A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

Under Wraps

What should we call him? How about ‘Mummy’?

So last June I I did the 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition. Everyday I posted something on my favorite Disney character, prince, princess, song, villain, etc. (If you want to read more, go here.)

One of my posts I talked about the different DCOMs, Disney Channel Original Movies, that I loved watching growing up. I decided that a few I would wait to talk about until October, making them a part of Horrorfest III.

procrastinatedoitlater

By the time October rolled around, I had already planned out Horrorfest III and there was so many movies I wanted to do, that I just couldn’t fit this one in. I decided to do it the next year.

procrastinatedoitlater

And then this year I had all planned out and instead of doing this film, I really wanted to do The Mummy (1999). However, life got in the way and I was very far behind in my postings. I decided The Mummy (1999) was just going to have to wait until next year. And as I wanted a mummy film, Under Wraps would be the perfect substitute.

Under Wraps

 So it is a silly film that takes a lot from the film The Mummy (1932) but gives it a comedic twist.

Look familiar?

There are three twelve year old kids-Gilbert, Marshall, and Amy. One of their neighbors died and like the kids in Stand By Me they want to check it out.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

I know it makes no sense to me either.

Anyways, there they discover a sarcophagus and a mummy in the dead guy’s house.

He's getting emaciated

That same night it is the right time in thousands of years in which the moon is aligned perfectly…

attack Wolf Boy Meets World

And brings the mummy back to life.

Look familiar?

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

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

At first the kids are freaked out, but then discover that he is friendly and name him Harold. They have all kinds of fun with him, all over the town. A Mummy in modern times.

They eventually find out that they have to put him back in his sarcophagus by midnight on Halloween or else he will die.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The kids want to put him back but they can’t. You see it turns out that neighbor wasn’t really dead, but just faking it so he could skimp out on taxes.

jerk_alert32

It turns out that the neighbor, Mr. Kubat, is a real villian, complete with the evil henchmen. He sends them out to look for the mummy in order to sell him.

Besides Kubat, they also have to worry about Harold’s fiancé, as he wants to bring her to life as well.

Boris Karloff and Zita Johann in 'The Mummy'

A cute film that is definitely worth the view.

Check it out for yourself!

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under-wraps

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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 They’re Here Already! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)halloween banner

For more on mummies, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

For more DCOMs, go to When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen: Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)

For more Disney, go to Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf?: Boy Meets World (1994)

For more horror-comedies, go to I’m the Chosen One. And I Choose to Be Shopping: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

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What Have You Done to Him?: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby

What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!

So this was my first viewing of Rosemary’s Baby. Prior to watching this I knew that the haircut Mia Farrow had in the film became super popular:

rosemary'sbabyknife

That her baby is the devil’s child; and that the apartment where this all happens, the Bramhouse, is actually the Dakota; and that this film is supposed to be very scary.

i'mscared

In fact the way I was introduced to this film was actually through The Baby-Sitters Club. In one of the books, the BSC all go and visit Stacey McGill in New York, seeing the place where Stacey’s friend, Laine Cummings, lives which is the Dakota.

So let’s move on to the film review:

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So the film starts off with a creepy, light lullaby type music. In fact the first thing it actually makes me think of is Flowers in the Attic (1987). And it is definitely creepy.

shiver

This film was based on a novel of the same name that came out the year before. The author, Ira Levinsaid that this was his favorite adaption of the novel, as the director Roman Polanski, was strict about following the book to the letter, only cutting for sake of time. This is the dream of every book lover.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

We get a look at a building that has a clear gothic and early Renaissance look to it. Definitely an old building, probably made during the turn of the century. This is The Bramford, where our couple Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse are looking at the apartments.

rosemary'sbaby

They are just a sweet, ordinary couple. Guy is an actor, while Rosemary doesn’t work but has amazing decorating and artistic talent. Rosemary really wants to have a baby, while Guy says they have to wait until they are “more established”. However, he did agree to move to a bigger apartment for their future child and them.

They look at the apartment, and Guy isn’t pleased. It is cram full of the prior tenant’s belongings, which are stuffed so full it is kind of ugly.

No thank youhowaboutno

Rosemary, on the other hand, sees the potential. With wallpaper, paint, new furnishings, it will be absolutely beautiful.

love it

The only strange thing about the apartment, is that there was a large chest put in front of one of the closet doors. The landlord and Guy move it aside and when they open it…

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

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

Just kidding. The only thing in it are a few linens and a vacuum cleaner.

weird

It is extremely weird. Why would anyone try to keep such random things locked inside?

There must be something she was trying to keep out, or keep in. In fact, it reminds me of The Twilight Zone episode where the guy has the devil locked in the closet. Is that what happened? The tenant was keeping the devil inside and they just unleashed them?

suspicious Hmm

They speak to their friend and landlord, Eric “Hutch” Hutchinson, to get out of their of lease. Hutch has been like a father to Rosemary since the couple has moved to New York. He warns them about the Bramford place. Back at the turn of the century, Adrian Marcato was a witch and had a coven in the building, he was murdered in the lobby. Then there were the Trench sisters, they killed children and tried to eat them. And these are only a few of the strange occurrences.

But they take the apartment and Rosemary makes it absolutely beautiful.

One day, Rosemary has gone down to the basement to do laundry. There she meets a girl, Terry, who has been saved and given a home by Guy & Rosemary’s neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet. Rosemary is looking for new friends and they make plans to meet up later. 

Now to me that seems odd. Why would they just take this girl off the streets. Is it really out of the goodness of their hearts? Or something darker?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Before Terry and Rosemary can actually meet again, Guy and Rosemary come home from an evening out and find Terry’s dead body outside.

rosemarysbaby_suicide

Rosemary is sad and confused as Terry seemed so happy. She tells the Castevets that they meant a lot to Terry.

Now to me the Castevets don’t seem really sad over the death of their “adopted daughter”.

suspicious Hmm

The next day Minnie stops by to see Rosemary. She is super nosy looking at everything and every section of the apartment, she even goes as far as asking the price of everything.

How rude

She is so sad and lonely over missing Terry, and asks if Rosemary and Guy will come for dinner that night. Rosemary doesn’t really want to but feels bad and agrees.

