I’ll Be Watching You: Cat’s Eye (1987)

So Horrorfest V is reaching it’s last few weeks and could there be something missing?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

I’ve already done an animated film like always, a Disney film, and Alfred Hitchcock. All things that have become staples every year. Now who could be missing?

suspicious Hmm

A Stephen King film!!

Yes, it is time to review a Stephen King film. Not a Horrorfest has gone by without me reviewing one of his films, so here we go.

cat'seye

Every breath you take…I’ll be watching you

I had never seen this film before, but my friend really wanted to watch it as she loves ’80s films and was a horror film mood. Aren’t we all?

EverydayHalloweenHorrorfanOctober

The film is actually based on three Stephen King short stories, with the only thing pulling them all together is a cat.

Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 AKA Jake

So the first third of the film is based on the short story Quitters, Inc. First we see our stray cat wandering the streets. It goes to a store window and sees a little girl mannequin. This changes into a vision of a real girl (Drew Barrymore) who is calling for the cat to come and save her. I guess it is another child with powers, those come up a lot in Stephen King films.

The cat gets captured by a guy who works for Quitters Inc. He takes the cat back to headquarters, where Dick Morrison is being dropped off. Now you might not recognize the actor’s face, James Wood, but you will defintely recognize his voice as Hades from Hercules.

herculesguydifferent

Dick has been a long time smoker and his friend advised using the agency, Quitters Inc. to finally stop his habit. He’s given paperwork to fill out, but finds it hard to as the man next to him is hysterically crying.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

His wife comes out with her clothes all messed up and looking like she has had a hard time. She is furious with her husband, blaming him, but he quiets her down and tells Dick she is having her second treatment.

Dick thinks the whole thing smells.

Gilmore girls creep

And he decides to leave, but before he can go he is stopped by Dr. Vinnie Donatti. He brings him into his office and explains their 100% success rate.

That poor CAT!!! I just wanted to run in and grab him, save him.

rainbreakfastattiffaneyscat

It’s okay I have you.

So yes the first offense will be James’ wife “cat room”, not too much but there will be shocking. The second offense will be his daughter in the “cat room”, third offense someone will rape his wife, and the fourth offense will be his death.

OMG gasp

What a psychopath. A sadistic one too.

you're evil

So Dick quits cold turkey and goes home. He acts like a real bear because his addiction is gnawing at him. He tries his hardest, but can’t sleep. That night he heads downstairs and starts looking for a cigarette.

4083834-young-indian-stressed-businessman-yuppie-type-standing-with-a-terrified-expression-or-dramatic-grimaican'tcannotllivewithoutit

When he gets downstairs, he hears a noise coming from the closet.

What the fork

He grabs an umbrella and throws it at the closet, hearing an umpf. Quickly he tosses his cigarette away and takes his golf clubs out, pretending that was the whole reason he was in the office.

run-away

The next day Dick goes to visit his daughter, Alisha (Drew Barrymore) who has down syndrome and lives at a school. He brings her a doll, but sees that Dr. Donatti is watching him. Dr. Donatti warns him that his people will always be watching.

creep watching lovely bones Stanley tucci

In fact, just that morning a jogger was around his house, but he wasn’t really a jogger as no jogger wears oxfords. Yes look out Dick, they are everywhere.

paranoidAfterYoujosephheller

So Dick has been doing good for two weeks. He then goes to a party and he is the only one not smoking. The next day when he gets stuck in traffic, he finds a cigarette in the glove box and smokes it, confident no one is watching.

Majorly

Majorly

The guy in the car next to him is a Quitters, Inc. agent and speeds off to report him as soon as the traffic clears. Dick tries to race home and when he gets there he finds it ransacked and his wife missing.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He runs to Quitters, Inc. and sure enough there is his wife in the cat box. Dick tries to fight with the two men and get his wife free. His confrontation frees our stray cat from his cage and he goes running off.

I'm getting out of here

I’m getting out of here

Dick, however, is forced to stay and watch his wife be tortured.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Afterwards, Dick explains everything and his promise to not give into temptation and hurt his family again. I just think why didn’t they go to the police? He never signed a release form and two people will be giving testimony.

I mean, seriously.

I mean, seriously.

So weeks pass and Dick has been doing great, only one problem; he’s been gaining weight. It is common after quitting an addiction, and Dick feels okay about it.

dietntfatSabrina the teenage witch

However, Quitters, Inc says that he needs to lose weight or else they will cut off his wife’s pinky finger.

Diet

A few days later, Dick and his wife are having dinner with a family friend, the same one who advised him to join Quitters, Inc. They are having a great time until Dick realizes his friend’s wife is missing the top of her pinky finger.

OMG gasp

That means that his friend knew what was going to happen. He sent him there and new the horrors he would face. What a-

wordICan't say Toy Story

I would dump that friend and never speak to them again. And that ends our first story.

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The second section comes from the short story, The Ledge. The cat and the viewers have traveled from New York to New Jersey, Atlantic City to be exact, as he continues to look for the girl in the vision. Here the cat is trying to cross a busy intersection when he is spotted by Cressner, casino owner and very powerful man. He spots the cat and bets that he will make it across without injury, while his friend thinks the cat will be killed.

All I can think:

Poor cat. They are so cruel to you.

Poor cat. They are so cruel to you.

The cat does manage to make it and Cressner takes him home; telling his two rough guys to “get him”

Who?

Who?

Meanwhile, gambler and tennis pro, Johnny Norris has been seeing Cressner’s estranged wife. He sends her away on her own as he has a few things to take care of and wants her safe from her crazy husband. As soon as she boards the bus, Johnny is beat up and taken.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He is brought to Cressner’s penthouse and Cressner tells him that he has planted heroin in his car and is going to call the cops on him. However, he will make one deal and if Johnny can do it he will get “money,the girl, the gold watch, the car, and everything.” All Johnny has to do is walk around his ledge without falling off, if he does, he’s dead.

victim

Johnny sees no other way and agrees. However, as he starts to move around, Cressner does everything in his power to try and get him to fall off; playing a trumpet, shooting him with a fire hose, etc.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

He finally makes it around and back inside. Cressner gives him a bag full of money, but there is one extra item. His wife’s head.

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

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

Cressner gets ready to kill Johnny too, when Johnny, angry and horrified, lunges toward him trying to knock them over. The cat joins in, causing some to trip and allows Johnny to get the gun. The cat then takes off while Johnny shoots the goon and train the gun on Cressner.

0dial_1119cshootgunkiller

Cressner promises him anything, anything at all, just let him live. But that is not good enough for Johnny.

Instead he forces Cressner to do the same challenge he did. And Cressner isn’t as lucky.

SPLAT!

SPLAT!

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We then come to the third installment, General. The cat has finally made it to the little girl who has been calling him the whole time in Wilmington, North Carolina. However, the girl doesn’t act like she has been calling him, so why was that in it earlier?

weirdtwilightzone

So the little girl, Amanda, wants to keep the cat, calling him General, but her mom hates cats. She especially doesn’t want him in the house and throws him out at night. However, General knows he needs to protect Amanda and tries to find a way inside.

Meanwhile, in Amanda’s room a portion of the wall opens up and a troll appears. He kills Amanda’s bird and tries to go after her, when General manages to get through the window and save her, getting stabbed in the process.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

The next day, General is kicked out of the house as “he killed polly” the parrot. General lies about injured, the husband discovering it and commenting on it to the wife; but she doesn’t care. She thinks General should die for what he did. She captures him and drops him off at the animal shelter, telling lies so that he is euthanized that night.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

That poor cat. I would take good care of you.

Poor cat. They are so cruel to you.

Poor cat. They are so cruel to you.

That night the troll comes out and tries to kill Amanda, taking her breath away. General manges to escape, run back to the house, and kill the troll in the weirdest way. He traps him on the record playing Every Breath You Take, and sends him shooting into the fan, cutting him up into a million pieces.

I mean, seriously.

I mean, seriously.

The parents come in and realize there daughter was telling the truth about seeing a troll and decide to keep General to protect her.

TheEnd_Title_2

So that was Cat’s Eye, first of all it made ZERO sense!!! I mean who decided to put this together? It is just strung along and is just kind of dumb. I mean if they has made the cat a more crucial character and also gave a reason to why Drew Barrymore was calling the cat it would have been better. But mostly-

I don't like it 11

The first story was the best, but the other two were just dumb. It really isn’t worth watching.

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

For the previous post, go to Every Twenty-Third Spring for Twenty Three Days, it Gets to Eat: Jeepers Creepers (2001)

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For more Stephen King, go to Gypsy Justice: Thinner (1996)

For more Drew Barrymore, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

For more films based on books, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more Joseph Heller, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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

Dial M For Murder

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

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

Double double yay

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

Awesome

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

MeanGirls I know right!

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

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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

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

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

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

DialM1954-WB-still

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

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

keanu Whoa

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

BMW Kiss

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

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

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

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

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

whoCares

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

dial-m-for-murder-1954

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

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

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

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

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

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

dial m for murder

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

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

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

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

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

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

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

He wanted to kill Mark.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

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

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

He reveals his perfect plan.

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

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

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

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

perfect plan

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

thats-how-its-done

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

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

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

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

dial M for murder

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

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

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

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

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

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

What!

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

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

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

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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

I don't know what to do

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

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

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

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

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

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

perfect plan

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

I don't know what to do

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

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

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

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

What!

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

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

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

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

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

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

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

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

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

TheEnd_Title_2

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

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

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

perfect plan

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

dun-dun-duuuun

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

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

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

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

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

TheEnd_Title_2

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

1954dialmformurder

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is This Thing?: Phantoms (1998)

Just what is this thing? Chaos, chaos in the flesh.

Phantoms is a 1998 film that is based on the book by Dean Koontz. The story is very creepy, and I was surprised at how well the film was done. I thought it was going to be done in a very stupid, silly way; but it was the essence of creepiness. The only thing I didn’t care for was Liev Schreiber, I felt that he didn’t portray the character very well in the beginning. I wouldn’t have chosen Rose McGowan either, but she did surprisingly well. I loved Ben Affleck as the sexy Sheriff and love interest. I love Ben Affleck though, I mean who doesn’t? They changed the film from the book, as expected, but the changes do not destroy the film, thank goodness. If you’d like to watch the film go here. So the film starts out with Dr. Jennifer Pailey bringing her trouble-making sister Lisa to live with her. They are hoping the change of scenery will help straighten her out as she was involved with gang members in Los Angelas.

I want to go back to LA

When they reach the town, it is empty. Like really empty. There is no one out and about even though they are in a ski town, in the middle of winter with great snow.

Gilmore girls creep

They continue on home. When Jennifer gets there she finds her housekeeper dead. All the life had been sucked out of her and she looks burned.

[Note: Pic from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms not Phantoms

[Note: Pic from The Giant Behemoth not Phantoms]

OMG

The girls are widely freaked and decided to head to the sheriff’s. But there is one problem, their car won’t work.

Oh no!

Oh no!

The girls hurry on to the sheriff’s office where they find a deputy, burned and blackened. He appears to have shot his gun at something, but they don’t find any traces of it, except shells. Dr. Jennifer grabs a gun and the two run off to the bakery, as it is getting dark and they are really freaked out. They head to the baker’s, running quickly as they hear sounds as if someone is following them. When they get there the oven goes off revealing severed heads!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

The girls are completely grossed out and confused when the Sheriff (who ex-FBI) finds them.

Hello Sexy!

Hello Sexy!

With him are his two deputies Steve Shanning (Nicky Katt) and Stuart Wargle (Liev Shreiber) have come to investigate. They decide the best thing to do is go to the sheriff’s department, and just when they do every single horn, siren, whistle, bell, etc. goes off and then suddenly stops. The only lights left on are down on the Candleglow Inn up the street.

What the

They check it out and see that only four guests are registered. The Sheriff and Stu go upstairs, while the girls stay behind with deputy Steve.

While the sheriff is upstairs he goes into a room and starts looking through an opening in a closet. When he does he sees a vision of a young boy with a gun, which disappers. You see when the Sheriff was FBI he accidentally shot a boy, which made him quit and turn to small town life.

Aw! Look at his face. :(

Aw! Look at his face. 😦

Stu goes in the other room and finds a beautiful, dead woman. He sits next to her and puts his hand up her leg…

ew! Gross Yuck

What a perv!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

Then the Sheriff walks in. He lets it go, even though he is severely grossed out as he knows what Stu was doing, but he needs every man he can get as he has no idea what the situation is.

The Sheriff has Stu watch the hall as he continues checking things out. Stu comes on to Lisa who tells him flat out no, she is not digging that.

I don't think so

Dr. Jennifer joins the Sheriff and they discover that a bathroom locked from the inside (that has no other windows or doors) is empty, with something written on the mirror in lipstick. The writing says “Dr. Timothy Flyte–The Ancient Enemy“.

Phantoms Timothy Flyte Ancient Enemy mirror Note

 

The two have no idea who Dr. Flyte is but intend on finding out.  In another empty room they find a bunch of metal objects like jewelry, buttons, watches, gold teeth, a pacemaker, etc.; concluding that this thing, whatever it is strips a person completely of everything, if it chooses.

EW!

EW!

They go back into the lobby to regroup and figure out their next step. But then they suddenly hear a woman crying out “Help me!” and Deputy Steve rushes out to save her. The Sheriff follows him, but when he gets outside all that is left of Steve is his shoes and a gun.

What the

They head back to the Sheriff’s office and put the dead deputy in a body bag. They then call for help–military, Dr. Flyte, anybody, but the line was so bad they don’t know whether or not it went through.

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! [Note: from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Bryce and Stu go through the dept. and pull out all their ammunition getting ready for–whatever the thing is that is trying to attack them. The lights go out and the creature takes on a Alien/The Thing (1982) feel. The next thing you know, Stu is dead.

victim

Too be honest, good riddance. He was a creep and I didn’t like him.

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

They also put Stu in a body bag and wait out the night.

We then switch to another part of the country- Dr. Flyte. Dr. Flyte (Peter O’Toole) is a tabloid worker in New York City. He used to a professor at Oxford, but they let him go as they felt his writings were “too silly”.

Phantoms Swine Peter O' Toole

 

Two FBI agents ask him to go to the small, winter, town of Snowfield to help solve what the “thing” is.

Back in Snowfield the three survivors are trying to figure out what to do next. Lisa tries to take a nap while the Sheriff tells Dr. Jen about how the monster called up the incident with the young boy. The two are interrupted when Lisa asks the Sherif to walk with her to the bathroom. He checks it and finds it clear. Lisa begins to smoke when she hears a squealing noise coming out of the drain.

Psycho-Shower

She checks out the bathroom stalls (much like Scream) and finds the Deputy Stu there!

im-back

 

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

In the book the “Phantom thing” was more like the Blob from The Blob (1958); although it could take on the shape of other things, or create small phantom pieces of itself. In the film, however, the “Phantom” embodies the form of Stu, which is understandable from a filmmaker point of view. It doesn’t copying The Blob at all, as I mentioned earlier copying The Thing. Just like The Thing, the “phantom” takes on the appearance of something. This wasn’t a horrible decision as I bet it was easier to film. They also did a lot of blackout or limited lighting when the creature was in its true form, which allowed it to remain creepy as your imagination creates it. The director of It (1990)  should have used the same technique, it would have been a better film.

I didn’t really care for Liev Schreiber, and thought he could have been much creepier. Instead he just comes off as a pervert. This film has actually ruined him for me in all other films. When I watch Kate & LeopoldScream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Lee Daniel’s the Butler, or X-Men Origins: Wolverine; I keep expecting him to do something perverted to all the women.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Anyways, back to the story. So the Sheriff goes into the bathroom and can’t find anything. They go down to check the body bags, but both are empty.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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

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

Meanwhile Dr. Flyte is on route to Snowfield with military General Leland Copperfield, some mobile labs, an armored strike van, etc–all ready to take on whatever the “thing” is. They ask Dr. Flyte about “the Ancient Enemy”. Dr. Flyte explains that there were creatures, he calls “Ancient Enemy” who are amoeboid shapeshifters. This Ancient Enemy rarely feeds, but when it does, the effects are devastating and it was theorized that the Enemy either caused or aided in the extinction of the dinosaurs, the destruction of the Mayan civilizationRoanoke disappearance, the missing army of Nanking, China in 1939, etc. And the town appears to have been built on the home of one of these “Ancient Enemies”.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

The group arrives to Snowfield and the three survivors come to meet the army. The next thing you know, “the thing” has taken out almost the whole team using its shape-shifting qualities and the pipes/sewers. Now these scenes are pretty intense. I was watching them and screaming and my roommates were all, are you ok? I highly recommend watching this film.

General Copperfield is last of the military to be killed; as a pair of oily black tentacles seeps up through the pavement, penetrates his hazmat suit, and smothers him.

[Note: From The Mist]

[Note: From The Mist]

This leaves Dr. Flyte, Sheriff Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa as the remaining survivors..

He’s dead but the “Phantom” uses his body as a mouthpiece and begins speaking to the crowd.

 “My Flesh. Study it. Write the gospel. But do not try to leave. Witnesses to the Miracle.”

Phantoms

The body then falls to the ground and an oily black substance comes out along with a gecko, of which the group is supposed to get a sample of. Dr. Flyte begins to analyze the sample, coming to the conclusion it has lived in the depths of the earth for eons, growing to immense size, and absorbing knowledge from its prey. It can separate off parts of Itself to send as drones, warriors, phantoms, etc.–having them assume the shapes of anything or anyone It has absorbed; even of people or monsters from memories and dreams.With these, It has manipulated Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa into bringing Dr. Flyte here, to be Its prophet, and to write Its gospel. For It has begun to think of Itself as God–or the Devil. Indestructible. All-Powerful. Immortal. Unstoppable.

This is bad. Very bad.

This is bad. Very bad.

Dr. Flyte’s analysis reveals that It is similar to oil and if they are able to make the same kind of bacteria that eats away at oil spills, they may just have a chance at stopping it. They create cultures and prepare for the final battle.

Dr. Flyte goes out and calls to the creature.

Fantomy_Phantoms_1998_1266246010-25163.jpg

He tells It that he needs to see all of it in order to write Its “gospel”. He says that the others are creating a weapon against It, that they don’t believe in It like he does. It appears first as a single person, but then becomes all 400 residents of the town, merging and melding into one swirling mass, which resolves Itself into an immense, hideous, upright millipede.

The Sheriff, Jenny and Lisa run and fire the guns loaded with the bacteria culture  into It. This causes It to scream.  Jenny and Lisa run for shelter into the nearby deputy’s office, to reload their guns but are pursued by a drone of Deputy Stu.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you've got some guns, ladies, you wouldn't shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] Deputy Wargle: That's a dumb question.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you’ve got some guns, ladies, you wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] That’s a dumb question.

They empty their shotguns into him, knocking him down, and blowing away huge chunks of his legs and arms. Tentacles shoot out of his arm and leg stumps. The girls run away and and he follows, but is killed by Dr. Jen as she shoots him with the last of the culture.

The bigger entity is falling apart and the Sheriff follows the last of It down into the sewer, finding him face to face with the boy that he killed. He hesitates, and while he does so, a tentacle shoots out of the boy’s mouth, and knocks him down. His gun with the culture is stolen by It. It pulls the vials out and starts taunting the Sheriff. In response to It’s mockings the Sheriff pulls out his gun and shoots the vials, causing the bacteria to spread all over.

Hello Sexy!

With one final ear-shattering scream It is gone, and Bryce makes his way back to the others. As a helicopter arrives to rescue them, Dr. Flyte announces to the others that the Entity has won after all: It wanted him to tell the world, and that’s just what he’s going to do. Everything seems to end well, or well enough. Dr. Flyte has his story and will win back his prestige; Sheriff Bryce  is no longer traumatized about killing the boy; Dr. Jen and Sheriff Bryce have found each other; and Lisa and Dr. Jen have bonded. Sounds as perfect an ending you can get for a horror film.

TheEnd_Title_2

Uh, uh uh. Not quite yet!

We switch to a scene in a bar where Dr. Flyte is in TV talking about It and how it may still be out there waiting. One of the guys in the bar turns to his companion and says its a lot of hooey. A strange laugh is heard and at the end of the bar is Deputy Stu Wrangle, showing that It is still alive.

dun-dun-duuuun

So it really was a good film, and I’m telling you the scenes with the creature are super creepy!!! You’ll love them if you love scary movies!

phantoms-

So unlike the other facebook cover pages I have made (and you should have guessed by now that practically every post has one) I made two for this one as the first one wasn’t working out right. Here’s the second one for those of you interested.

1998_phantoms-

Comment below which you think is better!

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

To go to the previous post, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts That Lie Hidden Within

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For more monster movies, go to Let Them Fight

For more films based on books, go tA Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Rose McGowan, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more on Ben Affleck, go to Pot o’ Gold