One Blow to the Head and the Deed is Done: Candlestick (2014)

“One blow to the head and the deed is done”

So I first came across this film on Amazon Instant Watch, I marked it to be added to my watchlist in the hopes of seeing it soon. However, my watchlist is like my to-read list, I add more than I see.

Oh, well

Then one day some friends and I were hanging out trying to decide what to watch, but in the mood for something suspenseful but something none of us had ever seen before.

We were going through the list when I spotted:

Now the description wasn’t very…thorough. I thought the film was that this group of people are having a party, someone gets brained, and then they have to figure out who the murderer is.

Well we watched the trailer and I discovered that was not it at all, it was a very different story.

But having seen that, it just made me want to watch it more.

So we start off the film with our protagonist, Jack.

Jack is from a well-to-do family and is a writer. Jack loves the past, eschewing all modern technology and lifestyles. He has a old fashioned phone, record player, etc. No matter what anyone says, he will not be convinced to take hold of a cell phone, CD player, etc.

Jack is also having an affair with his cousin Frank’s wife: Vera.

What jerks

While Vera does not (and has not ever) loved her husband, she will not leave him-instead getting what she wants from that relationship:

And stepping out with other men.The two spend time together and then she leaves for work.

After she goes, Jack calls up his cousin Frank, uncle (not Frank’s father) Major Burns, Vera, and good friend Inspector Marcus Evans to invite them over that night for a a small get together to play games.

Hmm…

But when he calls each person, he gives them a different times to come. All agree except Inspector Evans as he might not be able to make it until later.

So it is clear that Jack has something in mind, some game, but what is he playing at?

Hmm…

The first to arrive is Frank.

Frank is a very kind, thoughtful, sweet, easily manipulated, and an insecure guy. You know the sweetest guy ever but never feels he is good enough and tries all he can to be even sweeter and kinder. It is easy to see how a shark like Vera could capture him.

So sad

But when Frank arrives it is clear that he is the center of the “game” Jack is playing. Jack tells Frank his wife is having an affair, giving him details (but of course leaving himself out of the equation). The rest of the night becomes a game of cat and mouse as Jack continues to try and see how far he can push Frank, hoping to have him kill Vera; and in front of the rest of the party guests.

Can he create the perfect murder of killing someone, but being unconnected in the crime by not having a motive yet also not being the one to have done the deed?

hmm…

This Rope inspired setup wouldn’t be complete without someone for Jack to declare victory over. In Jack’s case his Rupert Cadell is his uncle, Major Burns.

Major Burns has always been able to outsmart, outmaneuver, outthink, and outdo Jack in every game they have played-whether physical or philosophical. Jack secretly hates him, but knows that if he pulls off this murder, it won’t really feel like winning unless he can pull the wool over Major Burn’s eyes. Plus Major Burn will be the perfect witness at Frank’s trial, if Frank does the deed.

The night starts off according to plan with Frank’s arrival, the dropping of the bomb (letting him know of the affair), the perfectly worded comments, and the pièce de résistance: placing a large heavy candlestick on the table (the perfect weapon).

But things don’t go exactly as planned. First, Vera arrived early and upsets some of Jack’s planned maneuvers, and Inspector Evans fails to show up. Yes, Jack has quickly discovered the fault of planning the perfect murder:

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. (Dial M for Murder)

But Jack decides to salvage his plan and continues to try and see if his idea of the perfect murder will succeed.

I thought this film was amazing and I strongly recommend anyone interested in thrillers or suspense films to check it out.

The director was clearly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, with many parts of the film alluding to some of Hitchcock’s famous films, but at the same time not feeling overdone, a cliché, or blatant copying.

The musical score builds just the right amount of tension, so that you can feel what the characters are feeling, but doesn’t give away what will be happening next.

Everything about the film just worked perfectly. The spacing of the film and character stories, the limited characters and their emotions, reactions, and energy were all just spot on. The angles and shots built the intimacy of the moment, making you feel as if you were a part of the room instead of a voyeur. And the ending I thought was a spectacular twist. If you are able to, I would check it out today.

