Who Did I Marry?: The Stranger Beside Me (1995)

Who did I marry?

I saw this film about four years ago when I was going on a Lifetime binge on youtube. It is still up there so you can check it out for yourself if you wish. It is based on a true story.

The film starts off with Jennifer Morgan (Tiffani Amber Thiessen). She is a respite worker for a man in a wheelchair, she wants to be an artist and keeps to herself-no dating and no men.

She gets encouraged to date Chris Gallagher (Eric Close), a guy she meets at a picnic, and at first is hesitant-but quickly falls in love.

We discover why she is so closed off, she reveals to Chris that she was raped by a friend’s stepfather. Chris understands and later proposes. The two get married and Chris reveals his dream of joining the navy. He enlists and the two are off to base.

All are happy

There Chris starts changing, he is extremely jealous and starts becoming anxious about being away from Jennifer and underwater. He starts acting out-very angry and frightening, but is always apologetic afterward.

Then a neighbor gets spied on by a peeping tom. One night when her husband is on duty she is raped.

Jennifer is terrified, but Chris just blows it off as no big deal.

Hmm…

Meanwhile, Chris has a panic attack and is relieved of his duties. Jennifer finds out later that it wasn’t an attack, but that he threatened to kill himself if he had to go under and is getting psychiatric help. But that doesn’t seem to help his possessiveness and anger.

Chris gets discharged when he is caught and charged with voyeurism. Jennifer wants to leave him, but is pregnant and decides to give him one more chance.

Things get better and then they become very much worse. He becomes angry, bad tempered, abusive, and voyeuristic. To add to such terror a masked rapist starts attacking women in the neighborhood.

Jennifer has the baby, and Dana, Alyson Hannigan, Chris’ niece, reveals that he molested her her whole childhood. Jennifer wants to leave him, taking the baby with her, but Chris attacks Jennifer.

Noooo!

Jennifer tries to go to the police to press charges, but he has a friend in the police and not enough evidence to connect him to the rapes.

Chris tells her that she cannot leave or else he will hurt her and their daughter. Jennifer stays and pretends to be a dutiful wife always watching, and trying to find a way to catch him, looking for a slip up.

She becomes friends with a detective that believes her husband is guilty, the two working together in the hopes of getting evidence and putting him away.

It has a great and powerful ending, you should check it out for yourself.

It is an amazing film, but so sad. Watching that was like watching my life when I was married. It was awful, and I feel so bad for this woman. If you would like more information on the actual case, go here. But even though she encountered hardship, she took that guy down like a true hero.

No banner this time as there weren’t any pictures big enough to use. Oh, well-there’s always next time.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For more Lifetime films, go to It Was the Curse. My Curse: The Cheerleader Murders (2016)

I Don’t Want the Money: It Happened One Night (1934)

Romantic Moment #7

it-happened-one-night

It Happened One Night (1934)

This is one of my all-time favorite romantic films. First of all it is by one of my favorite directors, Frank Capra, and fav actors; Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. I just love this trio, especially when they are all in one film.

Ellen “Ellie” Andrews (Colbert) is a spoiled heiress who is tired of living under her father’s restrictions. She married the first guy she could, fortune-hunting “King” Westley. Her father has sequestered Ellie until her can get her an annulment. She only has so long to get to New York  and reunite with King before the annulment is finalized. She escapes from the yacht that has been her prison and takes off, boarding a bus.

Peter Warne (Gable) is a journalist and on the outs with his boss. He needs a really great story, an exclusive, in order to make things right. He and Ellie end up sitting next to each other and Peter figures out who she is. He makes a bet with his editor (sound familiar?) that he has a great story, the best ever; and goes on to talk to Ellie. He gives her the option of him 1) going along with her and writing a heartfelt story about the power of love, etc or 2) he will turn her in and collect all the reward money. Needless to say Ellie chooses the first option.

