to burn the picture of Marian as it reminds Jenni of her mother, and is what Eric says is the root of Jenni’s current madness. They create a bonfire and Eric forces Jenni to light the match, even though she doesn’t want ti. As thepicture burns there is a huge screech!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric says it is only the peacocks, but is it?

dun-dun-duuuun

We are show the garden where the pond bubbles, the flowers at Marian’s grave are uprooted, and shrieking is heard. Sounds like Marian is not happy to be destroyed.

Th deed is done and Eric asks Jenni to help him bury the ashes. Jenni feels worse after the act, as if it’s not over yet.

Jenni Whitlock: She’ll come back…she’ll come back.

Jenni spreads the ashes while Eric waters them down. As she is spreading them, she unearths a SKULL!!!!!

The-Screaming-Skull-1958

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She screams for Eric, but he doesn’t see anything.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Jenni faints, and while she is knocked down, Eric touches the skull, picking it up and hiding it somewhere.

OMG gasp

Aha! He is behind it! I knew it!!! This isn’t Rebecca, it’s Gaslight!

Eric places the skull in the pond and heads back to Jenni. Little does he know, Mikey was watching the whole time.

Tht night Eric has to go out of town. Jenni is freaked, but Eric tries to calm her down. The Rev. comes over to drop off some eggs for Jenni. Eric takes the Rev outside and tells him what happened, saying he saw “nothing”. What a jerk.

Jerk

Of course the Rev buys his bleeding heart routine. Eric also tells the Rev. “something I never told anyone.” When Jenni was in the mental hospital she tried to do away with herself.

So that’s his plan! Make his wife look crazy, murder her, and have everyone think it a suicide. After all you can’t have two accidents in a row.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

What? I think what? Yeah that’s right. I think he killed his first wife too. Probably wanted her money, and then when he ended up with none, decided to remarry and kill his second bride,

So Eric tells the Rev. he thinks Jenni will try again unless he get her to the hospital tonight. After tonight they are never coming back to the house.

Eric goes back in and talks to Jenni. She tells him the Rev. was kind. He told her he would search the whole estate for that skull. Jenni shrugs it off as kindness, but Eric is worried.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

If they find the skull,  it will bring up a lot of questions he doesn’t want answered. Jenni goes upstairs to pack. Eric goes looking for the skull, but it is gone!!!!!!!!

Where did it go?

Where did it go?

He spots Mickey and chases after him. Eric grabs him and questions him again, beating him. But Mickey tells him he didn’t take it, Marian took it.

Whattheheck

Eric laughs it off and leaves. After he is gone we see that Mickey does have the skull in his workshop, hidden away. Mickey put the skull in a basket, hidden under a cloth.

Meanwhile, Eric has checked the pond again, finding nothing. He then goes to the grave, hoping the skull is there. But he doesn’t find anything but uprooted flowers. Then when he looks at the grave, instead of her face he sees the SKULL.

Whattheheck

He throws a rock at the grave, angry.

Meanwhile, Mickey has taken his basket of skull over to the Snows’ house. They start questioning why Eric would lie about seeing the skull. Only one reason, he wanted to make Jenni crazy. They all head to the house.

the-screaming-skull-photo-crop

Jenni has finished packing and goes looking for Mickey. She wants to say good-bye, but can’t find him. She goes into the tooshed where she sees a headless body moving!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She runs for her life, while this ghostly hated figure chases after her.

Inside Eric is preparing a rope, going to hang his wife, when he hears her coming and screaming. She runs up the stairs where Eric is hiding. He grabs her and starts choking her, about to kill her when he hears a knocking at the door.

He goes to answer it, and when he opens it he sees the figure with a skull face!!!!

screamingskulldoorPhoto Jan 29, 4 36 06 PM

Eric backs away, while the figure comes closer. It is wearing the same dress Marain wore in the painting, it must be her!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The skull winds up on the stair blocking Eric from going up. It tumbles down, chasing him as lightening comes out overhead.

The skull becomes large and astral chasing him, and causing him to fall down. He tries to run and get in his car, but he sees it again! It is everywhere!!

metropolis

The skull jumps on to his neck, biting him in the throat and causing him to fall back into the pond, drowning.