And our banner (the first one I’ve been able to make so far):

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 The Hash-Slinging Slasher: Graveyard Shift, Spongebob Squarepants (2002)

For more on planning the perfect murder, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more Clue, 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 homages, go to Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

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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)

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That’s what we’re trying to find out! We’re trying to find out who killed him, and where, and with what!

So last year I had planned to review this film as it had just reached its 30th anniversary, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to and it was pushed back to this year.

I love the game Clue. I have been playing it as a child and still do. Out of everything this is my game. I didn’t read/watch all those mysteries for nothing!

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I rarely ever lose, that’s how good I am at this.

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

So one day after playing, my friend Stella asked if we had ever seen the film version of the game.

What

What

I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THERE WAS A FILM!!! We decided that we must watch it immediately.

So six strangers are invited to a mansion on a hill. There they meet the English Butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), and French maid Yvette (Colleen Camp). It turns out that all are being blackmailed and have been invited here.

clue

Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren) is the owner of an escort business and was found out by Mr. Boddy. Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) has had five husbands who “disappeared”, the last having “killed” himself by cutting off his head and manhood. Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd) lost his psychiatric license when he slept with his patients. Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) has been caught in the act with prostitutes, Mr. Green (Michael McKean) is a homosexual, and Mrs Peacock (Eileen Brennan) was taking bribes.

When Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) shows up, he gives each of the six invited guests a weapon.

Clue

Mr. Boddy reveals his plan:

Mr. Boddy: In your hands, you each have a lethal weapon. If you denounce me to the police, you will also be exposed and humiliated. I’ll see to that in court. But, if one of you kills Wadsworth now, no one but the seven of us will ever know. He has the key to the front door, which he said would only be opened over his dead body. I suggest we take him up on that offer. The only way to avoid finding yourselves on the front pages is for one of you to kill Wadsworth. NOW.

The lights go out but Wadsworth hasn’t been killed, instead it was Mr. Boddy. With all having a reason to kill him, there is only one question.

WhoDoneItMystery?whodunit

I won’t continue as this is a film you should see on your own. It is comedic, mysterious, and has a good sense of drama. The only thing I didn’t care for was that the characters don’t dress in the colors they are in the game. The beginning introduction moves a bit slow, although the dialogue is fast, but otherwise I thought it was a fun film.

I love Tim Curry, so he was a favorite in this.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

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

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For more on Clue, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

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

For more mysteries, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more Tim Curry, go to Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play on Halloween

For more Christopher Lloyd, go to The Future is NOW!: Happy Back to the Future Day!

For more ’80s films, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

OChristmasTreeOChristmasTreeGrimm

So I don’t know about you all but my family actually cuts down our Christmas Tree. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to the black friday sales, and then a few hours to the forest to cut down our tree.

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Now some of you may wonder why we would go through so much trouble? Why not buy a fake one? Well I’ll tell you why:

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 12 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are sold. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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And with cutting down your tree there are always adventures. Three years ago I went with my parents and we brought my two nieces, my nephew, and our dog. We hiked all over the area in the snow looking for the perfect tree.

We finally found it and my dad cut it down using a manpowered saw rather than a chainsaw. I tried to help him but it was hard work and both of us were pooped. He was really tired so I had him rest and had to carry that tree on my own. Let me say, I’m never doing that again. It was sooo heavy! I don’t know how I was able to carry it even for a minute.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

After my dad’s rest we finished moving the tree to the truck. After that I had to carry the three kids as the snow embankments had grown larger, and they wouldn’t be able to make it out. Yep, every time I feel like something is too hard, difficult, or heavy, I just remind myself that I carried a tree down a mountainside. I rule!

notimpossiblebutpossibleAudreyHepburn

And this year wasn’t any duller. There was no snow as we’ve been suffering some strong dry spells, but we still had a lot of fun hiking up and down the mountainside for that perfect tree. When we found it we cut it down (using a chainsaw this time) and started to head down the mountainside. Now, we’ve been doing this since I was like 13, but this year something happened that had never happened before.

As we started down the hill trying to bring the tree to the truck, my dad yelled at us to turn the tree as he wanted the weaker side pointed to the ground as that side was to lay in the flatbed. As we turned the tree, BAM! SMACK!

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The tree branches kept smacking me in the face. And when I mean kept, I meant it didn’t stop. I guess it was the section of the tree I was in, but I couldn’t see a thing, just branches and branches smacking me in the face.

I felt as if it was like in The Wizard of Oz when the trees come to life and start smacking Dorothy.

WizardofOzAppleTreesDorothySmacked

It was almost like it was mad at me for me cutting it down.

When we got home we got it out of the truck and was taking it into the house and had to turn the tree again. Now this time I had stood on the opposite side of the tree, hoping that would keep it from hitting me, but now once again tree slap.

WizardofOzAppleTreesDorothySmacked

Hair everywhere, I can’t see a thing, I’m afraid my glasses might get knocked off and go flying, and I am praying so hard that I do not fall in our pool.

pretty please beg

Luckily we get it in the stand and straighten it out. And boy does it look lovely. It kind of makes up for the abuse it gave me.

Now my abuse from the tree branches doesn’t end there. Oh, no! You see after I graduated and interned this summer; I moved back home. I’ve been trying to find a job, but this is pretty much what it is like.

PearlsBeforeSwineWorkExperienceJobSearching

So to fill the time until I am hopefully hired, I am volunteering at quite a few places. One of which is my local museum. So last week I headed down there as it was my turn to work the desk. I brought with me some pine clippings from our tree as the museum was decorating for Christmas. Well it turned out that they didn’t have as many volunteers as they hoped, so they asked me to help with the decorating. I thought okay, it will be fun.

big mistake

So I thought decorating meant we were going to hang ornaments on the tree.

Bishop's wife christmas tree

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We were making these giant wreaths.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

So I was paired with one of the volunteers and let me just stop and share something with you. Most of the volunteers at the museum are older, like 60+. So the woman I had wasn’t the most helpful. You see you take branches of the tree and put them on a plastic doughnut, tying them down with string or wire as you go along. Adding more and more branches until it is filled. However, that’s not what happened here. My helper laid tons of branches down and then sat down as she couldn’t tie them on. I tried to tie the branches down, but the wreath slipped and they all went crashing to the floor.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yep, I had to do everything over, but this time I did it right. As I continued, more people came and helped out which was nice. It was a really hard process though as it had rained for the past three days, and all their tree clippings were soaked, making the already hard job of trying to tie them down even harder!

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Finally we had completed it and I was tired. It’s a lot of bending over and being pricked/stabbed by the wire and tree branches. I sat down for a bit but then had to move on to making garland.

Stupid, stupid

OMG it was so hard. You have a piece of rope and have to twist tie the branch to the rope. Yep, those flimsy little twisty ties. IT TAKES FOREVER! You keep placing branches over and over each other to make it fuller and until you cover the rope. This is extremely hard. At times I was trying to use one of those flimsy things to tie three branches together! And because a lot of people had to leave, I had to do it all on my own. By one fourth of the way I wanted to burn the thing.

HateEverythingthewomen

We had a time limit to this as at noon the county was sending over free labor and the right machine to hang this things high up on the walls. So when every team completed theirs and saw I wasn’t even at the halfway point they all descended on me to help out.

Now you think this would have been nice, and it would have if it was one or two, but there were like five trying to take over the tying or telling me what to do. It made me feel kind of surly:

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

But I just kept to myself, trying to be professional.

After that my shift was over and I headed home, bearing more battle wounds that those brought on by the slapping tree. My hands were covered in cuts and they hurt sooo bad, my back was aching from bending over, my feet were sore from standing, etc. But hey beauty is pain, and the place sure did look amazing!

victorian_christmas room decorated for christmas

Merry Christmas!

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For more on Christmas trees, go to On the  7th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Christmas, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more moments of my every day life, go to How Can This Be?

For more on the Wizard of Oz, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more of my favorite songs, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt