Wolf, the way you’re carrying on, if I were a policeman, I’d be suspicious myself. You would? Yes, I would! Mysterious things have happened. A murder in the village, our own dear Benson disappears for no reason. They probably think you, like your father, have created another monster…
When I was making up my list of films to review I had originally planned to do The Hound of Baskervilles, but then I thought I needed more traditional horror films in the 2022 lineup. As I was looking at all the different drafts I have started I decided on reviewing The Son of Frankenstein. Since I had a review earlier this month on Frankenstein (1994), I thought I would balance it out with a hopefully better Frankenstein film. I mean it has Boris Karloff so the bar is high.
Frankenstein’s son, Wolf Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), is coming to the ancestral village to claim his inheritance and all the townspeople are in a tizzy afraid that he might be just like his father.
Wolf is married to an American, Elsa (Josephine Hutchins), and they are both happy to be out of the college and to start a new life. As they talk about the home Frankenstein and never been to they imagine a gothic castle and it’s super cute how the two of them talk about it. It makes me think of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney when they travel to Northanger Abbey.
Frankenstein is angry abut the legacy of his father and how he is remembered for making a murderous monster instead of his accomplishments bringing the dead to life. He blames the assistant Igor (Bela Lugosi).
When Frankenstein arrives at the village he is met by the burgemeister, the villagers, and the village council who are not happy at that he is there. They do not give him a cheery welcoming, but deposit his papers and items and leave.
They get to the house and Elsa Frankenstein does not seem at all pleased at the gloomy demeanor and the way they were greeted. She has second thoughts about being there and wants them to take their son and go “home”.
It is a good thing that the Frankensteins brought some of their servants as none of the local people will serve them or interact with them.
The family makes their way home and the castle is really interesting. It is more German Expressionism and something you would see out ofThe Cabinet ofDr. Caligari then an old castle.
Frankenstein never met his father and has always felt something missing. He has tried his best to connect with him, becoming a scientists as well. He hopes he is someone his father would be proud of and like him. He goes to visit the library and unlocks a box of papers given to him by the council and in it finds a letter written to him with information about how his father brought rhe creature to life.
Basil Rathbone was a really good choice to play Frankenstein in this as he’s a very likable character, he almost has got wanting him to try his father’s experiments…almost.
That evening the inspector comes calling and warns Frankenstein against trying to do what his father did and to return to England before he is infected with the “poison of discovery”. Frankenstein doesn’t take him seriously at all and asks if the inspector has even seen anything of the creature as he feels the stories were exaggerated. The inspector has seen the monster, as it turns out when he was a boy the creature tore one of his arms off. He says the monster stories are not exaggerated.
Also leading to the high tension in the area are six murders since the monster was “destroyed”; all were killed by hearts rupturing, a bruise at the base of their brains were discovered, and all were prominent men…very suspicious. The inspector cautions Frankenstein again and tells him that he will be there for the Frankensteins fmaily when they will, will not if, need him and leaves.
Like his father, Frankenstein is a doctor and he loves lightning. The longer he stays in his ancestral home, the more he desires to follow in his father’s footsteps as he his in awe of what his father was able to accomplish.
Frankenstein decides to check out his father’s old lab, which is a mess and in pieces as it was destroyed in Bride of Frankenstein
While out there Frankenstein runs into Igor (Bella Lugosi). Originally Lugosi only had a small part in the film, but the scriptwriter felt bad about the way he was treated and extended the character for him. The script changed from day to day so no one knew what was to come, so making the part bigger was an easy feat. Igor was hung for the assisting the senior Frankenstein, and when they tried to kill him he didn’t die but it broke his neck and left it broken. It appears that the senior Frankenstein did some experimenting to give him that ability.
Igor takes Frankenstein to the family crypt where he sees the coffins for his father and grandfather; along with the monster who is not dead but still alive!
I miss Fritz as Igor is super creepy. Igor sees the creature as “his friend” who he “does things” for him. Hmm I wonder Igor and the monster are behind all the murders the inspector was talking about. Right now the creature has been wounded and is in a coma-like state as he was electrocuted. Igor insists that as senior Frankenstein made him too, the creature is Wolf Frankenstein’s brother and begs him to bring him back.
At first Frankenstein isn’t interested, but it doesn’t take long to convince him as he wants to be like his dad and protect hush legacy. He agrees and scurries away to the library to get tools and info.
Frankenstein tries to get Benson to help them but Igor tosses him out. Igor doesn’t want anyone else involved in bringing the monster back to life. Uh Frankenstein, do you notice that Igor is acting very, very odd? You definitely shouldn’t do anything he’s involved in.
I really enjoy this film as it definitely feels like a callback to the original movie.The way the scenes are cut, the music, etc.
The heads of the council try to get Igor to sly on Frankenstein and threaten hangin him if he doesn’t help them. Seriously guys? You tried to have him die by hanging and he survived. Why would he help any of you? Igor acts suspicious as he tells them he will not be hunted and killed, and also points out that out of the 8 that condemned him to death only a few remain. Hmmm….??? Why has no one put together the “killing ghost” is Igor getting revenge.
Meanwhile, Frankenstein is having a fight within himself. He wants to destroy the creature as he knows bringing him out of the coma is wrong, but as a scientists he just can’t stop himself. It makes me think of the scientists in The Thing From Another World.
The inspector comes over for the dinner he was invited to, but the only one there is Elsa Frankenstein as Frankenstein is too busy working on his project. It’s entirely normal to her as he has often done this when he is concentrating on a scientific problem, however, the inspector is very interested a he wants to make sure that Frankenstein isn’t working on trying to resurrect the creature.
Frankenstein finally comes to dinner and they are joined by Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein Jr. starts about a giant being in the house. Elsa thinks it is just his imagination but the inspector and Frankenstein share looks. Could Frankenstein have woken up the creature?
Frankenstein questions Frankenstein jr and when he hears the description, he is in shock. He thought his resurrection experiments has failed, did it actually work? He goes running to the lab and when he gets there, there is no one to be found.
Frankenstein feels something on his shoulder and discovers the creature awake and lumbering about.
The creature doesn’t look so big in this one as Boris Karloff as Frankenstein was 6’6 and Basil is 6’2. They should when chosen a smaller actor for Frankenstein.
Igor is pleased but now that the creature isn’t a scientific question, Frankenstein is worried that people might find out what he did and not give him or his father the accolades he thought they would. Igor reassures him he won’t tell anyone and will protect their secret (totally leaving the butler out of the circle of trust). I 100% think he has killed or will kill the butler benson.
Frankenstein wants to examine and test the monster, but Igor won’t let him touch the creature and the creature only listens to Igor. I wonder why he listens to Igor. In the other films the creature wouldn’t even listen to Frankenstein, why does he trust Igor?
Igor controls the monster and use him to continue killing off the men who had sentenced him to death. I knew it, I knew he was behind the murders!
That night Frankenstein is surprised by the inspector who comes for dinner. Strangely the butler is missing (I told you! Igor probably killed him to!). Frankenstein tries to hide this from the inspector and says he sent him to the lab, but why is he acting so suspicious? Does he suspect the monster?
Frankenstein questions Igor about Benson and doesn’t get any answers. That evening Elsa questions Frankenstein and again Frankenstein is SUPER suspicious, Benson is totally dead. They have a heart to heart and Elsa admits that she hates living here and is terrified all the time.
So it appears that Igor is controlling the creature with music, his playing gets Frankenstein’s monster to do his bidding .
Meanwhile another man is murdered and the villager start storming the castle as they blame the family and want to destroy the Frankensteins. The inspector forces them to say inside the castle for their “own safety”.
Frankenstein makes it back to the lab and sees Frankenstein sleeping. He knows what the creature has done and tries to kill him, but is stopped by Igor who admits what I knew, Igor was using the creature to get revenge. The two yell at each other and wake up the creature who threatens Frankenstein.
Frankenstein fires Igor and goes home where he is questioned by the inspector. Frankenstein is really is cracking under the pressure and this scene is done very well as t looks insane, especially when he laughs. Just like dead old dad.
The inspector arrests Frankenstein for the murder of Benson, there is noting to really hold him on as their is no proof but they think by arresting him they can appease the crowd. Dr Frankenstein tells them that Igor is the murderer, and the inspector informs him they suspect Igor but cannot arrest him as there is no proof.
There is no proof Frankenstein did anything and you are arresting him!
Frankenstein is let go and heads back to the lab where he finds Igor, fights him, and shoots him in self defense.
Meanwhile the inspector has been searching the house without permission and discovers a secret passage with Benson’s body in it.
Frankenstein comes home and runs into the inspector. The inspector tells him about Benson and Frankenstein reveals he killed Igor. The inspector believes that Frankenstein brought the monster back and demands he admit it and show him the monster, or else he will give him over to the villagers who will hang him and his family. Seriously, that seems like a gross miscarriage of justice. At least let him have a trial first.
Back in the lab the creature has discovered Igor’s dead body and is furious. He destroys the lab and I have to say, that while this film is alright it would have been much better if we had less Igor and more of the creature.
To get revenge, the creature decides to kidnap and kill Frankenstein’s child. He runs to the house through the secret passage and kills the nanny, kidnaps Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein and the Inspector discover Frankenstein Jr. missing and take off after him. They save him just in time, knocking the creature deep into the sulfur pits. Once again the creature is dead…at least until the next film.
Frankenstein and family decide to leave, returning to England; giving the home, lab, and property to the community.
Like I said this film was okay, I mean Basil Rathbone was incredible in his role. However I feel it was lacking to the other films, as we hardly had any creature in it and that’s what I’m here for. As much as I love Bela Lugosi, I would much rather have more Creature/Boris Karloff.
“Time for you to awaken, Master. Time for you to go out.”
So last year I was lamenting that I couldn’t think of any films I wanted to open Horrofest with from the 1950s as that was the year I was going to start with. I mentioned some films I really wanted to do, but both came out in the 1940s.
So as this year it is time to start off with a 1940s film, I was like why not do one of the ones I mentioned in last year’s post? I already reviewed Rebecca last year, so I chose The Return of the Vampire.
I loooove this movie!
I saw it year ago on TCM and it has stayed with me my whole life. You know a movie is good when it hooks you years ago and you stay hooked.
The film was just so engaging and has beautiful cinematography. Plus it also has Bela Lugosi! You cannot go wrong with him in anything, let alone in a Vampire flick. I just love him.
So this film was actually supposed to be a Dracula sequel, but Universal threatened to sue Columbia Studios so they changed it to The Return of the Vampire and instead of Count Dracula, we have Armand Tesla.
We start this film during WWI with a vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) stalking the streets of London and using the war as a cover-who cares about people suffering from anemia and a few deaths when there is a war on?!
But someone does, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and her colleague Professor Walter Saunders (Gilbert Emery) run a clinic and are baffled by the anemia.
Tesla is furious and uses his slave, a werewolf formally known as Andreas Obry, and the two break into the clinic. When he can’t finish his off his former victim he decides to make Saunders pay and goes after his granddaughter.
Professor Saunders, meanwhile, has concluded that the victim was attacked by a vampire. The victim dies and when Saunders goes home he sees a man feasting on his granddaughter. The vampire flees and Saunders saves his granddaughter Nikki (Nina Foch) by giving her a blood transfusion. While her life is saved for now, she will always be in danger. The vampire will continue to search for her to finish the job, and he will also be able to control her.
Professor Saunders and Lady Jane search for the Vampire in order to stake it and kill it.
They search out the local cemetery in order to search out the Vampire. They are both attacked by a werewolf who is being controlled by the Vampire-but once they stake the vampire the werewolf returns to his normal form of Andreas Obry.
Professor Saunders and Lady Jane know that the only way to keep a vampire dead is make sure the stake isn’t removed from the heart-remove the stake revive the vampire. They bury the coffin and make sure it is well hidden.
Time moves forward and the year is now 1942. Nikki has fully recovered from her experience, having no knowledge of the attack and is engaged to Lady Jane’s son John (Roland Varno). Andreas Obry has recovered from his experience and has become an assistant to Lady Jane.
You know thinking about this movie in 2020 it is really cool that the Vampire hunter/Doctor is a woman. I mean you wouldn’t expect it in the 1940s, and you certainly don’t see it in modern vampire stories (except Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but she basically is Van Helsing. Not the Hugh Jackman version, but the original one from the 1930s.
Of course what comes to mind is Jane the Vampire Hunter:
So Professor Saunders has passed way and Lady Jane decides to share about the vampire with Scotland Yard detective Sir Fredrick Fleet (Miles Mander) . He doesn’t take her seriously, but he does take the murder of a man seriously. He wanted to arrest Lady Jane, but she convinces him to check the body. If it is a regular man, he will be decomposed. If a vampire-his body will not have aged a day.
Stay the same age forever…
Lady Jane is going to show Sir Fleet but then a bombing raid occurs. One of the bombs hits the cemetery and a lot of bodies are dug up and two gravediggers are set to put all to right. When they come across Tesla’s body they find the stake in the heart and feel bad for the man. They pull it out and the Vampire returns!
The first thing Tesla does is contact his slave telepathically as he will need his help in moving the coffin and such. He calls to his former slave and werewolf Andreas.
Armand Tesla: [Offscreen, as Andreas walks in the woods] Andreas! [Andreas can’t locate the source] Andreas!
Andreas Obry: [Suddenly seeing Tesla] You! You have no power over me! That was ended many years ago! I’m no longer your slave! Dr. Ainsley has cleansed me of all the evil you forced upon me! You can’t bring it back! You can’t! I won’t let you! I won’t!
Armand Tesla: You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master! [In a commanding tone] Come here!
Andreas Obry: I won’t! [He moans]
Armand Tesla: [Commandingly] Look at me, Andreas! [There is a closeup of Tesla’s eyes] Look at me!
Andreas Obry: [after Andreas undergoes a metamorphosis into a werewolf] Andreas, come here! [Subserviently] Master, you have returned.
This is a fantastic scene, as you see Andreas really trying! He really, really wants to believe it is true that has overcome this. Looking at this as an adult it resonates so well as you have met people trying to overcome things, thinking they have, but then something happens and they are right back at the bottom again-addiction, toxic relationships, etc. It is extremely well done and poor, poor Andreas.
Now that Andreas is controlled by Tesla he sets him out for his first mission protect the coffin and find him a new identity. Andreas comes across a scientist recently escaped from a concentration camp, Hugo Bruckner. Dr. Hugo Bruckner was freed by help of the Resistance, something Lady Jane is a part of, and will be working with her. Man this vampire is extremely evil to murder a concentration camp survivor.
Tesla takes on the identity and slips into the Ainsleys’ and Nikki’s life. Some of you might wonder why Lady Jane doesn’t recognize him, but she only fought him that one time over twenty years ago, and at night in a foggy cemetery.
