Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is what is known as a HAIL MARY.

I am so tired I could die; it's 8:40 and all I want to do is crawl in my cozy bed and fall asleep dreaming of George Clooney, Brett Favre, Viggo Mortonson, Lucius Malfoy, etc., etc., but I AM COMMITTED TO MY OCTOBER LIST, by God, through loss of life and limb I will finish this. You'll have to forgive me if it seems a little rushed but October was a *smashing* month for my little Television Lady blog, so I'd be looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth if I wasn't the last man standing at my own party. . . so you get it all, but you get it all at once. (thanks everyone who has read, enjoyed, commented: this has been great fun for me!)

1. The Birds, 1963, Alfred Hitchcock. This was my first viewing all the way through, and I had no intention of being rattled by it. But guess what? This film is severely disturbing and I was very bothered by it. Why, oh why, these birds? You never find out. I like that. In Terror in the Aisles, there's an interview with Hitchcock about suspense in film; he says something to the effect of, "you can't just blow your wad all at once, you have to make the audience wait and squirm a little and then, BAM!" This film was very much that way, you wait a hell of a long time for the BAM, but once it happens . . . (shudder).

Random questions:
1. Did anyone else get any lesbian overtones from The Schoolteacher? I thought it worked just fine, but when she said she had "dated" Mitch, it really threw me for a loop.
2. Can the birds smell them? I was screaming at everyone to go hide in a closet, completely enclosed.
3. Constant calling his mother "dear?" And the jealousy of all girls he brings home? Unresolved remnants from young Master Bates, perhaps?

2. Psycho, 1960, Alfred Hitchcock. First scary movie I ever saw (age six). My dad told me about it and I begged him to let me watch it when it aired on channel nine. He went out to his machine shop after dinner that evening and I hovered around the television, waiting for it to come on; once the music started I must have gotten some kind of clue as to what I was in for. . . I ran out to the steps and yelled for him to come in.

This whole film is tense. Marion steals the money, she lies to the cop, she dumps her car, she meets Norman. They have this really uncomfortable conversation (hello, A BOY'S BEST FRIEND IS HIS MOTHER) and well, you know the rest. I just clench and writhe every time. The most disturbing part of this film isn't the murder, it isn't the corpse in clothing, it isn't the superimposition of Mother Bates's face onto Norman's at the end, it's the way she just stomps out of that bathroom after she cuts up Marion. Just stalking right the hell out of there, like "well that little skank just got what was coming to her AND GET OUT OF MY WAY, I'm *STILL* PISSED ABOUT IT" stomp, stomp, stomp!

Once Matt, to get a rise out of me, dressed up in some ridiculous jumper I had in the back of my closet, grabbed the biggest knife he could find, and just stood silently in the doorway of our old apartment with his mouth frozen in this huge, disgusting grin, just waiting for me to turn my head over and see. . .

ugh. But you must admit, Norman Bates is one of the absolute best time-withstanding villains. I know most people will not agree to this, but I think his portrayals in the sequels are just as entertaining and disturbing. I'll be getting to that on its own, soon enough.

The rest?

Dracula by Bram Stoker: Wonderful. I loved it. I think the thing I loved best was that Winona Ryder was not anywhere near it.

Alfred Hitchcock, Tales of Terror. Hitch chose the tales, he didn't write them. But they were wonderful, I loved them all, mostly.

The Thomas Mann Reader. This was probably my favorite book this month, but as I was getting pressed for time and these tales were not really related to Halloween, Vampires, Psychopaths, or things of this nature, I had to shelve it after only a few stories to try to keep on task. They were amazing and made me cry, though, I will definitely return to this, probably in December.

It's Psycho Two and Three tonight. . . Matt is growing quite annoyed at all the Dexters we've been missing, but has been very sportsmanlike in allowing me full control of the television. Plus his leg is still in a cast and he can't really do anything about it anyway. At least it's horror and not Traveling Pants, right Larry?


Donald said...

The Birds and Psycho are both brilliant, but everybody knows that.

However... Dracula sucks. I hate that buck. Great idea for a story and it's certainly influential and important in the annals of literary history, but it's so god damn boring and annoying. I think Bram Stoker is just a bad writer.

Anna said...

I fully expected to hate Dracula because I fully hated the film. Winona Ryder can do what you told John Updike to do, or anything else that keeps her from the screen in ANYTHING.

it gets a little long, i'll grant you that. but sometimes the things I like best are the things i expect will be disappointing.