Ghosts, Ghouls, and Gothic Fiction

So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, etc.

It amazes me that have been doing this ten years already.

Wow!

I only started doing this because I already would watch something for Halloween every day in October (and annoy my friends by doing so); and it was a real easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.

Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.

I also did my second annual Celebrate Halloween with Northanger Abbey.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
  • Jane Austen with Northanger Abbey (1987)
  • Alfred Hitchcock with Vertigo (1958)
  • Animated Film with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
  • Disney with The Cat From Outer Space (1978) and Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire (2000)
  • Stephen King with The Shining (1980)
  • Tim Burton with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
  • Vincent Price with “Ship of Ghouls” from The Love Boat (1978)

This year I reviewed the following:

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Ramrod (1947)

Vertigo (1958)

Munster Masquerade from The Munsters (1966)

The Cat From Outer Space (1978)

Ship of Ghouls from The Love Boat (1978)

The Shining (1980)

Labyrinth (1986)

The Monster Squad (1987)

Northanger Abbey (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Heathers (1988)

Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

Murder in High C” from Murder She Wrote (1995)

True Crime (1996)

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)

Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire (2000)

Death on the Nile (2004)

Twilight (2008)

Turn of the Screw (2009)

Twilight Saga, New Moon (2009)

Twilight Saga, Eclipse (2010)

Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part I (2011)

Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part II (2012)

Mysteries & Meddling Kids: Austin & Ally (2015)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

The Moonstone (2016)

Kong, Skull Island (2017)

The Open House (2018)

Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

By the way if you love ghosts, ghouls, and gothic fiction you should definitely get this shirt that MadsenCreations and I created.

Horrofest X: Have Yourself a Haunted Halloween

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020s)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Is animated
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • And is in some way Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although two years ago I had several. There was the Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soon; along with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again.

Last year we had several films with Jane Austen Bingos (actors from Jane Austen productions spotted in another film), and I finally reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007), one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. I also started a new tradition, #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey, something I will be continuing this year! So be sure to join me!

Another tradition I added a few years ago is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did Jane the Vampire Slayer to go with my review of Return of the Vampire (1943).

This year I decided to make Jane a Ghostbusters.

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, zombies, aliens, mysteries, monsters, gothic stories, film noir, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

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

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For Horrorfest IX, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

It’s Time for All Good Little Ghouls to Return Home

So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monsters, thrillers, etc.

I started doing this because I watch something for Halloween everyday in October, and it was an easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.

Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, Tim Burton film, Vincent Price, a film/TV episode from every decade, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.

Interestingly, they always end up to being completely unplanned but somehow go together.

Wow!

The first thing we seemed to have a lot this October is Vampires. We had Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part I, The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part II, Northanger Abbey and Return of the Vampire,

From The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula

This year’s theme is “mysteries” to tie in with it being the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. That being the year’s theme, I reviewed quite a few mysteries, such as: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Batman Returns, Criminal Minds, Ellery Queen, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part I, The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Meet Dracula: Part II, Knives OutMiss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, Raising Hope, Rear Window, and Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers.

We also had a few dystopian futures with Fahrenheit 451, Ghost in the Shell, and Mad Max.

Watching neighbors and it leading them to being involved in a mystery with Men at Work, Raising Hope, and Rear Window.

I also included Jane Austen when I ended this year with a review of Northanger Abbey.

Along with trying to encourage others to #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey something I think I will continue every year.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
  • Alfred Hitchcock with Rear Window
  • Animated Film with Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)
  • Disney with The Moon-Spinners
  • Lifetime/TV Film with The Stranger Beside Me (2003)
  • Stephen King with Sleepwalkers
  • Tim Burton with Batman Returns
  • Vincent Price with The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

The full list of films and TV episodes reviewed for Horrorfest IX:

The Cat and the Canary (1939)

The Return of the Vampire (1943)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Rear Window (1954)

The Blob (1958)

The Moon-Spinners (1964)

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

“The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario” from Ellery Queen (1976)

“The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I”: from The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

“The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part II”:  fromThe Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

Mad Max (1979)

Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)

My Mom’s a Werewolf (1989)

Men at Work (1990)

Batman Returns (1992)

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Bon Voyage (2003)

The Stranger Beside Me (2003)

“North Mammon” from Criminal Minds (2006)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

Epidemiology”: from Community (2010)

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Murder She Hoped: Raising Hope (2013)

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

High Seas Season Two (2019)

Knives Out (2019)

High Seas Season Three (2020)

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

 

 

The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

 

So it is time for our annual Vincent Price film or TV episode.

I love Vincent Price and I can’t resist anything he is in. I was trying to decide on a film or TV episode, but this Ellery Queen episode intrigued me as I needed to fill a Friday TV show spot, because this episode looked fun, and I couldn’t resist adding another Sleuth to my “mysterious” year.

Mystery, you say?

So I have never read an Ellery Queen mystery or watched this TV show-but I do know who Ellery Queen is. In the Leverage episode “10 Little Grifters” Nate dresses up as him and the first time I saw that episode I had to look up who Ellery Queen is. Ellery Queen is actually similar to Diagnosis Murder, but backwards. Inspector Richard Queen is a renowned detective and his son a famous crime writer, who helps his father solve the really tough cases. (Like how Steve Sloan is a detective and his doctor father, Dr. Mark Sloan, solves all his tough cases).

So I found this episode on youtube and it was a lot of fun watching it as it had the original commercials that it aired with. So enough about that, let’s get started.

It has an old CREST commercial, I can’t believe these girls are fighting over which toothpaste to use. I wouldn’t care what my friends would want. I don’t think I even know what brand they use.

The episode starts off with them filming a scene from an Ellery Queen murder mystery- like how most end, when the director yells cut. The director is played by Vincent Price, I’d know his voice anywhere. I’d listen to him read a phonebook.

The Vincent Price, director Michael Raynor, isn’t happy and I don’t blame him. The guy playing Ellery Queen stinks, like he’s the literal worst. Meanwhile Ellery Queen and his dad are watching and are not impressed. They changed his story and dialogue. I feel you Ellery, Hollywood has ruined many things I love as well.

Vincent Price yells at everyone and is just at the end of his rope, and I hope he isn’t the one who is murdered. I’ll be disappointed if he’s in it for only a second.

Please, oh please! from Death Comes to Pemberley

OMGosh the guy playing Ellery Queen in the movie, Gilbert Mallory (Troy Donahue), is a serious jerk and diva. He’s going to die. I just know it! Too bad Michael Raynor can’t fire him as he owns part of the film and has a lot of power. It’d be great if he died.

Mallory meets the real Queen and is incredibly rude to him. What a jerk!

Mallory is cruel to the publicist and rewrote his script to steal lines from others-he’s totally going to be murdered.

So both the Queens are extremely disappointed in the experience. Inspector Queen expected glitz and glamour-but the studio is a really low budget one and doesn’t have the perks like the big studios. Ellery is upset that he didn’t get an updated script, all the changes are a surprise and an unwelcome one.

The publicist tries to console him and tells him he never gets the script changes either. How a guy can promote something without fully knowing what he is promoting is beyond me.

A lady interrupts them when she comes driving up to see Mallory-I’m assuming she’s the diva’s wife. She is and she is on set to keep her eyes on her husband, her husband who is involved with one of the actresses, Pamela, on set. Man, Mallory is digging his grave-someone is going to kill him, but who?

So the prop man unlocks the locker and grabs the prop gun, but leaves it open. Hmm…interesting,

Oh, I bet that this will be like that Psych episode Lights, Camera…Homicido where the man was murdered when the prop was switched out with a real knife. Mallory will probably be shot by the prop gun and really be shot as the gun will no longer be filled with blank but real bullets.

Pamela (the actress Mallory is sleeping with) shoots Mallory and closes her eyes when she does it. I don’t think she did that the first time. Almost as if…hmmm.

Hmm…is it her?

So she shoots him and all are happy with how Mallory died, as it finally looks real…but when he doesn’t get up, it turns out that he was…murdered. Shot by real bullets.

Ellery and Inspector are investigating which makes the local cops angry as they can’t stand these guys “butting in”. The Queens try to tell him about Mrs. Mallory-her threat of a final good-bye and that she didn’t leave when she said she did as her purse is still on set. There’s no way she would have left without it.

Hmm…

The head of the investigation, Captain Blake comes and it turns out that he and Inspector Queen are good friends who go way back. He makes the Lt. who was complaining earlier have them be a part. Haha!

They find Mrs. Mallory and she proclaims her innocence. She cries and says she loved her husband and would never kill him, and even if she wanted to she wouldn’t have had access to the prop box. She insists she only came back to talk to him as she no longer was upset. Hmmm…Her husband’s company had half the money in it-she probably could get access to the props. And did she really came back to talk to him? Or kill him?

Hmm…

Inspector Queen leaves to find the home of Dorothy Lamour and Ellery finds a note on his script telling him to talk to Al in special effects. He heads over there and it turns out Al has disappeared.

Ellery shows one of the other SFX guys his note and they find Al, who happens to be a fan and wants Ellery’s help. He insists that he put in six blanks this morning and never touched the gun again to reload it. He thinks someone got to the gun and put the real bullets in. He came in to work that morning and was loading the gun and received a phone call. With the phone being on the other end of the lot he ran over there, and it turned out that there was no one on the line. That’s the only time someone could have planted them.

His reason for hiding and not sharing this with the police? His sister was script girl on one of Mallory’s other pictures and he was afraid it would give him a motive, as Mallory dropped her and as she is “just a kid” it broke her heart. Ellery urges him to talk to the cops and they will treat him right.

In the next scene Al is in handcuffs. Yes, it turns out he had threatened Mallory, a fact he forgot to share with Ellery.

Lt. Smary Jerk Attitude gleefully tells Ellery what they discovered. He really hates Ellery.

The next commercials are pretty boring although one is for the Chicago Fire Festival. What is that?

Anyways, back to the show. The Queens are invited to a scrumptious brunch by Director Raynor. Inspector is mad as he wants to do some touristy things, but hey scrumptious brunch with Vincent Price, I mean Raynor, will have almost all your suspects and the gossip.

The big question in the air is whether or not the picture will go forward. And no one is quite sure. The Publicist for the film wants to get the stuntman Mike to be moved up to the lead, but Raynor isn’t interested in an “unknown”. This seems weird to be as you think the publicist would know better than to suggest that-their relationship seems weird.

The actor playing Inspector Queen in the movie goes to Raynor and tries to get him to reverse some of the changes Mallory made, but Raynor isn’t interested in dealing with it at the moment.

Hmmm…

Pamela isn’t too sad about the possibility of canceling the film as she will be able to get the part she really wanted in another film, a part that came her way after she signed the contracts for this film. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mallory is angry and starts pointing the finger at Raynor- telling Inspector Queen that her husband planned to fire him, but was killed first

Pamela also encourages them to look over Raynor’s gun collection as he’s a hunter and has a ton of guns that range from all types and decades. Ellery is super interested, but his father is done and ready to leave.

With that attitude I’m not surprised Ellery is the famous crimesolver in the family.

The actor playing the Inspector runs after the two and tells them something he just remembered. Originally Mallory had been wearing a real bulletproof vest but it was changed by Al, the prop man. If he had still had it on at the time then he would be alive today.

They go through the prop memos and find that Raynor was the one who asked for a bulletproof vest and that he wanted a simulated one instead. Raynor explains that Mallory hated the vest as he thought it made him look fat. Raynor tried to change his mind, but no dice, and he instead gave in. To some that may seem like a lame excuse, but the way this diva was, I believe it. The change was discussed off set with only Pamela being the one to hear if it.

Hmm…

Ellery is trying to figure it out who the killer is and starts reading over the scripts (the original and changed one)

The guy who plays Inspector Queen is always popping up and pointing fingers. I’m starting to wonder if it is going to be him as he always just “happens” to be there. He reveals that the end shooting scene changed from the original because the director requested it. It would save $200 to have Mallory be on the phone and shot by Pamela than to crash through a window by a stuntman.

But Ellery has discovered something very interesting, in the original writing, if real bullets were placed in the gun it would be harder to kill him on target, but in the new script-with the proximity, no way they could miss killing Mallory.

They ask Raynor about it who changed it and he answers he thought the clear shooting looked better and was cheaper, a win win. They are interrupted when Sonny Miller arrives on set to replace Mallory and everyone seems overjoyed to have him.

They begin shootong the car chase scene and switch Miller out for the stuntman Mike. I can’t help but feel something bad will happen.

Everything is going great until the car won’t stop and Mike goes crashing down the hillside.

We are back from commercials (a really weird Raisin Bran one) and it turns out the brakeline was cut-Mike is dead. So was the killer after Mallory, Sonny Miller, Mike the stuntman, or trying to stop the picture?

Hmm…

So the last one seems the most likely and the Queens start looking at Pamela since she is the only one who wanted to get out of the picture. She insists she has no reason for sabotage as RKO is waiting to do the picture until she is finished here. The Inspector insists that it isn’t a real alibi as she could have done the cutting of the brake line before she got word from RKO. Pamela insists there is no way as she doesn’t know anything about cars.

Ellery points out to his aggravated father that both murders were filmed, so they actually have an advantage as the review them for clues.

Ellery watches them and sees something? What? We can’t find out until he has rounded up the suspects.

Lt. Smarmy Jerk (I can’t remember his name and don’t really care to look it up) thinks Pamela did it as her face is cold blooded in the film of her shooting. Raynor defends her as being an actress and the Lt. says she’s not that good. LOL, I was thinking the same thing. Since he thinks she did it we all know that which means she didn’t.

Scene 231 is the clue. Ellery lists off the suspects:

  • Pamela, the actress who wanted out of the picture
  • The man playing Inspector Queen who’s lines were stolen by Mallory, maybe with Mallory (and Miller) gone the movie could be about him.
  • Mrs. Mallory, her husband was cheating on her and she never liked this picture-wants to pull the plug
  • Director Michael Raynor, he hated Mallory and wanted a different actor but Mallory had too much money involved-why he would try and stall the picture is uncertain, maybe it is a smokescreen to get them to look elsewhere
  • The Publicist, Mallory was cruel to him and he promoted Mike the stuntman (which is a odd relationship) also trying to kill Mike as a smokescreen?
  • Al the SFX guy-he hated Mallory but doesn’t have a reason for Mike.

Ellery gathers everyone up and here we go…

Elleey acts out the original scene from his script, Ellery going to the window and through it. A stunt is involved in the original scene so there would have been a stunt double-the stuntman would have been shot at. Mike was always supposed to be shot, the killer was always after the stuntman.

I KNOW WHO IT IS! You guys remember back at brunch the stuntman kept trying to get the publicist to get him get the part. Their interaction was weird as a good stuntman can have some power, but nothing like what Mike seemed to hold over the publicist. He must have something on him to make him do that. Earlier when Ellery complained about not being made aware of the changes to his story, the publicist complained that he isn’t told anything either. That means that he didn’t know about the scene being changed from the window and set up a murder using the original story.

Another mystery solved!

The last film the publicist worked on the actress had a nervous breakdown and was doing drugs to get through. Her drug dealer was jailed but the publicist needed to keep her going. She died from an overdose and Mike knew he supplied her with the pills and threatened him with the police if he didn’t do what he wanted.

Ellery and his dad exit set to do some conventional Hollywood plans.

That was interesting and enjoyable. Although it did make me think of Diagnosis Murder  (although I think that father and son pair had a better relationship.) I might check out some of the other episodes in the future.

For more Vincent Price, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

For more that feature crime writers, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more TV episodes reviews, go to Who Kidnapped the Girls’ Soccer Stars?: North Mammon, Criminal Minds (2006)

Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! To start us off we have:

****Contains Spoilers****

So I watched this during the COVID-19 #shelterinplace with my friend for her birthday. As we couldn’t be together, we decided to each watch at the same time and then text each other our thoughts. It is hard enough trying to make plans and now we have more time, but can’t get together.

Ugh! It’s so unfair

Now I’m not a big Miss Fisher fan. I have watched the show but I don’t really like the content. The mysteries are okay-usually there isn’t a whole lot of detecting and the answer just comes at the end. I’m not a fan of the book series either as I read a couple before I watched the series and just couldn’t get into it.

What I do like about the series is the characters-that’s the only reason I kept watching them: Mr. Butler Dorothy “Dot” Williams, Constable Hugh Collins, Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson, Cec, Burt, etc.- and I like how they interact with each other and Miss Fisher.

So quick recap for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) grew up poor but after WWI inherited a distant relatives fortune and now has boundless dollars. She does whatever she wants in 1920s Australia, often being asked to look into mysteries or crimes that have happened. She has a best friend/companion/lady’s maid in Dot, fosters a young girl Jane, hires two taxi drivers to assist in her investigations (Cec and Burt), and is constantly helping out/being a thorn in the side of Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson and his Constable Hugh.

This film takes place after the final season, when we last saw the crew Phryne saved her father, Dot and Hugh married, and Phryne asks Jack to pursue her twice. So now that the recap is over-let’s move onto the mystery.

Mystery, you say?

So we start off the film with the opening lines of “agitators” and I totally thought it said alligators. My friend did too, not a good font choice.

So we start off with a figure-Miss Fisher-running through the streets of a Middle Eastern city. Oh no, her hijab caught on a stick, I hate when that happens, you know your clothes get caught on things.

The hijab is pulled off and we get to look at Miss Fisher’s dress- it sure is something, look at all those sequins. Miss Fisher always has fantastic clothes.

So while Miss Fisher is running through the streets, all I can wonder is, where is Dot?

Hmm…

Or why is Miss Fisher there?

Hmm…

And where is Detective Jack (Nathan Page)?

Where is everyone?

So Miss Fisher is searching for someone/something. Ew, she was scaling the wall and then put her gloved hand in hr mouth-gross. That wall is probably super dirty as I’m sure it has never been cleaned. 

So she is looking for a Shirin. Why is she looking for Shirin? How does she know her?

What the heck?

Police follow Miss Fisher in a car while she and Shirin are on a motorbike. Good thing cars didn’t go fast back then or else they would be easily caught. They ditch the bike and get on top of a train with Miss Fisher in her heels being able to manage that.

I hate when movies and book do that. The train is going through a tunnel and she isn’t going to make it! Fade to black. We then switch to Australia

Oh, no! Is that Dot crying? Aw, she’s pregnant, she and Hugo are having a baby!

How sweet!

This timeline feels off, but that happens when they make movies. So it turns out that Miss Fisher is presumed dead again, and they are holding a funeral in London. Hugh and Dot can’t go because she is so far along, but Jack journeys to it.

The funeral starts, and Aunt Prudence doesn’t sit on a regular chair but has to have an armchair. She has to have the best of the best.

So the funeral is interrupted by a plane overhead, and it is so obvious that it is Miss Fisher. So now that we know she is crashing her funeral, who are all these other people?

I mean for real!

I mean right away I know that one guy is Rupert Penry-Jones, you know Captain Wentworth, but who is he in the film?

I looked him up and his character is Jonathan Lofthouse, but who is he to Phryne, they never say in the film-although the flirt a lot so we know he isn’t a close relation.

Hmm…

Oh no, poor Jack. He won’t be happy, I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack with how many times Phryne has “died”. Oh..his face might get stuck in that expression.

Phryne: Why are you so angry?

Really? Really? And you just kissing everyone like it’s no big deal. Ohmygosh! I wanted to slap some sense into her. Don’t you know how that would make Jack feel? And then she is all tell me what you wrote in your eulogy and he’s all it says I’m done with you. And she is offended? Really?

You know why he is angry and you are being so caviler with his feelings. He believed you dead! Phryne ca be fun, but in this she is kind of a jerk-especially the way she flirts in front of him with all these other guys in front of him. Like this guy wanted to marry you, he LOVES you and you don’t care one iota for his feelings.

And who are these people? Especially the guy she keeps kissing-Jonathan? Like why does she know them why are they at the funeral?

Hmm…what’s going on?

Jonathan and his older brother are fencing while taking about the war and those two have serious issues. They also are talking a bit about what happened in WWI, but there is a whole angry subtext going on underneath.

So the Sheikh is Shirin’s uncle and he and Eleanor, the wife of Jonathan’s brother seem too close.

Hmmm…

So Sheikh Kahlil Abbas, Jonathan, and his brother-I guess I should look his name up…let’s see Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse. Seriously? Who came up with that name? Anyways…They have some business plan that they are doing-something that needs to go through or else the Lofthouses will lose everything as Lofty sucks at keeping the finances together.

I’m pretty over it and are focusing on more important things. When is Jack coming back? If he has just a cameo I am going to be very disappointed.

We need more Jack!

Hmm…is this sheik a good or bad guy? They seem to be setting him up to have a secret of some kind but is it a red herring or foreshadowing?

Seriously

I really miss Mr. Butler the Butler. He was awesome. This butler is super creepy and weird. He slinks around and freaks me out.

Shirin Abbas gets a note from someone saying he is a friend of Shirin and has information regarding the death of her family. When she was little her whole tribe was killed in a sandstorm. She remembers someone slaughtering everyone and sparing her-but the English government has gone with the sandstorm story and jailed her for stirring things up (that’s why Phryne had to save her). Phryne doesn’t want her to go, but decides to take her place.

Phryne goes to see Jack to assist her who is staying at a pretty crappy hotel, I mean the door is pretty see-through. Jeez Phryne, you could have offered him a room at the mansion you are staying at Phryne.

I mean for real!

Jack is also made because Phryne got married! WHAT????

So she didn’t want to marry Jack as she “wasn’t ready” but then went and married some other guy?

This girl!

They go to the meeting place, a church, which is pretty deserted. If this was me I’d want my back to the wall as it is the perfect point to assassinate someone.

Phryne finds the friend who looks crazy and possibly drugged. He speaks of demons.

So with the WWI talk, the Sheikh, the English government controlling the country, and most likely the massacre of the tribe- here are my theories:

A) Maybe this guy was one of the English troops (best guess from all that was said earlier and how they mentioned the sheik is now indebted to the government) sent to kill the tribe but spared her a she was a toddler.

B) Maybe the sheikh isn’t really the sheikh but they murdered the tribe to hide the fact that they were placing someone else in who would allow them to takeover the country. The solider spared the girl because she was so young and she had never met her uncle before so she wouldn’t be able to tell if he is or isn’t the real sheikh.

He gets shot, TOLD YOU! Perfect place for an assassination, but passes on an emerald amulet . They call the police who are incredibly rude to Jack, and he holds their passport and Jack is upset that he can’t return to Australia. Phryne is mad at him, but geez-Jack has a real job and is not rich like you. Remember he took off time for your funeral.

I mean for real!

Like you grew up poor, you think you would remember parts of what it was like.

They go to meet Phryne’s friend who is involved with art and antiquities, she had run into him on her earlier escapades, and he goes upstairs to look for something He takes a really long time and they hear a noise. Phryne follows as she is all Danger? Where? Let me at it! She doesn’t even want Jack to go with her.

Such a man!

So that guy is safe, but another one comes in and then a fire, wow it went 0-6 real fast.

Phryne runs after the thief but doesn’t shoot at him and he disappears in the fog. Well you should’ve hit him in the leg or something.

Jack saves the amulet and Phryne and him get really close when the firefighters come. They are like oh yeah, there is a fire.

They show the necklace to Shirin who remembers it. She has a flashback to her mom holding it. I think it might be a key as the way it is shaped, it could fit into something. My friend also pointed out it is a triangle-just like her tattoo.

Supposedly, there is a tomb and they were supposed to protect it I’m guessing. Th necklace MUST be a key. They also find a compass. Hmm, maybe it is supposed to be like in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and they need it to find the crypt of tears.

Hmm…treasure?

The Lofthouses and the Sheikh were involved in what looks like a shady business deal. Hmm…thought so.

Phryne wears a sweater with a big “PF” on it. Wow, I have no words.

Wow…

So the Sheikh wants Shirin to forget all about the past and focus on London and the ball they are throwing her. I can’t hep but think that it is a huge deal to accept her so she should be happier, but when she leaves the Sheik, he seems to be thinking about it. Is he planning something bad or helpful?

Hmmm…

Shirin tells Phryne about the past and says it was three men who destroyed the village-I would have thought they would need more to destroy a whole village.

I think the Sheikh is somehow involved and that the men forced the mother to open to the tomb.

Hmm…

That night at the party Jack looks good in his fancy duds.

That evening the Sheikh fights with the Lofthouses, not wanting to agree to the deal anymore. Maybe he isn’t involved. Hmm….

Hmm…

Everyone is shouting secrets at this party, like shouting. The extra in a yellow dress and gold jacket was like oops, heard all of that. Mr. Lofthouse and the Sheikh are causing a scene as well.

All I can think is, why did Phryne marry that other guy. They better tell us, and soon.

This is like the worst party ever, at least no one died…but just wait…Oh no a gunshot! There it is.

The cop on the scene is pretty sharp putting things together. When it comes to alibis Jonathan tries to protect his brother (or him), by saying they were together, but the butler says no he and Jonathan were together. Wow really threw the older brother under the bus. Hmm…we know that Jonathon wasn’t with his brother, so why would he lie?

Hmm…

Maybe the butler doesn’t like the Lord of the manner, but then again who does?

So the Sheikh is the one who is dead and Phryne sets off to investigate his room. She looks in a vase and finds a ginourmous emerald. Why would you have an emerald that big and hide it out in a tomb in the desert. Why wouldn’t you take that to your palace?

I mean for real!

So Alexander the Great curses the emerald that whoever takes it death will follow. How come he had those powers? Where did they come from? I wish I had powers like that. I’d be cursing all kinds of objects.

Phryne decides to leave for the Middle East and the tomb and Jack wants to go with her but sorry only two fit in the plane and she’s taking Shirin. Ouch.

Jonathan going to come too and fly Jack, but how can they do that when Scotland Yard had their passports?

So they end up in the Middle East and the guide they hire is really shady. He has a big rifle and is all that’s for hunting. What do you hunt in the middle of a sandy desert?

Hmm…

Obviously he is lying, but why? Who put him up to it? Who is behind this all. The Sheik died so that leaves us with Lofty, Jonathan, Lady Eleanor, and the butler. There is no others they introduced unless Shirin is secretly a child mass murderer. They wouldn’t…would they? Nah!

Hmm…

I think Jonathan might be the one in on it, why else would he leave his brother behind if he wants to “help” him so bad. That seems weird.

Hmmm…

Phryne of course looks glamourous in the hot desert and is all made up. She seduces the guide so they can overpower him and get the truth. Someone paid him to delay him. Who? Who? The guide doesn’t know.

Such a man!

She and Jack fight and he brings up her husband, at least we will get the truth about her husband, the Maharajah…but no Jack storms off and Phryne follows him falling into quicksand? Okay…whatever.

It turns out that the Maharajah is gay and there were rumors and he was going to be killed so to stop them Phryne married him but doesn’t live with him. Like how does that make sense at all? He could’ve married anyone and how does the wife not living with him keep people from thinking he was gay?

I mean he’s royal! He could command anyone to marry him. And most royal marriages married for an alliance and to produce heirs or for wealth, not love. It makes more sense for him to marry a royal woman to have a child and then continue with his life and what he is doing. This is the stupidest thing ever. What royal parents or people would want their maharajah to marry some Australian woman who doesn’t even live in the country. This is incredibly dumb and just a plot device to keep Phryne and Jack apart.

So the tattoo does help lead the way and they find the tomb. So Jonathan is being really strange, and I am hardcore believing it is Jonathan right now.

They get i the tomb and find Alexander’s desert bride, the first time we heard that one.

What??

Watch out she might come alive like in The Mummy.

They find a knife with initials on it and I know it will be JL, for Jonathan Lofthouse as he is weird.

So he wanted to return the emerald as his troop came and slaughtered the tribe for it. He felt guilty and after the Sheikh died hid it in the room as he knew Phryne would find it and return it. Okay I feel like you could have handled this a lot better in a completely different way. It seems really convoluted.

Or plot!

But he says he did’t kill the sheikh? If Jonathan didn’t do it, then who did?

Hmm…

It turns out the butler is there in the tomb and he did it. Yes the butler did it.

Yes the butler did, but why? It doesn’t make sense? And how could he afford to get there or know where to even find this secret tomb. This whole thing makes no sense.

This doesn’t make sense!

But Phryne knows, it is because he is secretly Jonathan’s father?

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

HUH???!!!

How did she know? Where were the clues? I mean he liked Jonathan better than his older brother, but just because Mr. Carson liked Mary better than the other girls I never suspected that he was secretly her father.

How did the butler not only get the money and knowledge to travel to the middle of nowhere, but how did he beat them?

What??

The butler is going to kill them, but Jonathan saves them as the tomb collapses-all make it out but those two. Phyrne and Jack are now alone in the desert, what happened to Shirin? And they end up sleeping together which I don’t like as Phryne was a GIANT jerk to him in this and Jack was so moral and wanted to marry Phryne not just be another guy she sleeps with.

As they are traveling a man comes from nowhere with a message that Phryne’s husband is dead and they need her to solve the crime. How, what, why?

So this film didn’t work for me. First of all Miss Fisher works because of the contrast between her and all the other characters-so removing her from them didn’t work at all.

Second, Detective Jack Robinson didn’t really work in this scenario either. In Australia, he is in a position of power, he can get information, he has a role-going to England and the Middle East doesn’t work for him. He has no power, he can’t do anything, he has no role to play but follow Phryne around.

And third, Phyrne is completely callous and rude in this. Like she does her own thing, and is light and airy-but she never is cruel like this.

Fourth-this story sucks. Like what were they thinking-this plot is everywhere. They should have thought smaller, kept it in Australia, and created better mystery. Like where were the clues? Everything just felt so out of left field. And what was up with this mythology of Alexander the Great?

For more female private detectives, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to The Last Puzzle: The Last Christmas, Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)