Guy comes home and is very upset. He was auditioning for a few parts, prime ones to pull his career front and center, but lost out to every one.

Sadface Batman

He just wants to sit around and mope, but Rosemary tells him about the dinner they are supposed to go to. Guy doesn’t want to, as he doesn’t want to befriend their neighbors, then they will always be hanging around and bothering them.

But Rosemary made a promise, so they go.

Now the whole dinner is very odd. When Minnie invited them over, she made it sound like she needed a young woman to help temporary fill the space left by Terry’s absence. But at the actual dinner, they only want to pay attention to Guy.

Whattheheck

They go on and on and on about his acting, his good looks, his charms, etc.

The other strange thing is how anti-Christianity and religion they are. Like hard core being mean about it to Rosemary, even though they know that she is uncomfortable about their inflammatory remarks.

Roman Castevet: No pope ever visits a city where the newspapers are on strike.

Minnie Castevet: I heard he’s gonna postpone and wait till it’s over.

Guy Woodhouse: Well, that’s showbiz.

Roman Castevet: That’s exactly what it is: all the costumes, the rituals – all religions.

Roman Castevet: I think we’re offending Rosemary…

Rosemary Woodhouse: [Not very convincing] I wasn’t offended, really I wasn’t.

Roman Castevet: You’re not religious, my dear, are you?

Rosemary Woodhouse: I was brought up a Catholic… now, I don’t know.

Now believe what you want to believe in, but when you invite a guest to your home for dinner, you shouldn’t be as rude or insult the guest’s belief.

How rude

After dinner the ladies and men split. Minnie questions Rosemary, asking her if she is pregnant. Rosemary isn’t, but really wants a baby. She came from a large family, six kids, but once again Guy doesn’t want a baby. At least not yet.

She’s ready to go, and they interrupt the men, Guy was surprisingly having a great time with Roman.

weird

When they get home they discuss the dinner, with Rosemary saying that the food tasted weird, and left a strange taste in her mouth. Guy agrees, but he ate twice as much food as Rosemary. Surprisingly, Guy wants to go back the next day and hangout with Roman. Rosemary doesn’t want to, so they kind of fight about it.

The next day Roman goes over there while Rosemary settles for a quiet night in, nursing her period pains.

No joke this enters m mind every month

Her quiet solitude is destroyed when Minnie comes over with her friend Laura-Louise. They just settle in without even asking, knitting, embroidering, and gabbing.

How rude

I would have had them kicked out. I mean what annoying busybodies.

They also give her a necklace of Tannis root, it’s supposed to be a good-luck charm. It was the same one Terry wore, so I don’t think it is that lucky as Terry died.

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So the film originally kept the devil impregnating Rosemary a secret, as a huge reveal at the end. Unfortunately, it was a major blockbuster, an award-winning film: so it has been referenced, parodied, is a huge part of our culture and always cropping up around Halloween. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you know Rosemary carries the devil’s baby. I mean it is mentioned in the Netflix description. So I am not going to ignore that.

So let’s talk about Guy.

rosemarys-baby

Guy is a struggling actor who really wants to hit it big. We don’t know how long he has been in New York, but he is very upset at how little his career has progressed.

Roman has come along and started flattering Guy, making him feel super special. He promises that he can achieve all of Guy’s dreams, if he joins their coven, and allows Rosemary to be used as the vessel for Satan’s child. They need the opposite of Mary: not a virgin, married, not Jewish, etc. And Guy agrees.

Whattheheck

I guess for someone as self-centered as Guy is, he can rationalize it. This small trade will enable him and Rosemary will have a fantastic life. And it is only one child, they can have more later. I can just say one thing:

No thank youhowaboutno

You do not sell your wife to be a vessel, especially for the devil’s child. Just no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no!!

Jerk

That night, Rosemary shows Guy the good-luck charm and how she doesn’t want to wear it. But Guy insists, he starts hanging around with Roman and Minnie more and more. I just think, who is this guy?

weird

That night they get a call:

LOL Cotton and Cotton

It turns out that the guy chosen for one of the parts Guy auditioned for, has gone blind.

Whattheheck

So they offer Guy the part. Soon Guy is riding high, with everyone after him. He now has no time for Rosemary, with all his other commitments.

jerk

Rosemary is sad and mentions  it to Hutch when the two talk on the phone.

One day, Guy comes homes with roses. He is sorry and wants to make it up to Rosemary, telling her that he wants to have a baby.

Whattheheck

Who is this man, what has he become? I mean he even picks out the day they should try for their baby, October 4th or 5th.

Rosemary is just so happy that he is open to having children that she agrees! She can’t wait until they have a little baby.

The appointed night comes, with Guy making it a very special, romantic night.

rosemarys-baby

As they are eating, guess who shows up at the door. Minnie.

ugh

She just drops off some mousse she made and then leaves, fortunately. They start eating it but Rosemary quickly stops. It taste funny to her and she doesn’t want it.

No thank youhowaboutno

But Guy insists. Guy has become a super control freak, I would have left to the safety of Hutch, surrogate father, rather than stay with this guy.

Anyways, when Guy steps out of the room, Rosemary dumps the mousse in her napkin, rather than eat it.

EW!

EW!

Afterwards, she is walking to the other room and faints.

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Guy carries her to the bed so she can rest. She then has one incredibly strange dream.

Super creepy!

Gilmore girls creep

The next day Rosemary wakes up and discovers herself naked and covered in scratches.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

She tells Guy her dream of being raped, and he says that he couldn’t help himself and give up on baby night.

Rosemary Woodhouse: You… you had me while I was out?

Guy Woodhouse: It was kinda fun in a necrophile sort of way

Say What

This guy is freak, get far, far, far away.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

So Rosemary goes to the doctor and discovers that she is pregnant. She tells Guy who doesn’t seem that excited. Kind of weird for a guy who “wanted a baby so much he couldn’t wait but slept with her when she was knocked out.”

suspicious Hmm

 Her due date is June 28th of the next year, 1966. Get it? 6/66?

Although it doesn’t make exact sense. 9 months from October is July, wouldn’t it make more sense if they tried for the baby in September?

So Rosemary has been going to see Dr. Hill, the doctor who delivered her friend’s baby; but Minnie, Roman, and Guy want them to see their doctor: Dr. Abraham Sapirstein.

Dr. n tells Rosemary not to take prenatal vitamins, read any pregnancy books, or talk to her friends about her and their pregnancies as each one is different and they will worry her. She also will have to take herb shakes made by Minnie.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

I don’t know, that seems too weird for me. I wouldn’t trust them. These people all become controlling, and won’t let her go out or speak to any of her friends.

Rosemary is also in excruciating pain, and losing massive amounts of weight. She actually looks quite horrible, no glow.

anthony-michael-hall-brian-insecure-quotes-the breakfast club see myself don't like what i see insecure body image

Hutch comes to visit and tells her she looks bad. They are discussing the strangeness of everything, when suddenly Guy comes home in full, makeup, something he never does. He kind of chases off Hutch so it is only the two of them.

suspicious Hmm

Why is he suddenly against Hutch. Why is he suddenly against all their friends? Hmm????

That night Rosemary gets a call from Hutch.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

He wants to meet the next morning as he has something important to discuss with her.

The next morning she goes to the appointment place, but no Hutch. When she calls after waiting so long, she finds out that Hutch is in a coma. It happened some time after she called.

IUnderstandSomelieithot

She walks around when she runs into Minnie:

So the film moves along pretty sloooow. The people are controlling, she doesn’t go out, suffers all the time, etc. She finally starts thinking something is weird, ad stops the herbal drinks. She makes her own and decides that they are going to throw a party with their old friends.

christmas-holiday-party-with-dancing

Guy doesn’t want to, and gets mad that Minnie and Roman are not invited. Minnie tries to get invited, but Rosemary is firm..no one under the age of 60 is allowed.

No thank youhowaboutno

It comes to a head at the party when she talks to her friends about her pains and they tell her it is not normal. She needs to get a second opinion. Guy is not happy about that at all.

Guy Woodhouse: [on Rosemary’s decision to switch doctors] You know what Dr. Hill is? He’s a Charlie Nobody, that’s who he is!

Rosemary Woodhouse: I’m tired of hearing about how great Dr. Sapirstein is!

Guy Woodhouse: Well, I won’t let you do it Ro.

Rosemary Woodhouse: Why not?

Guy Woodhouse: Well, because… because it wouldn’t be fair to Sapirstein.

Rosemary Woodhouse: Not fair to Sap… – what do you mean? What about what’s fair to me?

Yeah! You SHOULD CARE MORE ABOUT YOUR WIFE!!!! NOT SOME DOCTOR’S FEELINGS!!!

Guy you suck!

Guy you suck!

However, the pain stops and she can feel the baby kicking. Everything proceeds normally as they all get ready for the baby. Their peace is shattered when Rosemary receives a call that Hutch died.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

I loved Hutch, why’d he have to go?

She goes to the funeral, where she is given a book left to her by Hutch.

Grace Cardiff: He told me to make sure and tell you: the name is an anagram.

When she gets home she opens the package and sees that it is a book on witches, “All of Them Witches“, with a chapter on Adrian Marcato and his family.

Rosemary tries to rearrange the title, but comes up with nothing.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

She is about to give up that it was just his being in a coma, when she looks at the chapter on Marcato’s family, specifically his son Steven. When she rearranges those letters, it comes up with Roman Castevet.

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

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

She starts talking about it with Guy that they are witches, and all those people are in their coven.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Guy thinks she is insane, and needs sleep so he takes the book and throws it away.

Whattheheck

YOU DO NOT THROW AWAY BOOKS!!!!

Rosemary is incensed so she goes to the bookstore and gets another copy and another book on witchcraft. She discovers that some covens can work together and create blindness or illness if they have an object of the person.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Rosemary remembers the guy who Guy took the part from. She calls Donald Baumgart and discovers that before he went blind, Guy took his tie.

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

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

She remembers that the day Hutch came over, he was missing a glove. Guy must have stolen it and they killed him.

She also reads that many covens use baby’s blood in their activities.

Rosemary freaks out:

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

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

She packs her bag and takes off to see the doctor to let him know what is going on. However, when she gets there she discovers that the doctor is a witch too.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

She takes off to get help from the only person she can think of now, Dr. Hill.

She manages to get Hill to meet with her and reveals everything. Hill seems to believe her, which I thought was weird.

suspicious Hmm

And puts her to sleep.

She wakes up to see Guy and Dr. Saperstein.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

They bring her home, but she manages to sneak away from them and get in the apartment first, locking the door and dead bolting it behind her. She calls her friend Elise, trying to get help as everyone is after her baby:

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

However, they somehow sneak into the apartment room some way. Unfortunately, she goes into labor and then is knocked out.

The next day, Guy wakes her up.

WakeUpNoThankYou

She asks for her baby, but they tell her he died. They give her a pill, and take her milk “to throw away”.

aw cry

Rosemary is completely heartbroken. And then she hears a baby crying.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

They tell her that it is from a new family, but Rosemary knows that her baby is alive and they took him.

She slowly is a docile person, waiting for the right time to night sneak away when everyone thinks she is sleeping. She takes a knife with her for protection.

rosemary'sbabyknife

She goes to the closet that was blocked by the dresser, there she finds a secret door.

screamingskulldoorPhoto Jan 29, 4 36 06 PM

A door that connects to the Castevet’s apartment. That must be how they got in!

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

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

Poor girl. How could her husband do that to her? How could this happen?

I have to say most of the film was kind of slow and boring, as I already knew those people were evil, but once she found that book on witches it was great. Intense and creepy! A good addition to my Halloween Horror films.

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rosemarys-baby-3_fotor

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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 She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

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For more on witches, go to The Two Witch Sisters: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)

For more films based on books, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder

Do you really believe in the perfect murder? Mmm, yes, absolutely.

So after years of his absence from my Horrorfest countdowns, I have finally included Alfred Hitchcock in not one, not two, but three posts.

Double double yay

Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite director. He was influential in creating new ways of filming psychological thrillers, he is often credited for creating the true horror genre/slasher film with Psycho (1960), and was just a pure cinematic genius. He is just amazing.

