Murder She Hoped: Raising Hope (2013)

I am a big fan of Raising Hope. I love the characters, the storyline, and just find it fun and hilarious. I especially love the ’80s references.

I LOVE the '80s

I LOVE the ’80s

The show is about James Bon Jovi “Jimmy” Chance, who is in his early twenties and a slacker. He left school before graduating, works for his dad, and spends most of his time getting drunk with his friends.

Truth be told I don't

About life.

His mom and dad, Burt and Virginia, had him when they were 15 and have made a lot of mistakes over the years in raising him as they have no clue in what they are doing. All live with Virginia’s grandmother, Maw Maw, in her house. Maw Maw suffers from dementia and they have to care for her as she swings in and out.

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

Everything changes when Jimmy has a one night stand with a woman who turns out to be a serial killer. She is sentenced with the death penalty but before she dies she gives birth to a daughter, this little girl being given to Jimmy to raise.

What?!

What?!

So now they all band together to try and raise this girl, with three of the adults having no clue about children and one who is not in her right mind.

spockstartrekidon'tknowokayiguesmovingongo

Throw in some other great characters: Sabrina, rich girl trying to “make it on her own” as a grocery clerk; Barney, the dorky but heart of gold store manager; Frank, a strange coworker; an evil cousin Delilah; and more.

Supernaturaldean whinchester shrug smile oh well

Will Jimmy be able to raise her right? Or will he make the same mistakes as his parents?

This was the first episode I saw as my friend knew I would love it. This episode is fantastic as it is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window:

So as this takes place in the last season-I’ll do a quick wrap up. Jimmy had a gigantic crush on Sabrina and after the previous seasons of his being friends with her, them dating, they ended up getting married and moved into Sabrina’s grandma’s house. Since then Burt and Virginia have stayed with Maw Maw taking care of her.

Unfortunately, I can’t rewatch this episode as it is on Hulu and I don’t have that streaming service. So we will be going off my memory.

Hmm…?

In this episode, Burt and Virginia have new back fence neighbors and are super excited as they haven’t had any for years. They call that the “weirdo” house as no one stays very long-they are there for not that long and then gone. The meet them and the guy Gary seems like a lot of fun to Burt as he wants another best friend, and Virginia is happy to have people who she can talk to and borrow sugar from. Virginia also gets her hair done cheap at the local senior citizen home and gets it done in ’50s styles mimicking Grace Kelly’s style as Lisa. They are also doing themed weeks at her work (she cleans houses), and her dress looks just like the one in Rear Window.

So in this episode, they have started taking walks after dinner around their neighborhood. All the people they see are based off the different neighbors in Rear Window. A dancer, pianist, married couple who are sleeping outside on a mattress, etc.

IT’S TRUE!!!!

As Burt is walking, he trips on a root and falls breaking his leg. He’s stuck in a wheelchair-just like Jimmy Stewart’s character.

That night they have the back fence neighbors over for dinner. Gary is all smiles, creepy smiles and Gina is acting really strange. She is worried, keeps flubbing answers saying the wrong thing-Gary correcting her. It’s so weird-something is clearly not right in this marriage.

Hmm…

Gary likes to thumb wrestle and really enjoys facing off with Burt. Burt enjoyed his company but he is done-they go home and Virginia enjoys being with Gina but Burt feels like something is clearly not right there.

Hmm…

The next day Virginia tries to borrow a cup of sugar but Gina tells them they don’t have any. Her husband comes back and starts acting weird giving them packages. He asks if they wouldn’t mind holding them and of course the Chances say no.

That night the hear yelling and something crashing. They are both afraid something happened and call the police. The police won’t come because the Chances have called too many times-birds were attacking them (The Birds), thought a murderer in the house (Psycho), etc. and instead they send a member of their auxiliary force-Barney-their friend and the manager of the grocery store.

He has a tooth ache and mimics Jimmy Stewart’s voice as he talks. He tells them they are overreacting and that Gary and the wife are fine.

Barney leaves and the two decide they were just overreacting.  They continue to collect Gary’s packages but then Burt sees that the wife isn’t there, instead it is another lady. He starts getting curious and looks through he packages finding an axe and jewelry engraved with “Carla”. They begin to believe that Gary killed his wife and is trying to be with this lady-Carla.

They start investigating, using an old toy of Jimmy’s Miss Suzy Snoop. The telescope used for spying mimics the telephoto lens used by Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff.

They want to investigate and try to enlist Jimmy and Sabrina, but while Jimmy is into it-Sabrina is done and takes him and Hope home.

The parents keep snooping and it is a really great episode with a twist ending I don’t want to ruin for you.

This is a great episode and even some of the shots are done to mimic Rear Window. It really is a delight to any Hitchcock fan.

TV episode

For more Raising Hope, go to I Only Care That You Succeed: How I Met Your Mullet, Raising Hope (2014)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

So I had to take a break from finishing my review of Modesto Jane Con, as we had Valentine’s Day posts and some other things, but now I am ready to finish reviewing Modesto Jane Con.

So if you have been following me on social media, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wished I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

I’m sad…

But then Modesto Jane Con was created!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera to-of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy and Lizzie or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

So after Dressing the Regency Lady, we had about an hour and fifteen mins before the Mansfield Park Opera pre-show talk by Hillari DeSchane. We checked out a few things and had lunch, and then headed to the Opera.

The building was really cool as it was a classic theater showing old, foreign, & independent films that also hosts concerts & events. It has a snack bar that serves popcorn, wine, soft drinks, and espresso. I really wanted tea, but it didn’t serve any. Oh, well…

So quick review of the book, for those of you who might not have read it. Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, a sweet kind girl-niece to the Bertram family, who was sent to stay with the Bertrams. Instead of being treated as family, she is seen as “lesser” because of the “bad blood” inherited from her father who her mother “married down” to.

She is particularly mistreated by her evil aunt, Mrs. Norris, and two cousins; all of which take pride in bossing her around and being as cruel as can be. Fanny is the essence of sweetness, taking this injustice in stride and trying to remain optimistic in a bad situation.

The life of the Bertrams are interrupted when a Mr. Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford come to visit their half-sister Mrs. Grant. Mary is set on winning the eldest Bertram, but finds her interest captured by the younger brother, Edmund,-even though he is intent on being a minister and Mary finds religion hypocritical. Fanny has loved Edmund since she was young, but he has never thought of her in such a way and he is now completely captivated by Mary. Henry Crawford’s sole interest is to upset the apple cart by going after the Bertram sisters for sport, having no intent of being serious or facing any consequences. Will the Bertrams and Fanny survive this?

That is not good,

The Mansfield Park Opera was a part of the Story into Song Literacy Initiative and worked with a lot of literacy advocacy organizations, (such as the Becoming Jane Austen Book Club, Modesto Library, Modesto Friends of the Library, and more) and half of the cast are making their solo professional debuts. Pretty amazing!

So like when I did my Psycho (1960) review, I brought my notebook and took notes in the dark of my thoughts of the performance. Hopefully I can still read them.

So we attended the preshow with Hillari DeSchane:

Hillari DeSchane is a JASNA life member and a board member of Opera Modesto. Her pre-show opera talks have become audience favorites. DeSchane’s first Regency pet cozy: A Christmas Tail: A Regency Holiday Mystery received a Certificate of Merit from the Cat Writers Association hillarideschane.com

So the program gave a copy of the full talk, but I’m not going to write it word for word. I’ll just write my notes and paraphrase a bit.

So taking a book as long and complex as Mansfield Park and cutting it down to a two-hour opera is no easy feat. Mansfield Park is a “tapestry of human emotion and psychology.” (Deschane).

In the opera they strip the book down to the central theme and a small number of characters. The story is told as a chamber opera, more intimate-like a theater in the round. The opera itself is group centered, with no arias or being solo based.

The opera also focus on the theme of “The Fall of Man” and the “Expulsion from Eden.” Mansfield Park is Eden, a paradise, and each character is tempted by their own personal snakes, with many falling victim to their pleasures and “biting the apple”.

As seen with the recent TV show Sandition, there are many who think Austen needs to be sexier and steamier but truth is-they just need to remake Mansfield Park as it has it all: gambling, drinking, seduction, adultery-just full of thse vices without modern additions.

We really see the focus of this motiff in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. Here they explore Mr. Rushworth’s home in Sotherton, where they walk a “serpentine path”. Henry offers to explore with Maria Bertram while her fiance is gone, tempting her with the two being alone together, even singing “how tempting those pathways that lie hidden-how much sweeter are the joys we are forbidden.” Edmund is given the choice to wait with Fanny while she rests from the walk, or to go off with Mary alone-and he walks off with Mary forgetting all about Fanny on her own.

The ending was changed to be more happily ever after for all, (in the novel people have to face the consequences of their actions), but I didn’t mind too much.

So the ten characters we have are:

  1. Fanny Price (Alexandra Jernic)
  2. Edmund Bertram (Andrew Pardini)
  3. Mary Crawford (Angela Yam)- Professional Opera debut
  4. Henry Crawford (Emmanuel Mercado)
  5. Maria Bertram (Darby Schmidt)-Professional Opera debut
  6. Julia Bertram (Brylan Finley)- Professional Opera debut
  7. Mr. Rushworth (Luca Mitchell)- Professional Opera debut
  8. Aunt Norris (Alison Collins)
  9. Lady Bertram (Anakira Gabriella-Graça)
  10. Sir Thomas Bertram (Brad Reed)- Professional Opera debut

From The Modesto Bee. Left to Right: Lady Bertram, Sir Thomas Bertram, Fanny Price, Henry Crawford, Mary Crawford, and Edmund Bertram.

There is no Tom, although he is mentioned, and sadly no William Price who I love. Oh, well.

Sad really.

So the opera was AMAZING! As I mentioned in an earlier post the group of us who came varied in our knowledge of Mansfield Park. One book club member had never read or seen a film version of Mansfield Park (or any Jane Austen beside The Darcy Monologues), one book club member had seen the 2007 film version, my sister had seen the 2007 version and the 1999 version years ago, and I had read the book and seen the 1999 film, 2007 film, & the 1983 miniseries. However, all were able to follow the storyline and completely comprehend and bcome fully involved in the story.

We all loved the music and found everyone to be entertaining, talented, amazing, and that they completely captured the characters they were portraying.

Fanny was perfect! She had an amazing voice; along with perfect facial expressions. I’m not a big opera fan (as in I don’t watch them all the time), and this was my first time attending one, but one thing I have noticed when I’ve seen the films or clips of Operas is that they don’t always focus on the acting-more on the singing. Alexandra Jernic was spot on. The way she looked at Edward when singing, as if they were the only ones in the room. The incredible sorrow when seeing Edward and Mary together and knowing his preference for Mary over Fanny. Or the ball scene when all are happy and excited for what the night will bring, but Fanny who all this is supposed to be for her, but she is sad and alone as her love is excited to dance with another.

Mrs. Norris was just as perfect. You hated her as immediately-every time she sang and the way she acted toward Fanny, I don’t know if there has been a better one.

Mr. Rushworth was wonderful. He was kind caring, goofy, hilarious. It amazed me that he was only 18 when he was so talented.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the performance is that  each character had their own distinctive music, tone, and speed. For instance Mr. Rushworth’s was fast and quick, just like how his character spoke in the book and sang-while Henry’s music was slower, softer, more seductive.

We also loved seeing the costumes and how they looked on the performers, as in an earlier workshop we saw the swatches. We also kept an eye out for Kristine Doiel’s favorite dress of the production, the gray number that Mary Crawford wears in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. It was originally worn by Anne de Bourgh in the Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. I tried to get a good picture, but this was all I got:

But the one who stole the show for me was Angela Yam, Mary Crawford.

Every time she entered the stage all my attention went to her. She had an amazing voice and was equally amazing in her acting. One of the best scenes was when she and Edward first see each other, the way she doesn’t sing anything other than hello, but her whole body language is changed. The rest of the scene continues in the way she acts and looks. It was fantastic. That continued throughout the whole Opera as she was able to convey sooo much in her tone, a look, a motion. I was surprised this was her debut as she just blew me away. I stopped taking notes as I just wanted to enjoy her performance.

We had to leave after the opera and head home, but we did all the way humming, singing, and talking about how much we enjoyed it.

It was a wonderful experience and I am so happy to have been able to watch it. If I could have, I would have stayed the next day and watched it again.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Looking Around the Library, Lunch, and a Crazy Random Happenstance

For more Mansfield Park, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more Mansfield Park adaptions, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

For more Hillari DeSchane, go to Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

For more Opera, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

The Psychotic Episode: Boy Meets World (1999)

Boy Meets World was one of my favorite shows from the ’90s. I used to watch it anytime it was on. There are a lot of great episodes, especially ones for our Halloween countdown.

