Desire & Decorum: Chapter 13, A Better Place

So it has been a while since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 13 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.

Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses a certain way, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepted you and has decided to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You also have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you went to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifted you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and was able to meet up with your father one last time before he died. On his deathbed you receive one last giant twist: it turns out that your parents were married before you were born! You’re not but yet still are illegitimate.

Now here is where the story isn’t tracking true to actual history. In the game your parents were married and then had an annulment making you illegitimate. But I did some research and it turns out that:

“any children of an annulled marriage become bastards (who cannot inherit or be declared legitimate at the whim of the peer) and likewise outcasts of society.”

KRISTEN KOSTNER, “A PRIMER ON REGENCY DIVORCE AND ANNULMENTS,” KRISTEN KOSTNER (BLOG), ENTRY POSTED OCTOBER 11, 2018, ACCESSED JULY 22, 2021,

So this next conflict of this game is to try and inherit the estate is not something that is possible, unless I can prove that the annulment never legally took place and my stepmother’s marriage is invalid. I don’t know if the game’s creator’s did any proper research, but let’s see what happens next in the game at the funeral.

You start this chapter off with your grandmother the two of you consoling each other over the loss of your father and her son. But even though Grandmother is sad, she is also still as conniving and concerned about the estate as ever. She eagerly wants me to harpoon the Duke (who we don’t like since he tried to attack me) in order to have a better hold on the estate. I’d much rather have the Mr. Darcy/Maxim de Winter-esque character, Mr. Sinclaire.

Grandmother also warns me not to make a scene at the funeral, and I’ve played enough of these choices game to know that is 100% what my character will do later on-no matter how much I don’t want to.

Oh well…

You have the option to purchase a black gown to wear to the funeral or wear something else that you already have in your closet, and this kind of option is one I hate. I understand the game wants to make money off, but sometimes it makes no sense to have them purchase an item and not provide one. It’s a funeral! But whatever. I of course know that it would be clearly uncouth of me not to wear black, so I purchased it.

The time of the funeral has come and we go to church to have it. Your stepmother and stepbrother both refuse to allow you to seat with them. This I also don’t understand, why not just sit with your grandmother? Instead you have the two options of making a little scene or making a much larger one.

I of course chose the more respectful of the two options, the smaller scene-but either way a scene is made and I know grandma will not be happy.

Mr. Sinclaire, a good friend of my father’s and his closest neighbor, also comes to the funeral and pays his respects to me. The two of us have grown closer together but is it enough for a proposal? I feel like when I play Marrying Mr. Darcy, just because you are able to get proposed to you still have a final gamble/roll to take.

The service is beautiful, and Mr. Sinclaire is happy to hear that my father approved of him asking for my hand in marriage. (Things are looking good).

At the end of the service we all say our final goodbyes and the writers wrote this chapter so prettily. These words are so sad and full of emotions, you can feel the pain and sorrow there.

Afterwards is a reception in which you see Mr. Harper the horseman. He wants to pay his respects but you stepmother is a cruel woman and won’t allow him to. You also speak to the other guests and your stepbrother, realizing that your stepbrother had deep feelings for your father. Could Mr. Marcastle actually have a heart?

Hmm…

Even though I try not to Mr. Marcastle and I make a scene. Oops! It looks like one of thede writers just wants all the drama!

You also run into your best friend Miss Parson, your new friend Miss Sutton (fiancé to Mr. Marcastle but she values your friendship more), and Prince Hamid. All are here for you to support and encourage you during this rough time. Each offers you a diamond choice to do something with them.

You also into Mr. Sinclaire again and he offers to show you his home, Ledford Park, if you are in need of a respite. Now I know this isn’t what one should do in Regency Times (Marianne Dashwood had taught me that), but I’m really curious about his home and I have enough diamonds to purchase the option that I agree.

You go to his home and it is beautiful, very much like Pemberley. The two of you walk the grounds and talk. As Mr. Sinclaire also lost his father, he understands the pain you are going through. Mr. Sinclaire shares about his father and all he says makes him sound even more like Mr. Darcy.

He shares with you a cute story about how his mother would have him throw a coin in a fountain and make a wish when he was sad, this always giving him hope. You decide to try it out, being all cute and romantic together. Aw!

The two of you just sit for a while and Mr. Sinclaire promises to help you in any way he can. Not a proposal, but his friendship is very important and you are a step closer.

How sweet!

The next day you discover that your stepmother is trying to keep you from gaining your inheritance by saying you are not your father’s child and that your father was mentally incompetent. But you have letters to prove it, your grandmother knows that it is true, and it doesn’t matter if he was mentally incompetent. I’m not an expert in Regency law but trying to get him to be declared incompetent seems like a weird route to take. Plus we already know that one wouldn’t want to have their family branded as crazy.

Plus Henrietta is all “I’m the widow” people will feel sorry for me-but that doesn’t means nothing. History is full of women who were given the shaft. Taking a cue from Sense and Sensibility, the only thing that is important is to who will get the money. And as of right now that is my character.

We end the chapter with me being trapped in my room. (Someone watched Cinderella.) Again, this is a pretty dumb move as the Dowager Countess, my grandma, is there and will know something is up. She’s very smart and not about to let her son’s last wishes go unhonored. She will be gunning for the Countess I’m sure.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

For more on Choices, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

So it has been almost a year since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 12 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.

Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepts you and wants to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you go to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifts you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, and have just learned that your father has fallen ill, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and are trying to reach your father in time before his last breath.

Whew! That’s a lot. Now onto the next chapter!

So this chapter’s title In Sickness and In Health, and reading that just reaffirmed for me thah my father did going to die.

So I had an option earlier in the game to buy a horse and I did. Sometimes these purchases turn out to be a waste as then they never resurface in the game, but I’m glad I did as I am using her to race to my dad. It did turn out to be a useful purchase.

So Mr. Harper and I race to my father’s home as quickly as we can. There is an option for you to stop and rest with Mr. Harper and hear him tell a story-and if Mr. Harper is the romantic route you want to take, if you do so it will bring you closer together. But as for me, not only did I not want to wait I also was low on diamonds, and didn’t want to spend what little I had in case something came up in later on in the chapter. The previous chapter turned out to be really expensive.

So I make it to the house and who should stand in my way? My wicked stepmother.

She won’t let me see my dying father and claims that she will find a way to keep me from my inheritance, as she believes she should have it over me. From a historical side I do feel bad for her as women had very little rights but in this game she is a horrible witch so I don’t feel bad if she will loses everything.

Sucks to be you

While tbe Countess may think she has outwitted me, I outmaneuver her and go upstairs where I run into the Bishop Monroe, a new character who allows me to visit with my father. I go to my father and there I discover the big twist. I am not illegitimate, but my father and mother were married!

Never mind, it turns out I am illegitimate as my mother and father were forced into an annulment just before I was born.

Wait, what? That doesn’t sound right to me but let’s see how the game plays out and then I’ll do the research later.

Hmm…

So it turns out that my grandfather didn’t want my parents together and forced the annulment. My father shared that he wrote letters to my mother and I let him know that I saw them as it turned out she saved them and I had the opportunity to read them in the previous chapter (which I did).

Only a few people knew about the marriage, but I’m thinking there must be some documentation that will help strengthen my claim.

My father tells me he wanted to tell me more but thought it would be too confusing and kept it to himself. He wants to share his story with me and you have the option to pay to play as him and find out the truth. I declined as I had no money and didn’t want to spend anymore on this game.

My father warns me that my claim will be weak without a strong man to back me. He wants me to get with the Duke but after the last chapter, NO WAY!

I do share that I am interested in someone, and let him know that someone is Mr. Sinclair.

I can’t resist, Mr. Sinclaire is just too much like a mix between Mr. Darcy and Maxim de Winter from Rebecca. He’s unlocked the Laurence Olivier achievement.

My father approves as he has always been close to the Sinclaires. He gives me my mother’s ring and a copy of his Will so that it can strengthen my claim.

My father asks me to share my childhood stories with him and I do to comfort him and relieve his guilt. I stay by his side until his last breath.

I know that this isn’t real, but it seriously touched my heart when I read that scene. Poor Earl of Edgewater.

That’s the sad end of this chapter, in the next one we will have to deal with my father’s funeral. I’m sure there will be plenty of intrigue and conflict.

Funeral scene from The Wolfman (2010)

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part III

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part II

Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Have you ever wished you could marry Mr. Darcy?

Well you can now in this game!

So I have been wanting to play this game for a while, I mean you know me and Jane Austen stuff:

I received it this year for my birthday in May and have been planing on reviewing it, but you know how things go.

This game was created by Erika Svanoe and Erik Evensen and it actually isn’t just about marrying Mr. Darcy, you have your choice of being all the single ladies in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Mary Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, and Georgiana Darcy.

Your goal in the game is to try and earn character traits (the more points you get at the end helps you win) along with making a good match. Depending on your character, you have an ideal man (the one who will give you the most points), but you still earn points for whichever man you marry. Your choices are: Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins, Mr. Denny, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bingley, and of course Mr. Darcy.

Although there are a couple guys in here I would rather NOT have.

The first thing you do is choose your character, and each one has a special ability. I started off with Elizabeth Bennet who has a Dowry of 1 and a Wit of 2. You have to have a Wit of 5 in order for Mr. Darcy to propose so you get an advantage over the other ladies; eat your heart out Caroline Bingley.

So the game begins with lining all the men out so that you can see what they all need. Each man is looking for different things before they will even consider proposing to you:

  • Mr Wickham: Dowry of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Collins: Beauty of 2 & Reputation of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Denny: Friendliness of 2 & Wit of 2 or Higher
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam: Dowry of 3 & Reputation of 2 or Higher OR a Reputation of 5 or higher
  • Mr. Bingley: Beauty of 5 or Friendliness of 5 or Higher
  • Mr. Darcy: Wit of 5 or Higher

For 2-3 Players they recommend using 1/2 the event cards, 4 players 2/3 event cards, and for 5-6 players all the cards.

Each person gets three character cards to start with and you play the game. For each turn you pull out an event card, some affect only you-while others all the players. The event cards will allow you to “play” a character card-which  you put face up. The face up cards are the only ones who count for points at the end, allow you to be proposed to, etc. Its important to have them, but just because they are played they are not safe. They can be stolen.

Some event cards change the course of the game: Mr. Bingley goes to London (if you don’t get the card that brings him back he can’t be anyone’s suitor), Darcy’s surprise proposal (you get this you are instantly proposed to and don’t have to do the end roll to see who you get), and an Elopement with Mr. Wickham (you can only get rid of the elopement if you get enough reputation cards).

Just because you get enough of the character traits to get your dream man, that doesn’t mean you will get him. At the end you each have to roll the dice to see if he proposes, you toll too low-you become an old maid. But even the old maid has multiple options too, and you can still have a shot at winning as an old maid if you roll high enough or have a lot of character cards played. Your life as an old maid ranges from lonely bitter life, a companion to a cranky widow, governess to a wealthy family, your resentful uncle takes you in, or your kind and wealthy family takes you in and you become a celebrated author.

This game is really fun as you can play it multiple times-being different people and of course having different events, so no two game plays will be alike.

I tried every character because I wanted to be sure to give a thorough review before posting this:

Game 1: Elizabeth Bennet 20 points

As Elizabeth the best match you can make is Mr. Darcy (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (7 points). With Elizabeth’s lack of dowry she can’t win a man with that unless you get an “inheritance” card-the other options being to try for men who are just looking for character.

I did not marry Mr. Darcy as my mom got the surprise proposal from him.

I did score Colonel Fitzwilliam and was only on point shy of winning.

PROS: Elizabeth’s special ability is a “Wit of 5”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Elizabeth has higher wit than anyone else she still is at a disadvantage. I had enough for Mr. Darcy, but then my wit was stolen from me and I couldn’t get higher than a three. It really isn’t a strong advantage.

Game 2: Caroline Bingley 32 points

If you want to win the game, play as Caroline Bingley. She has the best chance of winning out of everyone. As Caroline the best match you can make is Colonel Fitzwilliam (netting 14 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Caroline has a dowry of 3 and a special ability: Any time she draws a character card she can draw an extra card and decide which of them you want.

I won this game! I married Mr. Darcy as I got the surprise proposal from him and had 32 points altogether.

PROS: With Caroline’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is super awesome as getting to check out an extra card can really help you stack your deck, or discard cards that will be helpful to others.

CONS: As Caroline you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Bingley), but it doesn’t really affect you. Caroline can win the game every time very easily, the only way to fail is to roll bad in the proposal stage.

Game 3: Georgina Darcy 25 points

Georgiana Darcy is another way to win the game right away. The best match you can make as Georgiana is Colonel Fitzwilliam (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Georgiana has a dowry of 4 and a special ability: Georgiana has a +1 to all proposal rolls.

I won, married Colonel Fitzwilliam, and had 25 points.

PROS: With Georgiana’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is very useful at the end of the game as if you screw up a roll you get that extra point to add.

CONS: Like Caroline, as Georgiana you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Darcy), but it doesn’t really affect you.

Game 4: Jane Bennet 22 points

As Jane the best match you can make is Mr. Bingley (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Jane has the same dowry problem as Elizabeth.

I won by marrying Mr. Darcy with the surprise proposal and had a total of 22 points.

PROS: Janes’s special ability is a “Beauty of 2”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Jane has higher beauty than anyone else she still is at an extreme disadvantage. Her beauty could be stolen by other players; along with Mr. Bingley going back to town-if he doesn’t come back she has to try for someone else.

Game 5: Lydia Bennet 9 points

With Lydia the best match you can make is Mr. Denny (netting 13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (5 points).

I did not win this round. My sister took Mr. Denny and I didn’t have enough character for anyone else. I ended up becoming a companion to a cranky widow. I know just who I ended up with:

Mrs. Van Hopper in Rebecca (1940)

PROS: Lydia’s special ability is any time a Party card is drawn she gets to steal 1 random Character card from any player.

CONS: Lydia’s ability only works if you are playing with a large group when you are using the the whole deck. If you are only using half the deck you don’t pull out that many party cards and she doesn’t really get to use her ability.

Game 6: Mary Bennet 17 points

With Mary the best match you can make is Mr. Collins (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Mary has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

I gained my highest guy, but lost by one point. Sounds like Mary’s life.

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

PROS: Mary’s special ability is she can take the top discarded Character Card instead of drawing from the deck.

CONS: Even when Mary gets her ideal man and achieves the highest she can, it is lower than everyone else. I think it would have been better if Mary could get more equal points to Caroline, Jane, Elizabeth, etc.

Game 7: Kitty Bennet 12 points

Kitty’s best match is Mr. Denny (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Kitty has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

My sister stole Mr. Denny, the only man I could get, so I ended up an old maid. Luckily my resentful uncle took me in…I guess things turned out okay?

Not okay.

PROS: Kitty’s special ability is when it is her turn to pull an Event card she has a choice to use a discarded event card.

CONS: Like Lydia, her ability works best when you play with a full deck-but it still is great in any type of game.

Game 8: Charlotte Lucas 18 points

Charlotte Lucas’ best match is Mr. Collins (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (6 points). Charlotte has a dowry of 2 and a special ability: Charlotte has 3 cunning.

I barely won this round, I married Mr. Collins and won by 1 point. I also kept getting inheritances and increases in dowry. Now that I have my own money, I think I’ll take a vacation without Mr. Collins.

PROS: With Charlotte’s dowry you have a big advantage over the Bennet ladies. You also have cunning without additional cards, so if no one else has saved any you get to go first in the proposals stage.

CONS: Mr. Collins only gets you 13 points which puts you at a disadvantage with Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Like Mary, I think the top person should be equal in all of them.

What Didn’t I Like:

There are only a few things I would have changed, one the point system-I think that all the ladies’ highest men should be equal. That way if you net him you have a better chance of winning the game.

I also wish that the two eldest Bennet sisters had more useful abilities than the extra wit and beauty. They do have an advantage, but it isn’t really that strong-the other women seem to have better ones.

Hmm…?

What I Did Like

I really enjoyed the whole game.

The game was really fun, the events interesting, and I loved the little references to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. I loved it and could play it over and over again (and did!) and tried to get everyone I could to play with me.

If you are looking for a fun Regency game to play, you defintely should get this.

I highly recommend it and am eyeing the expansion pack…maybe after Christmas.

For more Jane Austen products review, go to Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

 

Trapped in a Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere with a Psycho: The Cat and the Canary (1939)

“Trapped in a mansion in the middle of nowhere with a Psycho.”

This movie was sooooo good!

I saw it at the library when we were reorginizing and it sounded really interesting-a will, multiple people inheriting and fighting each other, locked in a house in the middle of nowhere, starring Paulette Goddard, Edith Head did the costumes, and it was early Bob Hope-so hopefully he won’t be too silly.

I have to watch it.

So the film is based off a play and it is one of those horror comedies that spoof horror films-you know like Arsenic and Old Lace or One Body Too Many.

Cyrus Norman was an eccentric millionaire, who insanity ran in his family. He passed away and determined that ten years from that date on midnight the will, will be read. They never say why-but I believe that he wanted certain family members dead, like in Mystery of the 13th Guest

10 years in this movie.

The night has came and the lawyer, Crosby arrives by canoe to the mansion, he will be stuck there until the next day as no boats run after midnight. Trapped like in House on Haunted Hill.

Haunted house!

Crosby goes there and is greeted by the creepiest housekeeper ever. She’s like Mrs. Danvers, Nancy, and Milly rolled into one. This is set in the Louisiana Bayou and she talks about talking to her master, and spirits, and roams the house soundlessly with a black cat. Just an uber creeper!

SUPER creeped

Crosby goes to where the will was stashed and finds not one, but TWO wills!

Hmm…interesting.

Hmmm…

The family starts showing up, all second and third cousins twice removed. We have two older sisters (40-50s age range) Cicily and Aunt Susan who arrive. Both are very unhappy to be out in the swamp-Susan is the older one, loud, aggressive, domineering-while Cicily is sweet, submissive, ad nervous.

Hmm…

Then the men arrive: Fred Blythe, grouchy and sarcastic; Charlie Wilder (Douglas Montgomery), handsome ladies man; and Wally Campbell (Bob Hope), actor, funnyman, and nervous talker. This part was actually created for him, an addition to the play.

They settle in for the will reading, yet there is one left-Joyce Norman (Paulette Goddard). Fred is in love with Joyce and tells all the others to back off of her. Charlie and Joyce used to have a thing but haven’t seen each other in years-he trying to ignite the flame again. And Wally and Joyce were friends when they were younger, he was always trying to help her out or protect her (secret crush).

More like a quadrilateral

The will is read with all the money going to the ones who have the last name Norman. That being only Joyce-she inherits everything.

Except there is one caveat. This family is rife with mental illness-if Joyce should  succumb to mental illness in one month or die-the money will go to another person in the other will.

What are you talking about??

That seems like an awful thing to do-the relatives are going to try and make her be declared insane, drive her insane, or kill her. What was he thinking!!!!!

I guess maybe he thought that there would be more heirs, but still-this seems to be a horrible idea.

So all are happy for Joyce, except Aunt Susan who immediately starts psychoanalyzing her-and Charlie who starts trying to reignite the flames and get her interested in him again-really. She just got the money. 

All have the stay in the house overnight together-and then things start taking a dark turn.

The creepy voodoo housekeeper gives Joyce a private message. Joyce then goes to get ready for bed when there is a knock on the door. It is a guard from the asylum down the way who has arrived to let them know that a manic got loose. The maniac has long claws and is called “The Cat”. He warns them to lock the doors and windows and he is going to check the bayou.

So we have crazy relatives, a million dollars, a creepy housekeeper, and an escapee from the insane asylum-things are getting good.

I have to watch it.

Meanwhile, Cosby has discovered something when searching through the files. He goes to tell Joyce, but before he can get the words out-he is kidnapped by someone who creeped through a secret passage.

Yes this house is full of secret passages, has a portrait with eyes that someone can watch you through, and was one of the influences of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Yep, it’s that cool.

Someone’s creeping on Joyce…but who?

Joyce and Wally end up pairing up as he wants to hep her, and they discover a note about Cyrus’ hidden treasure-emerald and diamond necklace-that is on the property. They have to find the treasure, survive the night, and keep Joyce from being driven crazy by her family, and safe from the Cat.

This was an amazing film with great dialogue. I love the pace of the ’30s and ’40s films with such quick and pithy banter. This was just wonderful, I loved every minute of it and it didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend this and can watch it over and over.

For more on Haunted Houses, go to Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

For more hidden treasure, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

For more Horror-Comedy, go to What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

 

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

“Time for you to awaken, Master. Time for you to go out.”

So last year I was lamenting that I couldn’t think of any films I wanted to open Horrofest with from the 1950s as that was the year I was going to start with. I mentioned some films I really wanted to do, but both came out in the 1940s.

So as this year it is time to start off with a 1940s film, I was like why not do one of the ones I mentioned in last year’s post? I already reviewed Rebecca last year, so I chose The Return of the Vampire. 

I loooove this movie!

I saw it year ago on TCM and it has stayed with me my whole life. You know a movie is good when it hooks you years ago and you stay hooked.

The film was just so engaging and has beautiful cinematography. Plus it also has Bela Lugosi! You cannot go wrong with him in anything, let alone in a Vampire flick. I just love him.

So this film was actually supposed to be a Dracula sequel, but Universal threatened to sue Columbia Studios so they changed it to The Return of the Vampire and instead of Count Dracula, we have Armand Tesla.

We start this film during WWI with a vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) stalking the streets of London and using the war as a cover-who cares about people suffering from anemia and a few deaths when there is a war on?!

But someone does, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and her colleague Professor Walter Saunders (Gilbert Emery) run a clinic and are baffled by the anemia.

Hmm…

Tesla is furious and uses his slave, a werewolf formally known as Andreas Obry, and the two break into the clinic. When he can’t finish his off his former victim he decides to make Saunders pay and goes after his granddaughter.

Professor Saunders, meanwhile, has concluded that the victim was attacked by a vampire. The victim dies and when Saunders goes home he sees a man feasting on his granddaughter. The vampire flees and Saunders saves his granddaughter Nikki (Nina Foch) by giving her a blood transfusion. While her life is saved for now, she will always be in danger. The vampire will continue to search for her to finish the job, and he will also be able to control her.

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane search for the Vampire in order to stake it and kill it.

They search out the local cemetery in order to search out the Vampire. They are both attacked by a werewolf who is being controlled by the Vampire-but once they stake the vampire the werewolf returns to his normal form of Andreas Obry.

Wow!

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane know that the only way to keep a vampire dead is make sure the stake isn’t removed from the heart-remove the stake revive the vampire. They bury the coffin and make sure it is well hidden.

Time moves forward and the year is now 1942. Nikki has fully recovered from her experience, having no knowledge of the attack and is engaged to Lady Jane’s son John (Roland Varno). Andreas Obry has recovered from his experience and has become an assistant to Lady Jane.

You know thinking about this movie in 2020 it is really cool that the Vampire hunter/Doctor is a woman. I mean you wouldn’t expect it in the 1940s, and you certainly don’t see it in modern vampire stories (except Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but she basically is Van Helsing. Not the Hugh Jackman version, but the original one from the 1930s.

Of course what comes to mind is Jane the Vampire Hunter:

So Professor Saunders has passed way and Lady Jane decides to share about the vampire with Scotland Yard detective Sir Fredrick Fleet (Miles Mander) . He doesn’t take her seriously, but he does take the murder of a man seriously. He wanted to arrest Lady Jane, but she convinces him to check the body. If it is a regular man, he will be decomposed. If a vampire-his body will not have aged a day.

Stay the same age forever…

Lady Jane is going to show Sir Fleet but then a bombing raid occurs. One of the bombs hits the cemetery and a lot of bodies are dug up and two gravediggers are set to put all to right. When they come across Tesla’s body they find the stake in the heart and feel bad for the man. They pull it out and the Vampire returns!

The first thing Tesla does is contact his slave telepathically as he will need his help in moving the coffin and such. He calls to his former slave and werewolf Andreas.

Armand Tesla: [Offscreen, as Andreas walks in the woods] Andreas! [Andreas can’t locate the sourceAndreas!

Andreas Obry: [Suddenly seeing Tesla] You! You have no power over me! That was ended many years ago! I’m no longer your slave! Dr. Ainsley has cleansed me of all the evil you forced upon me! You can’t bring it back! You can’t! I won’t let you! I won’t!

Armand Tesla: You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master! [In a commanding toneCome here!

Andreas Obry: I won’t! [He moans]

Armand Tesla: [Commandingly] Look at me, Andreas! [There is a closeup of Tesla’s eyesLook at me!

Andreas Obry: [after Andreas undergoes a metamorphosis into a werewolf] Andreas, come here! [Subserviently] Master, you have returned.

This is a fantastic scene, as you see Andreas really trying! He really, really wants to believe it is true that has overcome this. Looking at this as an adult it resonates so well as you have met people trying to overcome things, thinking they have, but then something happens and they are right back at the bottom again-addiction, toxic relationships, etc. It is extremely well done and poor, poor Andreas.

Now that Andreas is controlled by Tesla he sets him out for his first mission protect the coffin and find him a new identity. Andreas comes across a scientist recently escaped from a concentration camp, Hugo Bruckner. Dr. Hugo Bruckner was freed by help of the Resistance, something Lady Jane is a part of, and will be working with her. Man this vampire is extremely evil to murder a concentration camp survivor.

Tesla takes on the identity and slips into the Ainsleys’ and Nikki’s life. Some of you might wonder why Lady Jane doesn’t recognize him, but she only fought him that one time over twenty years ago, and at night in a foggy cemetery.

Lady Jane is throwing Nikki and her son an engagement party. Sir Fleet shows up and Lady Jane takes the Professor Saunder’s manuscript and locks it up, not wanting Nikki to ever find out about what happened. Tesla/Bruckner shows up, is introduced, and given free reign of Lady Jane’s office and laboratory. He uses this time to steal Saunders’ manuscript, the one Sir Fleet read. All are charmed by him except Sir Fleet, as he feels something is not quite right.

The next night the manuscript is somehow left in Nikki’s room and she reads it and finds out the truth. The Tesla calls to her…and the next day she has been drained of blood! Oh no!

Then they… then my mom made me stop watching it.

I know I was soooooo invested. What happens next? Will Nikki be alright? How will they defeat Tesla? I don’t recall exactly how old I was but this was well before google and we didn’t have TiVo or any blank tapes I could use to record, although my mother wouldn’t have let me as we were leaving the house and they weren’t going to leave the TV on with no one home. So I had to scan the newspaper and TV guide until it was on TV again.

So after she was drained of blood they transfused her. She survives but as we saw in The Horror of Dracula last year, that can only last so long. They need to find this vampire and kill it!

Stake through the heart.

Lady Jane starts to investigate and questions the grave robbers when the body cannot be found. She and Fleet also search Bruckner’s room and discovers the mirrors are all set down and a ring that she recalls from Tesla.

Fleet had had Andreas followed ad he was seen trying to change into a werewolf and found with Bruckner’s effects, his real effects.

Meanwhile, Nikki and John are attacked and Nikki starts to believe she has been transformed into a vampire. She pleads with John to stay away as she doesn’t want to hurt him. But you know these men in this old classic horror films-it doesn’t matter they are staying in this relationship and with the girl. How guys aren’t like that now? Most guys I know would be out in no time at all.

In reality, Tesla has been feeding. Tesla attacks Lady Jane, but she carries a cross and uses it to deflect him.

Wow!

So there are two amazing things I noticed about this scene. First can we just stop and appreciate that Lady Jane has a giant organ. Man, you are a girl after my own heart. I can’t play the organ but if I had money I would want a giant one and learn how to play it. Then I could be my own version of The Phantom of the Opera. 

Second-I love how in this scene she seems so meek and mild-and then bam-she’s got the cross and she flings it out at him. Lady Jane is awesome!

That’s awesome

Later that night Tesla calls Nikki to him again and she and Andreas answer the call. Meanwhile, Lady Jane ad Sir Fleet have decided to follow them. They come upon them in the cemetery but a raid interrupts their pursuit, although Fleet shoots Andreas, mortally wounding him. Andreas begs his master to save him, but Tesla coldly refuses.

Andreas Obry: Heal me, Master. I am hurt!

Armand Tesla: What is that to me?

This was so exciting when I watched it. First of all I really wanted to know what happened after waiting so long. Secondly this scene has the vampire, the damsel, bombs, a gun-you just didn’t know what would happen next!

Tesla leaving Andreas to die is the wake to reality he needs. He grabs a nearby cross and thrusts it at Tesla, coming between him and his victim-Nikki. A bomb hits and the sun comes up, melting Tesla to nothing.

Wow!

This is one of the first films to show a vampire disintegrating like this. It was actually censored in England for being too graphic. Oh, 1940s-if you saw the stuff we have today, although I have to say it was pretty yuck.

Of course Nikki and John get their happy ending, and Lady Jane stays awesome.

It was fantastic! I just loved it and you know who else would have if she existed-Catherine Morland.

You know it.

Please note that this is being said sarcastically.

So that’s our start with Horrorfest IX what else will it bring? Who knows! I start every year off with a plan but you know how that goes-anything can happen! Stay Spooky people!

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

For more Bela Lugosi, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more WWII, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours