I Want To Believe You, But I Have To Be Sure. I Can’t Stop Until I’m Certain That He’s Dead: Halloween II (1981)

He’s dead. You saw it. I saw a man in a mask. It was him. I want to believe you, but I have to be sure. I can’t stop until I’m certain that he’s dead.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

As I mentioned in my Leprechaun post, back in 2017, as that year had a Friday the 13th in October I had an idea to review the sequels to different slasher films in on the Fridays, with of course Friday the 13th Part II, being reviewed on the actual Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, I never finished that Horrorfest or the films I had planned to review as I had some technological difficulties with my computer and the app wasn’t fully developed.

Instead I planned to review the two remaining films later, in hopes of trying to do it again the next time there was a Friday the 13th in October, 2023. In 2017, 2023 felt like it was forever away, but of course now it is next year. As Halloween II is the last of the slasher films I need to review before next year, I thought why not end on it? I especially feel it is full circle as my first year of blogging I ended on Halloween and now my 10th year of blogging I’m reviewing Halloween II.

Oh well…

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this film, all I remember is the “twist revelation”.

The film starts off with the end of Halloween. We see the last 10 minutes of the previous film when Michael Myers takes off and Laurie and Dr. Loomis are together. The best part of this opening is the music, John Carpenter really knew how to make something that sounded creepy!

Laurie gets sent to the hospital to be looked after her fight while Dr. Loomis is crazily searching for Michael Myers. He of course is busy killing, as several people hadn’t heard the news yet and haven’t taken any extra precautions.

At one point Dr. Loomis sees a man dressed up similar to Michael Myers, although from our viewpoint it is most definitely not him as the guy is smaller and the face mask not quite the same. He ends up getting chased by the Dr and Sheriff’s deputy, but while chase hit by another car and catches on fire. It happens so quickly I’m not sure why that happened.

So does that mean that the outfit he wears is an actual Halloween costume that can be easily purchased like in Scream? I thought it was one that Myers made himself?

One of the EMTs recognizes Laurie and gives her extra attention in the hospital. I know we should trust the EMTs but I’ve seen so many horror movies I don’t trust people, and I’m suspicious.

The police think that the case is over and that Michael has been killed, but Dr. Loomis is not so sure. He keeps saying he shot him six times and it did nothing. I know in the previous film he was supposed to bet he embodiment of the “boogeyman”, but in this he is actually of this Earth as we found in the end twist; so does that mean he sold his soul to the devil ? Or is he the Antichrist? Why does death not affect him?

Hmmm…

This film the pacing is a little slow. In the previous film they build up the characters so we knew them and there was an emotional reaction when they were murdered. With this film we have a double barreled cat and mouse, Michael hunting and being hunted, but it die strong the same. I think because none of these characters do we really know enough to care about except Laurie.

Laurie is recuperating in the hospital when one of the nurses has a side remark that they are having trouble with the phone, oh no! It’s Michael!!!! He must be at the hospital.

The security guard goes to check it out and of course is killed. It isn’t really as surprising or as suspenseful as it was in the previous film. When the security guard is talking to the nurse in the radio while investigating, behind her in the window it looks like Michael Myers is waiting and watching. At first I thought it was him, but I think it was just a trick of the light. It would have been creepier if he was watching her.

I think that’s the issue. Michael is just running around while in the previous film he was watching and looking and that added to the tenseness and creepiness of the film. No one enjoys being stalked. In this we haven’t really seen him.

The police are busy as already tonight is Halloween and they have to worry about drunks, mischief makers, and the like; now they are searching for a serial killer, trying to talk down riots, and having to work with after tragedy hysteria.

The cops are pretty certain the man killed by car and fire was Michael Myers, even though Dr. Loomis insists it is not him. The deputy starts taking Loomis a little more seriously when some boys are searching for their friend who never made jr friend, a friend who is similar to the dead body found.

Hmm…

Meanwhile, Laurie is sleeping when some repressed memories resurface. She is adopted and her adopted mother wouldn’t tell her anything about her real parents.

Meanwhile a nurse and the gross EMT (not the one into Laurie but the one who talks bad about women) decide to sneak off to the therapy room to have sex. Michael sneaks in and ups the temperature. When the gross EMT goes to check it, Michael kills him. I actually like how they did this scene as we can hardly see it through the glass doors and there is no sound other than the thermal pools. He kills the girl too.

It turns out that Michael broke into the school and left a message. He’s after his sister, planning to kill her. But who is his sister? Did he kill her already or is he planning on killing her?

The EMT into Laurie goes to check on her and finds her in a cationic state. He calls a nurse and after she checks her she goes searching for the Dr. But it’s too late, he’s already dead! And the nurse is next. Nurse…did they ever say her name?

I mean I knelt that we don’t have a lot of time to introduce the characters as so much is happening in one night, Halloween, it would be nice if their was as I don’t know who and if these people are and by not knowing them their deaths little affect me.

Michael goes after Laurie, but when he tries to kill end her he find the bed full of pillows. It turns out that Laurie must of had a premonition or something as she escaped her room just in time.

Hospital staff can’t find her, but we the viewer know she is alive and hiding. The EMT and a nurse talk about what to do next and when their separate we see they were staining in front of a doctor’s screen, one where Michael was hiding behind. Michael kills the EMT before he can leave the hospital.

The nurse tries to leave but the car is dead. She plans to take Karen’s car but it has a flat tire. With nothing else to do, she goes back to the hospital where she finds Laurie, but is murdered.

Now it is Laurie versus Michael Round 2: New Location. Laurie tried to get away, squeezing through a window, up an elevator, and out the hospital. But is it enough?

Dr. Loomis has been recalled as they don’t want to get involved with the legalities. On the way out of town the person entrusted to ensure Loomis leaves let slip there was a secret file on Myers and it turns out Laurie is his sister! Loomis uses his gun to force them to go to the hospital to try and save Laurie.

Back with Laurie, Jimmy the EMT is alive? I thought he was killed? He tries to start the car. It can’t and dies? Passes out? I’m not sure which but he lands on the horn and gives away their position. Laurie gets out of the car but her adrenaline is going and she is weak and tired from the night. She see Dr. Loomis arrive and calls out to him, but he doesn’t see her. Instead she tries to get back into the hospital as Michael is after her again.

Dr. Loomis shoots again and seems to knock him out, but he’s not dead. Do you think he sacrificed his sister and parents’ lives in order to be immortal or unlikable? And that’s why he needs to kill Laurie?

Hmmm…

Before when he was just an entity of evil I could see him being unlikable as evil never dies, but as a person with a family how come he can’t be killed?

Michael takes out the marshal and once again hunts Loomis and Laurie. Michael stand Loomis and tries to get Laurie but she shoots him in the face and this wounds him. Maybe tang is why he wants her dead, maybe his deal won’t he devil was that only those who share his blood can defeat him, home wanting to remove all those people?

Blinded by blood, Dr. Loomis uses this to gain some time by opening up ether and other aerosols. He tells Laurie to leave and then blows everything up. But Michael isn’t dead, you can’t really kill him…

He’s out there somewhere…

So that end another Horrorfest!!! I hope you all enjoyed it!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

For more on Halloween, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare: Halloween (1978)

For more John Carpenter, go to There’s Something in the Fog!: The Fog (1980)

For more Jamie Lee Curtis, go to It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

For more serial killers, go to X Marks the Murder, Part I: Diagnosis Murder (1996)

For more sequels, go to On Me Next Thousandth Birthday, I’ll Stalk Your Fairest Offspring and Claim Her As Me Bride!: Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Jason’s Out There… Watching… Ready to Kill… Thirsty for Young Blood: Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So today is Friday the 13th!

And you know what that means! Time for one of my traditions!

Suit up in Ghostbusters’ clothing!

That’s how I roll

Pick up some pizza:

And watch some horror films!!!!

And of course as this isFriday the 13th in October, you all know exactly which film I will be reviewing.

Yep, this is the whole reason why I moved all the TV episodes to Tuesdays. So I could review Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.

I was so busy with my movie marathon:

That I wasn’t able to post my review in time. I will be updating soon though. Promise! Until then:

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So you all know how I don’t like sequels:

But I decided to watch this and surprised myself in enjoying it more than I thought.

Slow down everyone, I haven’t changed that much. I didn’t say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I wouldSo the film starts off with a review of what happened at the end of the original Friday the 13thWhen the real killer’s identity was discovered, the fight, almost drowning in the lake, etc.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!
[normal voice]
Pamela Voorhees: I won’t, Jason. I won’t!

It has been two months since then, and Alice has been horrified with nightmares and flashbacks. One night she has had a bad one when Jason comes and kills her.

Why is Jason so old? In the first one he died as a child. If he becomes a ghost/monster/zombie thingy-why is he so old? He should have stayed a child. Like in the original film.

Friday the 13th (1980)

They never say why, just that he never died fully and was living on his own in the woods hunting, etc. But if he never died, than why was his mother so angry and trying to get revenge on the people who caused her son’s death. The fact that he is still alive ruins all the motivations and stuff from the first.

I will say, that Jason may be a crazy, psycho, serial killer-but he is courteous. After he kills Alice he turns off the kettle that Alice was using to make tea. That was nice of him.

Oh, well

Five years pass and Paul is a camp director, having called in the new recruits. He’s training them in the basics before the summer season starts. They aren’t at Camp Crystal Lake, like in the original, but right next door. Paul warns them of the story of Jason, but doesn’t believe in him or the things he “did”.

The next night some of the counselors go out to party in the town bar, while others have to stay behind. Two of them got caught by the police checking out Camp Blood, one guy is in a wheelchair and in training for the olympics, one girl wants to do with the olympic guy, one girl is searching for her dog, and the last guy is there to try and make it with one of the girls. Of course, Jason starts taking them all out one by one.

The reason why I liked this film was that the characters were actually not too dumb, and you felt bad that they died. I mean there was still sex scenes (this is Friday the 13th), Vicky walks around outside in her underwear to get something from the car (why?), and one of the ladies wears a shirt and shorts that cover nothing and walks around naked for a chunk of time.

But while I only cared for like two in the other film, in this one I was sad each time they were taken out.

So sad

But then Paul and his assistant Ginny come back. I don’t know why, but Jason doesn’t kill Paul-he knocks him out. Ginny has to run from him and she is hardcore. She attacks him, tries to trick him into thinking she’s his mother, and does the final knockout. Pretty sweet!

But the end is weird. Did Paul die? Why didn’t Jason kill Ginny? What’s real and what is a dream?

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 A Survivor… Unclouded By Conscience, Remorse, or Delusions of Morality: Alien (1979)

For more on Friday the 13th, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more camp movies, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more on the holiday Friday the 13th, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

For more slasher films, go to Have You Checked the Children: When a Stranger Calls (1979)

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

For more sequels, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more ’80s films, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

PSYCHO

It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?

So this Horrorfest IV, we are doing something different. For Horrorfest (the original) we ended on Halloween (of course) as we had looked at the big 3 of horror film producing sequels: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, & Halloween. On Horrorfest II, we had to cut our reviews in half due to my schedule and ending with a film that takes place on Halloween (along with our yearly Stephen King film review), Children of the Corn. And of course I don’t think anything will top last years “theme” of Werewolves, starting with The Wolf Man (1941) and ending with it’s remake The Wolfman (2010). This year I decided it was time to finally review one of my favorite films, the one I have been talking about again and again, Psycho (1960).

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I love this film, in fact it was one of my early introductions to the ultimate, obsessive, fangirling that I would do over Alfred Hitchcock.

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My first film was The Birds. I loved it and knew I wanted to see everything he made. That second film that completely made me in love with his works, was Psycho (1960).

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The first time I saw this film was on AMC. When they were announcing the line up, they played this song.

So whenever I hear this song I think of the film, and vice-a-versa.

So if you are wondering if this is going to be an extremely long post all about how much I love this film, like my review of Jaws, then you are right. I love this film so let’s get started.

**Spoiler Alert**

(Although this movie is fifty-five years old, so if you haven’t seen it already, then shame on you)

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PSYCHO

This year marks the 55th anniversary of Psycho, and select theaters brought it back. And as I was lucky that mine did, I immediately bought tickets and went to see it.

ineedthis

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is remarkable for many things. It is considered his first horror film, and while not the first slasher film in history, it is the first American slasher film, influencing countless director’s and movies.

While many adore this film today, it  had quite a few problems getting it off the ground in 1960. Alfred Hitchcock read the novel Psycho, by Robert Bloch, and immediately saw the benefits of turning this into a film. Unfortunately, Paramount Pictures did not. They cut the budget down to $800,000, hoping that Hitchcock would stop this idea of making a “dirty”, “smut” film; but he would not be deterred. Hitchcock used more of Universal to make the film, which is why in the end they won the rights.

AWESOME!!!

Oh yeah

Instead Hitchcock gave up his usual pay, taking over 30% of the profits on sales. As the film did amazingly well in theaters he made a bundle.

Hitchcock bought the book for $9,000 anonymously, and then went on to buy up every book out there to try and keep the ending a secret. He used most of the crew from his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and made everyone promise to keep the film as secret as possible. He didn’t tell any the ending until filming, a technique that would be copied in other films, like the Scream franchise.

To begin with how different this film was, let’s start with the trailer. It was over six minutes long, much longer than any trailer made then or now.

But it was great and gets you pumped for the film.

So the first thing we are introduced is to is the credits, with the famous score.

The music just drags you in sending shivers down your spine.

shiver

Now the actors we see on here, we all know today, but at the time the only real famous person was Janet “Scream Queen” Leigh. Part of this was due to the cut budget of Hitchcock, but he also wanted a different style and to use unknowns instead of huge stars.

Prior to this movie Anthony Perkins was being groomed to being a big star. In 1953, he debuted in The Actress and in 1956, Friendly Persuasion, won him best supporting actor. That all changed with Psycho. After this movie he became famous, but also typecasted.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Vera Miles was in a few things but also hadn’t been cemented as a “Star”.  Alfred Hitchcock liked her looks, and more, planning on giving her the lead in Vertigo (1958), but when she became pregnant and had to drop out, he couldn’t stand her. He thought she did it on purpose and was upset that she made him recast. The only ever worked together on this film.

ouch Hermione

Before Psycho, John Gavin was known for the remake in Imitation of Life (1959)Psycho made him famous (along with Spartacus).

Anyways, back to the film!

PSYCHO

So we are introduced to the city of Phoenix, Arizona; where our film takes place, December 11th. I had never realized this until I saw the film this most recent time, but I don’t recall ever seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere. Not in the homes of the characters or offices. Supposedly the reason why it was set in December was because of the Christmas decorations in Phoenix but I didn’t spot any. I’ll just have to look again. But you know what that means? That this can be a Christmas film! I smell a new tradition!!!!

Bishop's wife christmas tree

So the film opens with Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Samuel Loomis (John Gavin) in bed together. Sam is half naked baring his chest and Marion is in her bra and slip.

keanu Whoa

Yeah, something like this is not shocking for today (I mean look at Game of Thrones) but you didn’t see anything like this after the motion picture code association (MPAA) was created. We saw plenty in the late 1960s early 1970s when the code lost its fierce control. But in 1960, oh ho ho. This was super raunchy!

This part always makes me sad as all Marion wants is to be married to Sam. Sam, however, wants to wait a few years. He is still paying his ex-wife alimony, paying off his father’s debts, and lives over the hardware store he owns in Fairvale, CA.

Now Fairvale doesn’t exist, as it was all shot on the Universal backlot or in a soundstage. I originally thought it took place in Fairfield CA as they sound the same and that would make a lot of sense. But in a later scene I saw a map of Shasta County, so I think that Fairvale is supposed to be Redding.

Then again I could be wrong.

Then again I could be wrong.

So Sam does not want to be married for a few years, and it horrible to be leading her on like that with weekend trips every now and then; stolen lunch hours. That is not a complete relationship. Marion hates it as she wants to be a respectable woman.

Marion Crane: Oh, we can see each other. We can even have dinner but respectably in my house with my mother’s picture on the mantel and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.

Sam Loomis: And after the steak, do we send Sister to the movies? Turn mama’s picture to the wall?

Sam tells her that them marrying now is a bad idea, but  Marion doesn’t care. She would do it all for him. He jokes that maybe she should move on, but when she agrees he quickly is worried. They part on good terms, making plans for the next visit. Neither are incandescently happy, but that’s love.

midsomermurdersLoveCurse&Blessing

Marion heads back to work at the real estate agency. As she comes through the doors, you can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cowboy hat standing outside the window. Hitchcock knew people would spend the whole film searching for him, so he wanted it out of the way as soon as possible.

Back at the Agency, Marion checks in with her associate secretary, Caroline (played by Pat Hitchcock, Alfred’s daughter). Caroline is married, which makes Marion feel as if everyone in the world is married but her.

bookladysitwithmybooks

In walks her boss, Mr. Lowery, and their new client, Tom Cassidy, a rich oilman. He is paying $40,000, in cash, to buy his daughter a house for her and her soon-to-be husband.

Tom Cassidy: I’m buying this house for my baby’s wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now, that’s… not buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness [waves money in front of MarionI never carry more than I can afford to lose! Count ’em.

Caroline: I declare!

Tom Cassidy: [staring at Marion] I don’t! That’s how I get to keep it!

He then goes on to flirt with Marion, disgustingly.

ew! Gross Yuck

Cassidy then makes a comment about Mr. Lowery being able to afford air conditioning. Can you imagine being in Arizona without air conditioning? It would drive ANY person insane!

Marion is asked to take the money to the bank, while the boss and Mr. Cassidy get their drink on. Marion has a headache, and asks to go home after she drops the money off, her boss lets her and she heads on her way.

The next shot we see is the money on Marion’s bed, next to a suitcase.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

What a great shot, Hitchcock defintely knows his stuff.

So yes Marian stole $40,000. That would be around $350,000 today. That’s a lot of money.

keanu Whoa

On one hand you kind of understand Marion. She is so tired of her life, all she wants is to be with Sam, now and always. She thinks she can take the money, pay his debt, and they can live happily ever after. But she is not thinking clearly, what about when they discover the money is gone? They will know it is her.

She decides to drive to see Sam. When she gets stopped at a light who should she see but her boss!!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

This is when the score starts up again, heightening the intensity!

shiver

Marian is driving, but starts to fall asleep. She pulls off on the side of the road.

She is awakened the next day by a CHP officer (California Highway Patrol) . Now this police officer is very scary. He is wearing sunglasses and never takes them off, giving him almost a robotic look. Super creepy as you can’t see the expression on his face or his eyes.

Now Marion doesn’t help her case as she acts super suspicious, being cold, curt, and trying to take off.

suspicious Hmm

You can see here that Marion is not a rule breaker. She’s always been a good girl, and as this is her first time breaking the rules she is doing poorly at “being bad”.

The CHP follow her, but turns off in Gorman, CA while she continues to Bakersfield. There, she decides to change cars. The salesman is so sweet, and adorable, but as Marian is in such a hurry, he starts to wonder about her too.

suspicious Hmm

This is not good Marion, as if anyone is to come later and ask questions about you, you would be remembered. Not only for acting weird, but also because it’s Janet Leigh.

As she is there, up comes the CHP. Too bad Marion looks as good as she does, the cop could spot her right away.

see cute guy look

Marion buys a newspaper, looking for news of the stolen money but is relieved to find nothing. It is too early for that, but you understand how scared she is.

As she is looking at the cars I can’t help but notice that, man those cars are dirt cheap. $957 for a 3 year old car? I wish they were that cheap now.

NostalgiaforWorldNeverKnown

Anyways, the cop continues to watch her from across the street. This only makes Marion more nervous and suspicious sounding. In fact the car salesman starts to wonder if she is trying to get rid of a stolen car.

The paperwork is completed, Marion paying $700 of the $40,000 and trading in her car. She then takes off, only to be stopped because she forgot her luggae in her haste. This gives the cop plenty of time to see her plates.

Spoke too soon

Poor Marion, she’s not a master criminal mind.

She heads off, but as she drives all she can hear in her head how terribly everything has gone and how it will all blow up in her face in the end.

All she can do is keep driving, hanging on to the hope that when she gets with Sam everything will be okay.

Unfortunately, it begins to rain and Marian being from Arizonia, doesn’t know how to drive in Northern California winter rains. So she has to pull over at the nearby motel she finds.

Psycho-1960-Alfred-Hitchcock-Bates-Motel-pic-51

The property consists of a giant Victorian mansion on the hill, with twelve rooms down the way.  The house was designed after Edward Hopper’s painting, House by the Railroad, it wasn’t supposed to be creepy but a part of early Americana. But as we only really see the house at night, except for once at the end, and because if the events that later transpire; this all looks uber creepy.

Gilmore girls creep

After the fire occurred on the Universal backlot (the same one that destroyed Back to the Future’s clock tower), this building and the motel was declared a historic landmark and can never be destroyed or taken done (unless by a non-human disaster). Isn’t that great, that will be there forever!

We are then introduced to Norman Bates, son of the motel owner, and played by Anthony Perkins.

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see cute guy look

When I saw Norman I was like whoa!!!! That guy is hot!!!!!

swoon dreamy

So cute with his boyish charm. He looks as if he is in his early twenties (was actually 27) and just utterly adorable. Perkins was chosen for being a gentle, stammering, handsome young man: the ultimate all-American boy next door. You just want to give him a hug. At one point during the filming, Perkins asked Hitchcock if playing Norman Bates would be a bad career move and Hitchcock told him it might be. He was right as it killed his career, but he was just too perfect as Norman, the movie would not have worked without him.

Anyways, so Norman tells Marion that he can give her a room, and that there is a diner up the way, right outside of Fairvale, which is only 15 miles away.

Say What

15 miles!!! If only it hadn’t rained, she’d be with Sam right now.

Marion signs in under a false name, Marie Samuels, and says she is from Los Angeles. After careful consideration, Norman gives her key #1.

He takes her into the room and shows her around the closet, desk with stationary, bathroom etc. When it comes to the bed, he actually stumbles over the words, being too bashful.

You're so cute

He’s so young, and adorable. He has such a sweet little boy smile, so adorable. Those things are fatal to me as they just make me smile in return. I let down all my defenses.

Phew!

So Norman knows Marion is hungry and probably does not want to travel out in the storm coming down, so he offers to make her dinner, sandwiches, and have her come down to the house.  Marian agrees.

After he leaves, Marion looks around the room for a place to hide the money. Where should she put it that’s not obvious? Where?

Hmm...

Hmm…

She finally settles on hiding the cash in the newspaper. As she waits for Norman to finish making the sandwich, she overhears Norman and his mother yelling in the house.

Norma Bates: No! I tell you no! I won’t have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!

Norman Bates: Mother, please…!

Norma Bates: And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?

Norman Bates: Mother, she’s just a stranger. She’s hungry, and it’s raining out!

Norma Bates: “Mother, she’s just a stranger”! As if men don’t desire strangers! As if… ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on, go tell her she’ll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food… or my son! Or do I have tell her because you don’t have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?

Norman Bates: Shut up! Shut up!

Man his mother is horrible. She is evil and cruel, treating him like he’s a little boy instead of a grown man. Mean old woman, I wonder if she was abusive in other ways than emotional/verbal. There are some deep issues here.

Norman takes off down to the motel bringing the sandwiches. Marion reveals that she heard everything, and Norman offers for them to eat here instead. Marian moves aside so that he can come in the room, but he can’t. He sees the bed in the room, and stops.

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It makes him too uncomfortable, so he ends up inviting her into his office, and then the parlor.

Here is where we see a lot of Norman’s issues. His mother has cuckholded him so that he is still a child in many ways, but at the same time a grown man with grown man like interests. He likes Marian but also a bit freaked as well. Marion on the other hand is a grown woman and not squeamish about sharing a room to eat, even though the major feature is the bed.

Boy/Man Child

Boy/Man Child

They go into the parlor which is full of birds, taxidermied ones. Now this used to always freak me out, but after working in a museum last year and being around a lot of taxidermied animals it’s not that bad. Did you catch that not as bad,meaning it is still creepy.

Gilmore girls creep

So while he and Marian are back in the parlor he tries hard to be “adult”, but keeps stammering as he hasn’t ever entertained anyone before.

Norman Bates: You-you eat like a bird.

Marion Crane: [Looking around at the stuffed birds while eating] And you’d know, of course.

Norman Bates: No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression ‘eats like a bird’ – it-it’s really a [stammers] fals-fals-fals-falsity. Because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But -I-I don’t really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know – taxidermy.

You're so cute

The two then discuss Norman’s mother.

It turns out that Norman’s father died when he was only five years old and his mother had to raise him all on her own. She met a man and when she found out her boyfriend was married, became broken. He mentions something interesting here, that this guy could have made mother do “anything”. Maybe get rid of him or kick him out even? Hmm……..

suspicious Hmm

The conversation moves on:

So this saying was actually used first in the film The Awful Truth starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. In it Irene is about to complete her divorce to Cary and marry a mamby-pamby mamma’s boy, who when Irene leaves him, goes off with his mom as after all “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” It of course was made famous by Psycho

Marian tries to give helpful advice, but Norman is not in agreement.

In that moment we see something lurking below that boyish charm and sweet face. Something dark.

suspicious Hmm

You may notice the theme of “mother issues” in this film. Norman and his mom have serious issues, which may extend to her not only being emotionally abusive but physically as well. Possibly molestation, but we are not sure. Hitchcock himself had a lot of issues with his own mother, her forcing him to stand at the foot of her bed for hours as punishment. The screenwriter, was currently in therapy for his own issues with his mother when he wrote this script. And Anthony Perkins also had mother issues and an early life eerily similar to Norman’s. His father died when he was five, and he also was raised by a controlling and cruel woman.

Weird

Freaky

They end their talk and Marian tells him she needs to go to bed as she has a long drive back to Phionex. She also gives him her real name. He says goodnight and double checks the book seeing that she lied.

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Marian heads next door, and Norman doesn’t leave yet. Instead he decides to take a look at Marian changing.

You know I have seen this movie like a million times and on the big screen is the first time I have ever noticed the painting that Norman uses to hide the hole he peeks through, it is Susannah and the Elders   by Giovan Battista Tiepolo. The story of Susannah and the Elders is that Susannah is a young and beautiful woman. She sends her attendents away as she takes a bath, and two voyeuristic elders, watch and lust after her.  They try to blackmail her into having sex with them, saying they will lie that she was meeting a lover. When she refuses, they try to put Susannah to death, but the prophet Daniel intervenes and saves her. It works with the whole voyeuristic theme the film has going.

Looking at that I notice there are a lot of naked women paintings and scultptures in the house. Who picked these? Norman? Unlikely. His mother? Even unlikelier. The lover? Most likely. But weird that his mother would allow such things.

weird

Norman heads back to the house and is about to go upstairs, but stops. Where was he going before? To see his mother? Go to bed? He heads to the kitchen instead and thinks.

After speaking to Norman, Marian has a change of heart. She decides to head home and turn herself in, hoping they will be lenient. She does a few sums, and determines that she has $39300 left. As she rips it up and dumps it down the toilet and decides to take a shower.

This short scene involving the toilet took forever to get approved. In fact, this is the first american film to show a toilet in a movie.

Weird

Weird

I notice as she shuts the bathroom door, there is NO lock on the door.

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She goes to take the shower and we have the scariest and one of the best scenes ever!

So intense and scary!!! I mean think of it, the shower os the most vulnerable place you could be at. You are naked, and have nothing to cover yourself up, nothing to use to defend yourself. In fact Janet Leigh said she was so freaked out when she saw herself murdered, that she never took a shower again. Opting only for baths.

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There are tons of myths surrounding this shower scene and I am going to set the record straight. So the filming of this scene took a whole week to get it just how perfectionist Alfred Hitchcock wanted it, this was 1/4 of the total time it took to make the entire film.

Janet Leigh filmed most of this scene. She wore pasties to cover her privates, but the warm water from the shower melted them, and Alfred Hitchcock kept on filming. She did have a stunt double, who did some nudes, and she was sadly murdered the same way in real life as shown on screen.

Psycho-Shower

And whoa this was a huge move to make. Killing the most famous person off? This was not done at the time, not at all.

When Norman discovers his mother covered in blood, he runs down to check on Marion. He finds her dead and freaks out, almost becoming sick.

I don't know what to do

He looks all around trying to compose himself, when he decides to put her body and belongings in the trunk of her car and cleans up the bathroom. He puts all her belongings in it, but forgets the newspaper. A car drives up, which surprises him, so much that he looks back in the room and grabs the paper. He then takes the car to the swamp to dump.

I just love that moment when it doesn’t go down right away and he freaks out. What will he do if it doesn’t sink. But it does, and he is relieved. The end.

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A week later, Sam is sitting in his office writing a letter to Marian. On the small screen they have always shown this too quickly for me to read the whole thing. This time I was able to see everything and in the letter, Sam apologizes to Marian and says he doesn’t want to wait a few years but wants to marry her now.

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If only he had asked her sooner! If only she had waited a week. If only, if only, if only.  😦

Lila comes in and introduces herself to Sam. She questions him about Marion and whether he and her were in it together, but Sam has no idea what’s going on.

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Private Investigator Arbogast comes on the scene. He was hired by Mr. Lowrey and Cassidy to find Marion, hoping she would give the money back and that they wouldn’t have to bring in the police.

Sam denies knowing where Marion is, and Arbogast tells him that he will find Marion, one way or another.

He goes around asking at ever motel, hotel, and boarding house in the area. Each one says no. He spots the Bates Motel, and goes in to speak with Norman.

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Norman is sitting on the porch eating Kandy Korn, as it says on his candy bag. Where’s he getting this in December? I guess it could have been leftover from Halloween. This was Norman’s personal touch, to add even more of a boyish charm.

Arbogast interrogates Norman, and I notice Norman speaks in a lot of clichés and metaphors. It’s probably due to him being only with his mother and never with peers.

He starts to clean the rooms, but skips door number one. He knows what went in that room and doesn’t want to think about it.

Arbogast follows and looks up at the house. He sees a figure, and questions Norman again. At first Norman says no one is there, but then says that it is his mother. Arbogast thinks Norman is hiding Marian, and infers that she seduced him, which angers Norman.

Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here… you wouldn’t be hiding her would you?

Norman Bates: No.

Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?

Norman Bates: No.

Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her…

Norman Bates: Well, I’m not a fool. And I’m not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.

Milton Arbogast: I mean no slur on your manhood.

Norman Bates: She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.

Norman is angry. Arbogast wants to speak to his mother, but Norman says no. As Norman is angry his face is put in more shadow and he loses that boyish charm and innocence, looking much darker.

Creepy!

Creepy!

Arbogast starts to head back to Lila and Sam, but stops and calls Lila from a phone booth. He tells her what Norman said, that Marion was here and then left, but it doesn’t feel right.

The plot thickens

He decides to go back to speak to Mrs. Bates, promising to be back in an hour. As he drives back to the motel, we see Norman there. Arbogast starts up to the house going through the back and leaving the door open, checking the front and bottom floor. When he can’t find anything, he heads upstairs. As he walks up, he gets attacked.

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Dead.

#2

#2

Back at the store, Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast. It has been hours and he hasn’t shown, with Lila getting really impatient.

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She is determined to head down to the motel to find out if her sister was there. Sam tells her to wait while he calls, but she is heading out the door. Sam stops her and agrees, he will go and look for Arbogast and she should stay here in case he returns.

All I can think is, man Lila is intense in what she wants. If she had been the one dating Sam, then she would have been married a long time ago.

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Sam gets there but can’t find Arbogast or Norman anywhere. We see Norman by the swamp. Yep, dumping another body and car. Whoa, Norman really stepped into it this time. If it weren’t for the money, they wouldn’t be lookingthis intensely for her.

When Sam gets back and finds out that Arbogast still hasn’t returned, he and Lila head to the Sheriff’s house. They tell the Sheriff everything, but he doesn’t really seem to take them seriously.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Your detective told you he couldn’t come right back because he was goin’ to question Norman Bates’ mother. Right?

Lila Crane: Yes.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Norman Bates’ mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cenetery for the past ten years!

Eliza Chambers: I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue.

Sheriff Al Chambers: ‘Tain’t only local history, Sam. It’s the only case of murder and suicide on Fairvale ledgers.

Sam Loomis: You mean the old woman I saw tonight wasn’t Mrs. Bates?

Sheriff Al Chambers: Now wait a minute, Sam, are you *sure* you saw an old woman?

Sam Loomis: Yes! In the house behind the motel! I called and I pounded, but she just ignored me!

Sheriff Al Chambers: You mean to tell me you saw Norman Bates’ mother?

Lila Crane: It had to be – because Arbogast said so too. And the young man wouldn’t let him see her because she was too ill.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates… who’s that woman buried out in Greenlawn Cemetery?

SHE’S DEAD??????!!!!!!!!!!!

Say What

Ten years? Ten years dead?

Whattheheck

And if she’s not dead but in the house, who’s in the cemetery?

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Norman knows that there will be more people coming. They came for Marion, and they will follow Arbogast as well. So he moves his mother to the fruit cellar to hide.

Norman Bates: Now mother, I’m going to uh, bring something up…

Norma Bates: Haha… I am sorry, boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.

Norman Bates: Please, mother.

Norma Bates: No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I’m fruity, huh? I’m staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!

Norman Bates: They’ll come now, mother! He came after the girl, and now someone will come after him. Please mother, it’s just for a few days, just for a few days so they won’t find you!

Norma Bates: “Just for a few days”? In that dark, dank fruit cellar? No! You hid me there once, boy, and you’ll not do it again, not ever again; now get out! I told you to get out, boy.

Norman Bates: I’ll carry you, mother.

Norma Bates: Norman! What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you touch me, don’t! NORMAN! Put me down, put me down, I can walk on my own…

This is probably the first time he has ever stood up to his mother in his life.

The next day, Lila and Sam head over to the church to go over to the Bates residence with the sheriff. To their surprise, the sheriff has already gone, and found nothing.

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Lila and Sam are unsatisfied and decide to go over there themselves. They check in as man and wife, and hide out in their room until the coast is clear.

The two sneak into room one, where they search every inch to find any trace of Marian. In the bathroom, they discover a slip of paper in Marian’s handwriting. Lila is excited, but Sam dashes that by telling her it doesn’t really help as Norman admitted that she came there. They need proof of what occurred next.

They decide to split up, with Sam distracting Norman, while Lila questions the mother. As Sam walks out, it turns out Norman is standing in the doorway of the office.

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

He must have heard them, I mean right? Right?

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Anyways, Sam distracts him as Lila heads up the hill.

All I can think is that what the Sheriff said to them did not seem to register. He and his wife say that the mother is dead. Do they think it is a lie? She faked her death? She never died? Another body is in the casket?

what what'shappeningSupernatural

As Lila looks upstairs, she spots the mother’s room. It has a deep indentation in the bed, creepy mirrors everywhere, brass hands, etc.

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

She goes into another room and sees that it is Norman. And the bedroom is weird. It is itty-bitty. In a giant house, why would he be given a room the size of a cell?

All he has is baby toys, and they all look sad. Like I seriously think he was abused as a child. Look at his doll. The rabbit that sits on the bed with him. Why would an almost 30 year old man sleep with a stuffed animal, unless he was abused as a child.

The music he listens to is Beethoven’s Eroica. I used to think it was used because it was a letter away from Erotica, but after looking into the backstory, it was written for Napoleon, and supposed to signify all a man is, powerful, brave, strong; what Norman wished to be.

She then spots a book with no title. I always wondered what the book signified, and discovered that books then that were pornographic were published titleless.

ew! Gross Yuck

This whole scene in the room is supposed to show the duality of Norman, a grown man, but still a child in so many, many ways.

Norman realizes that Sam has been distracting him, and knocks him out, then running for home. Lila spots Norman coming, and hides in the downstairs. That’s when she notices the fruit cellar and heads down.

When she gets there we have one of the best reveals ever!

So the sheriff takes him down to the jail, an they call in the psychiatrist to find out what was going on.

Dr. Fred Richmond: No. I got the whole story – but not from Norman. I got it – from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half-existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over. Probably for all time.

Lila Crane: Did he kill my sister?

Dr. Fred Richmond: Yes, – and no.

Dr. Fred Richmond: Now to understand it the way I understood it, hearing it from the mother… that is, from the mother half of Norman’s mind… you have to go back ten years, to the time when Norman murdered his mother and her lover. Now he was already dangerously disturbed, had been ever since his father died. His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man… and it seemed to Norman that she ‘threw him over’ for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed ’em both. Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all… most unbearable to the son who commits it. So he had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind. He stole her corpse. A weighted coffin was buried. He hid the body in the fruit cellar. Even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep. And that still wasn’t enough. She was there! But she was a corpse. So he began to think and speak for her, give her half his time, so to speak. At times he could be both personalities, carry on conversations. At other times, the mother half took over completely. Now he was never all Norman, but he was often only mother. And because he was so pathologically jealous of her, he assumed that she was jealous of him. Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other woman, the mother side of him would go wild. [Points finger at Lila Crane] When he met your sister, he was touched by her… aroused by her. He wanted her. That set off the ‘jealous mother’ and ‘mother killed the girl’! Now after the murder, Norman returned as if from a deep sleep. And like a dutiful son, covered up all traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed!

Sam asks about the clothes, definitely weirded out by seeing Norman in that getup. And I agree, he was totally creepy looking.

Officer: He’s a tranvestite!

Dr. Fred Richmond: Ah, not exactly. A man who dresses in women’s clothing in order to achieve a sexual change, or satisfaction, is a transvestite. But in Norman’s case, he was simply doing everything possible to keep alive the illusion of his mother being alive. And when reality came too close, when danger or desire threatened that illusion – he dressed up, even to a cheap wig he bought. He’d walk about the house, sit in her chair, speak in her voice. He tried to be his mother! And, uh… now he is. [pauseNow, that’s what I meant when I said I got the story from the mother. You see, when the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict, a battle. In Norman’s case, the battle is over… and the dominant personality has won.

Sheriff Al Chambers: And the forty thousand dollars? Who got that?

Dr. Fred Richmond: The swamp. These were crimes of passion, not profit.

Everyone’s like:

Say What

It wasn’t about the money at all? Yes folks, that is this film’s MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is something that the characters search for or aspire for, but in the end, has nothing really to do with the actual plot.

This last scene is my favorite as it is soooo creepy.

That moment when he smiles, it sends shivers down my spine.

shiver

So Mrs. Bates is evil. Pure evil. She was abusive to Norman throughout his life, and now throwing him under the bus. Pure evil.

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So before we en I thought I would include some thoughts I had about Norman now that I’ve revealed the “truth” about him

1)When Norman chooses the parlor over the bedroom, I wonder if the Norman side “knew” it was best not to get to close as it might awaken mother sooner and “she” might do something drastic?

2)When he gets angry about institutionalizing his mother is it the dutiful son Norman that is angry, or his “mother”?

3) When Norman tells Marion he can’t leave, if he does then his mother will die all over again. Poor Norman, stuck in an endless cycle of abuse.

4) When Norman sees that Marion gave a false name in the book, do you think that “mother” found her an easier person to kill as no one was likely to connect that Marie Samuels to anyone? Do you think it made her more suspicious of her character?

5)I wonder if Marion had stayed up later with Norman would that have changed things? Would “Mother” have failed to come out? Or would she have come out earlier?

They are nothing with any real answer, but just something to ponder on and ask your cinephile friends.

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I know you guys know that this post isn’t going to end. Like Jaws, I have a LOT to say. So in Universal Studios, when I took the backlot tour, they showed us a scene from Psycho. As they have declared the site historical, they also decided to have someone act out a scene from the movie every time a tram goes by. And it is awesome!

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1960psycho

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I know it has been crazy this year, as personal issues made me fall behind in posting. In fact, by the time this airs I still might not have caught up. However, what I was able to do was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

For more films based on books, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

For more psychos, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more slasher films, go to Don’t F*** the Original: Scre4m (2011)

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

Dial M For Murder

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

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

Double double yay

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

Awesome

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

MeanGirls I know right!

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

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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

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

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

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

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

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

keanu Whoa

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

BMW Kiss

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

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

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

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

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

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

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

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

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

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

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

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

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

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

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

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

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

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

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He wanted to kill Mark.

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

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

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

He reveals his perfect plan.

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

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

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

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

perfect plan

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

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

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

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

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

dial M for murder

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

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

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

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

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

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

What!

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

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

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

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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

I don't know what to do

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

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

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

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

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

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

perfect plan

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

I don't know what to do

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

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

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

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

What!

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

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

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

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

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

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

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

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

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

TheEnd_Title_2

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

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

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

perfect plan

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

dun-dun-duuuun

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

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

TheEnd_Title_2

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

1954dialmformurder

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

For the previous post, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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

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

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

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