Lady Jane is throwing Nikki and her son an engagement party. Sir Fleet shows up and Lady Jane takes the Professor Saunder’s manuscript and locks it up, not wanting Nikki to ever find out about what happened. Tesla/Bruckner shows up, is introduced, and given free reign of Lady Jane’s office and laboratory. He uses this time to steal Saunders’ manuscript, the one Sir Fleet read. All are charmed by him except Sir Fleet, as he feels something is not quite right.
The next night the manuscript is somehow left in Nikki’s room and she reads it and finds out the truth. The Tesla calls to her…and the next day she has been drained of blood! Oh no!
Then they… then my mom made me stop watching it.
I know I was soooooo invested. What happens next? Will Nikki be alright? How will they defeat Tesla? I don’t recall exactly how old I was but this was well before google and we didn’t have TiVo or any blank tapes I could use to record, although my mother wouldn’t have let me as we were leaving the house and they weren’t going to leave the TV on with no one home. So I had to scan the newspaper and TV guide until it was on TV again.
So after she was drained of blood they transfused her. She survives but as we saw in The Horror of Dracula last year, that can only last so long. They need to find this vampire and kill it!
Stake through the heart.
Lady Jane starts to investigate and questions the grave robbers when the body cannot be found. She and Fleet also search Bruckner’s room and discovers the mirrors are all set down and a ring that she recalls from Tesla.
Fleet had had Andreas followed ad he was seen trying to change into a werewolf and found with Bruckner’s effects, his real effects.
Meanwhile, Nikki and John are attacked and Nikki starts to believe she has been transformed into a vampire. She pleads with John to stay away as she doesn’t want to hurt him. But you know these men in this old classic horror films-it doesn’t matter they are staying in this relationship and with the girl. How guys aren’t like that now? Most guys I know would be out in no time at all.
In reality, Tesla has been feeding. Tesla attacks Lady Jane, but she carries a cross and uses it to deflect him.
So there are two amazing things I noticed about this scene. First can we just stop and appreciate that Lady Jane has a giant organ. Man, you are a girl after my own heart. I can’t play the organ but if I had money I would want a giant one and learn how to play it. Then I could be my own version of The Phantom of the Opera.
Second-I love how in this scene she seems so meek and mild-and then bam-she’s got the cross and she flings it out at him. Lady Jane is awesome!
Later that night Tesla calls Nikki to him again and she and Andreas answer the call. Meanwhile, Lady Jane ad Sir Fleet have decided to follow them. They come upon them in the cemetery but a raid interrupts their pursuit, although Fleet shoots Andreas, mortally wounding him. Andreas begs his master to save him, but Tesla coldly refuses.
Andreas Obry: Heal me, Master. I am hurt!
Armand Tesla: What is that to me?
This was so exciting when I watched it. First of all I really wanted to know what happened after waiting so long. Secondly this scene has the vampire, the damsel, bombs, a gun-you just didn’t know what would happen next!
Tesla leaving Andreas to die is the wake to reality he needs. He grabs a nearby cross and thrusts it at Tesla, coming between him and his victim-Nikki. A bomb hits and the sun comes up, melting Tesla to nothing.
This is one of the first films to show a vampire disintegrating like this. It was actually censored in England for being too graphic. Oh, 1940s-if you saw the stuff we have today, although I have to say it was pretty yuck.
Of course Nikki and John get their happy ending, and Lady Jane stays awesome.
It was fantastic! I just loved it and you know who else would have if she existed-Catherine Morland.
You know it.
Please note that this is being said sarcastically.
So that’s our start with Horrorfest IX what else will it bring? Who knows! I start every year off with a plan but you know how that goes-anything can happen! Stay Spooky people!
So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Con’s and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.
But then there was a light in the darkness! On my instagram popped up a post about a Jane Con in Modesto! Modesto! I could go to Modesto!
No horror-glee and happiness instead!
From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!
Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).
That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera-to of course post on them later (as I am now).
So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & Groans. After that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club.
I was excited for this workshop as there are so many adaptions of Pride and Prejudice, oh this will be so much fun! I mean you have a ton of Regency Darcys to choose from:
AND a ton of modern adaptions (and yes I know the above has a picture of Darcy from Bride and Prejudice. I didn’t make the image):
And let’s not forget-we aren’t just looking at Darcy. We are also trying to define the definitive Elizabeth.
This workshop was run by Erin E. Connor and Melissa Ruzika:
Why is Mr. Darcy such a big deal and why are we wild about Lizzie? Join JASNA Central California executive committee members Erin and Melissa as they delve into Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, and its three most popular film adaptions. Bring your own opinions and take sides in a friendly debate as to who is the definitive Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
Erin E. Conor is a lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and serves as member-at-large on the Executive Committee for the Central California region of JASNA. Her favorite Austen novel is Emma, and her favorite Austen inspired film is Austenland.
Melissa Ruzika is a long time JASNA member and Central California Region Executive Committee member. Her knowledge of Jane Austen and her works is deep, and Melissa is known for being an acute observer of JA in popular culture with solid textual backing for her opinions.
Debate you say? Okay:
So one of the nicest things that Connor and Ruzika had with their workshops were handouts and a paddle with the Firth and Macfayden Darcys to engage the crowd in the debate in order so that everyone could be heard.
Connor and Ruzika started off with Historical Context, discussing what the Regency period was. You can click on the link above for more information, but a brief overview:
Crazy King George III (sorry I’m American) had to take a step down from ruling as he was suffering from a disease (believed to be porphyria) that made him mad, and his son had to become Prince Regent.
The Regency Period is believed to be 1795-1837, with the Prince Regent ruling from 1811-1820. When King George died in 1820, the Prince became King.
There was the Industrial Revolution in the North (Any North & South fans out there? It is set in the Victorian time period but shows the difference between the industrial North and the Countryside South extremely well.)
There was serious class division, with an emerging middle class (The Gardiners who reside in Cheapside
From there we got a quick overview of the book Pride and Prejudice as Connor & Ruzika had provided a handout from Playful Paths to Love and one from shmoop to give us a better idea on how rich Darcy would be today. We (book club, sister, and I) really loved that as while I am the serious Janeite, the rest of the group isn’t. One member of our group had never even read the book or seen any of the movies, only having read The Darcy Monologues for our book club. I’m not sure about the rest of the crowd, but I am certain that there had to be some others who were grateful for the refresher.
And even if you know the story frontwards and backwards, it is one that I never get tired of hearing.
We then had a brief discussion of Pride and Prejudice (1940), but they didn’t spend that much time on it. They later explained that they felt that not that many people have seen it (or liked it), and I understand time is limited.
But as we have time, I’m throwing the trailer in here. It may not be accurate, but still is a great film and the first P&P adaption I ever saw. Plus LAURENCE OLIVIER! *Sigh*
I wish we could have looked at all the depictions, but that would have taken too much time. Although I’d be down for it.
Anyways-we then moved onto the debate. Colin Firth versus Matthew MacFayden, Jennifer Ehle versus Keira Knightley, Simon Langton versus Joe Wright, BBC versus Universal, etc.
Fight, fight, fight! (from Jane Austen Fight Club)
So starting with the trailers:
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
So now that we have seen the trailers, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So after they discussed each facet they had us hold up our paddles to determine who won.
I’m in this photo.
Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who won each scene:
So I’ll just put my thoughts at the end.
Round 1: Mr. Collins, Tom Hollander Vs. David Bamber
I know a lot of people love that scene, and I admit that I love Hollander’s stone faced delivery, however, it never really struck me as much as it does everyone else.
For Bamber they showed him trying to dance. But the scenes that really sell me on Mr. Collins is when they are getting ready for the ball and he runs into Lydia, and the Mr. Collins wave. Those scenes are priceless!
IMO Winner: P&P (1995) David Bamber
Round 2: Sexy Darcy, Hand Clench Vs Firth in Bathtub & the Wet Shirt Scene
So the hand clench scene, I understand it but I don’t go crazy over it. First of all, as Doiel said in Gowns and Groans, they should have been wearing gloves. And not to be rude-but to me it always looks like his hand has a spasm. That’s just my view, if you love this scene then love it. I actually like this scene better.
So they started off with the Meryton Ball in 2005. Now I don’t really care for it as I am mostly distracted by how Caroline Bingley forgot to put a real dress on, she looks as if she is in a chemise not a gown. I never cared for how casual the Bennet sisters look as Mrs. Bennet most definitely would be wanting the girls to be more dressed up in order to snag a husband. It is lively, but I don’t care for the interactions between the characters:
Now the 1995 version is more subdued, but I like the costume choices better, and to me I like that it is concentrated on small scenes (Bingley & Jane along with Darcy & Elizabeth) with not so much going on in the background.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
Round 4: Romantic Aesthetic Vs. Accuracy
So Pride and Prejudice (2005) has a lot of romantic elements. You have these big scenic panoramas, Elizabeth on the cliff, Darcy and Elizabeth in the neoclassical building when he proposes (1st time), and the slow walk along the field in the early dawn (2nd proposal). This I personally don’t like, as Connor and Ruzika said, it is very Bronte-esque, but that is my biggest problem. Jane Austen is not Jane Bronte. And I really don’t like the scene where he finds her in the rain, as how did he know she would be there? And the field scene, they just happen to be there at the same time? Besides one of my favorite parts is at the end of the book when Mr. Darcy comes around with Bingley and Elizabeth is doing all she can to try and get his attention and figure out a way to talk to him, but is thwarted and unsure. And that longing and loss of hope-just gets me every time, will they get together ?!
And “Your hands are cold” I’ve always disliked that line as I feel it just kills the mood.
With me I love the accuracy of the mini-series, but of course there are things added in, like the Lake scene. But one of my favorite is when they are getting ready for the ball and the interaction between the sisters and Mr. Collins.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
Round 5: Bennet Family, “Behave Naturally” Vs. “Meet the Bennets”
So to get a view into the different relationships with the Bennet sisters, they used the “Behave Naturally” scene from P&P (2005). This is a great scene, even I love it.
The scene they chose from the P&P (1995) version is also a great scene. You really get the family dynamic in this one.
IMO Winner: Tie
Round 5: Darcy’s Flirtation, Sisterly Help Vs. Hungry Eyes
So with 2005, they chose the scene in which Elizabeth goes to Pemberley and meets Georgiana. It is a good scene as we get a new view of him from the servants, how he interacts with Georgiana, and that Darcy has been talking about her quite a bit with his sister. However, I have always hated Elizabeth skulking around and that peeping tom camera angle. I know it is partly because they had to combine different parts of the book for time limit, but her looking through the door gives me Norman Bates Psycho vibes.
For the 1995 version, they used a fan made video of Darcy staring and Hungry Eyes playing. That video is AMAZING but my favorite flirtation scene is when Darcy goes to see Elizabeth when she is staying at the Collins’ house, and Darcy comes to visit her and just stares or stares out the window because he doesn’t know what to say.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
So in my opinion there is a clear winner between Firth & Ehle versus Macfayden & Knightley:
But as for Jane Con? Everyone who had a paddle held it up and it came out to be 18-18
But then someone brought up the fact that not everyone had a paddle so they had us stand and count. The final result came out to be…………………………….
22-20 in favor of………
Yes Modesto Jane Con 2020 Declared Colin Firth as the Definitive Mr. Darcy.
So we all loved this workshop. They were fun, informative, interactive, and in the end we all could agree whether you love the 1995 or 2005 version, we all love Pride and Prejudice.
The only thing I would love more is if we looked at the other Darcy’s from films and TV shows, although I understand that wouldn’t be possible in one hour. I also would like to know who they think the worst Darcy is. I personally think it is the one in Austentatious (2015), which ugh, I still have to finish watching.
It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?
So this Horrorfest IV, we are doing something different. For Horrorfest (the original) we ended on Halloween (of course) as we had looked at the big 3 of horror film producing sequels: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, & Halloween. On Horrorfest II, we had to cut our reviews in half due to my schedule and ending with a film that takes place on Halloween (along with our yearly Stephen King film review), Children of the Corn. And of course I don’t think anything will top last years “theme” of Werewolves, starting with The Wolf Man (1941)and ending with it’s remake The Wolfman (2010). This year I decided it was time to finally review one of my favorite films, the one I have been talking about again and again, Psycho (1960).
I love this film, in fact it was one of my early introductions to the ultimate, obsessive, fangirling that I would do over Alfred Hitchcock.
My first film was The Birds. I loved it and knew I wanted to see everything he made. That second film that completely made me in love with his works, was Psycho (1960).
The first time I saw this film was on AMC. When they were announcing the line up, they played this song.
So whenever I hear this song I think of the film, and vice-a-versa.
So if you are wondering if this is going to be an extremely long post all about how much I love this film, like my review of Jaws, then you are right. I love this film so let’s get started.
(Although this movie is fifty-five years old, so if you haven’t seen it already, then shame on you)
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Psycho, and select theaters brought it back. And as I was lucky that mine did, I immediately bought tickets and went to see it.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is remarkable for many things. It is considered his first horror film, and while not the first slasher film in history, it is the first American slasher film, influencing countless director’s and movies.
While many adore this film today, it had quite a few problems getting it off the ground in 1960. Alfred Hitchcock read the novel Psycho, by Robert Bloch, and immediately saw the benefits of turning this into a film. Unfortunately, Paramount Pictures did not. They cut the budget down to $800,000, hoping that Hitchcock would stop this idea of making a “dirty”, “smut” film; but he would not be deterred. Hitchcock used more of Universal to make the film, which is why in the end they won the rights.
Instead Hitchcock gave up his usual pay, taking over 30% of the profits on sales. As the film did amazingly well in theaters he made a bundle.
Hitchcock bought the book for $9,000 anonymously, and then went on to buy up every book out there to try and keep the ending a secret. He used most of the crew from his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and made everyone promise to keep the film as secret as possible. He didn’t tell any the ending until filming, a technique that would be copied in other films, like the Screamfranchise.
To begin with how different this film was, let’s start with the trailer. It was over six minutes long, much longer than any trailer made then or now.
But it was great and gets you pumped for the film.
So the first thing we are introduced is to is the credits, with the famous score.
The music just drags you in sending shivers down your spine.
Now the actors we see on here, we all know today, but at the time the only real famous person was Janet “Scream Queen” Leigh. Part of this was due to the cut budget of Hitchcock, but he also wanted a different style and to use unknowns instead of huge stars.
Prior to this movie Anthony Perkins was being groomed to being a big star. In 1953, he debuted in The Actress and in 1956, Friendly Persuasion, won him best supporting actor. That all changed with Psycho. After this movie he became famous, but also typecasted.
Vera Miles was in a few things but also hadn’t been cemented as a “Star”. Alfred Hitchcock liked her looks, and more, planning on giving her the lead in Vertigo (1958), but when she became pregnant and had to drop out, he couldn’t stand her. He thought she did it on purpose and was upset that she made him recast. The only ever worked together on this film.
Before Psycho, John Gavin was known for the remake in Imitation of Life (1959). Psycho made him famous (along with Spartacus).
Anyways, back to the film!
So we are introduced to the city of Phoenix, Arizona; where our film takes place, December 11th. I had never realized this until I saw the film this most recent time, but I don’t recall ever seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere. Not in the homes of the characters or offices. Supposedly the reason why it was set in December was because of the Christmas decorations in Phoenix but I didn’t spot any. I’ll just have to look again. But you know what that means? That this can be a Christmas film! I smell a new tradition!!!!
So the film opens with Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Samuel Loomis (John Gavin) in bed together. Sam is half naked baring his chest and Marion is in her bra and slip.
Yeah, something like this is not shocking for today (I mean look at Game of Thrones) but you didn’t see anything like this after the motion picture code association (MPAA) was created. We saw plenty in the late 1960s early 1970s when the code lost its fierce control. But in 1960, oh ho ho. This was super raunchy!
This part always makes me sad as all Marion wants is to be married to Sam. Sam, however, wants to wait a few years. He is still paying his ex-wife alimony, paying off his father’s debts, and lives over the hardware store he owns in Fairvale, CA.
Now Fairvale doesn’t exist, as it was all shot on the Universal backlot or in a soundstage. I originally thought it took place in Fairfield CA as they sound the same and that would make a lot of sense. But in a later scene I saw a map of Shasta County, so I think that Fairvale is supposed to be Redding.
Then again I could be wrong.
So Sam does not want to be married for a few years, and it horrible to be leading her on like that with weekend trips every now and then; stolen lunch hours. That is not a complete relationship. Marion hates it as she wants to be a respectable woman.
Marion Crane: Oh, we can see each other. We can even have dinner but respectably in my house with my mother’s picture on the mantel and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.
Sam Loomis: And after the steak, do we send Sister to the movies? Turn mama’s picture to the wall?
Sam tells her that them marrying now is a bad idea, but Marion doesn’t care. She would do it all for him. He jokes that maybe she should move on, but when she agrees he quickly is worried. They part on good terms, making plans for the next visit. Neither are incandescently happy, but that’s love.
Marion heads back to work at the real estate agency. As she comes through the doors, you can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cowboy hat standing outside the window. Hitchcock knew people would spend the whole film searching for him, so he wanted it out of the way as soon as possible.
Back at the Agency, Marion checks in with her associate secretary, Caroline (played by Pat Hitchcock, Alfred’s daughter). Caroline is married, which makes Marion feel as if everyone in the world is married but her.
In walks her boss, Mr. Lowery, and their new client, Tom Cassidy, a rich oilman. He is paying $40,000, in cash, to buy his daughter a house for her and her soon-to-be husband.
Tom Cassidy: I’m buying this house for my baby’s wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now, that’s… not buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness [waves money in front of Marion] I never carry more than I can afford to lose! Count ’em.
Caroline: I declare!
Tom Cassidy: [staring at Marion] I don’t! That’s how I get to keep it!
He then goes on to flirt with Marion, disgustingly.
Cassidy then makes a comment about Mr. Lowery being able to afford air conditioning. Can you imagine being in Arizona without air conditioning? It would drive ANY person insane!
Marion is asked to take the money to the bank, while the boss and Mr. Cassidy get their drink on. Marion has a headache, and asks to go home after she drops the money off, her boss lets her and she heads on her way.
The next shot we see is the money on Marion’s bed, next to a suitcase.
What a great shot, Hitchcock defintely knows his stuff.
So yes Marian stole $40,000. That would be around $350,000 today. That’s a lot of money.
On one hand you kind of understand Marion. She is so tired of her life, all she wants is to be with Sam, now and always. She thinks she can take the money, pay his debt, and they can live happily ever after. But she is not thinking clearly, what about when they discover the money is gone? They will know it is her.
She decides to drive to see Sam. When she gets stopped at a light who should she see but her boss!!!
This is when the score starts up again, heightening the intensity!
Marian is driving, but starts to fall asleep. She pulls off on the side of the road.
She is awakened the next day by a CHP officer (California Highway Patrol) . Now this police officer is very scary. He is wearing sunglasses and never takes them off, giving him almost a robotic look. Super creepy as you can’t see the expression on his face or his eyes.
Now Marion doesn’t help her case as she acts super suspicious, being cold, curt, and trying to take off.
You can see here that Marion is not a rule breaker. She’s always been a good girl, and as this is her first time breaking the rules she is doing poorly at “being bad”.
The CHP follow her, but turns off in Gorman, CA while she continues to Bakersfield. There, she decides to change cars. The salesman is so sweet, and adorable, but as Marian is in such a hurry, he starts to wonder about her too.
This is not good Marion, as if anyone is to come later and ask questions about you, you would be remembered. Not only for acting weird, but also because it’s Janet Leigh.
As she is there, up comes the CHP. Too bad Marion looks as good as she does, the cop could spot her right away.
Marion buys a newspaper, looking for news of the stolen money but is relieved to find nothing. It is too early for that, but you understand how scared she is.
As she is looking at the cars I can’t help but notice that, man those cars are dirt cheap. $957 for a 3 year old car? I wish they were that cheap now.
Anyways, the cop continues to watch her from across the street. This only makes Marion more nervous and suspicious sounding. In fact the car salesman starts to wonder if she is trying to get rid of a stolen car.
The paperwork is completed, Marion paying $700 of the $40,000 and trading in her car. She then takes off, only to be stopped because she forgot her luggae in her haste. This gives the cop plenty of time to see her plates.
Poor Marion, she’s not a master criminal mind.
She heads off, but as she drives all she can hear in her head how terribly everything has gone and how it will all blow up in her face in the end.
All she can do is keep driving, hanging on to the hope that when she gets with Sam everything will be okay.
Unfortunately, it begins to rain and Marian being from Arizonia, doesn’t know how to drive in Northern California winter rains. So she has to pull over at the nearby motel she finds.
The property consists of a giant Victorian mansion on the hill, with twelve rooms down the way. The house was designed after Edward Hopper’s painting, House by the Railroad, it wasn’t supposed to be creepy but a part of early Americana. But as we only really see the house at night, except for once at the end, and because if the events that later transpire; this all looks uber creepy.
After the fire occurred on the Universal backlot (the same one that destroyed Back to the Future’s clock tower), this building and the motel was declared a historic landmark and can never be destroyed or taken done (unless by a non-human disaster). Isn’t that great, that will be there forever!
We are then introduced to Norman Bates, son of the motel owner, and played by Anthony Perkins.
When I saw Norman I was like whoa!!!! That guy is hot!!!!!
So cute with his boyish charm. He looks as if he is in his early twenties (was actually 27) and just utterly adorable. Perkins was chosen for being a gentle, stammering, handsome young man: the ultimate all-American boy next door. You just want to give him a hug. At one point during the filming, Perkins asked Hitchcock if playing Norman Bates would be a bad career move and Hitchcock told him it might be. He was right as it killed his career, but he was just too perfect as Norman, the movie would not have worked without him.
Anyways, so Norman tells Marion that he can give her a room, and that there is a diner up the way, right outside of Fairvale, which is only 15 miles away.
15 miles!!! If only it hadn’t rained, she’d be with Sam right now.
Marion signs in under a false name, Marie Samuels, and says she is from Los Angeles. After careful consideration, Norman gives her key #1.
He takes her into the room and shows her around the closet, desk with stationary, bathroom etc. When it comes to the bed, he actually stumbles over the words, being too bashful.
He’s so young, and adorable. He has such a sweet little boy smile, so adorable. Those things are fatal to me as they just make me smile in return. I let down all my defenses.
So Norman knows Marion is hungry and probably does not want to travel out in the storm coming down, so he offers to make her dinner, sandwiches, and have her come down to the house. Marian agrees.
After he leaves, Marion looks around the room for a place to hide the money. Where should she put it that’s not obvious? Where?
She finally settles on hiding the cash in the newspaper. As she waits for Norman to finish making the sandwich, she overhears Norman and his mother yelling in the house.
Norma Bates: No! I tell you no! I won’t have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!
Norman Bates: Mother, please…!
Norma Bates: And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?
Norman Bates: Mother, she’s just a stranger. She’s hungry, and it’s raining out!
Norma Bates: “Mother, she’s just a stranger”! As if men don’t desire strangers! As if… ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on, go tell her she’ll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food… or my son! Or do I have tell her because you don’t have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?
Norman Bates: Shut up! Shut up!
Man his mother is horrible. She is evil and cruel, treating him like he’s a little boy instead of a grown man. Mean old woman, I wonder if she was abusive in other ways than emotional/verbal. There are some deep issues here.
Norman takes off down to the motel bringing the sandwiches. Marion reveals that she heard everything, and Norman offers for them to eat here instead. Marian moves aside so that he can come in the room, but he can’t. He sees the bed in the room, and stops.
It makes him too uncomfortable, so he ends up inviting her into his office, and then the parlor.
Here is where we see a lot of Norman’s issues. His mother has cuckholded him so that he is still a child in many ways, but at the same time a grown man with grown man like interests. He likes Marian but also a bit freaked as well. Marion on the other hand is a grown woman and not squeamish about sharing a room to eat, even though the major feature is the bed.
They go into the parlor which is full of birds, taxidermied ones. Now this used to always freak me out, but after working in a museum last year and being around a lot of taxidermied animals it’s not that bad. Did you catch that not as bad,meaning it is still creepy.
So while he and Marian are back in the parlor he tries hard to be “adult”, but keeps stammering as he hasn’t ever entertained anyone before.
Norman Bates: You-you eat like a bird.
Marion Crane: [Looking around at the stuffed birds while eating] And you’d know, of course.
Norman Bates: No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression ‘eats like a bird’ – it-it’s really a [stammers] fals-fals-fals-falsity. Because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But -I-I don’t really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know – taxidermy.
The two then discuss Norman’s mother.
It turns out that Norman’s father died when he was only five years old and his mother had to raise him all on her own. She met a man and when she found out her boyfriend was married, became broken. He mentions something interesting here, that this guy could have made mother do “anything”. Maybe get rid of him or kick him out even? Hmm……..
The conversation moves on:
So this saying was actually used first in the film The Awful Truth starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. In it Irene is about to complete her divorce to Cary and marry a mamby-pamby mamma’s boy, who when Irene leaves him, goes off with his mom as after all “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” It of course was made famous by Psycho.
Marian tries to give helpful advice, but Norman is not in agreement.
In that moment we see something lurking below that boyish charm and sweet face. Something dark.
You may notice the theme of “mother issues” in this film. Norman and his mom have serious issues, which may extend to her not only being emotionally abusive but physically as well. Possibly molestation, but we are not sure. Hitchcock himself had a lot of issues with his own mother, her forcing him to stand at the foot of her bed for hours as punishment. The screenwriter, was currently in therapy for his own issues with his mother when he wrote this script. And Anthony Perkins also had mother issues and an early life eerily similar to Norman’s. His father died when he was five, and he also was raised by a controlling and cruel woman.
They end their talk and Marian tells him she needs to go to bed as she has a long drive back to Phionex. She also gives him her real name. He says goodnight and double checks the book seeing that she lied.
Marian heads next door, and Norman doesn’t leave yet. Instead he decides to take a look at Marian changing.
You know I have seen this movie like a million times and on the big screen is the first time I have ever noticed the painting that Norman uses to hide the hole he peeks through, it is Susannah and the Elders by Giovan Battista Tiepolo. The story of Susannah and the Elders is that Susannah is a young and beautiful woman. She sends her attendents away as she takes a bath, and two voyeuristic elders, watch and lust after her. They try to blackmail her into having sex with them, saying they will lie that she was meeting a lover. When she refuses, they try to put Susannah to death, but the prophet Daniel intervenes and saves her. It works with the whole voyeuristic theme the film has going.
Looking at that I notice there are a lot of naked women paintings and scultptures in the house. Who picked these? Norman? Unlikely. His mother? Even unlikelier. The lover? Most likely. But weird that his mother would allow such things.
Norman heads back to the house and is about to go upstairs, but stops. Where was he going before? To see his mother? Go to bed? He heads to the kitchen instead and thinks.
After speaking to Norman, Marian has a change of heart. She decides to head home and turn herself in, hoping they will be lenient. She does a few sums, and determines that she has $39300 left. As she rips it up and dumps it down the toilet and decides to take a shower.
This short scene involving the toilet took forever to get approved. In fact, this is the first american film to show a toilet in a movie.
I notice as she shuts the bathroom door, there is NO lock on the door.
She goes to take the shower and we have the scariest and one of the best scenes ever!
So intense and scary!!! I mean think of it, the shower os the most vulnerable place you could be at. You are naked, and have nothing to cover yourself up, nothing to use to defend yourself. In fact Janet Leigh said she was so freaked out when she saw herself murdered, that she never took a shower again. Opting only for baths.
There are tons of myths surrounding this shower scene and I am going to set the record straight. So the filming of this scene took a whole week to get it just how perfectionist Alfred Hitchcock wanted it, this was 1/4 of the total time it took to make the entire film.
Janet Leigh filmed most of this scene. She wore pasties to cover her privates, but the warm water from the shower melted them, and Alfred Hitchcock kept on filming. She did have a stunt double, who did some nudes, and she was sadly murdered the same way in real life as shown on screen.
And whoa this was a huge move to make. Killing the most famous person off? This was not done at the time, not at all.
When Norman discovers his mother covered in blood, he runs down to check on Marion. He finds her dead and freaks out, almost becoming sick.
He looks all around trying to compose himself, when he decides to put her body and belongings in the trunk of her car and cleans up the bathroom. He puts all her belongings in it, but forgets the newspaper. A car drives up, which surprises him, so much that he looks back in the room and grabs the paper. He then takes the car to the swamp to dump.
I just love that moment when it doesn’t go down right away and he freaks out. What will he do if it doesn’t sink. But it does, and he is relieved. The end.
A week later, Sam is sitting in his office writing a letter to Marian. On the small screen they have always shown this too quickly for me to read the whole thing. This time I was able to see everything and in the letter, Sam apologizes to Marian and says he doesn’t want to wait a few years but wants to marry her now.
If only he had asked her sooner! If only she had waited a week. If only, if only, if only. 😦
Lila comes in and introduces herself to Sam. She questions him about Marion and whether he and her were in it together, but Sam has no idea what’s going on.
Private Investigator Arbogast comes on the scene. He was hired by Mr. Lowrey and Cassidy to find Marion, hoping she would give the money back and that they wouldn’t have to bring in the police.
Sam denies knowing where Marion is, and Arbogast tells him that he will find Marion, one way or another.
He goes around asking at ever motel, hotel, and boarding house in the area. Each one says no. He spots the Bates Motel, and goes in to speak with Norman.
Norman is sitting on the porch eating Kandy Korn, as it says on his candy bag. Where’s he getting this in December? I guess it could have been leftover from Halloween. This was Norman’s personal touch, to add even more of a boyish charm.
Arbogast interrogates Norman, and I notice Norman speaks in a lot of clichés and metaphors. It’s probably due to him being only with his mother and never with peers.
He starts to clean the rooms, but skips door number one. He knows what went in that room and doesn’t want to think about it.
Arbogast follows and looks up at the house. He sees a figure, and questions Norman again. At first Norman says no one is there, but then says that it is his mother. Arbogast thinks Norman is hiding Marian, and infers that she seduced him, which angers Norman.
Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here… you wouldn’t be hiding her would you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her…
Norman Bates: Well, I’m not a fool. And I’m not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.
Milton Arbogast: I mean no slur on your manhood.
Norman Bates: She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.
Norman is angry. Arbogast wants to speak to his mother, but Norman says no. As Norman is angry his face is put in more shadow and he loses that boyish charm and innocence, looking much darker.
Arbogast starts to head back to Lila and Sam, but stops and calls Lila from a phone booth. He tells her what Norman said, that Marion was here and then left, but it doesn’t feel right.
He decides to go back to speak to Mrs. Bates, promising to be back in an hour. As he drives back to the motel, we see Norman there. Arbogast starts up to the house going through the back and leaving the door open, checking the front and bottom floor. When he can’t find anything, he heads upstairs. As he walks up, he gets attacked.
Back at the store, Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast. It has been hours and he hasn’t shown, with Lila getting really impatient.
She is determined to head down to the motel to find out if her sister was there. Sam tells her to wait while he calls, but she is heading out the door. Sam stops her and agrees, he will go and look for Arbogast and she should stay here in case he returns.
All I can think is, man Lila is intense in what she wants. If she had been the one dating Sam, then she would have been married a long time ago.
Sam gets there but can’t find Arbogast or Norman anywhere. We see Norman by the swamp. Yep, dumping another body and car. Whoa, Norman really stepped into it this time. If it weren’t for the money, they wouldn’t be lookingthis intensely for her.
When Sam gets back and finds out that Arbogast still hasn’t returned, he and Lila head to the Sheriff’s house. They tell the Sheriff everything, but he doesn’t really seem to take them seriously.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Your detective told you he couldn’t come right back because he was goin’ to question Norman Bates’ mother. Right?
Lila Crane: Yes.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Norman Bates’ mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cenetery for the past ten years!
Eliza Chambers: I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue.
Sheriff Al Chambers: ‘Tain’t only local history, Sam. It’s the only case of murder and suicide on Fairvale ledgers.
Sam Loomis: You mean the old woman I saw tonight wasn’t Mrs. Bates?
Sheriff Al Chambers: Now wait a minute, Sam, are you *sure* you saw an old woman?
Sam Loomis: Yes! In the house behind the motel! I called and I pounded, but she just ignored me!
Sheriff Al Chambers: You mean to tell me you saw Norman Bates’ mother?
Lila Crane: It had to be – because Arbogast said so too. And the young man wouldn’t let him see her because she was too ill.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates… who’s that woman buried out in Greenlawn Cemetery?
Ten years? Ten years dead?
And if she’s not dead but in the house, who’s in the cemetery?
Norman knows that there will be more people coming. They came for Marion, and they will follow Arbogast as well. So he moves his mother to the fruit cellar to hide.
Norman Bates: Now mother, I’m going to uh, bring something up…
Norma Bates: Haha… I am sorry, boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.
Norman Bates: Please, mother.
Norma Bates: No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I’m fruity, huh? I’m staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!
Norman Bates: They’ll come now, mother! He came after the girl, and now someone will come after him. Please mother, it’s just for a few days, just for a few days so they won’t find you!
Norma Bates: “Just for a few days”? In that dark, dank fruit cellar? No! You hid me there once, boy, and you’ll not do it again, not ever again; now get out! I told you to get out, boy.
Norman Bates: I’ll carry you, mother.
Norma Bates: Norman! What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you touch me, don’t! NORMAN! Put me down, put me down, I can walk on my own…
This is probably the first time he has ever stood up to his mother in his life.
The next day, Lila and Sam head over to the church to go over to the Bates residence with the sheriff. To their surprise, the sheriff has already gone, and found nothing.
Lila and Sam are unsatisfied and decide to go over there themselves. They check in as man and wife, and hide out in their room until the coast is clear.
The two sneak into room one, where they search every inch to find any trace of Marian. In the bathroom, they discover a slip of paper in Marian’s handwriting. Lila is excited, but Sam dashes that by telling her it doesn’t really help as Norman admitted that she came there. They need proof of what occurred next.
They decide to split up, with Sam distracting Norman, while Lila questions the mother. As Sam walks out, it turns out Norman is standing in the doorway of the office.
He must have heard them, I mean right? Right?
Anyways, Sam distracts him as Lila heads up the hill.
All I can think is that what the Sheriff said to them did not seem to register. He and his wife say that the mother is dead. Do they think it is a lie? She faked her death? She never died? Another body is in the casket?
As Lila looks upstairs, she spots the mother’s room. It has a deep indentation in the bed, creepy mirrors everywhere, brass hands, etc.
She goes into another room and sees that it is Norman. And the bedroom is weird. It is itty-bitty. In a giant house, why would he be given a room the size of a cell?
All he has is baby toys, and they all look sad. Like I seriously think he was abused as a child. Look at his doll. The rabbit that sits on the bed with him. Why would an almost 30 year old man sleep with a stuffed animal, unless he was abused as a child.
The music he listens to is Beethoven’s Eroica. I used to think it was used because it was a letter away from Erotica, but after looking into the backstory, it was written for Napoleon, and supposed to signify all a man is, powerful, brave, strong; what Norman wished to be.
She then spots a book with no title. I always wondered what the book signified, and discovered that books then that were pornographic were published titleless.
This whole scene in the room is supposed to show the duality of Norman, a grown man, but still a child in so many, many ways.
Norman realizes that Sam has been distracting him, and knocks him out, then running for home. Lila spots Norman coming, and hides in the downstairs. That’s when she notices the fruit cellar and heads down.
When she gets there we have one of the best reveals ever!
So the sheriff takes him down to the jail, an they call in the psychiatrist to find out what was going on.
Dr. Fred Richmond: No. I got the whole story – but not from Norman. I got it – from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half-existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over. Probably for all time.
Lila Crane: Did he kill my sister?
Dr. Fred Richmond: Yes, – and no.
Dr. Fred Richmond: Now to understand it the way I understood it, hearing it from the mother… that is, from the mother half of Norman’s mind… you have to go back ten years, to the time when Norman murdered his mother and her lover. Now he was already dangerously disturbed, had been ever since his father died. His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man… and it seemed to Norman that she ‘threw him over’ for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed ’em both. Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all… most unbearable to the son who commits it. So he had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind. He stole her corpse. A weighted coffin was buried. He hid the body in the fruit cellar. Even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep. And that still wasn’t enough. She was there! But she was a corpse. So he began to think and speak for her, give her half his time, so to speak. At times he could be both personalities, carry on conversations. At other times, the mother half took over completely. Now he was never all Norman, but he was often only mother. And because he was so pathologically jealous of her, he assumed that she was jealous of him. Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other woman, the mother side of him would go wild. [Points finger at Lila Crane] When he met your sister, he was touched by her… aroused by her. He wanted her. That set off the ‘jealous mother’ and ‘mother killed the girl’! Now after the murder, Norman returned as if from a deep sleep. And like a dutiful son, covered up all traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed!
Sam asks about the clothes, definitely weirded out by seeing Norman in that getup. And I agree, he was totally creepy looking.
Officer: He’s a tranvestite!
Dr. Fred Richmond: Ah, not exactly. A man who dresses in women’s clothing in order to achieve a sexual change, or satisfaction, is a transvestite. But in Norman’s case, he was simply doing everything possible to keep alive the illusion of his mother being alive. And when reality came too close, when danger or desire threatened that illusion – he dressed up, even to a cheap wig he bought. He’d walk about the house, sit in her chair, speak in her voice. He tried to be his mother! And, uh… now he is. [pause] Now, that’s what I meant when I said I got the story from the mother. You see, when the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict, a battle. In Norman’s case, the battle is over… and the dominant personality has won.
Sheriff Al Chambers: And the forty thousand dollars? Who got that?
Dr. Fred Richmond: The swamp. These were crimes of passion, not profit.
It wasn’t about the money at all? Yes folks, that is this film’s MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is something that the characters search for or aspire for, but in the end, has nothing really to do with the actual plot.
This last scene is my favorite as it is soooo creepy.
That moment when he smiles, it sends shivers down my spine.
So Mrs. Bates is evil. Pure evil. She was abusive to Norman throughout his life, and now throwing him under the bus. Pure evil.
So before we en I thought I would include some thoughts I had about Norman now that I’ve revealed the “truth” about him
1)When Norman chooses the parlor over the bedroom, I wonder if the Norman side “knew” it was best not to get to close as it might awaken mother sooner and “she” might do something drastic?
2)When he gets angry about institutionalizing his mother is it the dutiful son Norman that is angry, or his “mother”?
3) When Norman tells Marion he can’t leave, if he does then his mother will die all over again. Poor Norman, stuck in an endless cycle of abuse.
4) When Norman sees that Marion gave a false name in the book, do you think that “mother” found her an easier person to kill as no one was likely to connect that Marie Samuels to anyone? Do you think it made her more suspicious of her character?
5)I wonder if Marion had stayed up later with Norman would that have changed things? Would “Mother” have failed to come out? Or would she have come out earlier?
They are nothing with any real answer, but just something to ponder on and ask your cinephile friends.
I know you guys know that this post isn’t going to end. Like Jaws, I have a LOT to say. So in Universal Studios, when I took the backlot tour, they showed us a scene from Psycho. As they have declared the site historical, they also decided to have someone act out a scene from the movie every time a tram goes by. And it is awesome!
And so ends another Horrorfest. I know it has been crazy this year, as personal issues made me fall behind in posting. In fact, by the time this airs I still might not have caught up. However, what I was able to do was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.
I know I say I don’t like sequels as much as the original, but there are always a few that I think are better.
So this movie almost wasn’t created as director James Whale originally did not want to do a sequel to Frankenstein. Universal considered producing a sequel without Whale’s involvement, but after 4 years of constant badgering, Whale agreed to do the film. And I’m so happy he did, or else we would be without this wonderful masterpiece.
To be honest, this isn’t a true “sequel.” It actually is the second half of the the book Frankenstein, instead of an individual and separate story.
The reason I like this better than the first one is that Frankenstein is creepier, as he is demanding and using his strength and stature to frighten others.
You also have a creepier Henry, as he is fighting with himself on whether or not to create more monsters. We see that he doesn’t wish to populate the world with these creatures-but at the same time he is lured by the thrill of creating more, and showing off his genius.
Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So the film starts off a little different from the other one. Here we have Elsa Lanchester portraying Mary Shelley and telling the next chapter of the story at a party.
Let me tell you a story
The next chapter picks up exactly where the other film ended.
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
The villagers had driven the monster to the windmill and believed they killed him. They take Henry back home where he is nursed to health by his fiancé Elizabeth.
However, we see that the creature has not been killed. He escaped the fire by getting into the water under the mill. He kills some people as he escapes into the wilderness.
Meanwhile, Henry’s old mentor, Doctor Septimus Pretorius, comes to visit him. He brings along his creations to show Henry. Dr. Pretorius had created miniature people: a miniature queen, king, archbishop, devil, ballerina and mermaid. While Henry had vowed to never create another monster again, seeing these creatures spikes his interest.
Meanwhile, the monster has run off into the woods and has tried to find a place to belong. He attempts to befriend a shepherdess and a group of gypsies, but both reject him.
He finally runs into a hermit and has a tender scene with the two becoming “fast friends”.
I love this scene and sometimes say things like “Friend good, such and such bad”, etc in my daily life! 😀 It’s a pretty touching scene. After all:
But even this does not last forever as searchers looking for the monster, come upon the two and chase the creature away. He eventually comes upon Dr. Pretorius who promises him “friendship” and that he will create a mate for him.
“The Monster: You, make man… like me? Dr. Pretorius: No. Woman… friend for you The Monster: Woman… Friend… Wife…”
Dr. Pretorius approaches the newly married Frankensteins and tries to get Henry to help him create a mate for the monster. Henry, having once again realized the horror of his past creation, in no way will ever create another creature. That’s all fine and good, but Dr. Pretorius doesn’t agree. He wants a mate and is determined to force Henry to create one. He gets the creature to kidnap Elizabeth, her being the exact leverage to force Henry to create another monster.
The Monster: I *love* dead… hate living.
Henry seeing that he has no alternative, prepares to create a women from the dead. We see as Henry struggles with his morals, creating a better tension than in the first film. As I stated earlier, he doesn’t want to create another creature as he knows the horrors the other committed along with the fact that the two might mate and reproduce, populating the world with living dead.
But Henry is excited at the same time. Once again he can use his theories and science to create. He will be able to say he “created” life, not once but twice! This is hard for him to turn away from.
Of course nothing goes perfectly according to plan. Henry creates the woman, but can he control it?
Elsa Lanchaster is amazing! I love the way she turns about, almost birdlike. She actually based her performance on swans; saying that, “they’re really very nasty creatures”. She was only 5’4″ but for the role they placed her on stilts so she was 7′ tall. The bandages were placed so tightly on her that she was unable to move and had to be carried about the studio, much like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Her hair and outfit are amazing, and now such a classic figure in horror film history, just like her predecessor the Monster. Her amazing ‘do was held in place by a wired horsehair cage.
They introduce her to her “mate”, but when has any woman liked it when people pick out their mates?
The monster is furious at this rejection and destroys the lab killing all who are in it. The only people who escape are Elizabeth and Henry. Frankenstein realized what they had and allowed them to leave unharmed.
“The Monster: [Speaking to Frankenstein and Elizabeth] Go you live… [turning to Dr.Pretorius] You stay we belong dead.”
It’s a great movie. I highly recommend it to anyone into the classic horror films.
That’s todays fearsome post! More to come! Only 7 days left ’till Halloween! Who’s excited?
Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor of Halloween. Hope ya love it.