Jenni wakes up and is freaked out. She finds Miraian’s dress on the ground. Just then the calvary show up (the Snows and Mickey) but are too late, and have missed everything. They ask her if she is okay, and she tells them what happened. Crying and completely freaked out.

Rev. Snow goes looking, and finds Eric’s dead body, in the same place Marian was killed. Jenni is confused and wants to know why he did it. The Rev. tells her his suspicions about the money. Now the question is, did Marian really die in an accident? We’ll never know.

They all leave, while Mickey goes to the pond and tells Marian they are gone, she can now rest.

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This was a great film and I strongly recommend it. The characters are good, the storyline, etc. It is a bit predictable, but that last scene when the skull really attacks, very creepy.

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Back to the facebook cover/mini posters.

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

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For more on husbands who are more than what they seem, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

For more on the Greatest 100 Horror Classics, go to In Their Proper Place: Metropolis (1927)

For more films based on a book, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the Thirteen Guest (1943)

Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

There is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?

So this year I decided to do something very, very different. Now the in the past, all Horrorfests have ended on a film that takes place on Halloween. This wasn’t a credence that I set out to make, it just kind of happened along the way. With Horrorfest I had always planned on ending on Halloween (1978)I knew it was the best way to end the first year with a big bang. Besides, that year I had done the other slasher films that spanned numerous sequels and remakes (Friday the 13th Nightmare on Elm Street). Horrorfest II I was trying to also end on a really great film that would produce the same kind of bang, and decided on Children of the Corn as that film was creepy. It also happened to take place on Halloween.

This year I was trying to decide what would be the best opener and closer. I was originally going to open with Metropolis as I had done a post in July referencing it. But after I wrote that post, it just didn’t speak to me as an opener. I started going through my drafts and that’s when I spotted The Wolf Man (1941)The Wolf Man has to be my favorite of the classic horror film monsters (along with The Phantom of the Opera). I hadn’t had a chance to review it yet, and since it was the last of the classics I decided it should be the opener.

the wolf man

Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t to a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. The possibilities were endless.

excited

With the beginning finished, I then set my sights on the end. What could I do that would really pop? As I started thinking and looking, I saw my draft for The Wolfman (2010). And that’s when it hit me.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

I could end Horrorfest III with The Wolfman (2010). It could be like bookends!!!! In the beginning the original that started it all  and the end the newest rendition. !!! Yes!! It could work and it will. So here we are The Wolfman (2010).

Double double yay

So a little backstory before we begin the review. As you would have read in an older post, I love The Wolf Man (1941). It is one of my all-time favorite horror films. One day in my photography class, we were watching trailers of different films as we were looking at the cinematography and technique. My teacher was on a Mac which has Front Row, and shows you trailers of the past, present, and future films. One trailer I remember looking at was Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I wasn’t planning on seeing it, as I hadn’t seen the original. But as we reached the end, I saw The Wolfman.

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I screamed ay my teacher, stop!! I want to see that. So we watched the trailer.

AWESOME!!! RIGHT!!! So I knew there were going to be changes, I knew it was going to be nowhere near as good as the original, but I was soooo pumped!! So I watched the trailer in February 2009, and saw the film was slated for that October. I couldn’t wait!!!

excited

I ticked off the months, but then in October I discovered it wasn’t out in theaters.

Mr-DarcyexcuseMe

Yep, there had been some production problems, so they pushed it back to February. FEBRUARY!!! V-Day weekend. I was upset, but what could I do? I just had to wait it out.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

But then February came and I decided that it would be my V-day present to myself. You see I have never had a boyfriend or date for V-day, so I always just buy myself whatever I want. It’s actually pretty nice as you don’t have to fight with anyone over where to go or what to see; and you are never, ever, ever, disappointed.

perfect plan

I asked a couple of friends who were also single and we bought tickets for opening night. I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% pleased, but I was looking forward to those improved transformation scenes.

So moving on to the review.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So let’s go back in time. The year is 1891 and we are in England. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is the second son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He and his dad had a lot of issues and problems so he left as soon as he could. Since then he has been a renowned Shakespearean actor, famous throughout all England for his Hamlet and Macbeth.

the wolfman play acting stage

He recieves a letter from a Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). She was engaged to his older brother Ben, but he has been murdered. Not only was he murdered, but horribly mangled by something. When Lawrence gets the news, he immediately returns home for the funeral.

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When he gets there he sees his father and the two have a harsh welcome. Unlike The Wolf Man (1941), where father and son were trying to work on repairing their relationship, Sir John doesn’t care. He still has huge issues with his son not being what he wants him to be. The way that Sir John treats him, causes Lawrence to want to leave, and go far away…but he can’t. He has to properly say good-bye to his brother.

the wolfman funeral 2010

Lawerence does try to get away from his father as he knows staying near him will just cause more fights. He also really wants to see his brother. So he heads down to the local slaughterhouse where the body is kept before burial.

ew! Gross Yuck

I know but you have to remember this is a small village in 19th century England. They didn’t have a mortuary to hold the body until burial. They also didn’t understand how diseases spread and that it is not a good idea to have a dead body near your food.

There at the slaughterhouse, the butcher gives Laurence his brother’s items, that is everything found on him at the time of his death.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Later that night he heads over to the local pub for a drink and overhears the gossip on the murder. Most of the villagers blame a band of gypsies. Not long after they moved into the area, Ben was murdered. In fact, someone remembers a case occuring years earlier of gypsies moving into the area and dead bodies surfacing. As they discuss this, Laurence remembers that Ben had had a gypsy medallion on him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This is the first time that Laurence has ever met his brother’s fiance Gwen. Now for you Wolf Man fans, you should recognize that it is the same name given to Laurence’s love interest in the original film. Except in that film she was to marry the hunter/groundsman of the Talbot estates. Anyways, Laurence meets her and can instantly see why his brother fell for her, as he himself is attracted to her.

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Of course Lawrence is the most amazing, gentleman/good guy that he would never ever think of putting the moves on her. He does thank her for trying to be there for his father and for everything. He also let’s her know that if she ever needs him, he’ll be there for him.

Gwen is also attracted to him, and you really can’t blame her. If Benecio is in his early 40s, that means her husband to-be was hecka old. Also Benecio/Lawrence has this adorable hurt puppy dog look that makes you just want to show him he is special, and that you care for him. He looks so sad that it makes you just want to take him, and take care of him. Making sure is life is bright and never unhappy again. That look is killer on any girl as it flies through their best defenses. Major chink in the armor.

swoon dreamy

Sorry, digressing….So with Lawrence back, and the funeral over, Gwen decides to return to London. Laurence would like to leave too, but wth his brother’s death, he now is sole heir to the estate and the first son. When his father dies he will become Sir Lawrence and be expected to uphold all those duties (House of Lords most likely). This isn’t the life that Laurence wants, but at this moment he is too loaded with grief and confusion over his brother’s death that he doesn’t question or try to rebel.

The-Wolfman-2010-image-the-wolfman-2010-36269300-1280-696

So with Gwen gone, and his father an emotionless robot who only cares about himself; Lawrence takes it upon himself to try and figure out what happened to his loving brother. Now Lawrence is putting on the black cowl and trying to become a vigilante or anything, he just wants some closure about his brother’s death. He heads down to the gypsy camp to try to get some answers.

Being questioned police Annex - Tierney, Gene (Laura)_03

Where were you the night in question?

That night is a full moon

attack Wolf Boy Meets World

Which as you’ve guessed it means trouble is going to be roaming about. Lawrence meets up with the gypsy woman Maleva, who tells him that something truly evil has attacked his brother.

Wolf Man 1941 5

But before he can get anything more, the townspeople attack the village. They try to drive the gypsies from the area, and kill a dancing bear they believe to be the beast that killed Ben Talbot.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

As they are attacking, a superhuman, wolfish creature descends upon the area and starts slaughtering people.

wolfman-strangle

And I’m not talking about just a few people, this is like a Scream sequel. The body count by the end of this film is in the double digits.

wolfman dead bodies lots cart

Hey, my generation is the Millennials. They aren’t as classy, they need lots more blood and guts.

Anyways, the werewolf is attacking everyone, and Lawrence spots a young boy running into the woods. At the same time the werewolf spots the boy, causing Lawrence to put himself in the way in order to protect the child. As he does so, the wolf attacks him.

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And he gets bitten.

dun-dun-duuuun

Malvea find him and cares for him, despite the community telling her that it is better for all if they let him die. But Malvea can’t, she says he still is a man and deserves to be treated as such. She also states that only a loved one can kill him.

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Malvea honey, I don’t think so. Anyone can kill a werewolf as long as they have some kind of silver object. Nowhere is that in the original film, as if you read my post you would know that film revolutionized werewolf mythology. Click here to check it out now.

And besides that, is there nothing you can do for him? You are a cinematic gypsy in a horror film! You’re supposed to have a potion or herb or special thing that can protect you from turning. Now if you have read my DraculaThe Mummy, The Wolf Man, or Scream 2 posts, you know I make fun of the films when the guy is given a special charm to protect him but then stupidly turns it over to the girl he loves, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NOT WORK FOR HER.

Every time!

Every time!

But I really enjoy that part of the film, as it humanizes the character and makes you adore them. I mean its sweet how much they love the girl in their life that if there is anything that can do to ward of the monster, they prefer them to have it. Even though by doing so they make things worse, hey it’s the thought that counts.

Frozen Sacrifice self love you sisters

I also hate how gypsies have been giving “B” standing in modern horror films. I mean without their supreme wisdom and knowledge in the supernatural, they are just nomadic people. In real life they are still awesome, in a  horror film? That’s just boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

But I guess that’s just they way it is these days.

Sadface Batman

So where was I? Oh yeah, Lawrence has been bitten by the werewolf. He is moved back to Talbot Manor, and Gwen returns from London to nurse him back to health. While recovering he has really strange dreams. Lots of blood, murder, and even his mother appears. You see his mother died when he was very, very young and her death severely traumatized her as he discovered her dead body. But why would that death be haunting him now? Is it because of Ben? The slaughtered people seen in the gypsy camp? Or is it something else?

suspicious  Hmm

Lawrence actually heals pretty quickly, which he finds kind of odd. And that’s not the only thing that’s odd in the Talbot homestead. One day his father’s manservant, Singh (Art Malik), shows him a case of silver bullets and hints that something monstrous is walking through the woods.

Weird

Weird

He’s not the only one concerned. Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to town. Yes, yes I’m going to admit it. Any film with Hugo Weaving gets an 10x increase in awesome. I mean this guy is truly one of the most talented actors alive. When he ecomes a role you totally forget that he is Hugo Weaving and just think of him as that character. For me I’m always going, Hugo Weaving was in that film? Oh that’s who was that amazing character. I totally forgot that character was being played by an actor. I mean he is that  good. You have Agent Smith in The Matrix, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V in V for Vendetta, the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s just to name a few.

wolfman 2010 inspector abberline hmm i've almost got it hugo weaving

Anyways, Inspector Abberline comes to town to investigate. He already believes he knows who the killer is…Lawrence.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Seriously? Lawrence? A Murderer? Come on, this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean look at him, really look at him. There isn’t a murderous bone in his body! Besides, he just arrived in town so there is no way he could have murdered his brother. Dude, you’re dumb.

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But it isn’t completely ungrounded. You see, Lawrence has a history of “mental problems.” You see, I didn’t want to give you the full story so early, but Lawrence’s mother’s death really did a number on him. Now today, we would really try to help the child as we understand such events as those are highly traumatic and can cause serious issues. Then not so much. Lawrence discovered the body and was very upset. He was afraid and kept mentioning a monster had hurt her. Instead of trying to help his kid, Sir John sent him to an insane asylum, where he was tortured. And I mean torture. Many methods to improve these patients were electrotherapy, iron cuffs/collars, bloodletting, dipping the patient in hot or ice-cold water, and a gyrating chair “to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium”. By the 1900s, many hospitals had added lobotomies to their lists of “cures”.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah not fun. So Aberline thinks he is the perfect suspect. Laurence though, is having none of that.

Lawrence Talbot: I get your implication, and resent it. You’re clearly aware of my personal history, as I believe I’m aware of yours. Weren’t you in charge of the ripper case a couple of years back?

Det. Aberline: You’re a direct man. So I’ll be equally direct with you. I am not your enemy, Mr. Talbot. You’ve been seen as Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, all with that same face. A prudent man would ask who else might be living inside that head of yours?

Laurence doesn’t quite know what is going on and asks Gwen to leave as he’s worried something might happen to her. That night he follows his father, and watches him go down to the family crypt, to the area where his dead mother resides. There he finds a chair with restranints. His father locks the door and stays in the crypt, leaving a confused Laurence.

