Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

So a while back during my 30 Day Challenge one year, I talked about something I had accomplished-my intense thesis paper. The professor had noticed my love of film, and recommended that I choose that for my project and I did. I choose to talk about the Civil Rights era and Western film.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

I know, it sounds weird, but it there were actually a lot of Western films that correlated with the changes occurring due to the Civil Rights Movement. It was different, it was ambitious, it would be a perfect change from anything anyone else had done. And it was-all those things but after a lot of serious work and time, and sleepless nights-I did it and it was good. And I won an award.

Afterwards, for another class I decided to stick with the idea-but this time with women in Post WWII Westerns. WWII allowed women more freedoms, as they had to take on previously masculine roles and duties. Westerns became the perfect avenue for this as historically women played a major part in “settling the West,” for example, thousands of women journeyed West under the Homestead Act. I discussed five influential western films that presented strong cowgirl characters and broke away from previous molds: Ramrod (1947), Red River (1948), Montana (1950), Rawhide (1951), and Calamity Jane (1953).

They were all fantastic films, but only two could work for Horrorfest VII: film-noir Ramrod and suspense-thriller Rawhide.

I was having a hard time trying to decide which one to review as I thought two Westerns during Horrorfest VII was a little much. I finally decided on Rawhide as thus far, I have only reviewed one 1950s film while four 1940s film.

Hmm…

Well enough background-let’s move forward. So this film is a remake of a 1930s film Show Them No Mercy. This black and white film stars Tyrone Power as Tom Owens, the son of a stagecoach tycoon, having been not living up to his father’s expectations he sent Tom out West at a stopover station, Rawhide Pass.

A coach comes through with a group of passengers, one being Vinnie Holt (Susan Hayward) and her niece Callie. Vinnie is a singer turned cowgirl, who is taking her niece to be raised by her maternal grandparents as her sister and brother-in-law died in a brawl.

They are going to head out but the calvary arrives with the news that there are escaped convicts after a gold shipment. They are there to escort the stagecoach, but they cannot take Callie as children are not allowed in such dangerous situations. Vinnie stays behind with her niece and upsets Tom’s life.

“Tom Owens: What are you doing?

Vinnie Holt: I’m taking this room.

Tom Owens: I’m sorry, this is mine.

Vinnie Holt: [Authoritatively] Not tonight, it’s not!”

That night Vinnie wants a bath for her and Callie. He’s angry and points out the trough, but Vinnie is harsh and won’t be cowed-getting him to admit where the hot springs are in the area. She doesn’t trust anyone-she’s a woman living in the West, and takes Tom’s gun with her just in case.

Meanwhile, a man comes over on a horse. Tom waits behind, while the other Rawhide worker Sam Todd (Edgar Buchanan) goes to check it out. The man shows a Sheriff badge, but it turns out he is the convict, Rafe Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe) who was supposed to hang for the murder of his girlfriend and lover. He and his crew of three, all being guys from cells around him, take over the place. They kill Todd, and imprison Tom in his room.

Vinnie and Callie come back, and Vinnie quickly grapples the situation. She tries to hide, but is discovered when Callie cries out, but does manage to hide Tom’s gun before they imprison her too.

They think Vinnie and Callie are Tom’s wife and daughter. They keep them alive to use as collateral in order to ensure that Tom does what they ask. This soon turns into a game of cat and mouse as Tom and Vinnie try to figure a way out of the situation without revealing their plans to the outlaws.

Another coach comes by and Zimmerman pretends to be a sheriff assisting Tom with those convicts on the loose. Tom tries to find a way to slip a note, steal their gun, or get the one hidden under the trough. He and Vinnie also try digging out a hole in the wall of their room in hopes that they can all escape these madmen. But will they be able to make it through the night?

This is a great film you should see for yourself. Susan Hayward is a powerful character.  While Hayward’s role of Vinnie is similar to the 1930s Western films as she provides a love interest, and creates a way in which to distinguish which of the outlaws is the true villain; however, she doesn’t allow her gender or temporary motherly duties keep her from her true character; a strong, brave, cowgirl–equal to any man. Throughout the film, Vinnie is also shown to be equal to her male counterpart. Not only does she instruct and command Tom, but will not tolerate anyone trying to take advantage of her as she knows how to survive the West and does not allow anyone to push her around because of her sex.

The film also reverses the damsel in distress cliché that one would expect in a love triangle-themed film. Throughout the movie, Vinnie is constantly harassed and attacked by the convicts, but never saved by anyone. Instead, Vinnie uses her strength, cunning, and resoluteness she needed to survive living in the West to disarm and dress down her opponents, even going as far as physically harming one in order to stop him.

Digging a way out

***Spoiler Alert***

And the end of the film is great. Instead of Vinnie being the damsel in distress in need of a savior, she saves Tom. One of the convicts, Tevis, had disarmed Tom and forced him to lay down on the ground, but before Tevis has a chance to shoot him, Vinnie steps in.

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 Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Susan Hayward, go to The Misery That Walks Around On This Pretty, Quiet Night: Deadline at Dawn (1946)

For more Westerns, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

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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 rime 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)

Horrorfest VII: Your New Nightmare

So tomorrow is October 1st, you know what that means:

HORRORFEST!!!!!!

31 Days of horror, suspense, mystery, film noir, monsters, ghosts, Alfred Hitchcock, Lifetime, aliens, witchcraft, murder, cyborgs, and more.

Last year Horrorfest was a bit of a downer. My charger broke and I tried to catch up but only was able to do like 17. This year I am working overtime to be sure that I have them all finished.

A couple years ago I put Jane Austen in a costume and added it to my Horrorfest tradition. Last year I Moreland dressed up as Sherlock Holmes, so I decided to have Jane do so this year.

For more Sherlock Holmes, go here.

So here we go!

To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

To start Horrorfest II from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

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

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

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

 

No One Would Have Ever Guessed

Jane Austen is the Queen.

Of what, you may ask? The Queen of opening lines.

Now I have talked about this before, but it definitely needs to be going over again. We all talk about Pride and Prejudice:

But you know what, that isn’t the best one.

I know! You are probably freaking out-but it is true. This is the opening line to Northanger Abbey:

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.”

Wow

Listen to that. AMAZING!!!!

That’s awesome

People look at Catherine and thought she had no chance if being anything but just a regular average person. She had no outstanding family, nothing that at first glance set her apart, she wasn’t drop dead gorgeous-she was a wonderful person but to most just seen as average.

 No one would have ever thought her do have any adventure, have a great romance, mystery, suspense, anything. But guess what, she does.

Wow. I love that. People may see you and judge their expectations of what you will be or achieve based on family, where you grew up, your appearance, whatever- but you don’t have to fall into that line. You can do whatever you set yourself to-no matter what others think.

Don’t hold yourself to others expectations, but achieve your own.

Yep powerful words. Don’t let others views of you or judgement stop you, do your thing. Be what you want. And work to achieve what you are going after.

And Catherine will not let any of those things stop her. 🙂

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Why is Northanger Abbey Always Ignored?

For more on Catherine Morland, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Ayn Rand quotes, go to Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind 

 

Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

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 was only two behind, and now I still am.

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 next one was:

This Present Darkness (Darkness #1) by Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors. In fact I was able to meet him once and totally fangirled over him. But he was super nice as he autographed my books and actually spent a long time talking to me. It made the other people in line mad, and I can’t blame them, but I didn’t care as I had just met FRANK PERETTI!

Frank Peretti started out being a pastor, but discovered that it wasn’t the life for him. He drifted from job to job, and while working in a snowshoe factory he wrote his first novel, and this book, This Present Darkness. He has now written over 30 books for adults, teens, and children. His books are amazing as they always have great, realistic characters, action, adventure, suspense, and a moral message. Every time I read his works I feel great!

This book is about a small town Ashton that becomes the battleground in a war between angels and demons.

Rafar the prince of Babylon is taking over, using his followers to take over the town and its college in order to indoctrinate the students into believing their untruths. They also have city council, board members, the police chief, and the pastor of a mega church in their court.

On the other side we have a pastor of a small church, Rev. Hank Busche, a true prayer warrior. He was brought in accidentally, and unable to be controlled. He kneels every morning in prayer for his town fighting the only way he can.

Marshall Hogan, editor of the Ashton newspaper, becomes involved when his reporter Bernice Krueger sees something she shouldn’t. After she is falsely arrested, so that the police can tamper with evidence, Marshall and Bernice try to blow the top off the coverup.

It has action, comedy, suspense, drama, and the supernatural.

It is a powerful story. I reread it every 6 months as it recharges me and builds me up in my faith.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, you need to check this out. I love this book and I cannot stress it enough how much I do.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

For more Frank Peretti, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more on This Present Darkness, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more bible verses, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For more on spiritual warfare, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

 

What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

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What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

So I am just stating here and now that I will not reveal the end of this movie. It is a great piece of work, with an amazing twist that you must see or read (the book) for yourself. Since it is still out in theaters I do not want to ruin anything for the potential viewer. That being said:

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So the book this film is based on came out in 2012 and I was really intrigued by it. I added it to my to-read list and planned on getting around to it. But you readers know how that is.

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So yeah, I hadn’t gotten around to it. However, that all changed this summer. I told you in a previous post that I journeyed out to Wyoming for an internship. There wasn’t a lot to do in the town, and the other interns and I mostly hung out on the weekends. We talked about what there was to do, which was mostly reading or netflixing. (I don’t have netflix so I Amazon Instant Watch or putlocker things). Anyways, one of the interns, Gwen, hadn’t brought anything with her and was asking about where to purchase books. I had brought my kindle and was fine (until it broke). I told her the library was out as I had found out to get a card I would have to pay $20.

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Then I remembered! There was a bookstore in town called “The Newstand“. But shortly after we arrived it went out of business.

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Yep. I think the only place left in town you could to get books were the Walgreens or the Walmart. They had two thrift stores in town, one was only clothes, the other furniture. It was very different from anyplace I’d lived before.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Anyways, so one week Gwen starts talking about this book she just bought (I don’t know where. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever asked her.) She told us it was Gone Girl. Immediately I was intrigued as I had really wanted to borrow it. I asked for the book and finished it in one day. It was that good.

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The book is a mystery/suspense/horror. The way it is told is really interesting as it goes back and forth between the present and the past. In the present Nick Dunne’s is trying to figure out and cope with his wife Amy’s disappearance. The past is revealed to us through Amy’s journal, as she details the everything prior to her disappearance. It was an interesting book as it has the same unsettling qualities as Catcher in the Rye or Alias Grace. In Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, admits to the reader that he is a liar, leaving one unsure of what in the book is real, and what is a child’s fantasy. Margaret Atwood, author of Alias Grace, does a similar thing in her novel. There are no quotations marks put around the dialogue, leaving the reader very uncertain as to what was said and what was only in the character’s minds. Just like Holden,  Grace Marks leaves us wondering if she is really telling the truth?

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Gone Girl isn’t exactly written that way, but it does have some similarities. With Nick, he is described as being somewhat of an a***hole (his word not mine) and having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. He is too good looking and charming that you don’t want to trust him (the characters joke that his chin causes you to not trust him.) As you read his accounts you start wondering if there is more than he is telling the reader. You feel as if he is hiding something from you, even though it is told in first person. It makes you wonder what is he hiding? What are his secrets?

Suspense have to know

And then you have Amy. Everything we hear is from what she wrote in a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. Sometimes you exaggerate or write things down that you would never do, just because it helps destress you. As I mentioned before it is a release. Besides that you don’t write everything down in a journal. After all, that is a lot of work. Most of the time you write down the things that made you upset or happy; never giving the whole picture but a moment. Just a moment. It’s selective in memory. So that begs the question: how much of it can we take as fact? How much is fiction?

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So one day I was at the movie theater watching Expendables III. The film finished and I contemplated sneaking in to see another film, but unfortunately the theater I was at was very small (four screens) and the ticket seller and I had had an actual conversation, so he would remember me. Along with that, my “California-ness” showed very strongly as everyone told that I looked very “different” from Wyoming girls.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Yeah I don’t understand it either

So instead I called a cab for a ride home and waited around until it came. As I was waiting, I started watching the screen that showed trailers for upcoming films. I saw one for The Equalizer, but it didn’t really strike me as a “must-see”. After that the trailer for Gone Girl came up.

OMG

I didn’t even know that they were turning the book into a film!!! Fantastic!!! Then I saw the cast list. As you know from an earlier post, I love Ben Affleck. I knew he would be a perfect Nick. Rosamund Pike was great as Jane in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and I was interested to see how she would do this role. I thought Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice as Amy’s ex, as everything I have ever seen him in he has conquered. The only thing I was unsure about was Tyler Perry. But to be honest, any time I see him not playing Madea, it’s a little strange. Anyways, I became excited for the film and couldn’t wait to see it.

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And as I mentioned before it was pretty incredible.

Take note Hollywood

Take note Hollywood

What was great about the film was that they followed the book pretty consistently. There are a few changes, but not enough to make you want to string up the director by his thumbs. On a whole the changes didn’t really hurt the film at all. I thought it was amazing how they handled the flashbacks, narrations, and journal entries. I would definitely read the book along with the movie as it has more detail and little things that can’t transfer over to film. I do give one warning though. If you want to be surprised DO NOT READ THE BOOK. The book has this amazing twist, about halfway through, and a killer end. It was a great shock when you read it, but not so much the second time encountering it on the screen. I mean you already know it, so while the rest of the audience is oohing and ahhing over it, you’re just chilling there thinking, knew it.

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So if you truly, truly want to be surprised. I would wait to read the book until after seeing the film.

So I’m just going to do a partial review, as I really, really don’t want to spoil too much for anybody.

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Nick Dunne

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It is the day of the Dunne’s five-year anniversary. And Nick is not very happy.

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You see life hasn’t been a bed of roses for the Dunnes. Nick is from a little town; North Carthage, Missouri. He went to college and moved to New York, and began writing for a magazine. He met Amy at a party and the two later married…but bliss did not last long. He lost his job due to downsizing as the economy tanked. His father is crazy and in a home where he constantly escapes from. And his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately, hearing the news of his mother, he and Amy move back to his hometown much to her displeasure.

Now the relationship was already strained, but after moving to Missouri it becomes much worse. Amy is a New Yorker born and bred and doesn’t do well with places that are not New York.

That particular morning, Nick heads over to the bar that he bought with his twin sister Margot, and the two contemplate what would be a good anniversary present. 5 years is wood, “and there’s nothing good from that.” When Nick heads home, he receives the biggest shock of his life.

What!

His house is a mess and his wife is missing.

OMG

He can’t find her and doesn’t know where she might be. He calls the police and later, her parents. They team up and begin commercials, signs, news reports, trying to find Amy. Ben Affleck did an amazing job at this role.

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But some people don’t think that he’s quite so innocent. Some suspect he might have killed her. Things become espechially sticky when they discover the broken in area was staged, and a lot of blood was spilled and then cleaned up afterwards. Did he have something to do with his wife’s disappearance? Did he kill her? Is he innocent? If he is innocent, than what happened to her? Where can she be?

Suspense have to know

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Amy Dunne

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We are first introduced to Amy through her journal. Amy is the daughter of authors. Her parents wrote the best-selling series called Amazing Amy. Their main character is perfect and excels at every hobby. Especially things that Amy has failed at. Amy resents the books, but they have made her famous and a major spot in the limelight.

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Amy is beautiful, charming, witty, etc. The “perfect” woman.

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She writes personality quizzes for magazines for a living. I know some of you out there might think that’s a bit strange, but let’s face it…she has a major trust fund. She meets Nick at a “writer” party one night, and after that the two are hooked. They get married and have a few great years, but things start going downhill once Nick loses his job. He becomes someone that she doesn’t know.

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She hates Missouri. Nick thrives, but it makes her feel like she is choking. Then things in the marriage start to get even worse…Or does it? Is Nick really as cruel as Amy paints him? Or are the writings in the journal just the exaggerations of an unhappy, displaced person?

What!

Did Amy leave by her own choice? Or was she taken by force? But most importantly, where is Amy?

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The supporting characters are just as great as Affleck and Pike. Carrie Coon is perfect as Margot as she is really able to capture twin sister needling brother, and being supremely protective of him. Kim Dickens is an amazing Detective Rhonda Boney, the homicide officer assigned to the case. She seems all midwestern, laid-back, easygoing, charm; but she has a real brain in her head and is highly observant. Neil Patrick Harris steals scenes, as he plays Desi Collings, Amy’s ex and possible kidnapper. And then we have Tyler Perry, rounding out the cast as Tanner Bolt. I never would have picked him for the part as he is radically different, but he does a great job as being one of those shark lawyers after the big-name cases.

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And is has an awesome twist that I will not reveal as you all should definitely watch/read for yourself.

Where is Amy? What Happened to Her? Visit Your Local Theater to Find Out.

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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 There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

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For more on Ben Affleck, go to What is This Thing?

For more on films based on books, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

For more twist endings, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

For more book-filled posts, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone: The Lovely Bones (2009)

The Lovely Bones

“My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name: Susie. I was 14 years old, when I was murdered, on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment. And then I was gone.”

So when this film came out in 2009, I really wanted to see but couldn’t find anyone to come with. Nobody seemed interested, and those that were had already seen it. I decided that I would wait to watch it until after I had read the book it was based on.

So that happened much later than I thought it would. At first everyone wanted to read it so it was hard to get a copy, and then I got busy reading other things.

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Anyways, so last month I went to a library book sale and discovered The Lovely Bones on sale for 50¢. Never being one to turn down a deal I bought it and immediately read it. It was different than I thought it would be as we learn the identity of the murder immediately. It was still a suspenseful book and interesting as we see how Susie Salmon’s disappearance affects her and the rest of her family. The other really interesting thing about this book is it really shows the changes that have come along since the ’70s regarding how police work and the forensics that we have. Not to mention criminal profiling.

So, back to the film. While the book is more of a suspense/horror/drama; but the film is mostly a drama with veins of suspense. The film was pretty good although they had to make a lot of changes. Mostly it had to do with cutting as the book is really long and spans about 10 years. The film only covers about a year-18 months. But the film was pretty good otherwise, and I recommend it.

So as mentioned earlier, Susie Salmon is a fourteen year old girl who gets murdered. At first she is presumed missing, and the police begin to investigate. The film details how her disappearance and lack of closure affect her family-father, mother, sister, brother, and grandma; along with friends and the community.

So this is what made the film great.

excited

Ready?

1. The Artistry/Cinematography

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The film is mostly in wide angle shots and they are set up beautifully. As the film is told in flashbacks or from the viewpoint of the spirit of Susie; it works really well. Not only are the regular shots extremely beautiful; but the scenes of heaven/limbo are extremely amazing and artistic. You really get the feeling that you are in a a place created by a child’s mind (as it is supposed to be what Susie wants).

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2. Susie

lovely bones Susie Don't look back

Susie is played by Saoirse Ronan and does a really great job at being a fourteen year old kid. She really makes you believe it as she is shy when a boy likes her, sassy and trying to “rebel” against parents, showing she is moving toward becoming more adult, while at the same time still being very much a kid. You really feel for her as she wants to move on to heaven and a better life, but doesn’t want to leave her family or the boy she cared for.

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3. Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon

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Mark Wahlberg plays Jack Salmon the father who we adore and wouldn’t mind having. Jack is a caring father that has a really close bond to his children, often being the one they go to as their mother (Rachel Weisz) resents the life she lives. He has an incredibly close bond with Susie, not only because she is the oldest, but they have a lot in common. In fact, she is the only one who enjoys the model ship building he does. When he loses her, he falls apart trying to discover who the murderer is. He also works overtime trying to be there for his other kids. He never gives up, as he can’t just have his daughter disappear. Even when his wife leaves, he continues trying to care for his family and preserve his daughter’s memory. He faces the issue and problems straight on, while his wife runs away. When his wife comes back, he welcomes her back with open arms as he never stopped loving her. He is an amazing father, and you really feel for him and everything he goes through. What makes this performance even more amazing was that Wahlberg only joined the crew a day before filming actually started, knowing next to nothing about the story.

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4. Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey

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Stanley Tucci deserved his oscar nomination and should have won for his performance.I mean anyone who could go from this

to this:

definitely deserves an Oscar.

Every time we see him chills run up and down my spine, he is soooooooooo creepy.

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You should definitely check this film out.

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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 Keep Clear of the Moor. Beware the Moon

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For more film based on a book, go to What Is This Thing?

For more on Mark Wahlberg, go to At the End of the Rainbow

For more of my fav quotes, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?

For more bookish posts, go to Opening With…

Horrorfest II: Return of the Terror and Woe

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So last year I experimented at attempted to do 31 posts on horrifying films and TV episodes everyday in October, Horrorfest. I had so much fun doing it and it really got me into the Halloween spirit that I decided to bring back this year. Hopefully I can think of another 31 films. So here’s to 31 days of terror, woe, suspense, thrills, monsters, ghouls, and ghosts!

Happy Horror Days!

Apologies

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So remember that plan I set out way back in May that I was going to spend all summer reviewing Pride & Prejudice, a thing I thought would carry on into the fall? Well things didn’t go exactly as planned. As the old saying goes

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To be honest this is my motto as when I have a plan, life always gets in the way and throws a curve ball. It makes me feel like the creators of Jurassic Park. I have this plan, this vision, but then…

Life finds a way and screws up all my plans. Although having Jeff Goldblum would be nice 😉 I’m not saying that my summer turned out bad because of these changes, it just caused my original plans to be discarded for the moment.

So this summer a friend of mine invited me to be in these three 30–minute Shakespeare plays that her new community theatre production was putting on (As You Like It, King LearComedy of Errors). This took up mid–May to Mid–July. This was not enough to shove Jane Austen and my blog to the wayside, I was also working on a blog with my mother based on The Cat Who series. We would read the books, review them, make recipes out of the cookbook that goes with the series, photograph them, and then blog about it. (if interested check out The Cat Who Wrote a Blog) In combination to this, my niece came down to visit staying from mid-June to the end of July. And the Pièce de résistance, I got a boyfriend.

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I know, I know. You are all probably wondering how that happened. I still don’t know myself. But somehow it did. And no he is not an Austenite, but there is always time to remedy that.

Just kidding. I'm not going to take it that far.

Just kidding. I’m not going to take it that far.

So we are going to call him Michael. And he has a lot of great qualities;  respectful, intelligent, cute ;), has an amazing taste in books and movies; and just someone I can talk to. Most importantly…

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Anyways I’ll take more about him later. And I haven’t been completely slacking off. However, with school, work, clubs, and volunteering my writings will be once again very sporadic. But, never fear Horrorfest II is still coming and will be here. I am very excited for it!!! I loved doing Horrorfest and want it to be a yearly thing, as continue as long as I can think of 31 horror/suspense films. So while things never go exactly as we want it, there is still many pleasant surprises on the way.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Happy-New-Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun new years eve and safely enjoyed yourself. I went to two parties; both of which bored me :(, oh well there’s always next year. 🙂

Anyways, I thought it might be fun to do a year in review type thing as I start out with the great things that happened this year and what I hope to bring in the future! 😀

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How could any guy hate this color?

1) The Views

So according to WordPress I received 2000 views on my blog this year. Wow, that is more than I thought I would get and I would like to thank all of you for being a part of this. It really makes me feel as if I am doing something special to see that.

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2) #1 Post

Also according to WordPress, my most popular day was October 31st . Surprisingly; instead of the number one post being Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare: Halloween (1978), which I posted that day; I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931) took the lead. It still remains the number one viewed post. #2 was A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), #3 Grimwood Ghouls’ Gym Teacher: Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988), #4 A Monster Race: Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988), #5 Quite A Horror Story: Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2011), and #6 being By George He’s Perfect.

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3) The Followers

I just found out that I know have fourteen followers! That’s amazing! I want to thank each of you that chooses to come back and check out my blog. It really puts a smile on my face to know that my thoughts and views interest others.

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Now that we have reviewed some stats lets move on to reviewing the highlights of the past posts!

The many handsome men who have played Mr. Darcy

The many handsome men who have played Mr. Darcy

4) Mr. Darcy

I also started the first of Mr. Darcy filled posts. There will be many, many more to come as there is just so much to say about him. My favorite Darcy filled posts were Darcy’s Dream Date and The Beauty of Darcy. I recommend reading both, but especially the second!

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4) The Verne Saga

In September, a guy named Verne tried to hit on me, but I brushed him off never thinking I would see him again. That was proved wrong as he kept popping up. To read the whole story check out Flirting With Disaster, Bowled Over, Bad Penny, and Return of the Verne.

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5) Character Sketches

I did two posts of literary/film characters I really like and admire. Forney Hull from Where the Heart Is, and George Knightly from Emma. I hope to do more later on, as it is something I enjoy doing.

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images-26)Embarrassing Moments

I always have embarrassing moments, and I did post a few. If you want a good laugh; check out Doors of Death, Walkin’ Round, Color Me Red, etc.

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7) Horrorfest

For the month of October, I posted a blog everyday that reviewed/had to do with a monster/horror/suspense movie. It was an enormous feat and took a lot of time to do. There were many days when I almost gave up, but I ended up completing my goal and posting all 31. This is something I plan to do again next October, along with possibly doing something in February for Valentine’s Day. The films I reviewed were The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), The Bad Seed (1956), The Giant Behemoth (1959), Carnival of Souls (1962), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Poltergeist (1982), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Black Cauldron (1985), Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988), Scooby-Doo and the Reluntant Werewolf (1988),  Arachnophobia (1990), The Addam’s Family Values (1993), The Cable Guy (1996), Phantom of the Megaplex (2000), The Secret Window (2004), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005), Perfect Stranger (2007), Aliens in the Attic (2009), and Agatha Christe’s Poirot: Halloween Party (2011).

The days I didn’t review a film I talked about Universal’s classic monster films, the internet movie Butterfinger the 13th, the Even Stevens Halloween Special, Archie’s Weird Mysteries: Attack of the Killer Spuds, and the Austen men in Halloween costumes.

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8) Christmas Failure

I tried to do 12 posts of Christmas reviewing Christmas films, but I just became too sick to continue it. I was only able to do five posts about Christmas films-The 12 Men of Christmas, The Santa Clause, Borrowed Hearts, Holiday in Handcuffs, and The Bishop’s Wife. I did one Jane Austen birthday post that I tied into Christmas, a post I know you Austenites would love. And I did a final post listing off six of my favorite songs of Christmas to “equal” 12 “posts”. I’m sorry I had to disappoint you.

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Well I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts of this past year, I loved writing them. Here’s to a new year full of new surprises, ideas, and adventures. I wish you all the very best in the upcoming year; may it satisfy you all and me a memorable time. Happy New Year!

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I think it will be one lucky year, no matter what the superstitious say!

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For another holiday post go to It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year