One Final Thing I Have to Do… and Then I’ll Be Free of the Past.: Vertigo (1958)

One final thing I have to do… and then I’ll be free of the past.”

It’s time for our annual Alfred Hitchcock pick! I was actually planning on doing another film, but things happened, as they do, and I switched it out with this movie.

Now as you may know from previous posts, I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. I like that he has a variety of characters from all kinds of backgrounds and motivations, but typically they are just an average person who is caught up in an abnormal circumstance.

The use of lighting and shots is always amazing:

He also always knew how to pick a story-choosing one that is well done, mysterious, suspenseful, and adding his special macabre tendencies.

Now I love almost every film of his, there are only a few that I would watch once and that is good enough for me. And with those films, even though I don’t love them or feel a need to watch again and again I can still appreciate the direction he was going in. But there are two of his films that I hate: Vertigo and Marnie.

Both of those films have a man who is our protagonist and “hero”, who horribly mistreats and abuses the woman he “loves”. While Marnie has the interesting plot of why Marnie (Tippi Hedrun) does what she does, a twist that is leads to understanding her character; I still cannot stand Sean Connery’s character or the fact we are supposed to want them to be together when he not only blackmails Marnie into marrying him, but rapes her.

But we aren’t talking about that film today. We are talking about the other Alfred Hitchcock film I hate: Vertigo.

A lot of people claim this is Hitchcock’s best work but I wholeheartedly disagree as I think a lot of his other films could easily knock this film out as they have better pacing, a better storyline, and I think the actors and actresses did just as fine a job or better.

For me I really, really don’t like the storyline. How this film came to be was that Hitchcock really liked the book She Who Was No More, by the writing team of Boileau-Narcejac, but lost out to Henri-Georges Clouzet. When the book this film was based on, From Among the Dead, came out-he immediately went to bid for it. Im going to give a quick summary and then I will share what it is about this particular film that I cannot stand.

The film starts off with our main character John “Scottie” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart), a cop who has left the police as he has severe fear of heights that caused him to let a criminal get away. His best friend, Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes), is in love with him but he doesn’t care for her and at time can be quite rude and cruel to her. He reveals that an old friend of theirs reached out o him, wanting to meet up.

Scotty goes to see his friend, Gavin Elster, who tells Scotty about his wife and how she is acting strange. He wants to pay Scotty to watch over her and find out what is going on. Scotty does, witnesses Madeleine (Kim Novak) doing a lot of strange things, falls in love with his he (even though it is his friend’s wife), but Madeline can’t be with him as she is possessed by her ancestor and has to kill herself.

Scotty you need to back off. This girl needs help-not a relationship.

Madeleine goes to the mission bell tower and throws herself off, Scotty is heartbroken at losing her (even though he has only known her for a very small, small, amount of time.

So the pacing of this film is extremely slow, especially as it is obvious that this is not a ghost story as Hitchcock never does that. I knew from the first time she tried to kill herself this isn’t the whole story. Either she faked her death, her husband got a body double so he could kill her, she got a body double to get her husband arrested or something, but no ghosts or demon possession.

I also can’t get behind a main character who is in love with another who is not in a clear state of mind. I mean it would be different if he loved her before, this was a traumatic event that caused this momentary break from reality, etc. But he just met this woman and he’s attracted to a person who believes they are possessed by their dead relative and keeps trying to kill themselves as something inside them wants to die. If you can’t handle a normal relationship with a mostly well adjusted person like Midge (she does paint herself like the dead woman so only mostly well adjusted), and instead your ideal type is unavailable, not in a good mental or emotional stare, and in a state of depression; you clearly need to see a counselor and figure out some things.

Scotty becomes depressed, has a breakdown ( I would argue he was already having one) and goes to a sanitarium. When he has “recovered” keeps thinking he sees Madeleine everywhere and runs into a woman that looks so much like her. The woman, Judy Barton (Kim Novak), starts dating him even though he makes it clear repeatedly that he is only interested in her because she looked like the girl he really loved. I’m like girl no! Run away! Run far away from this situation!

He then makes her change everything about her remaking the woman he really loves, although not really as he didn’t even “know” her, other than she was out of her mind and pretty. Everything about Judy must go until she is more and more like Madeleine. He even makes her dye her hair so she can be an exact replica.

Judy: If I let you change me, will that do it? If I do what you tell me, will you love me?

Scottie: Yes. Yes.

Judy: All right. All right then, I’ll do it. I don’t care anymore about me

Again so, so, so, so, so, many red flags. But does Judy leave? No, poor Judy continues to stay in this abuse and acquiesce to everything he asks because she loves him, and mistakenly believes he loves her too.

One of the worst parts for me is when he forces her to change her hair.

Judy: Couldn’t you like me, just me the way I am? When we first started out, it was so good; w-we had fun. And… and then you started in on the clothes. Well, I’ll wear the darn clothes if you want me to, if, if you’ll just, just like me.

Scottie: Judy, please, it can’t matter to you.

Judy: Oh, no!

Scottie: The color of your hair…

I hate this scene with the fury of a thousand suns as not only is completely wiping out her identity to become his perfect woman, but he went for the hair. A girl’s hair is more than hair, it is a part of their identity, a mark of their femininity, a connection to their culture and family, etc. I have never met a woman who did not care about her hair, it might not be her sole focus, they make cut it short or shave their head, but there is no way they don’t “care”.

It turns out that Judy and the Madeleine he met are actually the same person. His friend Gavin wanted to kill his wife for the insurance money and hired a double to make everyone think she was crazy and wanting to kill herself. He then hire Scotty to follow her as he needed a witness of her behavior and mental state; along with choosing Scotty as he knew with his fear of heights he won’t be able to follow her up the bell tower to stop her. Judy wants to tell him the truth, but doesn’t know how. He eventually figures it out when he sees the necklace Madeleine wore, the one that belonged to the relative possessing her. Judy spills and Scotty decides they must go back to the tower to right this wrong.

They do and Scotty throws her off the bell tower, killing her.

Critic and film analyst call this film a “story of a man who develops a romantic obsession with the image of an enigmatic woman…” but that is not what this is. It is a story of a man who is NOT romantic, and is obsessive, controlling, and abusing a woman. He insists he loves her, but he doesn’t love either woman, he just wants to control them. He actually follows the cycle below with Judy.

I also believe Hitchcock was really working through some feelings when making this film. Alfred Hitchcock married and stayed married to his wife, but he became in “love” with Ingrid Bergman after working with her. He used to make passes at her, was extremely coarse and sexually harassing her. He even spread a story that she got him into a bedroom at a party and demanded he have sex with her, but she always insisted it wasn’t true (and I believe her). But Ingrid was unattainable, at least until she divorced her husband for another man, and not just any man another director! And one she had a child with. I think Madeline represents Ingrid Bergman, a married woman he wanted and believed wanted him but couldn’t be together. That line Madeline says about how they can’t be together because someone within her won’t allow it, I think that is supposed to represent Ingrid Bergman’s pregnancy. Madeleine dies, and in a way Ingrid Bergman died as she left Hollywood.

After Bergman he turned his obsession to Grace Kelly, treating her the same way he treated Bergman. But she left him too, in 1956 she married the prince of Monaco and too left Hollywood. The the year before this film came out, in 1958, Ingrid Bergman left her husband and married another director, but that director was not Alfred Hitchcock. I think he had a lot of anger as these women he “obsessed over” but couldn’t have. Grace Kelly being Judy, a creation that betrayed him (marrying and leaving Hollywood) and too had to die in order for him to start again.

Which he does as Alfred Hitchcock then truly became Scotty as he found a new girl, another “Judy”, as he was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled everything about her. He wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and abused her. 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. Just like the horrible way Scotty treats Judy trying to make her his picture of a perfect woman, until he has no need of her, so Hitchcock treated Hedrun.

So I think this falling for a woman that can’t be with you and trying to recreate that creation only to have it not be with you again-plus the fact that the lead murders her something not seen in his previous films, most of the male leads are wrongly accused, or in Rebecca have a moral loophole. I think he was acting out his anger and passion that he felt toward the rejection/losing these women.

I think Midge is Alma, the woman that puts up with witnessing this destructive behavior and is their for the person, even though they don’t really deserve it.

And before you start thinking I’m too conspiracy with this thought one of people credited with the screenplay is Samuel A. Taylor who never read the original novel, but only was given Hitchcock’s outline of the story. So the plot we have comes solely from what Hitchcock wanted it to say.

Hmmm…

I also don’t like that our lead murders someone, this is something not seen in his previous films, as most of the male leads are wrongly accused, or as in Rebecca have a moral loophole. I think Hitchcock was acting out his anger and passion that he felt toward the rejection/losing these women.

With the content of this film, I will end on this:

I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

It can also look like the below cycle

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

I Could Shoot You in the Middle of Mardi Gras and They Can’t Touch Me…: Double Jeopardy (1999)

I could shoot you in the middle of Mardi Gras and they can’t touch me.

I saw this movie years ago and enjoyed the suspense and the game-of-cat-and-mouse. When I was flipping through Amazon prime, I spotted it and decided to watch it again.

So the film starts out with the very wealthy Parson family, Nicholas (Bruce Greenwood) and Libby (Ashley Judd), hosting a fundraiser for the school their son Matty attends. They seem like the dream couple who have it all with the perfect relationship.

So sweet

Then to top it off, Nicholas surprises Libby with a sailboat. They are going to test it out before buying with a romantic night. Libby’s best friend and Matty’s teacher, Angela Green watches him for them.The two head off and have a romantic night. Everything is perfect.

Aw! How sweet!

When Libby awakes the next day she finds her husband gone! Blood everywhere! And her facing a murder charge.

Help me! I’m confused!

She tries to beat it, but finds herself in prison. She signs guardenship over to Angela, who sweetly visits every week with her son. But then one day Angela doesn’t come.

Soon it is a month.

Libby doesn’t know what to do but gets an idea from one of her cellmates to try and find her. Libby calls the school pretending to be Angela and gets the forwarding address. She then calls Angela, who is shocked that she tracked her down to San Francisco. Libby demands to talk to Matty, Angela lets her, and then Libby hears the last thing she ever would.

Matty: Daddy!

Her husband is alive? Alive?

Help me! I’m confused!

The line goes dead and that’s all Libby has. So here is Libby-imprisoned for a crime she did not commit, lost her son, lost the money, and stuck in prison-with no one wanting to listen to her or help her. All is bleak

But then one of the cellmates comes to her with an idea.

Margaret Skolowski: Pay attention, because this is the best g****** advice you’re ever gonna get. Ever hear of something called double jeopardy? Fifth Amendment to the constitution? [Libby shakes her head left to right] Huh? No? Well, double jeopardy provides that ‘no person may be tried for the same crime twice.’ You got that? Keep stirrin’. The state says you already killed your husband. They can’t convict you of it a second time. That means that when you leave here, and you track him down, and when you find him you can kill him. That’s right. You can walk right up to him in Times Square, put a gun to his head and pull the f****** trigger, and there’s nothin’ anybody can do about it.[Libby makes a slight smile] Kinda makes you feel warm and tingly all over, don’t it? That’s right. keep stirrin’.

So Libby decides that is what she will do. She becomes a model prisoner, works out, and survives on knowing that she can get him and get away with it.

She gets parole and ends up in a halfway house that is run by Travis (Tommy Lee Jones). She then heads on a quest to find her husband, and getting her son; killing him if necessary.

You are going down

***Spoiler Alert***

So Libby breaks into the school her son went to in order to get information on Angela-like her social security number and such in order to find her. She gets caught and arrested, but uses her wit to get out of it while they are ferrying to the city.

She then uses that and her husband’s love of painting to track him down to New Orleans, and to a bachelor auction fundraiser.

She tries to get her son, but Nicholas, now Jonathan Deveraux, tries to murder her again. But Libby won’t give up.

I am not done

One of the best parts is near the end when Travis starts to think that Libby is right and asks for a DMV picture of Parsons to see if he could be Jonathan Deveraux. The picture comes in and it is a picture of someone else.

Hmm…

But later he tells Nicholas how he decided that Parsons is a common name, and ran it again-finding proof of his picture. Then he and Libby plan a way to frame him!

[Libby shoots the painting behind Nick’s head]

Libby Parsons: [Libby smiles] I haven’t felt that good in six years. I don’t want to kill you, Nick. I just want you to suffer like I suffered.

Travis Lehman: What she means, Nick, is, you’re going to prison – For murder.

Nick Parsons: Who did I supposedly murder?

Libby Parsons: Me.

Nick Parsons: All you’ve got is an old fax photo.

Libby Parsons: Which supplies the motive. Your wife, whom you had framed, tracks you down, and to keep her from exposing you, you kill her.

Fantastic scene! The end is great and Libby finally gets her vengeance and justice.

And reunited with her son!!!

So sweet

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 Wrong Place at the Wrong Time: Fashion Model (1945)

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.

And our facebook banner:

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)

Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up.  I am for sure only one behind now. 🙂

No I’m serious! This time I am really only one behind!

We’ll see.

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want.

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

So Francine Rivers is a favorite author of mine. I’ve read everything of her Christian fiction, except one, The Last Sin Eater. So when the book club member suggested us reading it, I was totally down and excited.

Grace Moore has been through a lot in her life. A painful childhood, growing up with a cold and emotionally separated aunt. She put her dreams on hold for her husband, had a disastrous marriage, lost her job, and is now a single mom.

She was going to give her child up for adoption, living with the potential family but changed her mind. Now she is trying to figure out how to take care of her son and make enough money to move out as the family is trying to take her child. Everything seems to be a big no, until she finally gets a job as a assistant to temperamental artist Roman Velasco. He’s never been able to keep one as he is too out there and hard to work with, but Grace is hoping to stick it out until she can find something else.

Roman Velasco has his own hard life. He lost his mom years back, was put in foster care, and sent all over San Francisco as they just kept moving him on. He joins a gang as a runner but then becomes the tagger, graffitiing the gang everywhere. He ends up being sent to a ranch, but as soon as he is old enough takes off.

He has always been interested in painting and art, and ends up becoming a very rich and profitable one. But he has a secret. At night he runs around Los Angeles, creating graffiti art going under BRD-Billy Ray Dean, his real name. He also has been growing ill, and not feeling good-but keeps that and the BRD secret.

Grace is instantly attracted to him, but knows she needs to stay away as she has bad choices in men, he has a lot of issues, and is not a Christian.

Roman tries to leave Grace alone, but is attracted to her. He ends up letting her in more than any person in his life has been let in. But then something happens that changes their relationship forever. Will things work out or will this masterpiece go through several changes before it is completed?

This was a fantastic book and a real page turner. I never wanted to put it down, and just had to find out what happened next.

Defintely worth a read! Check it out today!

The cover of the book comes from a real graffiti painting. It is called Time Flies by artist Camer1For more about it, check out Francine Rivers blog. Our book club member who chose the book actually was able to go to San Francisco and see it in person.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: O Pioneers!

For more books by Francine Rivers, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more Christian works, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

Please Accept My A-POEM-ogy: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Romantic Moment #2

So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993) 

I had wanted to see this movie for a long time, and finally my friend and I watched it together. I reviewed it for Horrorfest VI

Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Meyers) is a Scottish poet living in San Francisco. He performs at a coffee shop doing his riffs on love. One day he stops at a butcher shop, Meats of the World, to pick up some haggis for his family dinner and meets the butcher-Harriet.

When he visits the family, his mother feels it is her duty to let him know of female serial killer, Mrs. X, that she read about in the tabloids. She hopes that Charlie will be careful and not end up he next victim

He and Harriet continue to date, but he starts noticing that a lot of things about her past are eerily similar to Mrs. X. Is she a fun-loving, eccentric, slightly needy, woman? Or is she an axe murderer?

Most Romantic Moment: I Wrote an A-POEM-OGY

So this romantic moment comes in the middle of the film. Charlie has freaked out over Harriet and is convinced she is Mrs. X, dumping her.

But then he starts to feel like he acted too hastily. And when his police officer friend arrests another woman as Mrs. X; he feels even more stupid.

He tries to get Harriet back, but no dice. She is not interested.

So Charlie decides he most do something really big to prove his love. He gets the coffee shop band to come to her apartment and serenades her with a special Harriet poem.

So awesome!

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

hearts banner

For more on So I Married an Axe Murderer, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)