Weird

Weird

As Laurence turns to go inside, he becomes…The Wolfman!

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Now this was worth the price of admission. These transformation scenes are awesome!!!

Freakin’ sweet!

So now that he is a wolfman, he does what they all do. Ravage the countryside.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

The next day the Inspector comes for him and has him arrested to be sent back to the “mental hospital”

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

How horrible is that. I mean this has to be Laurence’s biggest fear, to be sent back to that horrible place. Poor guy. And I was doing some research last night, not only were insane asylums awful, but the one he has to go to, Bedlam, was one of the worst.

you're evil

Dr. Hoennegar, the leading physician, takes Laurence under his wing and subjects him to ice treatments, that is to be consistently dunked into ice water and left there for long periods of time.

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Can you imagine?

And oh joy, he also gets electroshock therapy.

Stupid, stupid

While he is incarcerated, Sir John comes to visit and tells him a story. You see Sir John is the cause of all this.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Back in the day when he was younger and hunting in India, he heard this rumor about an unusual predator. He travels to the remote cave that the predator calls his home and while there was bit by a feral boy and became a victim of lycanthropy.

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Except, it was more than “imagining” he actually became a werewolf and began attacking things.

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That’s when Laurence realizes everything about his mother’s death makes total sense. He did see a beast kill her, but it was his father! His father killed his mother and then sent him to a mental institution!!! What a truly, truly evil man to allow his son to be tortured. And now for a second time!!!

you're evil

Now this was my biggest issue with the film. Every other part of the movie was actually pretty great. It was an amazing homage to the orginal film. Benecio del Toro was actually a huge fan of the original and tried to bring a lot of Lon Chaney Jr. into his acting. But the thing I absolutely hate was the changed relationship with his father.

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It just didn’t work in my opinion. I mean that is what truly made the original fantastic, was that everything in his life was going great, he was a great man; and this tragedy strikes that ruins everything. He and his father were finally, finally becoming close and working out all their issues. He had met a nice girl, even though she was engaged, and had hope for that relationship. He loved England and was getting back into the groove of it. But then this horrible thing happens and he has to say good-bye to it all. He knows he is going to die, but what does he do? He goes to his dad and makes sure that he has something to protect him. Because even though he has spent years hating and being angry at his father, he truly loves him. It’s just so wonderful and sad all at the same time

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

But having the dad the evil guy, I don’t know…it just makes the film feel as if it is missing a huge part of it. It doesn’t hit in the heart like the orginal.

But moving on, so his father murdered his mother and then sent the only witness to a torture chamber (mental hospital) to ensure that those memoris would never come to light as they are only crazy “child fantasies”.

you're evil

Since then, Sir John has had his manservant Singh has been locking him up so he doesn’t wreck havoc anymore. However, Ben was planning to leave with Gwen once they were married and this enraged Sir John. He wasn’t locked up that night and killed him to keep him from going away. He became so incensed with the power that he ran wild later, killing all in the gypsies camp and biting Laurence purposely.

Omg what a–

wordICan't say Toy Story

He did it on purpose because he wanted a fall guy. He wants to roam free as a werewolf and he allows his son to be caught and tortured. Argh!!! Urhg! this man! I;m so angry I can’t spell right. He needs a good sock in the face.

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After he finishes his story he leaves, intent on never returning.

Jerk

He deserves another punch.

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That night Laurence is taken to the observation room, where the good doctor presents him as a curio to his collegues. Unbeknowest to him, moonlight is coming through the window and landing on Laurence. This causes him to turn into….the Wolfman!

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This is one of the coolest scenes, but unfortunately I could only find it in Italian. Sorry! But you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to enjoy the effects/makeup.

Dr. Hoenneger: Ah, Mr. Talbot. We are here tonight to illustrate conclusively that Mr. Talbot’s fears are quite irrational. So, we will remain in this room together, and once Mr. Talbot has witnessed that the full moon holds no sway over him, that he remains a perfectly ordinary human being, he will have taken his first small step down the long road to mental recovery. We are all aware that Mr. Talbot has suffered quite traumatic personal experiences. He witnessed his mother’s self mutilations. His young mind, unable to accept it, created a fantastical truth, that his father is to blame. That is father is literally a monster. But, your father is not a werewolf. You were not bitten by a werewolf. You will not become a werewolf, any more than I will sprout wings and fly out of that window.