Awesome

Dial “M” For Murder is one of his highly known films (although not as known as Vertigo or Psycho). It has been referenced or parodied in countless films and TV shows. In the ’90s they even remade the film under the title A Perfect Murder. It starred Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortenson; but it wasn’t nearly as good.

MeanGirls I know right!

This film also started Hitchcock’s filming relationship with Grace Kelly. This film was crucial in her career as it made her stand out not only to Alfred Hitchcock but other directors as well, a huge step to becoming a permanent leading lady. After this film she starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock was impressed with her ideas and thoughts on the script in how a woman would act (especially regarding clothing), that after this film he allowed her to make all her own wardrobe decisions. She, like Audrey Hepburn,  quickly became known for her style and class. But that wasn’t the only thing that Hitchcock found attractive, he really liked her and fell for her; but she wouldn’t give him the time of day, (romantically that is). (For more information on Hitchcock and his leading ladies, I strongly suggest the book Spellbound by Beauty by Donald Spoto. It’s an amazing read!) And sadly she had to retire from acting at an early age as she married the Prince of Monaco. However short a career, it was an amazing one.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This film also reunited Hitchcock and Robert Cummings, who had starred in an earlier film, Saboteur (1942).  In this film Cummings plays an important role, but a smaller one than his earlier collaboration.

This film is also the only Hitchcock film to ever be shot in 3-D. In the 1950s, 3-D was super popular, so popular that some people came up with the idea of Smell-O-Vision to beat it (I’m serious!). Hitchcock didn’t want to shoot in 3-D, but until the late 1960s, studios had a lot more pull and Warner Bros. wanted it. Hitchcock obliged, although it did cause a few issues for him as he had to rework his known style to incorporate what 3-D was able to accomplish at the time.

So the film is based on the play of the same name Frederick Knott, and he also helped write the screenplay. It is set in England and as  you can guess from the poster, the phone plays a huge role in this film as well. That really seems to be a theme this month. I swear that wasn’t planned.

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

DialM1954-WB-still

So before I start the film, let me give you the background on the characters. Now as you watch the film things are revealed to you, but it’s easier for me to give them at the start.

So we have a couple, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) and his wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Tony was a huge tennis star and met Margot when he was competing. She comes from a very wealthy family. The two were married and Margot convinced him to give up competing as she didn’t like him being away. He complied and now sells sports equipment. However, as he no longer is the dashing tennis star, she lost interest in him and had an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) an American Crime writer.

keanu Whoa

As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.

BMW Kiss

“Margot Mary Wendice: Let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that.

Margot Mary Wendice: I haven’t told him anything about us.”

Margot tells Mark that she burned all his letters, except one. That one was stolen by a blackmailer who demanded payment, but he never picked up the money or returned the letter. She is worried that her husband will find out.

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

whoCares

He wants them to tell Tony all about the affair so that Margot can get a divorce and the two can marry. Margot doesn’t want to as “she feels bad” about hurting “Tony’s feelings”.

dial-m-for-murder-1954

Now I’m no expert, but if the person doesn’t want to break up the relationship, it seems to me that they want, to quote an old cliché, “have their cake and eat it too.” I think Margot likes the respectability of her marriage and doesn’t want the divorce scandel, but at the same time is heavily intrigued by Mark. And who can blame her? Robert Cummings is a looker.

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

That night Tony is introduced to Mark, him being Margot’s “friend”. The two discuss Mark’s profession.

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?

Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.

Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?

Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.”

Tony invites Mark to join him for a tennis party, and Mark agrees. Its all men, so Margot will be staying home. After a bit more pleasantries Margot and Mark leave to go out “as friends” to a theatre show that Tony didn’t want to see, while Tony stays home to “work” on some stuff.

dial m for murder

After they leave, he calls up an old friend. Swann (going by the name Captain Lesgate) from his old Cambridge days. He brings him there under false pretenses of wanting to purchase a vehicle from him. He then tells Swann that he wants him to murder his wife.

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that’s all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.”

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

dial-m-for-murder-1954-alfred-hitchcock-cummings-milland-plan-murder

Tony only married Margot for her money, and it really injures his pride to see her cheating on him and tossing him over like an old shoe. He followed her one day and discovered the affair.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

He wanted to kill Mark.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

He then moved to the idea of murdering his wife. But things changed…

“Tony Wendice: It’s funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn’t seen something that changed my mind.

C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

Back in the day, Swann was always getting into trouble for all kinds of stuff, and it struck Tony that he could commit the perfect murder. He then began extensive planning. He has been collecting £1000 over the year, under the guise of racetrack betting, etc.; compiling the money for such a purpose.

He even went to great lengths to get one of the letters from Mark and pretended to blackmail her. With Mark back in town he has set up the whole scenario on how to murder her even planning to use Mark as an alibi, as being the husband he will be the first suspect. All he needs is someone to do it for him. He has a lot of information on Swann’s background (as he has been tracking him) and uses it to blackmail him into completing his murderous plot. And he has to do it tomorrow.

He reveals his perfect plan.

“Tony Wendice: At exactly three minutes to eleven, you’ll enter the house through the street door. You’ll find the key to this door under the stair carpet here.

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

Tony Wendice: That’s the one. Go straight to the window, and hide behind the curtains. At exactly eleven o’clock, I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss. I shall dial the wrong number. This number. That’s all I shall do.”

His wife will answer the phone, and then Swann can strangle her and leave through the french windows.

perfect plan

Swann agrees to the plot as he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Tony is estatic as everything seems to be going along perfectly.

thats-how-its-done

But then things start falling apart. Margot doesn’t want to stay home. She is thinking of going out to dinner and seeing a movie. Mark thinks it’s a great idea but Tony convinces her to stay home.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Don’t make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Tony Wendice: Doing nothing? Why there are hundreds of things you can do. Have you written to Peggy, thanking her for the weekend? And what about those clippings? It’s an ideal opportunity.

Margot Mary Wendice: Well I like that. You two go gallivanting while I stay home and do those boring clippings.”

dial M for murder

Before Tony leaves, he stills Margot’s key from her bag and puts it in the marked hiding place. Keeping his key in his pocket, he and Mark leave for the party.

