Horror 365 Movie(ish) 284: Thrift Store Thursday VIII

Another run to the CHKD Thrift Store, but not all that much goin’ on. I did get this Twin Peaks set. I loved Twin Peaks. It’s a great example of the Kuleshov Effect. The first time you watch it, you think Leland Palmer is crazy with grief. When you watch it again, knowing what you know, well, that changes everything.

In other news, they’re also putting out the Halloween stuff, so yay! All together, $13. Okay it was 12 something, but they have an option where you can round up to the next dollar. For the childrens.

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.

Horror 365 Movie 283: PIN

Okay this is a weird one, even for me. Still, I’ve been meaning to get to it for some time. I first came across this little oddity somewhere in the early 90s, but that’s about all I can tell you. My suspicion is that I caught this on the long defunct but arguably greatest movie outlet ever on cable, The Movie Channel. I wondered if maybe it was on Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater, but as yet I haven’t found any evidence to back that up.

Anyway, PIN opens with a bunch of school boys sneaking up to a house to get a glimpse of, well, somebody. Cuz boys. One clambers up to the roof over the front porch to get a good look at the motionless figure in the window. The figure then blinks and says “Get out!” Then, we flash back 15 years. Very Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Now we meet Leon and Ursula, a brother and sister with a less-than-healthy upbringing. Their mother is a neat freak, and their father (a right-in-between Stepfather and Stepfather II Terry O’Quinn) is an oppressive, emotionally distant doctor. In his examination room, the good doctor also has PIN, a life-size, anatomically correct teaching mannequin that looks not remarkably unlike one of the figures from the Body Worlds exhibit. 

Herr Doktor also talks to his pediatric patients as well as his own children through PIN using ventriloquism. Not weird enough for you yet? Well, hang on gang, cuz this whole Pinocchio (that’s gotta be what PIN is short for, right?) puppet vs. real boy idea starts to play itself out immediately. As fate would have it, Leon one day gets an eyeful of his father’s nurse using said anatomically correct PIN to perform an equally anatomically correct activity.

This traumatizes Leon and sparks his loathing for pretty much all things sexual. No, put that checkbook away; there’s more. Soon enough this manifests itself in violence at a high school dance. Leon catches Ursula doin’ some he-in’ & she-in’ in the back of a car complete with squeaky shocks and fogged up windows. He yanks the guy out of the car and kicks him until a couple guys pull him away. Apparently Leon’s got kind of a Tony Montana thing about his sister.

Well, not long after this, Ursula finds out she’s pregnant, so she and Leon go ask PIN what she should do (PIN having apparently become Leon’s oracle and dispenser of wisdom). PIN suggests they go to their father, who in turn performs an abortion on his own daughter. Yeah, that’s a tough hurdle to clear. Oh, and at this point we’re roughly a half hour in. Wait, what?? Yeah. 30 minutes of almost nonstop cringe. Oh but we ain’t done. Not by a longshot.

See, Doctor Dad discovers Leon having a conversation with PIN and decides to remove PIN from the exam room. Well, he and the Mrs. die in a car crash. PIN, uh, survives, and Leon brings him home. Leon and Ursula pretty much have the run of the place as Leon is 18 and Ursula is almost out of high school. Nobody questions this. The point is, PIN has become another family member. Leon even goes as far as putting clothes and a wig on him.

All of this develops into some serious Norman Bates/Mother split personality shit that comes to a head in the final act. First, Leon brings home then psychologically tortures a “date.” The next night, Ursula has her boyfriend over for dinner to meet Leon and, well, PIN.

After dinner, Leon reads to everyone from his epic tale of a hero named, wait for it, Testes, whose mission is to gain immortality by siring as many children as possible. This passage in particular concerns said hero contemplating the rape of a woman he’s seen who turns out to be his sister. Sidebar: the book has some heavy, explicit incest which was not included in the movie. It’s no wonder since the author, Andrew Neiderman, was also a V.C. Andrews ghostwriter.

Now…on one hand, this whole review might seem kinda spoiler heavy. I assure you I have merely scratched the surface. This one’s gotta be experienced to be believed. On the other hand, I won’t include any details about the final confrontation/big reveal, but I will warn you that you’ll see the very end coming a mile away.

So, boils and ghouls, put a, well, PIN in this cringefest and get to it some time.

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