Freakin’ AWESOME

Totally fangirl over that.

Laurence runs away, being chased by the Inspector, and also wreaking havoc. There are some truly amazing shots of him by the bridge, on statues. Just plain awesome!

wolfman statue on tiop of werewolf

The next day he visits Gwen in her antique shop. They realize they have fallen in love, but Laurence knows nothing can come of it. He has to kill his father and himself in order to protect others.

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Inspector Abberline comes to see if Lawrence is there, but he is too late. Lawrence has already left for Talbot estate.

Gwen refuses to believe that they can’t be together. She starts studying lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva the gypsy for more advice. Maleva cannot help her, as there is no cure for werewolf.

Noo!

Noo!

Meanwhile, the Inspector has also headed back to the village and this time armed with silver bullets. That show in the Observation room must have finally convinced him that werewolves are real. Gwen also heads toward Talbot Hall.

Lawrence is the first to arrive and discovers a murdered Singh. He takes his gun loaded with the silver bullets and starts hunting his father.

Sir John Talbot: You have me at a disadvantage. It makes me happy.

Lawrence Talbot: What does?

Sir John Talbot: Well, seeing you here like this. My son returned. It is glorious, isn’t it?

Lawrence Talbot: No, it’s hell.

Sir John is a freak. He needs help. Serious help.

Anyways, it turns out there are no bullets in Singh’s gun, but blanks. Sir John did that on purpose as he will not be destroyed. Sir John attacks his son and the two begin fighting. The full moon comes up and transfroms them into werewolves. And yes, yes we have a werewolf fight. I personally thought it was a little cheesy (and dumb) but this is the millenal generation. And it is something the people want.

So after Laurence burns and decapiitates his father, Gwen walks into the house.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The wolfman, Lawrence, attacks her. Luckily, the inspector had also just arrived on the scene. He tries to use his gun, but misses allowing him to be bit by the werewolf. Gwen steals the gun and takes off, being pursued by the wolfman.

wolfman 2010 hiding from wolfman

He chases her to a waterfall. With nowhere left to go, Gwen starts begging and pleading with the wolfman, hoping to get to Lawrence. Lawrence reason faintly returns to the beast, who hesitates. He then hears the sound of a posse coming to attack him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

While he is concentrated on them, Gwen shoots him through the heart.

Noo!

Noo!

Laurence changes back to his human form, and before he dies thanks Gwen for saving him.

Lawrence Talbot: [his eyes open after being shot by a silver bullet and transforming back into a human] Gwen?

Gwen Conliffe: [crying] I’m sorry…

Lawrence Talbot: It had to be this way.

Gwen Conliffe: I’m sorry.

Lawrence Talbot: [he holds her hand] Thank you. [Dies]

aw cry

The posse and an injured inspector arrive just as Laurence dies.

So that is The Wolfman. Now do I think it is as good as the original? HECK NO! But that does not mean it isn’t an awesome film. Besides that one thing that majorly irks me, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a pretty awesome film. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting incredible, and those transformation scenes? Freakin’ awesome! And I did like how they moved the story to show how harshly “mental disabled” people were treated. And you know what? Most of the people who were in those didn’tr even have serious problems. They would throw in the homeless, those with learning disabilities, women of large fortune who had husands that wanted the money but not the girl, etc. It was horrible. Horrible.

But back to the film, I think it is a worthwile view. It may not be exactly how I imagined it, but you do have some great werewolves in this, and no Jacob ones. Real werewolves.

2010The Wolfman

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I am so pleased with this years as I was able to redeem myself from last year’s only half the month’s posts. 31 days of terror and woe once again. I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to The Perfect Murder

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For more on werewolves, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us

For more monster movies, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

For more on 19th century England, go to The Past of a Man

For more on insane asylum, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more remakes, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

That Video…is Not of This World: Ringu (1998)

ringu-horror-movie-poster

This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own

On April 13, 2011; I was chilling with my friends when I suddenly recalled it is Friday, April 13th!

Fridaythe13th

It’s Friday the 13th! We must watch a scary movie! We weren’t satisfied with what we had in the dorm so we headed out to the library and checked out what they had. We were looking out the horror section, when my friend Freda saw Ringu and said that we should watch it since she had heard it was really creepy. I was totally down for that, and I have to agree that it was pretty creepy, but did have some dull moments.

So the film starts out with two girls hanging out one night.

ringu0

One starts joking with the other, telling her about a story she heard about these people checking out a strange video, and later they recieved a call saying they would die in seven days. It quickly goes from funny too serious when the other girl, Tomoko, tells her friend that she saw the video and got the call. Her seventh day is tonight. She then says she was just kidding, and that it’s no big deal, she’s going to be fine. However the two go downstairs, Tomoko is killed by some unseen force. Her friend then goes into shock and has to be put in a mental institution. This scene is pretty creepy.

Tomoko’s aunt Reiko Asakawa is a journalist and comes over for the memorial, bringing her son.

reikoyoichi

She feels that something is not right, as there has to be more to the story. She starts going through some of Tomoko’s stuff and finds a strange picture of Tomoko and her and friends at a cabin in Izu. In the photo all the kids’ faces are blurred out. All the kids in the photo are also dead.

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 Reiko  goes down to the cabin in Izu and finds a strange tape, intrestingly it is not the orginal piece but a copy.  Reiko watches it and it is full of strange images that don’t seem to make any sense. At the end the image cuts off and snow flurries take over the screen.

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Immediately after, the phone rings and the voice on the phone says she only has seven days to live.

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The rest of the film is now counted in days as  Reiko’s time is limited.

Reiko goes to see her ex-husband, Ryūji Takayama. One thing they never explain is that Ryūji is a psychic. This is part of the reason why the two broke up as Reiko couldn’t deal with it. Reiko goes to him to tell him he might have to care for their son if she should die. Ryūji doesn’t believe her, so she forces him to take a picture of her. In the pic her face is blurred.

INVASIAN-RINGU_03

Ryūji works with media and asks to see the video hoping to figure something out. Reiko doesn’t want to show it to him but gives in. He gets a call too. She also makes him a copy to study.

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Ryūji  is able to discover a phrase “frolic in brine, goblins be thine” hidden in the video, a saying that came from Izu Ōshima Island. That night, Reiko catches her son watching the tape and is now more than ever determined to discover how to defeat the thing that is killing people. Reiko and Ryūji team up and travel to the island to find out more.

On the island they discover that there used to be a great psychic Shizuko Yamamura. A doctor was working with her, showcasing her powers, but she was denounced a fake and disappered from sight.

The two find the doctor that was working with Shizuko and discover that the doctor had a deeper relationship with Shizuko than just studying her. He was her lover. Shizuko and him sired a child, Sadako, who was uncontrollable. She killed all the horses because they were disturbing her, killed people, etc. The father couldn’t handle her after the mom died and killed her by throwing her down a well. However, that didn’t completely kill Sadako as she psionically put her  vengeful spirit into the tape. This spirit or Onryō killed the teenagers.

The two go back to the Cabin because that is where the videotape surfaced. They uncover a well and try to empty it to appease her spirit. Minutes before the seven days are up, Reiko finally finds Sadako’s corpse at the bottom. She hugs her and kisses her forehead, giving her “a mother’s love”. When nothing happens to Reiko, they believe that the curse is broken.

All seems fine until the next day. Ryūji is at his home and his TV switches on by itself showing the image of a well. The ghost of Sadako crawls out of the well and out of Ryūji’s TV set.

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This wasn’t very creepy which disappointed me. I mean that was the whole buildup right? Well it just seemed very fake to me as she takes FOREVER to crawl across the floor.

So as Ryūji is dying he manages to dial Reiko’s number. She realizes the curse wasn’t broken and tries to figure out wat she did differently. She goes over everything she’s did in the past seven days and realizes what she did that Ryūji didn’t–copying the tape and showing it to Ryuji.  Reiko figures out that by having her son make a copy and give it to someone is the only way to save her son. The last shot is her driving to her father’s and talking to him on the phone letting him know that her son has a video to show him. (I know HORRIBLE BETRAYAL)

It was pretty creepy and compelling, but the last part when Sadako comes was just not creepy. But this film is worth a watch. What’s interesting is that the director Kôji Suzuki got his inspiration for the Ringu novel, which the film is based on, from his favorite horror movie Poltergeist.

Here is a cover page/poster for facebook I made as part of my countdown to Halloween.

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