Back at the home, Margot has been working hard on her scrapbooking. She eventually goes to bed, putting everything away…at least almost everything. She actually forgets the scissors and leaves them by the phone.

That night everything starts being put into motion. Swann enters the place the same way that Tony planned it out. He leaves the key under the stair and hides behind the curtains waiting for the phone.

However, back at the party, things aren’t quite going as planned.

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.

What!

He hurries to the pay phone and makes the call, hoping that everything else goes accordingly. Margot gets up to answer the phone. As she is talking, Swann reaches out to strangle her.

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

But instead of overpowering her like he’s supposed to, Margot ends up getting him. As the two are struggling, she reaches for something…anything to stop him. She ends up grabbing the scissors and stabbing him with them, completely killing him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.

I don't know what to do

Tony tells her to touch nothing and wait for him. He’s on his way over.

As he heads over Tony freaks out. His plans have failed. But then something comes to him. A new plan, a way to fix things.

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

He decides to make it look like Swann was blackmailing Margot and that she murdered him rather than self-defense. He calls the police and sends Margot to bed. He then plants Mark’s letter in Swann’s coat, takes the key and puts it back in Margot’s handbag, and burns the scarf that Swann was going to use, replacing it with Margot’s stocking. He then tells Margot to make sure she doesn’t tell the police that he told her not to call the police. He’s worried how it might make her look. However, Tony is plotting very well, and the police begin to strongly suspect her.

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

The police figure out that Swann did not come through the French Windows. He must have come through the hall, as it rained the night before. If he had come through the garden there would be muddy footprints. Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) strongly suspects Margot and believes her to be the killer. We cut to a scene showing Margot on trial amd sentenced to be hanged.

perfect plan

Except thing are not quite perfect.  There are quite a few things Tony didn’t plan. One of which was getting rid of the money. As Tony mentioned, he’s been drawing a lot of money out of his bank every week, pretending to spend it on racehorses. He had planned to give it to Swann, but now is at a loss. He can’t put it back in the bank as there would be too many questions. He can’t keep it, if the police find it, it’s all over for him.

I don't know what to do

So he tries to spend it all. Unbeknowest to him, the police are watching him very carefully. And they notice this.

Months later, on the night before Margot’s execution,  Mark comes to speak to Tony. He tells him that instead of letting Margot die, he should say that he tried to murder her. That he hired Swann. This will give him some jail time but save Margot’s life. Tony does not want to do that.

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

Inspector Hubbard comes back to the flat to question Tony some more about the money he’s been spending. Mark hears this and starts searching, finding the briefcase full of money.

What!

Tony thinks of a lie quickly and says that this was the money Margot had to give to Swann, but then changed her mind and killed him. The Inspector listens and takes his comment as fact…or does he?

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

Now, if Tony was really smart he would have made up a different lie. I would have said that I realized there was nothing between me and Margot and was planning on leaving her. However, I knew that I wouldn’t get much money in the divorce (he signed a prenup), so I’ve been taking some money out, bit by bit. When the murder happened, I knew it would come to light and was afraid that it might put me in a bad light or under suspicion. I mean its not the perfect excuse, but at least it shows he wasn’t going to kill her as why remove money when he was planning on getting it all. But he doesn’t think that way.

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Hold on, that is illegal. He doesn’t have a search warrant or permission to be searching the house. Anything he finds will be immaterial and thrown out of court. I looked it up and  this is what it said:

By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.

So technically, anything he finds can not be used in a court of law. That’s it, Tony is allowed to go free.

TheEnd_Title_2

But of course this is a movie, and things go differently. Inspector Hubble discovers that the key in the purse does not work on the front door. He instead finds it under the stair carpet. This gives him the great idea of creating a little trick to discover if Tony is the true killer.

John Williams (Chief Inspector Hubbard) Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Inspector visits Tony and steals his raincoat, leaving his own, therefore taking Tony’s key. He calls the station and asks them to release Margot. She immediately returns home, but finds out that her key won’t work. Hubbard watches her and discovers that she does not know the key is under the stairs. The Inspector let’s her in and gets a policeman to take the bag back to the station. They then begin to wait for Tony.

perfect plan

Tony comes home from his errands and finds that he can’t get inside. His coat belongs to Inspector Hubble and he has the wrong key. When Tony discovers his key doesn’t fit, he goes down to the station to get Margot’s bag. When that key doesn’t fit, he looks under under the stairs and finds the key, giving himself away.

dun-dun-duuuun

Tony enters and figures out they caught him. Being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t fight them. He knows when he has been defeated.

Tony Wendice: [pouring a drink] As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way… How about you, Margot?

Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

Tony Wendice: I suppose you’re still on duty, Inspector.

TheEnd_Title_2

It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.

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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 What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Dial “M” for Murder, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Past of a Man

For more on blackmail, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more films based on a play, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime

What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

So this Horrorfest, I am going to be doing something a little different. We are going to have “Screamtastic Saturdays”. Every Saturday in October going to be on a different Scream movie. So let’s kick it off with:

scream1

What’s your favorite scary movie?

*Spolier Alert*

So I really loved this movie. I have to say that Wes Craven as one of the horror kings totally tanked on Nightmare on Elm Street. This was by far, much better. One of the coolest things about this film is that it is a parody of horror films, while still being its own horror film.

So the beginning starts off with Drew Barrymore cooking popcorn and preparing for a fun night in watching scary movies with her boyfriend. Just like When A Stranger Calls, she receives a strange phone call and is at first into it, thinking it is just a joke.

scary movie mansfield park Scream

 

However, it slowly turns as the caller threatens Casey that he is going to kill her and her boyfriend.

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

But she has a chance at being saved, all she has to do is answer who was the killer in Friday the 13th.

“Phone Voice: Name the killer in Friday the 13th.

Casey: Jason! Jason! Jason!

Phone Voice: I’m sorry. That’s the wrong answer!

Casey: No, it’s not. No it’s not. It was Jason.

Phone Voice: Afraid not. No way.

Casey: Listen, it was Jason! I saw that movie 20 g******* times!

Phone Voice: Then you should know that Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer. Jason didn’t show up until the sequel. I’m afraid that was a wrong answer.

Casey: [Weeping] You tricked me.

Phone Voice: Lucky for you there’s a bonus round, but poor Steve… I’m afraid he’s OUT!”

So Steve is murdered and Casey runs throughout the house trying to get away from the killer. Of which she doesn’t make it out and finds herself victim #1.

victim

And thus the body count begins…

So the killing of Drew Barrymore holds two significant things. One, she was one the most famous actress in the film, and was killed first. This was supposed to be a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), in which the most famous actress of the film, Janet Leigh, was only in the movie for a short while before she was killed. This was also supposed to be a parody of Craven’s film Nightmare on Elm Street, when the first character we meet, Tina (played by Amanda Wyss),is killed. Craven also had his character Casey wear white just like Tina in Nightmare on Elm Street.

The next day, the town Woodsboro is just ravanged by reporters who are eager to find out more about this murder, especially since it occurred almost exactly a year after their little town experienced a murder just as gruesome. The murder of Maureen Prescott by Cotton Weary.

Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is trying to cope with everything that is going on.

Scream

She is having a really hard time with the anniversary of her mother’s death. When she hears about the murders and sees the reporters it brings the mess of the past year back to her. The memories just come flooding back.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

One of her other big issues is her boyfriend Billy Loomis.

Billy-From-Scream-scream-1804906-547-342

 

Okay, I just have to go off on a tangent here: Billy is sooooooooooooo creepy looking. When I first saw this I was like he is toooootally the killer. I mean LOOK AT HIM! He has killer written alllll over him. Those eyes, they are super frigtening. And the way he talks? He tells Sidney that he was watching Silence of the Lambs and that made him think of her and want to come over and get funky. What a freak!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

(BTW it is another Psycho reference. Billy Loomis is a homage to Sam Loomis, Marion Crane’s boyfriend in Psycho; and Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween.)

Anyways, so the two have been having issues since Sidney’s mom died. She was so traumatized by the event that she has isolated herself and found it hard to let anyone in again. Her best friend Tatum is cool with it as she understands she needs time to grieve, but Billy has been having a hard time backtracking from third base to the benches. Ladies, let me just say that if any guy ever tries to pressure into having sex when you aren’t ready, junk punch him and run away. You don’t need that loser in your life.

That day her father has to go out of town, leaving Sidney all alone in a big house.

Yep, gonna make references all night.

Yep, gonna make When a Stranger Calls  references all night.

She makes plans to meet up with Tatum and stay at her place, but falls asleep. Tatum is late picking her up as her cheerleading practice went way over. While Sidney is waiting she gets a phone call from the killer who starts harassing her. And she stupidly calls throughout the house trying to find him.

Killer Scary Movie

“Sidney Prescott: Can you see me right now?  Ah, okay. [puts a finger in her nose] What am I doing? Huh? Huh? What am I doing? Hello? [takes finger out] Nice try, Randy. Tell Tatum to hurry up, okay? Bye now.

Ghostface: IF YOU HANG UP ON ME, YOU’LL DIE JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER! Do you want to die, Sidney? Your mother sure didn’t.

Sidney Prescott: F*** you, you cretin!”

Soon the killer comes in her house and she has to run away from him and try to get the police there. Billy shows up, climbing through her window. Sidney sees that he has a cellphone and freaks out, having the police cart him away.

Gilmore girls creep

So there are a couple places that were filmed in Santa Rosa, CA. One was the bathroom scene in which Sidney is attacked, the other is Tatum’s house which is right across the street from the house used in Pollyanna (1960). It is also across the street from the house used in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The house in the opening scene was next door to the house used in Cujo (1983).

Sidney spends the night at Tatum’s house and the next day is completely crazy. Billy was released as they had nothing to hold him. And they still are unable to find her father as he never checked into his hotel. Plus Gale Weathers, a reporter who has been harassing her for a year,  and all the other reporters are driving her crazy!

“Gale: There she is! Sidney, hi, what happened? Are you alright?

Tatum: She’s not answering any questions alright. Just leave us alone.

Sidney Prescott: No, no Tatum it’s OK. She’s just doing her job, right Gale?

Gale: That’s right.

Sidney Prescott: So how’s the book?

Gale: Oh it’ll be out later this year.

Sidney Prescott: Oh, I’ll look for it.

Gale: I’ll send you a copy.

[Sidney turns around a punches Gale in the face]”

Scream-Punch

Also at the school we have a little Wes Craven easter egg, as he dresses up as a janitor in a Freddy Krueger sweater.

So the principal decides to suspend school until further notice as it is just too risky for the students. After they all have left, he finds himself joining the body count as well, victim #2.

victim

The death of the principal was actually added to the film late into production. Bob Weinstein noticed there were 30 pgs in the script were nobody died and they decided that they needed another victim.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Billy’s friend Stu decides to throw a party and have all the kids in school come. I don’t understand why anyone’s parents would allow their kids to go out like that with A FREAKIN’ KILLER ON THE LOOSE. Come on people, Parent!!

hmm_yes_i_see_youre_a_moron_trollcat

At the party, the kids are chillin’, drinking beer, watching horror films, etc. Billy and Sidney go upstairs and talk, resulting in the two having sex.

Meanwhile downstairs everyone is chillin’ while Tatum goes off to the garage to get more beer. The scene in the garage is the only weak link in the film. First of all when Tatum walks over to the garage door and it almost closes on her, that would never happen. My dad is a contractor and I remeber when I was a kid I thought the garage would close on me too. However, they design garage doors specfically to not do that. In fact they have a certain radius that if someone was to walk within that radius the door would stop. And come on she IS IN A FREAKIN’ GARAGE!!! Do you know how many weapons there are in that thing? She passes over a hoe, rake, and a shovel! You see all kinds of tools throughout their fight too. She could easly find something to attack him and win. Although I do have to give props to Wes for allowing Tatum to to put up such a great fight.

Victim #3

Victim #3

Back in the living room,  Randy is giving a rundown on how to survive a horror film,  (* are the rules that are given by the killer).

  1. You will not survive if you have sex
  2. You will not survive if you do drugs or drinks
  3. You will not survive if you say “I’ll be right back.”
  4. Everyone is a suspect
  5. *You will not survive if you ask “Who’s there.”*
  6. *You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise*

While all this is going on, Gale and Tatum’s brother Officer Dewey, have been spying on the party. Gale has snuck a camera into the party, so that she can view everything from her van. She and Dewey both take a break though, “walking off” together where they come upon Sidney’s father’s abandoned car.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Everyone back at the party gets the news that the principal is dead and had been strung up on the football field. Almost everyone leaves; with just Randy, Sidney, Billy, Stu, and Gale’s cameraman Kenny (in the van) staying behind .The killer comes out and starts attacking.

ghostface_scream

One of the best scenes is the scene where a drunk Randy is telling Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween to turn around while the killer is behind him. He constantly repeats, “Jamie, turn around. Turn around, Jamie!” as the killer is slowly creeping up behind him. The actor who plays Randy is also named Jamie (Jamie Kennedy) and the killer was currently behind him. This is also the only scene in which the  killer is actually one of the actors. Skeet Ulrich had asked specifically if he could wear the costume for one scene.

So Kenny and Dewey fall victim to his knife.

Victim #8

Victim #4&5

After Sidney and Billy are done having sex and have placed their clothes back on the killer charges in and stabs Billy. Sidney manages to run away and finds Tatum’s body.

As she continues running away she ends up getting in the way of Gale who was fleeing the killer from her van. Gale swerves to miss Sidney and crashes, getting knocked out. Sidney goes back to the house, taking the gun from the dying Dewey. She runs into Randy and Stu and is unsure who is the killer. She then runs into a wounded Billy and gives him the gun. Billy immediately shoots Randy and stands up.

Say What

Yep, Billy isn’t injured at all. In fact, it was all a ploy he is the real killer.

dun-dun-duuuun

Corn Syrup

Billy: Corn Syrup, just like in the real movies.

Yep, the whole time Billy and Stu have been the killers. From Sidney’s mom to everyone else.

“Sidney Prescott: Why? Why did you kill my mother?

Billy: Why? WHY! You hear that Stu? I think she wants a motive. Well I don’t really believe in motives Sid, I mean did Norman Bates have a motive?

Stu: No.

Billy: Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lecter like to eat people? DON’T THINK SO! See it’s a lot more scarier when there’s no motive, Sid. We did your Mom a favor, Sid. That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her s*** all over town like she was Sharon Stone or somethin’.

Stu: Yeah, we put her out of her misery, ’cause let’s face Sidney, your mother was no Sharon Stone,hmm?

Billy: Is that motive enough for you? How about this? Your slut mother was f****** my father and she’s the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me. [Sid looks astonished] How’s that for a motive? Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behaviour. It certainly f***** you up. It made you have sex with a psychopath.”

Yep, and not only that the planned the whole thing out so that her father would take the blame, make it look like he had a mental breakdown on the anniversary of his wife’s death and started killing people. They had kidnapped him and bring him out for their final act. Billy and Stu planned that attack on Sidney to make any second arrest look false and questionable.

you're evil

Of course their plan will not be complete until they make themselves look like victims. Stu stabs Billy, and Billy stabs Stu. While the two are monologing and arguing they have seemed to forget one important thing.

 Sidney and her father have disappeared.

“Stu: S***…

Billy: What?

Stu: Oh, s***.

Billy: [They go into the kitchen to find Sidney and Mr. Prescott gone] Where are they? Where are they?

Stu: I don’t know, Billy, but I’m hurtin’, man!

Yep, just like they say in Dial M for Murder (1954), you can never plan the perfect murder. What sounds good on paper can never transfer to real life, because in real life there are just too many things that can go wrong.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.”

So here Stu and Billy find themselves completely off script, and unsure…

[the phone rings]

Stu: Should I let the machine get it?

Billy: [answers it] Hello?

Sidney Prescott: Are you alone in the house?

Billy: B****! You b****, where the f*** are you?

Sidney Prescott: Not so fast, we’re going to play a little game. It’s called: Guess who just called the police and reported your sorry motherf******* a**!

[Stu is slowly collapsing to the floor]

Billy: Find her, you dips***! Get up!

Stu: I can’t, Billy. You already cut me too deep. I think I’m dying here, man!

Billy: [Billy gives Stu the phone] Talk to her. Talk to her.

Stu: Hello?

Sidney Prescott: Ah, Stu, Stu, Stu… What’s your motive? Billy’s got one. The police are on their way. What are you going to tell them?

Stu: Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.

Billy:[Billy takes the phone back] I’m going to rip you up, b****, just like your f****** mother!

Sidney Prescott: You’ve gotta find me first, you pansy-a** momma’s boy!”

Now the game of cat and mouse has changed with the hunted becoming the hunters.

Gale-Randy-Billy-and-Sidney-scream-23148646-499-198

 

In the end Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Mr. Prescott, and Randy survive.

So that was Scream one of the best horror-parodies ever made. For more fun check out Scream in 30 sec with bunnies. And How It Should Have Ended

This film really brought back the slasher genre, as after this slasher remakes and slasher film numbers escalated. It also brought up the debate on whether or not violence in movies affected people and caused them to become more violent? The most important thing is that this film increased the use of caller ID and made such phone harassment much harder. Although not for me.

The other thing I realized in this film is that I am soooooo Randy.

Randy

I also realized that just like The Cable Guy, I’m only a few steps away from the crazy.

screamBilly

Well, that’s Scream. Tune in next Saturday for Scream 2.

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

To go to the previous post, go to In Their Proper Place

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For more on Scream, go to When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen

For more on Wes Craven, go to Krueger Town

For more on phone harrasment, go to It’s Coming From Inside the House

For more films influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare

For more on serial killers, go to Hello? Is There a Killer in My Kitchen?

For more on slasher films, go to Camp Blood

For more films that spanned numerous sequels, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

It’s Alive, it’s ALIVE!: Frankenstein (1931)

Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!

What horror movie countdown would be complete without the film Frankenstein

Frankenstein is an amazing film that tells the story of when one man tries to be more than he is; he tries to be God. It is based on the novel, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (FYI: A much better writer than her husband)

Edward Van Sloan: How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We’re about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation: life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now is your chance to, uh… Well, we’ve warned you. 