Soon the two are partners in this endeavor. Ellie’s money and luggage are stolen and she has to rely on Peter to help her, since she has no clue what she’s doing. Later, Ellie gives a poor family  the rest of Peter’s money, leaving them completely broke until they can get to New York. They soon have to leave the bus as one of the other passengers recognizes her and they have to walk through the forest. Later they have to hitchhike, Colbert doing the famous “leg scene“. They get picked up, but then the guy tries to steal their luggage and Peter has to go after him. He comes back with their stuff and the guys, finding a place to stay. Throughout this adventure the two start to fall in love (the first film to do the “two who hate each other love each other in the end after being stuck with each other”). That night, Ellie tells Peter she loves him, but Peter doesn’t say anything. Instead, he waits until Ellie is asleep and takes off. He gets all the way to his editor in New York and sells him the story; wanting to tell Ellie how he feels but not wanting to do that with nothing to his name. He wants offer Ellie more than himself (although all Ellie wants is him not money or anything more.) Peter and the editor spend the night working on the story of his and Ellie’s adventures and their love. Meanwhile, Ellie wakes up to find Peter and the stuff gone. Thinking he walked out on her she calls her dad, who at this point is so happy to see her that he doesn’t care of she wants to marry the mimbo King, but will even throw her a new wedding, since he is so happy to have her back. Peter and Ellie pass each other, Peter on his way to see Ellie, and Ellie on her way off with King. Peter thinks Ellie didn’t want him and both are mad and hurt at the other. Ellie is about to have her wedding, but her father (who had met Peter) convinces Ellie that Peter loves her. He tells Ellie that he has everything ready for if she wants to take off. Ellie does and is reunited/married to Peter.

Favorite Romantic Moment:

Now this film has quite a few, but this is one of my favs. Ellie’s father is so thankful to have her safe and back in his life he decides that Peter should get the reward money. After all, if Ellie hadn’t had Peter she would have been molested by men on the bus (Peter saved her from them), starved (Peter gets her food, even digging up carrots when they had nothing), etc. Peter comes but instead he refuses. He doesn’t want a single thing, other than what he spent on Ellie.

crazy

Now I know that this is a movie cliché we see in lots of films, Pretty Woman, Anastasia, etc. (this was actually the first film to do this); but let’s think about the time this film takes place. 1934. That’s right, smack-dab in the middle of the Great Depression. I mean think about how bad the unemployment is right now. Imagining it? Well it is, at the worst as it depends by state, is 4.8%. In 1934, it was 21.7%. That’s really bad. So here is a guy who has no job as he not only was on the outs and fired in the first place, but then his exclusive story turned out to be naught. So here he is with no job, no money, and no options. But instead of taking the reward, thousands of dollars, he takes nothing. Only $39.60 as reimbursement.

So romantic!

So romantic!

He loves her so much that he can’t have their time and memories tainted. Instead he’d rather be poor. How romantic! He has honor, morals, and principles! ❤

Alexander Andrews: Oh, er, do you mind if I ask you a question, frankly? Do you love my daughter?

Peter Warne: Any guy that’d fall in love with your daughter ought to have his head examined.

Alexander Andrews: Now that’s an evasion!…Do you love her?

Peter Warne: A normal human being couldn’t live under the same roof with her without going nutty! She’s my idea of nothing!

Alexander Andrews: I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?

Peter Warne: YES! But don’t hold that against me, I’m a little screwy myself!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[as he walks Ellie down the aisle, Mr. Andrews talks to her]

Alexander Andrews: You’re a sucker to go through with this. That guy Warne is OK. He didn’t want the reward. All he asked for was $39.60, what he spent on you. Said it was a matter of principle. You took him for a ride. He loves you, Ellie. He told me so. You don’t want to be married to a mug like Westley; I can buy him off for a pot of gold. And you can make an old man happy and you won’t do so bad for yourself. If you change your mind, your car’s waiting at the back gate.

I LOVE this film!

For more on It Happened One Night check out My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on Frank Capra go to Bringing the World to Your Backyard

If you liked this post, check out On the 8th ‘Til of Christmas  and the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas

Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught: Perfect Stranger (2007)

Secrets are great. Unless you get caught.

So a week ago I had some free time and was flipping through channels, planning on just zoning out in front of the TV until my next class. I landed on FX and started watching this movie with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. It seemed really good, but I couldn’t finish it as I had to run off to my next class. I decided to rent it  and finish watching it as the plot really intrigued me. Unfortunately; it wasn’t very good. I thought it had too many sexual scenes that were just awkward and painful to get through, I ended up having to fast forward through them all. I also thought they dropped the F-bomb too many times. I’m not one who curses at all, but I think everyone who does will agree with me that there are times when the F-Bomb is said too many times that it loses its meaning and makes the person just look stupid.

I also didn’t like Halle Berry’s character Ro. I thought that she was a mean, selfish jerk. Her friend Miles is head over heels crazy for her, and Ro knows this and instead of letting him off gently; she is totally rude to him, just using him for all the information he can get. Now I know I have been a total witch to guys (check out the Elton Saga: 1,2,& 3 plus lame lines  and flirting post), but at least I never toyed with a guys affections to get him to retrieve information for me.

