Horror 365 Movie(s) 284: 8 Great Moments In Foreshadowing

We here at Castle Blogferatu pride ourselves on being an artsy, erudite lot. I myself have even managed to pass myself off as an English professor for lo these many years. It pays for maintenance around the ol’ keep—y’know, utilities, moat cleaning, chemical storage, reactor shielding, biohazard disposal—your standard, garden variety domestic expenses. That said, we do like our literary and artistic devices. Symbolism, subplot, metaphor, we’re just silly about all that stuff.

But the best of those may have to be foreshadowing. Sometimes this can be ineffective, ham-fisted, and overtly telegraphed like, I dunno, spelling out Valak every damn where. Oh please bash me over the head with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer Of Foreshadowing. But when it’s done well, *chef’s kiss.* So here, accumulated from around the Interwebz and my very own noggin and accompanied by a shit-ton of grievous spoilers, are 8 Great Moments In Foreshadowing.

#8 Jurassic Park

I am far from the first person to notice this one, and there’s some debate on whether or not it was intentional. I would argue that it’s too heavy-handed not to be. On the plane, Sam Neill has two female ends of two seatbelts, a problem he solves by tying the seatbelts together. It foreshadows 2 things. First, all the dinosaurs are female, like the seatbelt ends. Bang bang, Maxwell. Second, marginally more subtle, is that “Life, uh, finds a way.” Sam Neill found a way. So will the dinos.

#7 Night Of The Living Dead

Here’s one that’s so simple lotsa folks seem to have missed it. At least, I’ve never seen anyone mention this anywhere. But Barbra’s brother Johnny prophetically tells her, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra.” And then they do. And not only them, but specifically him.

#6 The Wicker Man

Don’t even think about it. This is the real version of The Wicker Man thank you very much. Again, many reviewers have pointed this one out. The isolated island cult needs a sacrifice. Said sacrifice has to meet certain requirements: come of their own free will, possess the power of a king (he represents Law), be a virgin, and be a fool. Edward Woodward determines to infiltrate the May Day shindig to prevent the sacrifice he thinks is gonna take place. To do so, he steals a costume which just so happens to be Punch. The Fool.

#5 Trilogy Of Terror, Amelia

Two things. The box the doll comes in looks an awful lot like a coffin. More importantly, Amelia (Karen Black) takes the doll outta the box and says, “Even your mother wouldn’t love you.” Add to that Amelia’s strained relationship with her own mother and the very end of the segment where the doll has taken her over, and she sits waiting for her mother to show up. Oooo.

#4 Get Out

Lots & lotsa folks have sorted this one out already. Me personally, this totally went by me the first time. I can hear Foghorn Leghorn even now: “That’s a joke son, a gag. You’re built too low. The fast ones go right over your head. You got a hole in yer glove.” But I got it the second time (which was immediately after the first time. I left the theater and bought a ticket for the next show). The deer Rose and Chris hit on the way to the Armitage estate comes full circle when Chris uses a deer head to kill Dean.

#3 Psycho

I’ve never seen anyone else mention this, but I can’t be the only one who’s picked up on it. When the movie opens, Marion is wearing a white bra and slip. Nothing has happened yet, so she’s still good. When she decides to take off with the money, she’s technically become a criminal. As she gets dressed to beat it outta town, she’s wearing a black bra and slip. It’s a nice two-fer since black is the color for both evil and death.

#2 Psycho (again)

It took a long time for the penny to finally drop on this one, but it’s Marion’s last name, Crane. She doesn’t know it, but when she’s in the Bates Motel office with Norman and all the dead, stuffed birds, she’s on her way to becoming yet another one of Norman’s dead birds. It also somewhat reinforces the notion that Norman sees her as a thing more than a person.

#1 Nightmare Alley

Ah, this one’s my favorite. Less than 3 minutes in, carny and two-bit hustler Stan (Tyrone Power) takes a minute to watch the sideshow Geek who fascinates him. As the barker does his spiel introducing him, there’s a number of cuts back to Stan. As Stan walks away, there’s one more shot with the Geek’s sideshow banner right above Stan’s head. We come to find out that a carny geek is really made rather than born, usually a down and out alcoholic or drug addict who will do pretty much anything for a bottle or fix and a dry place to sleep it off. Well, this is eventually what life comes down to for Stan.

I know there are many, many more of these, but a bunch of ’em have been mentioned elsewhere. Still, if you can think of any more, let me know in the Comments. Eventually I’ll sort out enough for a Part II.

3 thoughts on “Horror 365 Movie(s) 284: 8 Great Moments In Foreshadowing

  1. Additional avian imagery in Psycho is the arrangement of wooden rakes in Sam Loomis’s Hardware Store, when Lila Crane comes to inquire about missing (now dead) sister Marion. At one point rakes are pictured behind and slightly above Lila, and their tines are spread like predatory birds in flight. Low-key lighting completes the shot. Look out, Lila, you could be next!

    Then, of course, there’s “redrum, redrum ” from that other great film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Anyway, Radium Girls tells the story of the girls (and they were almost all young girls) who worked for American Radium. It opens with a snakeoil salesman hawking radium water and saying how it’s guaranteed to make your skin glow (another candidate, it turns out, for Great Moments In Foreshadowing). […]


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