This episode comes from season 6. The gang are in college and Cory and Topanga are engaged. Story A is that Cory keeps having these nightmares about killing Shawn. Its kind of weird and a bit boring (to be honest). In the end the dreams symbolize what Cory will give up getting married, the path not taken.

The B story, that’s the one I remember and love. Jack is dating Rachel, the girl Eric also had fallen head over heels with. But since they are together, Eric moved out. He wants to watch the girl they love mack on their best friend?

He tries to move into his parent’s house, but no longer has a room as it is a nursery for his baby brother.

He tries Shawn and Cory, but no dice there either.

Then Topanga’s room, but nope there too.

He is sleeping in the Student Union when Jack ad Rachel find him. They try and bring him back, but anything would be better than having to constantly see the girl you love with your best friend.

He pleas for a roommate, he’s desperate when he gets an answer to his prayer. Another student, Adam is looking for a roommate.

It’s perfect!

So Eric checks out his new digs. It is not only a pretty nice apartment, its gorgeous, Eric only has to pay “whatever he can afford”, and there is a gorgeous neighbor Adam will delightfully introduce him to. Life is good for Eric.

Alright!

But then Eric sees why Adam can’t kept a roommate. Can’t sit in his dead mother’s chair.

Or his dead Uncle Dave’ couch.

Uhh…this is creepy

Adam calls him from a seat away and will only converse over a phone.

Then Adam brings out his pet parrot for Eric to meet and feed. She’s stuffed. Who does he sound like?

Boy/Man Child

This is getting to weird for Eric-he’s going out…but then Sheila, the neighbor comes over in only a towel and Eric stays.

Eric is actually coming around to living with Adam, the perks outweighing the weird.

But then Adam decides to introduce him to his mother. We hear Adam and his mother talking in the other room.

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

That’s it-Eric’s out.

Good-bye

Hilarious and so well done. A great homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and just all around great episode. You should definitely check it out.

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

For the previous post, go to Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

For more Boy Meets World, go to Simply Fantastic

For more on Eric Matthews, go to Men

For more on Norman Bates and Psycho, go toI Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

It’s the end of the world

You know, I was having a hard time thinking of what movie to open with. What ’60s movie do I like?

Hmm…

Then I stupidly remembered The Birds. Of course!

It’s perfect!

This movie is one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies ever. I simply adore this film so much. It has everything that makes up a good film. And I can just watch it over and over again.

So I don’t remember what exactly got me into Alfred Hitchcock, but I became obsessed with his films. I do know how I was introduced to The Birds. It was through Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club.

Huh?

I loved the BSC books as a kid and read them all even belonging in the reading club that sent you two books a month and a little newsletter. I don’t remember if the newsletter or a book mentioned it, but I remember reading a note by Ann M. Martin about how she loved the film The Birds and because no one she knew had a VCR they could only watch it when it was on TV. Whenever it aired they would plan a sleepover and watch it with friends.

I can’t stop watching!

I became consumed with the idea of watching it, did and loved it. It was the first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever owned, me ordering it and planning on purchasing one every year on my birthday or Christmas and having the whole collection when I was an adult (did not happen sadly).

Later, a friend of mine. knowing how much I loved it, took me to Bodega Bay so I could see it in person and all the sites used in the film. It was so cool seeing everything and I later took many more trips out there. Here I am with the house that is used as a schoolhouse in the film. I blurred myself out as there are a lot of weirdos on the internet, no offense dear readers.

They also used to have a museum full of things from the movie and marketing/promotional materials, but it always had weird hours, then they closed it, then they had an awesome shop which doubled as a mini museum-but then the person died who owned it and the collection moved. Here I am with an item when they still had it.

Back in 2011, Tippi Hedren actually came out to do a promotional thing at Bodega Bay. I lived near there when I was going to school, but unfortunately I could not go and meet her as I had scheduled a trip home to be with family. However I had truly amazing and awesome friends who went out and stood in line and got her autograph my DVD. I tried to pay them back, but they would not let me know the price if it or let me do so.

I’m lucky

So while it was an amazing film done by an amazing director there is a sad twinge to the story as well. Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her really. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto

So that’s enough background, let’s move on to the review!

The film is based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, this being the third of her works being published into a film-following Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. However, this story and her story have nothing in common besides birds attacking. And before we discuss the film, let’s watch the trailer.

So the film starts off in San Francisco where we have Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hedren, going into a bird shop to pick up her myna bird.

***little side note Alfred Hitchcock strolls on by***

****Second side note, by the way there is no music track-just bird noises****

*****And can I just say she is wearing a stunning green suit. I love it and wish I owned one just like it, although I have nowhere to wear it to.*****

Melanie notices a lot of birds in the air, thinking it odd, but moving along.

Huh?

Unfortunately her bird has not arrived yet. The shopkeeper goes to call and she waits along at the desk. In walks the gorgeous Rod Taylor, and Melanie decides the same thing. Pretending to be the shopkeeper so that she can talk to him and put the moves on him.

He wants lovebirds for his sister’s birthday. He can tell she is not a shopkeeper but is trying to embarrass her, asking her questions she has no clue to the answers. When he asks to see a love bird it escapes around the shop causing havoc. And the real shopkeeper comes out to try and catch it. He reveals to Melanie that he knows who she is and has been playing her the whole time. It turns out that she went to court over a broken glass window and he was there too. He’s a lawyer and believed she should have served time for what she did, not gone off scot-free because she is a wealthy woman with a famous father.

She’s offended, but not so that she takes down this handsome man’s license, has a friend of her father run the plate, buys him lovebirds,and tracks down the address of a Mr. Mitch Brenner.

She’s got it bad, and is slightly creepy-but I kind of understand as Rod Taylor is a dreamboat. Who wouldn’t want to run into him again.

She brings the birds to his house and plans to leave them outside with a cheeky note, but his neighbor informs him that Mitch is gone for the weekend to visit his family in Bodega Bay.

A little funny that neighbor knows so much, but hey this is the ’60s. People actually knew their neighbors.

So Melanie drives the curvy winding coast road to Bodega Bay, which I have done plenty of times, and I always thought it was weird that the birds never flap around but just move with the vehicle. They don’t act like normal birds. It has always been my theory that they are the demon seed that start the revolution against people. They are just too quiet and creepy.

This is the only video I could find. There was originally no music

She goes to the post office, which you can visit, so that she can find Mitch’s address. The postmaster shows her the way to go. When you go now everything is compeletly different, but you can still look across the water like she did.

The Tides restaurant still exists, although it has been redone as there was a fire. In fact they were allowed to use it for filming only if the main male character was named after the owner of the Tides, Mitch Brenner. So yes, that is how Rod Taylor’s character got his name.

Melanie asks for the name of Mitch’s sister, but the postmaster doesn’t know. He directs her to the school and the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), to get the actual info. Turns out the name is Cathy.

Annie asks Melanie a few questions about her relationship to Mitch. Hmm, sounds like there is some history there.

Annie Hayworth: Did you drive up from San Francisco by the coast road?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: Nice drive.

Melanie Daniels: It’s very beautiful.

Annie Hayworth: Is that where you met Mitch?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: I guess that’s where everyone meets Mitch.

Melanie heads out into a rented boat with the birds. She sneaks up to their house in heels, not an easy feat, goes into the house and drops off the birds.

Now Tippi Hedren may be a beautiful woman but I would be extremely creeped out if someone did that to me. I mean she doesn’t even know him but tracked down not only Mitch’s home address, but boyhood address. A bit creepy and stalkerish.

Mitch, however, is besotted.

As Melanie heads back across the bay, Mitch takes his car to meet her.

******Can I stop and go on a slight sidebar here? Feel free to skip over if you wish. I just love Rod Taylor in that white sweater. I don’t know what it is but he is extra dreamy.

Drooling is over back to the movie*******

So Melanie gets dive-bombed by a gull, and pretty badly hurt and bleeding. Head wounds are the worst. Here is were I guess it starts, the first shot in the revolution.

******Side note: The man who asks Mitch what happened, is the real Mitch Brenner.*******

Back to the film. They go into the resturant where Mitch tends to her wounds. She questions him, wile he tries to get to why she came. Melanie tries to play off her stalkerish by saying it was on the way to visit Annie, the schoolteacher, but Mitch knows that its a lie, therefore confirming to us that there is something between Annie and him, or was.

Hmm…

Melanie tries to play it cool, but she can’t hide the fact she had the serious hots for him. Come on Melanie, you tracked him down-don’t try to be haughty.

Mitch’s mom Lydia comes in and is introduced to Melanie. Lydia is the original ice queen and horror future-mother-in-law. Ouch. And Jessica Tandy is a great actress, one line “Oh I see”, packed with serious weight. Let the games begin.