The only really good part about this film is the end. It was amazing! I wish there was a way one could just watch it and understand the rest of the film.

Here are the links if you want to check it out yourself.

FYI Spolier Alert

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So the movie starts out with Halle Berry’s character Ro, a journalist,  tricking a senator into revealing all of his dirty secrets.

Ro is pretty high on her recent sucess and goes out to celebrate with her best friend/computer whiz/guy madly in love with her that she doesn’t care for, Miles. After she becomes extrremely drunk, she ends up being told by her boss that they are burying the story. Extremely angry that her freedom of press is being stomped on, she quits.

She starts on home feeling angry and crappy. She’about to board the subway and head home, when her old school friend she hasn’t spoken to in years; and is really mad at, because she slept with her boyfriend, Grace approaches her.

Hey girl, what up?

Turns out Grace met this guy, ADEX, online and had cybersex with him, later meeting up with him in real life. It turns out that “ADEX” was really the rich and famous Harrison Hill. She and him had a big fling and now she is threatening to blackmail him. She also wants Ro to write this up for the paper and completely embarass Hill. Ro blows her off and continues on home.

A week later, Ro gets a call from Grace’s mom telling her Grace is thought to be dead. Ro goes and identifies the drowned body, confirming that it is Grace. From here Ro decides she is going to take on Hill, and get him for what he did. She enlists Miles who has all the knowledge and contacts to pull off a caper like this.

She starts working at Hill’s Ad agency and quickly makes friends with the biggest gossip there; thus learning all the dirty secrets on everyone. Apparently Hill has had many affairs, all of which his wife is tired of. In fact, if he does it one more time, she’s leaving him. Now you might think, so what? He can get along without her. Wrong-o! Turns out Hill has nothing, nada, zip! His wife has the money, the company, EVERYTHING! He wouldn’t dare let her know that he was having another affair or else he would be kicked to the curb. He pretends to be the dutiful husband, going along with her to fertility tanks, because his wife is infertile. Sounds like a motive to me.

Then Ro witnesses what Hill does to people he thinks are betraying him. He beats up on one of his employees that he thinks is spilling secrets to their competitor.

Don’t make me angry

So more and more he is looking like the villain. But is it ever that easy?

Now there are a lot of web chatting, and online sex, and gross things…between her, TruBlue (random guy she meets online), and ADEX.

Oh and Ro has these weird flashbacks throughout the film that involve her father. They don’t outright say it, but strongly hint that he was molesting/raping her as a child. At times they become a mishmash of flashback/present day dream/nightmarelike things. They get very confusing at times.

Then the movie gets intense again. Ro has pretty much confirmed that ADEX is Hill. And she starts talking to him online AT WORK! I mean COME ON! HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE?

I mean the stupidity level is on par with taking a shower when there are monsters running about. Just saying.

So of course she has stuff on her screen that she doesn’t want Hill to see, and he just HAS to come over to talk to her. The scene is actually pretty intense ands set up very well.

So Ro is able to get out of that tight spot, and turns down her boss’ offer to go out with him, wanting instead to keep things “professional”.

That night she meets up with Miles, once again being  complete dermo (a word I created for loser/jerk who uses someone. I actually found out the definition for the “true” word isn’t that far off. Cool, huh?) to him. Miles brings a friend who works with the coroner. Apparently Grace was not just drowned but drugged with Belladonna and had some put in her eyes. Hill’s wife’s family has donated a ton of money to medical research, a majority of that which used Belladonna. Hmm…suspicious. Also, after she was poisoned, Grace was drowned. She was also pregnant. Things are looking worse and worse for Hill.

*At this point in the film I have already decided that it is not Hill. It is way too obvious and I think that there is another character who has a stronger motive, Hill’s wife. What if Grace approached the wife right after talking to Ro. Maybe the wife was one of those women who couldn’t stand to lose her man and would take out any woman who dared try to take him from her. What if all those past affairs have just been compounding on her brain all these years, and she just snaps hearing about this one. But the most likely motive; she couldn’t bear to hear that after trying so long to be pregnant and being infertile, that this little tramp got pregnant by her husband. The one thing she could not do, being done by some harlot? That’s enough to drive any woman to the brink of insanity. It would be easy, all she would have to do is meet up with Grace to see the proof, give her a drink laced with the Belladonna, which of course would be easy for her to get, and kill her. If she didn’t want to do it herself she has plenty of money to hire someone to do it for her.

Anyways, so Ro goes out with Hill after all to try and probe his mind a little. She ends up being slightly charmed by him instead.

The next day he comes to pick her up and we see his wife is creepin’ on them from a taxi. Makes her look totally suspicious.

Ro is trying to get into Hill’s computer to get a look at his emails. Miles give her a spyware program on a flashdrive, but it tkes some time so she has to do it when Hill won’t be around. She waits until after work, when everyone is gone and sticks it in. Only prob is, Hill hasn’t left yet. She’s caught red-handed.

She ends up making up a dumb story involving a private joke the two shared the night they went out.

For some strange reason he buys her answer and takes her out to dinner. They are having fun, making out, etc; and Ro leaves to go to the bathroom. And she leaves her purse and phone behind.

Okay, hold up now, what woman does that? What woman would leave to go to the bathroom and not take her purse and phone. Bad call writers, bad call.

So while she is gone her phone goes off, and Hill decides that he’s gonna read her text message. Seriously, who does that? Does he not understand the word “privacy”?

She comes back, and Hill starts driving her home. He stops in a random place and then starts yelling at her. Telling her he knows her secrets, that she is a spy from their rival competitors. Ro, trying to save herself, admits to it. Hill becomes so angry that he almost hits her.

Let’s rewind and back that up. Almost hits her. At this point in the film I knew it wasn’t him. He just had the sense that he would never hurt a woman. And I found it odd that the only thing he thought Ro was trying to discover about him was spying for another company? It just seemed off to me. I mean if he had killed Grace, Miles message would have made him think that Ro was onto him about that, yet the only thing that comes to mind is a rival company spy? Hmm….

So Ro is fired. Now this is where the story gets weird.

Miles decided to go in and save the day. The next day he pretends to be an IT guy for Hill, ready to do a complete inspection on Hill’s computer. Hill tells him to wait a bit and check out the office. He looks at these photographs done by Mrs. Hill of eyes dilluted with Belladonna.

At this point I’m completely sold on the fact that Mrs. H is the murderer.

Meanwhile, Ro goes to Miles house to make him dinner and discovers that he has some freaky, jacking-off, man-cave, room thing. Really gross and freaky. She also sees that Miles was TruBlue and had been sleeping with Grace.

ew! Gross Yuck

He also channeled Helga from Hey Arnold with a super creepy Ro shrine. Its actually talks and says “Miles is sexy” in Ro’s actual voice. Very sick.

Yeah, pretty freaky!

Miles comes home and Ro starts yelling at him, and accusing him of being the murderer. Miles admits he’s a freak but shows her Hill’s company’s website with the Belladonna pics. He is now absolutely convinced that Hill or his wife killed Grace. Ro still won’t listen and walks out, never wanting to speak to Miles again.

The next day she takes all her info to the police and they set up a sting to catch Hill. Everything pretty much falls apart as the evidence is so high against him. His wife gives some pretty damaging evidence against him. Hill is convicted and sent to jail.

Ro goes back to work and starts writing an article on everything that went on. She has a really great opening:

Ro: It’s a world where you *think* actions have no consequence, where guilt is cloaked by anonymity, where there are no fingerprints. An invisible universe filled with strangers, interconnected online and disconnected in life. It will steal your secrets, corrupt your dreams, and co-opt your identity. Because in this world, where you can be anything you want, any *one* you want, you just might lose sight of who you are.

So here, the movie seems pretty wrapped up, but you just know there has to be one last twist. I’m waiting for the wife to go crazy or be discovered or something.

So then we have this great shot of Mrs. Hill going to the medicine cabinet (where she kept the Belladonna) and opening it. Then we see gloved hands pull out some hair spray, unscew the bottom (like in Jurassic Park) and pull out Belladonna. The person is………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ro.

Yes Ro. Ro is trying to dump out her secret Belladonna down the drain. Ro then has a flashback and we get the whole story. Her father was going to molest her, when her mom stepped in and beat her dad with the fireplace poker. Instead of calling the cops they buried him in the backyard, and Grace saw the whole thing and has been blackmailing her for years. Watch the video:

Great ending. Only great part of the film.

I especially love how they review the scene between her and Grace. You know get the full meaning of the words that she used when talking to Ro.

The only thing I didn’t like was the moving around of Miles and Ro when he is telling her he had it all figured out. I thought it was just weird. Ugh, and Miles was so gross trying to blackmail her into sleeping with him, yuck!

I love how in the end Hill wasn’t the “perfect stranger”, but they all were. Each character had secrets and things about them they were hiding; in the end being someone completely different than you expected.

So that’s today’s freaky tale. More are on the way.

PerfectStranger

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

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For more on unrequited love, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness