A Horrorfest Hitch

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

So I hope you all had a great Halloween. Mine was pretty good, and I had an awesome costume. I was a ghostbuster, and designed a suit and proton pack; making it as close to the film as possible, but using a name patch with my own last name. In fact, I plan on wearing it every Friday the 13th. Awesome right?

ghostbusters

So I’m sure you all have been wondering, what was going on with Horrorfest? I missed days, posted unedited pieces, and only completed 28/31 posts. Well, October was really full. I had two weddings; both of my cats were injured within two days of each other and I had to take them to the vet for stitches, having to monitor them, administer medicine twice a day, and change their box constantly; worked my usual jobs; went to the Back to the Future trilogy at my local cinema; and I had a graduation for one of my works, and more.

keanu Whoa

And that’s just the tip of it. I also had some family issues that came up, causing me less time to work on this.

So I am sorry for the delays and unfinished work, next year I promise it won’t be like that. Next year will mark my fifth Horrorfest, and I’m planning to go all out for it.

So as there are only three posts that weren’t done, I am going to finish writing and posting them. After I do so I will update this post with those completed works. So let’s go to our Horrorfest  wrap-up!

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So this year I reviewed 23 films, 4 TV episodes, and had 2 editorials.

So one thing I noticed about this year was that my first Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1962, in the second Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1954, in the third Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1941, and this year’s first post was made in 1931. 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, and 1930s. I did that all without realizing it. Pretty cool, huh?

keanu Whoa

So this year I ended up with quite a few themes. The first being mad scientists; this occuring in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, along with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Jekyll&Hydedrink potion

Classic literature once again proved to be a prime place to find film adaptations perfect for Horrorfest. This year we had Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Study in Scarlet, and The Brothers’ Grimm Fairy Tales.

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Aliens were also a big theme this year. There was Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Alien vs. Predator, Twilight Zone episode, The Iron Giant, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Total Recall.

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I also thought that doing three Alfred Hitchcock films was something I should continue. This year I reviewed Jamaica Inn, The 39 Steps; and after talking about it for three years, I finally reviewed Psycho. 

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This year I decided that every Friday would be a TV show review: choosing episodes from The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Twilight Zone, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Midsomer Murders.

Ringu Watch TV

I also had the theme of boyfriends/husbands/wives who are more than what they seem. These were Dangerous Crossing, The Screaming Skull, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Rosemary’s Baby, Gaslight, The Stepford Wives, and Total Recall.

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We also had quite a few robots. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, The Iron Giant, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and The Stepford Wives.

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Witches made a comeback; in Rosemary’s Baby and the Midsomer Murders episode.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)allofthemwitches

And after reading every year how I really, really, really wanted to do a famous Vincent Price thriller/horror/mystery; well guys you don’t have to hear me whine anymore, I finally did it with The Bat. Yay!!

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So for those who have missed it, here is everything in Horrorfest IV:

You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

And Then There Was Two: A Study in Scarlet (1933)

What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

That Place…There’s Queer Things Go On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

There Are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

Because I Am Mad I Hate You. Because I Am Mad I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

They’re Already Here! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It’s Mrs. Archer. She’s On a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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

Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?: The Twilight Zone (1961)

What Have You Done to Him?: Rosemary’s Baby  (1968)

There’ll Be Somebody With My Name…But She Won’t Be Me!: The Stepford Wives (1975)

A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

I’m the Chosen One. And I Choose to Be Shopping: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

Gypsy Justice: Thinner (1996)

She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

The Story, We’re Living It. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

Psycho Strangers: The Girl He Met Online (2014)

We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

Monster Mash

Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play On Halloween

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A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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“One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face.”

So every year I talk about how great Vincent Price is and how he has made truly amazing films in which he plays a terrifying, horrifying, and thrilling person.

VincentPrice

The past three years I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of his famous works (although I did review Laura last year.) So this year I decided it was time to finally review one of his horror-suspense films. So prepare yourself for:

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As I present to you The Bat!

So this is another film off the 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection, like The Screaming Skull, Night of the Living Dead, etc. This film is based on a play written by Mary Roberts Rineheart. Now I’m not a huge fan of this author, I find her boring, but if Vincent Price is in it, it must be good.

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So we  begin our story looking at a beautiful mansion, The Oaks.

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Here mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder is staying while she works on her newest novel. But the events that occur here are more mysterious and terrible than anything Cornelia has ever written.

Cornelia van Gorder: As an author I write tales of mystery and murder, but the things that have happened in this house are far more fantastic than any book I’ve ever had published.

Right away we are sucked in. What happened?

Suspense have to know

So Cornelia is having a hard time keeping her servants. There was a killer called “The Bat”, who was murdering people. There is a rumor that he is back and on the prowl.

Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?

Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.

Cornelia van Gorder: That’s charming, I’ll have to try it some time. [Lizzie stares at her weird]  In a book.

I guess he’s the pre-Freddy Kruegar.

Freddy Kruger

To make things even worse, he has been releasing rabid bats into the community.

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Now Cornelia doesn’t care if the servants are too scared to work there as she thinks the whole thing is silly. If everyone leaves, she’ll just replace them. She and her assistant Lizzie leave to run some errands.

When they reach the bank they meet a very surprised Victor Bailey, vice president to the bank. John Fleming, the bank president and owner of The Oaks, said he would never let the place.

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Cornelia tells them that Mark was the one who actually rented it to them. They then meet Victor’s wife, Dale, who used to be his secretary. Lt. Andy Anderson also comes in and is introduced to Cornelia. Lt. Andy is on the bank board. Interesting…I didn’t think cops that much money.

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So Cornelia and Lizzie go off to do what they came to do. Suddenly Victor comes back extremely upset and takes aside Lt. Andy and Dale. It turns out the bank been looted over $1 million worth of securities!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But who could do this? Only Victor and Mr. Flemming have the keys!

suspicious Hmm

Victor wants to call him, but can’t as he is on vacation with his best friend, Dr. Malcolm Wells, on a huting trip on the deep woods with no phone.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

So then we switch to another scene of two men in a cabin. They are John Flemming and Dr. Malcolm (Vincent  Price).

John asks the doctor:

John Fleming: Doctor.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Yes, John?

John Fleming: What would you do for half a million dollars?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Anything short of murder.

John Fleming: Why not murder?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Too messy.

John Fleming: Too great a risk?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: For half a million, yes.

John Fleming: I pinched a million from the bank.

JamaicaInnItwasYou

Yes John is the culprit. He embezzled $1 million dollars from the bank, framed Victor, and know is in the stage of how to disappear without anyone realizing he was the thief and hid all the money in his house. And that’s where the Doctor comes in.

John Flemming: I have a weak heart. What if you called and said I died, and then ship my body back. We don’t need an open casket.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Where do we get a body?

John Flemming: We’ll provide one. We could kill Sam our guide. He’s a hermit and no one would care.

Dr. Malcolm Flemming: The local undertaker would know.

John Flemming: Not if we mess up his face.

Dr. Malcolm Flemming: Why do all this if you set up Bailey?

John Flemming: The jury might acquit. I am a logical suspect, and could try to disappear, but it is safer if I am dead.

Dr. Malcolm isn’t really feeling it, but John threatens he will kill him if he says no. Better for him to say yes and get a part of the money. While the two are talking, the woods catch on fire. John goes to investigate and when he turns around he sees Dr. Malcolm with a gun.

John Flemming: Doctor, we need to get out the back way. 

[Turns around and sees Dr. Malcolm pointing a gun at him]

Dr. Malcolm Wells: We will, as soon as I provide that body we’ve been talking about.

So back at the Oaks, Cornelia is trying to play solitaire but the lights keep flickering.

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

Lizzie comes in with the newspaper. Victor Bailey arrested for embezzlement, John Fleming is  dead, and Dr. Malcolm brings the body back to put in tomb this Friday.

Meanwhile, creepy things have been going on at the Oaks.

Lizzie Allen: This is his house, and ever since he [John Flemming] died, some funny things have happened here.

Cornelia van Gorder: For instance?

Lizzie Allen: The housekeeper, the cook and the butler said that they heard strange noises at night, and the upstairs maid swore she met a man without a face coming up the back stairs.

Cornelia van Gorder: Oh so that’s why they quit and left me to run this place without a staff.

Lizzie Allen: They didn’t tell you, Miss Gordy, but the truth is they were scared to stay.

Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?

Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.

Creepy!

Creepy!

So the two ladies are the only ones at home. They have a chauffeur, but he is gone for the night. To make matters worse, it is super windy and in an old house everything seems to rustle, move, and go bump in the night.

Lizzie Allen: [The wind is banging a shutter against the house] That ain’t nothing, just something bumping against the house. [Wind blows a door open and closedThat’s just the wind banging the door, pay no attention to it. Listen to this, One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face’. Honestly, Miss Gordy, I think that woman was exaggerating. [A tapestry blows against an open windowThat’s just the taphestry at the top of the stairs.

Cornelia van Gorder: I know, I know, I’ve heard it before on a windy night [Tapestry clinks a shaking suit of armorThat sounds as if someone were on the stairs, I know there isn’t, at least there shouldn’t be.

Lizzie Allen: Them’s just the noises you hear in any old house on a windy night.

Even though it’s probably nothing:

Gilmore girls creep

So while the two go upstairs and continue talking, we see a man at the front door, opening it and sticking his clawed hand in.

I guess a backwards wolfman?

They see it, lock the door and run upstairs calling the police. They think they are safe, but little do they know the Bat has cut a hole in the glass on the door and has come inside.

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The officers are on there way, but Cornelia and Lizzie take extra measure. They not only lock the doors, but push all the furniture against the door. They think they are safe, but the transom over the door has no lock, or way for them to keep it closed. Cornelia decides to put something in front of it, that way if someone tries to come through there, they will set off her booby trap.

The two women are scared and decide to share the room that night. Lizzie goes to get her night items, but doesn’t know that the Bat is creeping outside her door.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Luckily lightening flashes and shows the shadow:

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Causing Lizzie to run back inside the room.

The police finally call back, saying they see nothing outside her house. She tells them he is inside now and shouts that she has a gun and is not afraid to use (she doesn’t really. Just trying to scare the Bat.)

The police search everywhere, but find nothing.

Whattheheck

Where did he go?

They go on guard outside, and the women try to sleep, but are having an extremely hard time.

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Meanwhile, the Bat has opened the transom and released a bat into the room. It lands on Lizzie biting her, and then flying into the closet.

Lizzie is freaked!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So just knows she is going to get rabies and die.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

They call Dr. Malcolm, but the answering service can’t get a hold of him. They promise to keep trying and if still can’t will send another doctor.

Meanwhile, Dr. Malcolm is home. He is in his lab working on some experiments. He is studying and testing bats.

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But is he trying to study the bats to find a cure? Or is he trying to find a way to kill the women and get the million dollars John stole?

suspicious Hmm

Unbeknownst to the doctor, Lt. Andy is creeping around his house. He touches his car to see if it is hot from a recent drive, looks through the windows, etc.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

While he is watching him, the service finally gets through and reaches the doctor. He puts the bat away and heads out to help.

While he is gone the Detective breaks into office, and looks around. He opens the window shades sees a bat. Does this mean he is the Bat?

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So it looks like they are trying to say that Dr. Malcolm is the Bat, but I don’t think he is the one as it is too obvious.

So the doctor goes to the house and examines Lizzy, asking for the bat to examine and see if it is rabid.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Pity you are in this house. I don’t want to alarm you, but so many unexplainable things happen here. It has an apprehension of disaster.

He looks at the bat, but it is not rabid. He places him in his doctor bag and makes plans to return the next day. He starts to leave but sees someone, who’s there?

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But it is just Lt. Andy. Should we sigh in relief or be afraid? Could he be the Bat?

suspicious Hmm

Lt. Andy asks a lots of questions.

Lt. Andy Anderson: How did a Bat get in?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: There are lots of ways for bats to get in a house

Lt. Andy Anderson: Well you should know.

What is he implying? A Bat lover? Or The Bat?!!!

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

The Detective notices the cut glass on the door and figures that must be how the bat got in.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: I phoned twice, weren’t you there Andy?

Lt. Andy Anderson: No, but they called me. I have a man patrolling outside.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: No one inside, Andy?

Lt. Andy Anderson: Why should there be?

That is a weird answer. There is a crazy man who tried to get in the house twice!!! There should be more policeman, not less.

So I definitely think it is not Vincent Price, as it is too obvious. From what little I have read of Mary Roberts Rineheart is she tells you a mystery, giving you limited knowledge so she can do some big reveal at the end.

Really?

Really?

In my personal expertise in film watching, Vincent Price is far too perfect to be the Bat. My money is on Lt. Andy or the nephew we have heard so much about, but have yet to see.

Hmm...

Hmm…

So the Lt. is quite sure that the Bat is not in the house as he suspects it is Dr. Malcolm, but decides to put someone in the house anyway.

The next day the Lt. goes to see Mark Flemming, John’s nephew. He has just bought all new office furniture. Is he squandering his inheritance? Nope he hasn’t received it yet. The Lt. finds that strange as he left the whole fortune to Mark? But it turns out that the whole fortune is missing. What happened to it?

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Lt. Andy needs to find the missing million dollars.  All his money was in the securities stolen, if he can’t find the money, he’s out everything. He suspects John Flemming, even though the only fingerprints on it was Victors Bailey’s. To the Lt., he knows John is wily enough to plant everything. Besides the secretary has some new evidence she will give at trial.

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At the Oaks the next day, there is quite a party. The secretary is there, getting a book from Cornelia. Dale Bailey is also there, hoping they might figure out a way to save him. The Dr. also comes to check on Lizzie.

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Cornelia has her chauffeur back and has a new employee, John’s old housekeeper Mrs. Patterson.

They start discussing who took the money, and Cornelia believes it was John who did it. Judy agrees as she saw something that made her suspect him. Cornelia suspects that if John were the one to do it, he would hide all the money in the house. There must be some secret room or safe.

Hmm...

Hmm…

They need the blueprints to look it up. Dale decides to call Mark and ask if he has any blueprints. Mark was speaking with Lt. Andy, and when he hears Dale ask for the blueprints, he knows she is after the loot. Mark promises to come over that night and look for the blueprints in the house, also promising to call the Lt. if he does find them.

That night the women  are having dinner when Mark comes over and lets himself in.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Weird. He was invited to the house so why is he sneaking around like a criminal. That means, he doesn’t want the girls to know he is there. He doesn’t want to share the blueprints, he wants them all to himself. But as he heads straight to the secret wall/compartment that holds them, the Bat starts creeping behind him.

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Mark finds blueprint, but the Bat kills him before he can ever make a sound. The Bat has the blueprints, but hears the women coming, and moves the clock in front of the compartment. He then takes off before the women spot him.

The women go to the room, where they hear the clock working, even though it hasn’t in ten years. Dale looks at it and notices that there os a door behind the clock. They move the clock and open the door to find…

Victim #14 &15

They call police, the Lt. isn’t there. They call him in his car and he goes on his way. The Doctor also heads out there, and finds that the body has been dead for half an hour. The bell rings, and it is Warner the Chauffeur/Butler. He had to use the front door as he lost his keys.

The Lt. question all the staff  and doesn’t trust Warner, as they have met before. Where or when cannot remember, but will eventually.

So who knew Mark was coming  the Lt. Andy, Warner, Judy, Dale, Lizzie, & Dr. Malcolm Hmm…

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

So that night all the women go to their rooms. Lt Andy promises to stay and protect them. But what if he is the Bat?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lt. promises they will be safe with him. Yeah right! No one is safe from the Bat!!

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Warner is watching the police and doctor as they head to the door. Could it be because he is the Bat?

hmm...

hmm…

The Dr. leaves, with the Lt. staying until the windows and doors are good, then promising to return in the morning.

WHY???? WHY???? If he knows the Bat has been coming around, why would he do that.

That night the Bat goes into the house. He cuts all the wires for the phones, making sure no calls will be made. He goes into a room being used for storage, the women have all their suitcases and trunks in there. He starts banging on the walls, hammering them to find the opening.

Meanwhile, the women all hear the noises which freaks them out. Cornelia tries to call the police but the phone won’t work.

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Meanwhile, Dale has decided she is going to investigate what that noise is. Her roommate Judy is trying to stop her, but Dale wants to save her husband, so she goes upstairs to look.

She goes to the room and tries to look inside, the Bat hiding behind the door. He pulls and tosses her in, running downstairs were Judy is, knocking her out of the way and down the stairs. Cornelia tosses something at his head, beaning him on the way out.

Shadow of a doubt stairs creepy look

Judy is dead.

The Lt. comes back and heads straight for Judy.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

They ask him where he went as he was, and he said he was following someone out the back.

suspicious Hmm

They go looking for everyone, and can’t find Warner. He comes inside and says he was following the Lt. to help him, getting brained and knocked out. Was he?

suspicious Hmm

It turns out that the Lt. finally remembers where he saw him before. On a circular for wanted men. Warner claims he was tried and found innocent. Just as they are talking, the Dr. shows up.  All three suspects in one area. But which one?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

They ask the doctor what he is doing back here, and he tells them he was in a car accident, and his wheel fell off in the ditch. He came to get help, as his head is bleeding. Hmm…?

suspicious Hmm

We go back to Cornelia dictating the story. The next night she decided she was going to pursue this mystery alone. She saw the police downstairs asleep, and heads up to the room where the Bat was w0rking on the walls. All I can think is why didn’t they try open it up in the daytime?

While she goes up, we spot Warner walking around downstairs.

Meanwhile, The Bat is in the Doctor’s lab. He is leaving suicide note, planning on killing the Doc and lying all the blame on him. But just as he finishes, who should show up but the Doctor, who doesn’t take kindly to this plan. He threatens the Bat. It looks like the Doctor will be murdering him like he did John. The Bat races toward him and the two begin fighting. The Doctor is shot accidentally, Bat leaves having completed mission. I knew it wasn’t him.

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Aw that’s sad, I liked the doctor, because I love Vincent Price. Too bad. 😦

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

That night, Lizzie wakes up looking for Corelia but can’t find her anywhere. She rushes downstairs and wakes the police officer up, looks like he’d been slipped a mickey tp be knocked out. She wakes up the housekeeper and asks her to fetch Warner.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

So Cornelia is locked up in a secret room. The officer calls Lt. Andy but they are looking for him to investigate the murder of the Doctor. And it turns out that Warner is missing! Down to two! Who could it be???

They finally find Cornelia who is currently fainting from lack of air. When they get inside the Cop finds the control panel on wall and  a safe. But just then the garage catches on fire!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The detective wants to put it out, but Cornelia says to let it burn.

Cornelia van Gorder: Can’t you see that fire was set to get us out of the house?

Detective Davenport: Out of the hou… are you talking about the…

Cornelia van Gorder: Yes, yes, I’m talking about the Bat! Now that the lights are out, he’ll think his trick has worked, and we’ve gone, here’ll be here in a minute.

Detective Davenport: So will Lieutenant Anderson.

Cornelia van Gorder: I hope so but the Bat will be here first, and he’ll KILL AGAIN if we get in his way… we’ve got to be as clever as he is!

They wait in room, when the Bat comes creeping in door. The officer gets knocked out and the Bat is about to shoot the women, when he is shot in the back by someone…who?

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

It is Warner!!! He saved them!!! Yay, I liked him.

And we see the Bat was the Lt. after all. He did it so he could get his money back. The only question I have, was he the orginal murdering Bat? Or was that a persona he choose to throw suspicion off himself? I guess we won’t ever know.

TheEnd_Title_2

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Whoops! Almost forgot the banner/facebook cover/mini poster:

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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 We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

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For more on Vincent Price, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

For more on the 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

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She’ll come back…she’ll come back

So a few years ago, my sister bought the Greatest 100 Horror Classics DVD collection. There were some great films on this: such as Carnival of Souls, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Night of the Living Dead, Metropolis etc. And of course some duds, like The Beast of Yucca Flats.  This film was also included in the collection, and a film I really liked.

This film was a new thing for director Alex Nicol, who also played the role of Mickey. The film is based on the book The Screaming Skull by Francis Marion Crawford, but borrows a lot from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

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So the film starts out with us on a bayou. There appears to be something in the water as a guy creeps closer to shoot it. It is large, scaly, with ginormous eyes.

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This isn’t how I remember the movie starting at all. I better check the DVD menu. Yep, whoops. I accidentally chose the wrong film.

So embarressed

So embarressed

I would have reviewed Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and you all would not have been ready for that. Now here we go with The Screaming Skull.

We open on a candle and flower arrangement. Dark depressing music…zoom out it’s a funeral Makes sense.

Narrator: “The Screaming Skull” is a motion picture that reaches its climax in shocking horror. It’s impact is so terrifying that it may have an unforeseen effect. It may *kill* you! Therefore the motion picture producers feel they must offer free burials for any that die of fright, during The Screaming Skull.

Let me stop and say this is one awesome beginning, like The Beast Must Die. I award it a thousand gold stars.

love it

So we open on a beautiful mansion, impeccable gardens, relaxing lily pond. A dream house.

rebeccamansionmanderley

When we see something in the water. What is that?  A SKULL!!!!!

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It actually made me think of David Lynch and his constant use of a tranquil, pretty setting that has evil lurking below.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So we have the opening titles/credits using the same music from Sleeping With the Enemy, but added a woman vocalizing is high it almost like screaming.

So that switches with a peaceful drive up to the house, and light airy music. They park the car and out comes the newlyweds, Eric and Jenni Whitlock. Eric is bringing his new wife back to his old house.

Jenni loves the house as the garden looks like a magician paradise, it even has peacocks.

love it

She sees a window and asks if that will be their room.

Jenni: Will that be our room.

Eric: Will need some fixing first.

Jenni: Was that her room?

The “Her” she is talking about is Eric’s first wife Marian. He is a widower. I know what you are thinking:

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

But it is not the same. In The Screaming Skull, Marian the first wife was the wealthy one and the house belonged to her.

So as the couple are walking around, we that the house is pretty much empty. Marian got rid of all her families’ furniture and was planning on purchasing new pieces to make it “their home”. The two hadn’t gotten far with redecorating before she died. Now Jenni and Eric will make this house “their” house.

girlieButLoveit BuffyVS

He wants to show her the rest of the house, but she stops and looks at the window into the room.

dun-dun-duuuun

Eric picks up Jenni and carries her around the room. Meanwhile, there is a guy behind them creeping through the windows.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

Who the heck is he? And why is he doing that?

weird

While the two are kissing, he sneaks away.

suspicious Hmm

The two walk around the yard and pass Mickey, the gardener’s, tool shed. He’s been in charge of maintaining the grounds since Eric has been away. Wow Micky sure has a green thumb, it looks amazing!

keanu Whoa

As they are seeing the yard, Eric tells Jenni that Mickey & Marian would spend hours working on the garden together. He doesn’t think Mickey ever got over her death, he was in love with her, and still believes she is coming back.

Missing You

So as the two are talking and walking, someone drives up. It is the Reverend and  Mrs. Snow. They came to meet the new bride and drop off something for dinner. As they are all talking, the Reverend and Mrs. Snow get invited to dinner.

As they are heading to the house, Eric spots the gardener, Mickey. It turns out he was the guy creepin’ on them earlier. So Mickey isn’t really a creep, he is developmentally disabled. He and Marian grew up together so it is hard on him not having her in his life.

aw cry

Mickey sees the land as his and Marian’s place, and anyone else is trespassing.

Who is that?

Back inside the house, the group is clearing things up a little. Mrs. Snow and Eric go off to make dinner, while the Rev. and Jenni hang out.

While they are preoccupied, Mickey sneaks  inside the house and goes to look at a painting of Rebecca…opps I mean Marian. Sorry, certain parts of the film are a bit similar it was easy to make that mistake.

rebeccapainting

Mickey wants Marian to send them away, so it can just be the two again.

Gilmore girls creep

Eric is talking with Mrs. Snow and she is saying how much she likes Jenni, and how great she is. Eric thinks it is great Mrs. Snow likes Jenni, but there is something he has to tell her.

dun-dun-duuuun

I knew there had to be more to her than just a sunny personality. Here we go, give me the whole story.

So Jenni didn’t have a happy childhood. She lost her parents years ago in a horrible way. She is very impressionable, so talking about sad pasts is something best to stay away from. It sounds to me as if she and Ruth from Dangerous Crossing had a similar experience after they lost their fathers. Jenny probably had to go to a mental hospital afterwards too.

How did she loose them? They drowned in an accident, and Jenny saw it all. That is super damaging for a child to experience something like that. SUPER damaging.

StarTrekBonesMcCoyPoorGirl PM

So the Rev. and Jenni are talking when she asks him how he knew they were in town. It turns out that the Reverend heard of them moving in from the lawyer, as the lawyer and Eric are executors of the estate. All that was left to Eric out of Marian’s tremendous fortune, was the house and grounds. He notified the lawyer he was back and moving in with his new wife.

Even more what Jenni wants to know is how did Marian die?

Reverend Snow: Didn’t Eric tell you?

Jenni Whitmore: I think the subject is painful for him. He doesn’t like to talk about it. Will you tell me? I’d really like to know

So it was a rainy day and Marian and Mickey had been working in the greenhouse. She left him to go back to the house for a few minutes. The way it was pieced together later was that she was probably coming back and slipped in a leaf, fell down, and smashed her skull in the cement wall around the pond, fell in the water and drowned. That was where Eric found her later.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

While they are talking, Mickey is sneaking about. I think it would be mean to say this, but the way he moves and creeps makes me think of Gollum from the The Lord of the Rings series.

After dinner the Snows are walking home and talking about the two.

Reverend Snow: Did you know that Jenni is very wealthy?

Mrs. Snow: Yes Mr. Mowry told me. She’s not at all like Marian. So gentle and timid, as if she is afraid of something.

OMG Jenni is Joan Fontaine from Rebecca. Sweet, young, shy, timid, like same character. Except Joan was poor while Jenni is rich.

That night, Jenni and Eric are sleeping in cots, as their furniture isn’t out of storage yet. That night Jenni is reading a book sent by Mrs. Snow, Beast in the Jungle. It seems like a very sad book, I don’t know why she would give such a book to Jenni knowing her background.

That night Jenni hears loud bumping and clanging noises.

Who is that?

Who is that?

She calls to Eric, but he is not there.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

She decides to investigate, calling to Eric, but receiving no answer. Eerie music starts playing as she keeps calling Eric. Turns out to be a shutter in Marian’s old room, not properly latched.

As she is leaving, Eric comes in and scares her as she leaves the room. She starts when she sees something on the ground, that looks like water and a lily pad.

Why is that in here?

Why is that in here?

Jenni thinks Mickey brought it in as he doesn’t like her as she is a replacement Marian. Eric, on the other hand, thinks it was just an accident. It freaks Jenni out and she looks at the painting sounding a bit crazy as she talks. She thinks the painting reminds her of her mother, who she hates. Almost as if she is haunting her.

rebeccapainting

We find Mickey in the pond, by the lily pads. Did he bring it in? Is he trying to upset her? Make her go crazy?

Why is that in here?

The next day, Eric tells Jenni that he talked to Mickey and he is no longer allowed in the house. Jenni is worried Mickey might become angry and take it out on her, but Eric tells her not to worry about it. But Jenni is worried. She wants Mickey to like her, for them to be friends. Eric tell her to garden with him.

Eric leaves that day to get the electricity turned on, furniture out of storage, and see the bank and lawyer.

Now it just occurred to me, what does Eric do? What does he do that he had the ability to live away for two years, but then move back to his former home. They all said Marian had money, I mean he did move into her family house; but they never mention him having money. Does he have any? And if he doesn’t, he sure was lucky to bag two wealthy wives.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

Jenni sees Mickey and tries to befriend him. But Mickey won’t say a word. She tries to reassure him that she wants the garden to stay beautiful in honor or Marian. They pick flowers to place at her graves.

Now her grave is a weird one. It is an obelisk with a relief of Marian’s face in it. And it is just creepy, like she was mixed into the stone or forever watching.

creep watching lovely bones Stanley tucci

While they are doing this, Mickey is overcome with emotion.

Mickey: She cries in the night.

Jenni Whitmore: Dead people don’t cry Mickey!

Mickey: I heard her.

 Jenni Whitmore: Heard?

Is Mickey really hearing something, or just messing with Jenni? And if he is hearing something who or what is it?

Who is that?

At the house, Jenni looks at Marian’s painting. She hears some creaking, but just assumes it is the house settling.

So earlier, Eric said he was going to be gone all day and out late that night. When night comes, the electricity still not on, forcing her to use candles, as she is getting ready for bed.

Once again, Jenni hears the shriek of  the peacocks. Creepy little buggars. Jenni decides to try to go to sleep, but feels weird not having Eric in the house.

Gilmore girls creep

Jenni hears a noise and looks to the window, nothing. She runs downstairs to investigate…just the peacocks. Looks at the picture of Marian again. She is looking at the painting when the cabinet door behind her slowly opens.

She turns around and sees a SKULL!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly cuts appear on her hand!!!!

what what'shappeningSupernatural

And she runs away to her room, and locks the door jumping under the covers. Now Jenni is so freaked out that every noise is making her heart race. She hears tree branches scrapping, making sounds like something trying to get her.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

And then it sounds like something is coming up the stairs. A banging noise.

i'mscared

Something is coming up the stairs!!!!!

OMG gasp

This scene is shot from the “thing’s” point of view so we don’t know what it is!!!!

Suspense have to know

I know there is a strong likelihood that it is just her husband, but I’m still a bit freaked, my heart os pumping. Who or what is it?

i'mscared

Jenni is equally freaked, what is coming?! She goes to look and nlocks door to see what is making noise, but there is nothing there

Whattheheck

Jenni runs to window, the peacocks are gone, nothing is here. What could be making such a racket?

She looks at cabinet, and sees that the skull is still there and not a figment of her imagination. She goes to get the skull ad flings it out the window.

Good-bye

Good-bye

It rolls on the grass an stares at her with its eyeless gaze.

The-Screaming-Skull-1958

She goes back to bed, but can’t sleep.

Then the camera zooms on the front door Something’s coming?!!! Something starts knocking…Don’t answer it!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Jenni is afraid, and she just sits in bed waiting for it to go away. Soon  she feels the need to check, after all it couldbe important. She looks down from room, unsure of what to do.

They're watching her!

She decides to risk it and opens the door. Creepy music playing again getting the blood pumping with fright. She calls to Eric, but no answer. Just more pounding on the door.

i'mscared

Jenni opens it and the skull is there!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what what'shappeningSupernatural

She screams and runs inside, the skull tumbles after her.

OMG gasp

She faints. And I don’t blame her.

Mickey pops out of the shadows. Could he have done this? If not, did he see who did? Or what did?

shiver

Jenni wakes up in Eric’s arms. She asks him if he saw anything when he found her, but he says no. Just her on the floor.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Is it all in her head?

So Jenni weirded out. She had never imagined any such thing before, why should she see it now? She wants her doctor from New York to examine her, but Eric vetoes the idea, saying that Rev. Snow will be coming tomorrow and can help.

I think it is weird how Eric doesn’t want a trained psychologist’s help. Seems odd to me, especially as she asked for him. Hmm…

Why is that in here?

The Rev. comes and studies the cabinet. He discovers that the door is very loose, and can easily open on its own. The door is also damaged on the bottom, which caused Jenni’s scratches. Both look for a skull but find nothing.

Jenni feels like a fool, but knows that she saw a skull there.

weird

She asks the Rev. if Eric told him of her past. He says he knows a little. Jenni decides to gives him a bit more. She grew up loving her father and hating her mother.

Jenni Whitmore: I wasn’t a child when I wished my mother dead. One day I got my wish.

So both of her parents drowned. She tried to help them, but couldn’t overcome tide. She still hears their cries. She blames herself for the deaths, saying she killed them. This is common in grief, survivor’s guilt. For Jenni she became so unbalanced that she had to be put in hospital. She was released and told cured. So why would she be seeing strange things now?

Eric is outside looking for Mickey, but he can’t find him anywhere. He sends the Rev. and Jenni on ahead for lunch, promising to be there soon. After they leave he heads into the garden. He goes to Marian’s grave and calls for Mickey. Mickey hears him but keeps running away from him. Is he running because he is in trouble or running from trouble?

Why is that in here?

When Eric arrives at the Snow’s house, Rev. gives him a talking to. The Rev thinks he should take Jenni far from the house as it scares her and makes her think she is crazy. Eric refuses as if they left, it would mean Jenni is crazy. I guess that reasoning makes sense, but it still seems a bit off to me.

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

Later eric finally find Micjey, grabbing him and questioning him, scaring Mickey and Jenni. Mickey says it isn’t him, but Eruc doesn’t listen tossing him aside. This is Another side to Eric. He has quite the temper.

thorthrowhammerviolencejusticemebad

Jenni feels bad about Eric’d behavior toward Mickey, as she believes what is going on is all in her mind. I’m not so sure Jenni, there’s something rotton in the state of Denmark.

So Eric decides to burn the picture of Marian as it reminds Jenni of her mother, and is what Eric says is the root of Jenni’s current madness. They create a bonfire and Eric forces Jenni to light the match, even though she doesn’t want ti. As thepicture burns there is a huge screech!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric says it is only the peacocks, but is it?

dun-dun-duuuun

We are show the garden where the pond bubbles, the flowers at Marian’s grave are uprooted, and shrieking is heard. Sounds like Marian is not happy to be destroyed.

Th deed is done and Eric asks Jenni to help him bury the ashes. Jenni feels worse after the act, as if it’s not over yet.

Jenni Whitlock: She’ll come back…she’ll come back.

Jenni spreads the ashes while Eric waters them down. As she is spreading them, she unearths a SKULL!!!!!

The-Screaming-Skull-1958

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She screams for Eric, but he doesn’t see anything.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Jenni faints, and while she is knocked down, Eric touches the skull, picking it up and hiding it somewhere.

OMG gasp

Aha! He is behind it! I knew it!!! This isn’t Rebecca, it’s Gaslight!

Eric places the skull in the pond and heads back to Jenni. Little does he know, Mikey was watching the whole time.

Tht night Eric has to go out of town. Jenni is freaked, but Eric tries to calm her down. The Rev. comes over to drop off some eggs for Jenni. Eric takes the Rev outside and tells him what happened, saying he saw “nothing”. What a jerk.

Jerk

Of course the Rev buys his bleeding heart routine. Eric also tells the Rev. “something I never told anyone.” When Jenni was in the mental hospital she tried to do away with herself.

So that’s his plan! Make his wife look crazy, murder her, and have everyone think it a suicide. After all you can’t have two accidents in a row.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

What? I think what? Yeah that’s right. I think he killed his first wife too. Probably wanted her money, and then when he ended up with none, decided to remarry and kill his second bride,

So Eric tells the Rev. he thinks Jenni will try again unless he get her to the hospital tonight. After tonight they are never coming back to the house.

Eric goes back in and talks to Jenni. She tells him the Rev. was kind. He told her he would search the whole estate for that skull. Jenni shrugs it off as kindness, but Eric is worried.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

If they find the skull,  it will bring up a lot of questions he doesn’t want answered. Jenni goes upstairs to pack. Eric goes looking for the skull, but it is gone!!!!!!!!

Where did it go?

Where did it go?

He spots Mickey and chases after him. Eric grabs him and questions him again, beating him. But Mickey tells him he didn’t take it, Marian took it.

Whattheheck

Eric laughs it off and leaves. After he is gone we see that Mickey does have the skull in his workshop, hidden away. Mickey put the skull in a basket, hidden under a cloth.

Meanwhile, Eric has checked the pond again, finding nothing. He then goes to the grave, hoping the skull is there. But he doesn’t find anything but uprooted flowers. Then when he looks at the grave, instead of her face he sees the SKULL.

Whattheheck

He throws a rock at the grave, angry.

Meanwhile, Mickey has taken his basket of skull over to the Snows’ house. They start questioning why Eric would lie about seeing the skull. Only one reason, he wanted to make Jenni crazy. They all head to the house.

the-screaming-skull-photo-crop

Jenni has finished packing and goes looking for Mickey. She wants to say good-bye, but can’t find him. She goes into the tooshed where she sees a headless body moving!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She runs for her life, while this ghostly hated figure chases after her.

Inside Eric is preparing a rope, going to hang his wife, when he hears her coming and screaming. She runs up the stairs where Eric is hiding. He grabs her and starts choking her, about to kill her when he hears a knocking at the door.

He goes to answer it, and when he opens it he sees the figure with a skull face!!!!

screamingskulldoorPhoto Jan 29, 4 36 06 PM

Eric backs away, while the figure comes closer. It is wearing the same dress Marain wore in the painting, it must be her!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The skull winds up on the stair blocking Eric from going up. It tumbles down, chasing him as lightening comes out overhead.

The skull becomes large and astral chasing him, and causing him to fall down. He tries to run and get in his car, but he sees it again! It is everywhere!!

metropolis

The skull jumps on to his neck, biting him in the throat and causing him to fall back into the pond, drowning.

Jenni wakes up and is freaked out. She finds Miraian’s dress on the ground. Just then the calvary show up (the Snows and Mickey) but are too late, and have missed everything. They ask her if she is okay, and she tells them what happened. Crying and completely freaked out.

Rev. Snow goes looking, and finds Eric’s dead body, in the same place Marian was killed. Jenni is confused and wants to know why he did it. The Rev. tells her his suspicions about the money. Now the question is, did Marian really die in an accident? We’ll never know.

They all leave, while Mickey goes to the pond and tells Marian they are gone, she can now rest.

TheEnd_Title_2

This was a great film and I strongly recommend it. The characters are good, the storyline, etc. It is a bit predictable, but that last scene when the skull really attacks, very creepy.

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Back to the facebook cover/mini posters.

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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 He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

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For more on husbands who are more than what they seem, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

For more on the Greatest 100 Horror Classics, go to In Their Proper Place: Metropolis (1927)

For more films based on a book, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the Thirteen Guest (1943)