Ouch

Melanie is trying to head home but get tricked into coming to dinner as “she was staying the weekend” and won’t give up her lie. A girl has her pride after all.

She goes to Annie’s and wheedles staying there for the night. She tells Annie that she didn’t plan on staying long, which Annie replies she knows. That’s weighty right there, she knows as she didn’t plan on staying long either.

Melanie goes to dinner and meets cute little Cathy-friendly, cheery, adorable child. They mention that there is something wring with the chickens, They don’t like the feed…maybe because they are craving something else…like human flesh!

When Lydia calls her supplier it turns out her chickens aren’t the only ones on hunger strike. She agrees to see the farmer tomorrow to see if something is wrong with the chickens. And there is!

I love how Alfred Hitchcock plays the foreground and background against each other, both parts having things happen that go with the story, important, tension building, and just plan good.

We also found out that law and order Mitch is a defense attorney for “hoodlums and criminals”, interesting. Definitely a deep character.

Wow, there is more to him than I thought.

Cathy invites Melanie to her birthday party the next day, while in the kitchen Mitch and his mom start talking. They have a slight weird relationship as in someways his mom speaks to him as a child and in others their relationship is more spousal. Not that anything incestuous is going on, but as if that is the role that his mother put him in after his dad died.

We find out that there is a lot of interesting things in Melanie’s life. She jumps into fountains naked, tours Europe, and is always in the papers. A 1960s Sabrina van der Woodsen Debutante thats always doing something.

Mitch roots out the truth from Melanie about Annie, and starts goading her about her past misadventures, but Melanie isn’t having any of it. Good looks can only carry you so far Mitch.

Mitch Brenner: What about the letter you wrote me, is that a lie, too?

Melanie Daniels: No, I wrote the letter.

Mitch Brenner: Well what did it say?

Melanie Daniels: It said ‘Dear Mister Brenner, I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality.’

Mitch Brenner: But you tore it up?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Mitch Brenner: Why?

Melanie Daniels: Because it seemed stupid and foolish.

Mitch Brenner: Like jumping into a fountain in Rome?

Melanie Daniels: I told you what happened!

Mitch Brenner: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?

Melanie Daniels: Oh, I don’t give a d*** what you believe!

Mitch Brenner: I’d still like to see you.

Melanie Daniels: Why?

Mitch Brenner: I think it might be fun.

Melanie Daniels: Well it might have been good enough in Rome, but it’s not good enough now.

Mitch Brenner: It is for me.

Melanie Daniels: Well not for me!

Mitch Brenner: What do you want?

Melanie Daniels: I thought you knew! I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked, good night!

We see the creepy birds watching from phone lines, congregating at the barn-waiting for the call to strike.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

Back at the house Annie and Melanie have brandy and Annie tells her her story and what happened. She met Mitch in college and fell in love, followed him here but Lydia got in the way. She kept them apart. She doesn’t want a daughter-in-law, she just wants her children. Annie didn’t want to lose him and stayed out here.

Then Mitch calls his ex-girlfriend for his new one. Ouch!

Poor girl

Melanie is apologized to and invited to the birthday party agreeing to come.

Both Annie and Melanie are surprised when a bird crashes into their door.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

At the party Mitch takes Melanie off to the side with alcohol. She wants to head home as she has work. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works at the airport, on Tuesdays she takes classes, on Thursdays she has her club and lunches supporting a child through school, etc. Normal society things. Appears there is more depth to this party girl. Hmm…I wonder if the creators of Gossip Girl have ever watched this.

Hmm…

Mitch makes a joke about a mother’s care ad it turns out she has serious mother issues. Her mother abandoned them at age 11. A theme of mother’s issues is nothing new to Alfred Hitchcock as he himself had a ton and used the theme in many films, the most famous being Psycho.

At the party they are playing a game when the gulls show up and start attacking all the kids. Dive bombing and scratching. They try to help shoo them away and get everyone into the house.

Mitch is worried for Melanie ands invites her to stay the night there to be safe. And seriously, I think it is the love birds. Even with the cloth over them that should put them to bed as it is “night” they still squabble like crazy stopping only, when Cathy remarks on them. And just after, tons of sparrows come down the chimney attacking them. All cower in fear while Mitch tries to fight them off. Melanie moves Lydia and Cathy out of the room, to safety. After the attack and birds are gone they call the police, but there is nothing they can do about it.

The next morning, Lydia takes Cathy to school and then heads out to question the farmer about the chickens being sick. Lydia goes in looking for him and instead sees broken teacups, just like how hers were destroyed by the bird attack. The rooms are quiet and face the same destruction as hers and then she sees it!

Him, the dead birds, his eyes!

So freaky the first time I saw it. Oh, and still remains a scene that terrifies most.

Traumatizing children for all time.

Lydia races home and leans on Mitch, telling him what happened. Mitch heads over to the police that are called when he and Melanie have some very tender intimate moments. Relationships speed up when danger mars your every moment.

Lydia is worried over Cathy, with the large windows at school and the broken ones at the dead body looming in her mind. We see another side of Lydia as well, more vulnerable, worried-maybe Mitch comes home not just to help his mom but because without his aid they would loose the land. Hmm…thats one thing I love about this film, on the surface it is one thing but there are many sides to all these characters.

Lydia asks Melanie to pick up Cathy as she is very worried about her and Melanie heads out right away. Melanie goes to the school, but decides to wait a bit until recess. The kids are singing and she stays outside when we have this amazing scene.

Melanie runs in and warns Annie about the jungle gym. Annie tells them they are conducting a fire drill as not to scare them and directs them to run to different places. Of course the birds attack. Poor kids.

Melanie ends up in the diner calling her newspaper mogul father and telling him the story of what happened, All listening to every word she is telling her father.

We are introduced to Mrs. Bundy (BUNDY AHH) who is an ornithologist and for the birds, Giving us some serious information on the birds.

Traveling Salesman: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!

Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.

Deke Carter: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?

Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world…

Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.

Mrs. Bundy:…probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!

We get a bit of debate as a Captain interjects that he also hates birds and wishes they were all gone, them having attacked one of his ship captains. Melanie states that the birds are killers after the kids. Everyone keeps talking down to Melanie as she tries to tell them that it wasn’t just a few but a ton and a series of different kinds.

Mitch shows up asking for Kathy, who is at Annies. Just as they argue the birds attack again. Mitch tells Melanie to stay behind as they take out a guy pumping gas causing it to flow over the ground. An unsuspecting smoker sets it off and boom.

This causes a big sign that the other birds can see and they all come in swarming. The pyre’s have been lit.

I’m in shock

All go out of the restaurant (Why? Don’t know) and we have the famous telephone scene.

They actually have a telephone booth and Tippi Hedren mannequin at one of the shops there and you can get a picture with it.

Mitch gets her out and they head back to the restaurant. Hiding with others. Mrs. Bundy, I notice you are quiet. Not talking down at her anymore are you?

One of them is hysterical, blaming Melanie. In a way I believe she is right. Although it isn’t Melanie, but those love birds.

Mitch and Melanie run to the schoolhouse to get Cathy finding Annie’s dead body.

Cathy is safely inside, but utterly traumatized. Mitch carries Annie inside and covers her with his coat. Then the three speed off to the Brenner house.

At the Brenner home, Mitch patches up the openings, prepping the house for an attack. He notices that there appears to be a pattern. They attack, disburse, regroup, attack again. Why?

Hmm…

Melanie tries to contact her father but the lines are cut. The birds isolating them and making it unable for them to reach anyone or get even local radio.

Lydia starts to freak out wanting answers, the tension exploding. All are succumbing to it.

Cathy wants the love birds with her, NOOOO nor those evil things. Even now they are probably plotting.

Now they wait, trapped. Kathy gets so anxious she makes herself sick. Then they wait again. Hearing them, being taunted by them.

I’m crazy

We have the first attack of gulls breaking windows and trying to peck through the door. Mitch being the one to take action and stop them. Then Melanie goes up to the attic.

Poor Melanie. they tend to her, but she is banged up. This scene was horrible to film. Seven days of birds being thrown at her, again and again.

Mitch uses this time of quiet to plan an escape. Melanie needs a hospital, so he and Cathy start getting things ready, not knowing what will face in the outside world or if they will be able to ever come back.

I like how Hitchcock ends the film with us not knowing if they make it out okay. We never know if everything will go back to normal. What or who caused this? I think it makes the film stronger and gives you the opportunity to create your own theory from each of his clues.  If they had given us an answer, it probably would have been lame no matter what was chosen, we would have found faults. Sometimes it is better just not knowing.

So there we go,  believe my theory or create your own. Either way watch the film.

This film changed how I look at birds. I never liked them before and hated them ever since. I’ll never look at another the same way again. Especially when they get in large groups or swarm overhead.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

After I showed this film to some friends who had never seen it, a few days later we were shopping at a store. As we are leaving, my one friend looks behind us at the store and goes ashen. She freaks out and tells us to run. As we are I look back and see a ton lined up on the store watching, then deciding to take off. We all ran as fast as we could to the car struggling in, and  speeding home. Nothing happened, but a film like this just sticks to you.

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So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest VII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks. thrills, and chills that are to come.

For more on The Birds, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

For more Daphne de Maurier, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

I don’t kill people anymore.

So you all know how I feel about sequels.

I can’t stand them, there are few and far between that I can actually watch, let alone love.

But I decided to review the sequel to Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th. And to take that one step further, I’ll be reviewing a sequel to horror films that spanned sequels and influenced the horror genre. First one:

You all know that I love Alfred Hitchcock:

Master

And how much I love Psycho.

So I thought I would give this a watch when it came up on AMC‘s Fear Friday. This film takes place 22 years after the original, Norman having been receiving help that whole time has finished the program and will be released to society and the Bates Motel.

Norman thinks he is ready to live his life again, but there are many others who are not. One of which is Marion’s sister Lila Loomis (she and Sam ended up getting married).

Lila Loomis: What about his victims? I have a petition here signed by 743 people against Norman Bates’ release, including the relatives of the seven people he murdered.

Norman sets about living a normal life as much as he can, hopeful that life will be better.

Dr. Raymond: You don’t have to stay. I could find you a place in town.

Norman Bates: No, no. I… I want to stay here.

Dr. Raymond: As long as you realize the memories are more likely to reoccur here. But you know how to handle that now, don’t you?

Norman Bates: Sure.

He discovers the person placed in charge of the motel while Norman was sent away was using the motel as an hourly one and to deal drugs. Norman kicks him out, takes a job at the local diner run by Mrs. Spool, and things seem to be going well. He even befriends a young waitress, Mary Samuels.

Things start going downhill fast when Norman is given mysterious notes and phone calls from Mrs. Bates.

Then a womanly figure in black is seen running around the complex and bodies are piling up.

Norman is trying to keep it together, but is feeling the pressure and unraveling with every attack. Objects in blood are found in the house, he starts forgetting what he was doing and where he was, items of his mother’s he thought were given/thrown away all end up back in the house.

Mary feels bad for him as he is trying so hard, she ends up moving in with him to help him keep it together. And when the sheriff comes to question him about an incident, she outright lies to protect him.

Sheriff John Hunt: Are you sure neither one of you heard anything between four to five this afternoon?

Norman Bates: No, I was…

Mary: [cutting Norman off] He was with me all afternoon. We were walking in the fields behind the house around that time.

Sheriff John Hunt: Okay. Nice to see you again, Norman. [the sheriff and his deputy walk out. Mary closes the front door and watches them walk away]

Norman Bates: [to Mary; bewildered] Why did you do THAT?

Mary: Do what?

Norman Bates: Lie to the sheriff. You weren’t with me all afternoon!

Mary: I had to do something! He was going to arrest you! [Norman suddenly holds his head in pain, and slumps down into a nearby armchairNorman, what’s wrong?

Norman Bates: It’s starting again.

Is someone trying to make Norman go crazy? Has Mrs. Bates risen from the grave? Or is Norman starting to kill again?

I have mixed feelings about this movie.

Hmm…

Let’s start with the negative:

So this movie was made in the ’80s and they decided that the classy way the original film was made wasn’t going to fly with modern viewers. So there is a lot of blood, gore, sex, etc.

Now what was positive:

I like this

I loved that they had the original actors reprise their roles. Anthony Perkins is just sheer perfection at playing a sweet innocent man you just feel sympathy and empathy for-and at the same time flip and be frightening.

I liked that the director really concentrated on trying to copy Alfred Hitchcock’s style and use the same angles and lighting he did.

The story line had a few issues, but for the most part they tried hard to be suspenseful like the original and have an ending you weren’t expecting.

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

For the previous post, go to For All You Know, A Witch Might Be Living Next Door to You: The Witches (1990)

For more on Psycho, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more sequels, go to But If Any of It Fell Into the Wrong Hands…:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze (1991)

For more ’80s films, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more on Fear Fridays, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)