A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)

Merry Christmas!

Just kidding! Today we are reviewing a horror film that also is a Christmas movie.

And for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays.

Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our fourth and final film is:

Yes, it time for our annual Tim Burton film. Last year I reviewed Batman, and decided to cover the sequel.

Some of you might not think this counts for a horror film, as it is a superhero film but I say it does.

I mean we have a psychotic deformed killer.

And a zombie cat woman:

So I grew up watching this film and I just love it. When I think of Batman, to me it is always Michael Keaton or Kevin Conroy. There is no other Batman (although I do recognize Adam West, I just never watched his show until I was older) This is an absolutely amazing film and Keaton is an amazing Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer is the best Catwoman.

Originally Tim Burton and Michael Keaton hadn’t signed for a sequel, but were convinced when the script met all of Burton’s demands and Keaton only agreed to do the second film after a serious increase in his salary. Thank goodness for that or who else would we have had?

For me this movie is the end of the original film series as after this we had Val Kilmer and George Clooney take over, neither of which was very good in my opinion.

 It’s Christmastime and evil businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) has committed many, many crimes. His secretary, Selina Kyle, discovered this and was murdered by him. Luckily, she was revived by the stray cats she’s been feeding. I kind of like that they never really answer the how and why. Sometimes it is better to leave it open-ended then to explain it strangely like in Catwoman. It pays to be a catlover.

From Breakfast at Tiffany’s

After she is revived she runs about Gotham and she is a fantastic character as she wants Shreck to pay, but other than that she has no real plan and just goes about-sometimes nice and sometimes cruel, like a cat. I love the scene when she saves the lady who was attacked in an alleyway but then gives her an angry lecture-that’s cattitude right there, or at least it makes me think of how my cat can be nice and then strike out at you.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (Danny DeVito) was born deformed and tossed away by his parentns, found ad raised by circus people. He has discovered what Shreck has been doing and blackmails him. Shreck tries to use him, when the penguin comes up with a plan to make every parent and family pay.

The Penguin and Catwoman team up to take Batman down, when on the flipside Bruce Wayne and Selina have been growing closer and closer and falling in love. While Vicky was annoying, I really like them together. They have excellent chemistry and amazing timing.

Everything comes to a head at the Christmas Ball. Will Batman be able to stop the villains? Will Bruce lose another love?

I have to watch! {Picture from Ringu)

The filming is fantastic and the dialogue is amazing! Here are a few of my favorites: Alfred’s zingers

Alfred: Why are you now determined to prove that this Penguin is not what he seems? Must you be the only lonely man-beast in town?

After Selina has been revived and had her change of personality:

Selina Kyle: Honey, I’m home. Oh, I forgot. I’m not married.

Or when she sasses Batman:

[Catwoman is hit]

Catwoman: How could you? I’m a woman.

Batman: I’m sorry, I-I…[Catwoman hits him]

Catwoman: As I was saying, I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted. Life’s a b****, now so am I.

And one of my favorite parts of the film:

Bruce Wayne: [working on the Batcomputer. Alfred sets down a bowl of soup in front of him. He picks up the spoon and takes a sip, only to spit it out] Cold!

Alfred: It’s vichyssoise.

Bruce Wayne: [stares, not knowing why it’s important]

Alfred: It’s *supposed* to be cold.

Bruce Wayne: [Eats it]

The costumes are great. The penguin is hideous and terrifying. Michelle Pfeiffer hated the costume as she was vacuumed sealed in it and had to take breaks as it constricted her so much she had trouble breathing. But it looks so cool. Deranged and cool.

A great film and I highly recommend it.

For more detectives, go to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more Batman, go to What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)

For more Tim Burton films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Michelle Pfeiffer, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Christopher Walken, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For more film-noir, go to This Is Fate We’re Talking About, and If Fate Works At All, It Works Because People Think That THIS TIME, It Isn’t Going to Happen!: Dead Again (1991)

 

It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our third film is:

It’s a weird case from the start. A case with a hole in the center. A doughnut.

So this was the first post I wrote for Horrorfest IX. I wrote it waaay back in January 2020, ah a more simpler time, when I was trying to get ahead. I usually try to do at list one post a month so I have nine ready when October rolls around to give me a little extra time in the month.

So back in January 2020, my friend called me up about wanting to hang out and I agreed. Last time we went to her place so I wanted to reciprocate with mine, but I had been working on Valentine’s Cards and had paper everywhere and a mess.

I’m a mess

To hide this I suggested going to the movies, (remember when we could do that?), and she agreed saying she had wanted to see Knives Out.

I heartily agreed as I love mysteries and the trailer made me think of those old Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple films from the ’70s.

Mystery, you say?

We went and saw it and I really enjoyed it, although there was one thing I did not like. The whole film from the text, color choices, decor, costumes, hairstyles (talking about you detectives with those sideburns) etc-evoked a late 1970s vibe to it, but it was set in modern times. It was extremely jarring to be watching and having all your senses set you in 1970 and then someone whips out an iPhone or talks about instagram. I think it would have been a bit better if they had just set it in the 1970s, but that’s just me.

I also didn’t like the vomit parts, but other than that I really enjoyed this film and have already seen it three times this year.

I also like how his had no romantic pair or love angle. It was refreshing to have the main characters just be about something else, than to have them get together in the end.

So the film starts off with a big birthday party for the family patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). He invited his whole family and his nurse, but the next day is found dead-throat slashed.

Lt. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) are called on the scene and believe it to be suicide, (the Trooper is one of my favorite characters as he fanboys over all the Thrombey books), but then world renowned private investigator, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) appears saying that he was delivered a note and cash, so he is here to investigate.

Time to get on the case!

Each person is taken aside and questioned, all having a motive-but which one did it?

Hmmm…

Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis) is the eldest daughter and built a real estate company from the ground up (not really as she got the money from her dad). She was told that she would no longer receive any money and neither would her spendthrift son, Ransom (Chris Evans). She says she doesn’t care about herself or her son being cutoff, but is she lying? Could she kill him to protect her young?

Hmm…?

Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson), Linda’s husband is cheating on her and Harlan caught him. If Linda divorces him, he’ll have nothing (he signed a prenup). Could he have killed him to keep it a secret?

Hmm…

Hugh Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) was told by his grandfather that night that he was to be written out of th will. The two argued and he didn’t return until the will was read. Did he secretly return and kill him to protect his inheritance?

Hmm…from Saboteur

Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) is the widow of Harlan’s middle son. She is famous on instagram and is a lifestyle guru. She has the followers, but still relies on Harlan to meet the cost of bills and day to day living. She’s been cheating him by getting twice as much money having the accountants give her her daughter’s college fees, while Harlan also pays straight to the school. He told Joni he was cutting her and Meg off. Did Joni kill him to keep the money?

Hmm…

Megan “Meg” Thrombey (Katherine Langford) found out about hr college fund being cut off. She also left and when she returned was seen to go straight to her bedroom. Could she had killed him so she could continue her schooling?

Hmmm…

Walter “Walt” Thrombey (Michael Shannon) is the youngest brother and in charge of his father’s publishing company. He is fired from the company as Harlan wants his son to be free to be his own person. Did he kill him to keep control and have the money? (This out of all the people I actually feel bad for. Where is he going to get a job now? How is he going to start over at his age?)

But P.I. Benoit Blanc believes that something is missing. He continues to search and forces nurse, Marta Cabrera, to join him on his investigations…but Marta ended up killing him when she switched his accidentally gave him the wrong medication. Harlan kills himself to protect her. So she is helping Blanc solve the murder she committed…oh no.

That’s not good.

I also love the white sweater that Ransom wears. It makes me think of the one Rod Taylor wears in The Birds.

 

The best part of the film, besides Trooper Wagner, was Craig’s character-Private Detective Benoit Blanc.

I could happily watch film after film of his character. I hope they make a sequel with him.

I liked the plot-but I did figure out the ending. Things just didn’t sit right with me of what they showed. I was whispering to me friend, when Blanc said the doughnut line and I was like, yes! That’s what I was thinking!!

Benoit Blanc: I spoke in the car about the hole at the center of this doughnut. And yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly. A doughnut hole in the doughnut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center – it is not a doughnut hole at all but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not whole at all!

But it was great, and every time you watch it there is more that you pick up on. Like the symbolism of Go and the way Marta plays it becoming important later. There is more, so if you haven’t watched it yet-you should.

For more detectives, go to This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

For more Chris Evans, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more Jamie Lee Curtis, go to There’s Something in the Fog!: The Fog (1980)

For more Michael Shannon, go to Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

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

This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our second film is:

So technically this is an episode, but as it is the same length as an actual film-I’m including it with the films. I did the same thing my first year with Agatha Christe’s Poirot: Halloween Party.

So I am a huge fan of Victoria (when will the next season be coming?) and reading through rticles about the show and the actors, one thing that was recommended was Tom Hughes’ (Prince Albert in Victoria), portrayal of Michael Rogers in Miss Marple’s Endless Night.

So when I had my free trial of AcornTV to watch the Miss Fisher movie, it included the Miss Marple TV Show. I had seen it before when it was included in Netflix and Amazon, and while I love Miss Marple I noticed that the show took more liberties with the stories than they did with the Poirot TV show. I think it is because there are less stories and she’s a different type of sleuth as she is an elderly lady who isn’t as active in her sleuthing as Poirot.

Even though I haven’t really liked the recent adaptions, I decided to check it out.

This is one of the weirdest portrayals of an Agatha Christie novel I have ever seen.

from Jamaica Inn

Like, what is THIS?

So we start off with Mike (Tom Hughes) talking abut his life. The first important memory is when he tried to save his friend, Rudolf Santonix’s, brother who fell through the ice. He didn’t save him, but as his Rudolf was unable to do anything he vows to do anything for Mike if he asks it. Mike does’t take him too seriously. The boys grow up and go on separate paths. Mike ultimately becomes a chauffeur, but dreams of more. He wants a big piece of land with woods, a house, etc. There is a spot he dreams of, Gipsy’s Acres, but he doesn’t have the money for it. There he meets Miss Marple and they talk about the land, and that it has a “curse” on it.

Dark forest, from Death Comes to Pemberley.

Mike runs into Rudolf who is now an architect. He’s suffering from tuberculosis and wants to pay Mike back for trying to save his brother. He designs him a beautiful house, as he knows Mike better than anyone else. Mike loves it, but has no money to buy land or build the house.

He goes now and then to Gipsey’s Acres to dream, running into Miss Marple again.

This, this was pretty weird. Miss Marple keeps wanting to see him, searching him out, she’s like obsessed with him. There is no other reason why she keeps randomly popping up.

It is such a weird direction to go in.

One day at the Gipsey’s Acres he runs into Fenella “Ellie” Guteman. Ellie is an heiress who is lonely and not normal. She just acts weird.

You know what, EVERYBODY in this is weird. They act completly strange and not normal, it’s pretty creepy. In fact Mike is the only one who is normal. He and Ellie are going to get married and she wants to bring her companion to live with them as she can’t live without her.

What??

Mike is like no he dosen’t want the companion to live with them when they get married and Ellie gets really upset about it. Why would you want your friend to live with you when you just got married? Espechially, as you go on and on about how beautiful she is…it almost seems as if there is something between them, but if that’s the case why marry Mike?

They decide to get married and Mike tells his mom who freaks out. They fight and she screeches at him that she is the only one who knows who he really is.

They then meet up with Ellie’s family who are strange, dysfunctional, and don’t want to lose control of her or her money. And they all go on about her companion Greta. Like why is everyone is obsessed about her?

They then meet Rudolf to tell him and he’s furious. He wanted Mike to make money not marry it. Nevertheless he agrees to build the house and starts acting strange too. He goes on about how he is very sick, in fact he is terminal. He talks about what power his impeding death gives him-he could go anywhere he wants to and kill anyone he wanted to.

SUPER creeped

Weird. Really weird. Everyone is just so strange and creepy and weird except Mike. Mike is the only normal one. You know what that means, he must be the bad guy.

So Mike and Ellie go to Italy for their honeymoon and guess who they run into: Miss Marple.

Where is everyone?

Okay, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

I have read almost every single Miss Marple book and short story. She is on a fixed income, and the only times she goes anywhere is in England is to visit or help friends, and or once to Bertram’s Hotel when her nephew gave her money to go on a trip. There is no way she is going on holiday to Italy, she only knows people who don’t have a lot of money.

Miss Marple is soooo obsessed with Mike that she went all the way to Italy to casually bump into him? I think she is the killer. I mean we all know the rich heiress is going to be murdered. Its obvious. I think she killed his wife to make room for her.

Just kidding, I know that isn’t the answer. Anyways, Greta comes and they move into the house Mike and Greta just can’t stand each other.

An old woman is harassing them for taking the Gipsey Wood away from the gypsies, etc. Ellie has been suffering from the damp air and starts taking pills which she shares with a fellow equestrian rider.

Hmm…

One day Ellie never comes home, and they look for her and, surprise surprise-she is found dead, fallen off her horse. Her horse riding friend dies too. They think the old lady harassing them did it, but they find her dead too.

SPLAT!

Mike and Greta grow close together, while Miss Marple is on the case.

So it is obvious that the only “normal” character turns out to be the “psycho” and all the “psycho” characters are “normal”. I don’t know what they were doing with this episode, it’s a mess.

Ugh…

This actually legit sets up Jane Maple to be a potential killer. I mean she is always “happening” to come across Mike. If Miss Marple was a boy and Mike was a girl-this would be a Lifetime movie.

Seriously!

So this is obviously not like how it was in the novel, I’m sure. In fact…I don’t recall Miss Marple ever being in anything called Endless Night now that I think about it.

Hmmm…

So I googled it and it turns out this was just a mystery novel by her, not a Miss Marple mystery, they decided to rewrite it as a vehicle for her, probably because there aren’t as may Miss Marple stories as there are Poirot, and let me say it DID NOT work!

HARD PASS!!!

For more Agatha Christie, go to Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

For more Miss Marple, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more detectives, go to The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

For more female detectives, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)