I have always loved this film, but I think The Bride of Frankenstein is much better. I will get more into why that is later.

This movie is terrifying as we see a Frankenstein becomes consumed with creating this being. He won’t listen to anyone else and his behavior frightening his friends, family, and fiancé.

Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

Let me just clarify for everyone out there that the name Frankenstein alludes to Victor Frankenstein, the mad doctor who creates the Monster. For some reason they changed his name to Henry in this film. In the film his best friend’s name is Victor, while in the book it is Henry. Go figure. The Monster is never called by a name other than Monster, Creature, or something similar. It’s like  The Creature from the Black Lagoon or The Thing from Another World, no proper names are given.

Anyways, he is helped out by a hunchback named Fritz

Not Igor, FRITZ!

The hunchback named Igor who helps mad scientists isn’t from the original Frankenstein, but comes from one of the sequels, Son of Frankenstein, where his name was Ygor; later translated to Igor.

Anyways, Fritz is the one who makes the mistake of stealing the criminal brain.

My Bad

 

So Frankenstein starts getting ready to bring his monster to life. In the novel, Shelley never tells us how it is done; Frankenstein never wanted to share the details of the experiment for fear that someone would create their own living dead. With nothing to go off of, the writers and directors decided to use lightening, and therefore changeing film culture and film history as this is referenced and parodied in so many films and TV shows.

Clive, Colin (Frankenstein)_02

“Henry Frankenstein: Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!
Victor Moritz: Henry – In the name of God!
Henry Frankenstein: Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!”

Frankenstein is so intent on proving everyone wrong, so focused on completing everything that he never stops to think whether he should do this. This is an interesting question posed; how far is too far?

So Frankenstein is able to create his monster:

Played by the very amazing Boris Karloff; extraordinary actor. He almost didn’t play this part as they originally offered it to Bela Lugosi who turned it down. I’m glad it was Karloff, because as much as I love Lugosi, no one could have done this better.

frankenstein

The green makeup that is such a part of the Frankenstein figure was used because it gave Karloff a deadlike pallor of skin. Now it has become such a strong part of culture, we see the green-skinned, bolted monster every October.

After the Monster is created, we see this innocentlike creature. He is afraid of fire and tries to attack Fritz who brings a torch by him. All bystanders fear for their lives and chain the Creature up in the dungeon. Frankenstein and his friend Victor leave and discuss the best way to euthanize him. Unbeknownst to them Fritz is stupidly taunting the creature with a torch; causing the Monster to reach out and kill him.

When Victor and Frankenstein return; they see Fritz’s dead body on the floor, and have to run away from the Monster as it tries to attack them too. Frankenstein prepares a shot to kill him, and Victor gives it him. With all his problems solved, Frankenstein leaves to prepare for his wedding, and Victor begins to dissect the Creature. Unfortunately, the Monster didn’t die; but was only knocked out. He kills Victor and then escapes, running amuck in the countryside.

He runs into a little girl, who is nice and shows him the flowers she is picking up.

She shows him how flowers float in the river, which Frankenstein ultimately does to the little girl. Thinking that if he tosses the girl in the water she will float; he ends up ultimately drowning her.

Little Maria: See how mine floats.
[the Monster picks her up]
Little Maria: No, you’re hurting me! No!”

The farmer finds his daughter’s floating corpse and goes to pieces. He starts hunting down the monster; searching everywhere to find the fiend.

Frankenstein, happily preapering for his wedding is brought news of Victor’s death. He goes out searching for the monster along with the peasants who have their torches and pitchforks at the ready.

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Eventually Frankenstein tracks the monster down and is prepared to destroy him.

However the Monster knocks him out and carries him off to the windmill where he throws him off. Luckily, Frankenstein is caught by a vane and saved from death. There some peasants carry him home while others destroy the mill and kill the monster. Or do they?

Frankenstein gets home, where we see that he is safe and sound and in the arms of his Elizabeth dear.

After I watched the film a gazillion times, I read the novel and found it to be much more horrifying than the movie. In the book Frankenstein isn’t this bumbling creature, completely innocent and doesn’t understand things; but a criminal mastermind. Having learned to read and talk before he died; he is able to after some time remember how to do this and begins becoming more “human”. The one thing that he never regains is compassion, kindness, etc; all the caring emotions that make us who we are. He has no empathy or sympathy, believing that he was shown nothing but hatred and cruelty so he must show this to all.

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What they take from this and use in the sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, is his want of a mate; his desire to have one like him to spend his life with. He threatens to destroy everyone that Frankenstein holds dear if he does give in to his demands. Frankenstein goes through a constant struggle with himself; knowing that he cannot risk creating another creature being made and mating along with the first. He realizes his mistakes at creating such a thing far too late. The monster doesn’t like hearing no and kills all Frankenstein loves. There is no sweet guy, accidentally killing someone like Lenny in Of Mice and Men, but this is a true psychopath fully aware of the crimes he is committing. Not only is the creature a serial killer, but he has become so intelligent that he is able to plant evidence so that people think someone else is the murderer. He kills Frankenstein’s brother William, and plants a locket on William’s nanny so that she is also killed. Then he kills Henry, Frankenstein’s friend, planting evidence so Frankenstein is arrested. He also kills Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s wife, making it seem once again that Frankenstein is the killer. With all those that he loves dead, Baron Frankenstein dies as well.   After everything is gone from him; Frankenstein devotes his life to hunting down what he created and destroying it.

It’s a great book, I suggest reading it and watching the film.

There’s a classic terror for your Tuesday! More to come!

I almost forgot to mention this. Unlike The Mummy, Dracula, or The Wolfman; Frankenstein has never had a major motion, globally shown, sent to all theaters, remake. However that is all about to change as Guillermo del Toro is planning one, and hoping that it will be coming out soon. To read more up on it go here. We shall have to wait and see what happens and how it turns out.

Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.

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

For the previous post, go to When Potatoes Go Bad

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For more on Frankenstein, go to A Monster Race

For more on Boris Karloff, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket

For more films based on books, go to The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending

For more on Jurassic Park, go to Life Finds a Way

For more on the living dead, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

For more on mad scientists, go to A Very Scary Story

For more universal films, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more of my fav quotes, go to Insults