Monday, October 12, 2009
Day 12: Satanism and The Deans
I'm calling this the Deans because WITHOUT FAIL, every time I go to say 'Dean Stockwell', my brain wants me to say 'Harry Dean Stanton.' Now, I KNOW the difference between these two fellas. Stanton = coolio cool in films like Repo Man, Wild at Heart. Stockwell= guy that goes beep-boop-beep-boop-boop in the TV show Quantum Leap. Not that he hasn't had his own moments. His line delivered in response to Dennis Hopper's Frank in Blue Velvet 'Very Well, Frank. Here's to your F**k.' and his expression following makes me fall over laughing every time.
But since my brain wants to confuse the Deans, I can't help but wonder what this movie would have been like if Stanton had the lead instead of Stockwell. For one, we wouldn't have been treated to facial expressions like this one:
Believe me, there's many more where THAT came from.
I'm talking about The Dunwich Horror. I've got another confession to make about this movie. I ordered it during some online sale - thinking I knew what I was getting - which was a movie I'd seen about ten years ago about witchcraft. I realized right away it wasn't the film I thought I'd ordered - which my friend KK recognized right away when I described it to her. As the DEVONSVILLE TERROR. Ah well.
Our film opens on a sweaty woman giving birth with some strange symbol written on her forehead. Can't be good. What happens to her? Don't know, because the credits start....
Now we're at college - Nancy (Sandra Dee) has just gotten out of class and her professor wants her to run an errand for him. Nothing too hard, just run the Necronomicon back to the library. Wait, what?
None of these burly dudes can do it?
Nope, I guess it makes total sense to ask the perky blonde to run it back - especially since this dude is lurking about:
And just so the book doesn't get put back in the wrong place: we have this nice case with a handy dandy label:
but just after Nancy puts it away, Wilbur (Creepy Dean) asks her if he can take a look at it. Nancy says, Sure! Why not? Her reasonable brunette friend thinks that's not the greatest idea, but Nancy says, It'll be okay.....besides, did you see his eyes?? Oh Yes we did, Nancy, and we'll be seeing ALOT more of them by the time this movie is throught......Wilbur gets all excited and has weirdo flashbacks with people in capes and trees 'n shit ...... But hold up, here comes the Professor, and he's all, Step away from the book, dude.
But before the Professor can get his panties in too much of a twist, it comes out that Dean is the grandson of some dude that was hung because of something to do with the book, and knows who the Professor is, and somehow this is just all O-TAY with the Prof, and then they all go out to dinner for drinks and to talk about the occult. But the Prof still won't let Wilbur study the book.
So the Prof and the Reasonable Brunette leave Nancy and Wilbur in the restaurant - until Wilbur figures out gee, he's just missed his bus - and Nancy offers to drive him home. Of course, Wilbur wants Nancy to come in for a cup of tea, and well, you probably start to see where this is going....especially when the house looks like this:
You can't see this, but there's a pumpkin in the front yard. A PUMPKIN. Lol.
They get in the creepy house, Nancy goes to freshen up, Wilbur waves his hand over some big green rock, which turns.......not sure what that has to do with ANYTHING about anything, but when Nancy tries it five minutes later (while Wilbur is busy spiking her tea), it falls off the table. An old guy shows up, (Gramps, apparently, according to Wilbur), he leaves and Nancy starts gettin' itchy to leave. Only Wilbur wants her to finish her tea first:
I ain't drinking no kind of tea from ANYONE who looks at me like that while I drink it.
But no, Nancy still wants to go, but wait, Whoops, car won't start. Which is probably because Wilbur managed to sneak out and disconnect her distributor cap inbetween making tea and playing with green rocks. (that was one LONG bathroom break, Nancy). Well, I guess Nancy just has to spend the night now. Wow, I never saw THAT coming.
Sooooo.......then we learn there's SOMETHING locked upstairs, and then Nancy has a bad freaky dream involving people in weird makeup chasing her. Now it's the next day, the Prof and the Reasonable Brunette are on the road looking for Nancy, and Nancy and Wilbur are relaxing on a grassy hillside discussing Nancy's dream and Wilbur's life in the country...to which Nancy finds appealing and she's never 'felt so relaxed'.
HUH? After a night of dreaming about this?
Guess that's her idea of peace, because she accepts Wilbur's offer to spend the weekend. Then her friends arrive looking for her:
Here we are, just strolling amongst the gargoyles.....
They leave the house and Nancy has more tea...which leads to a nap....and then Gramps is all over Wilbur for bringing the girl there and warns him 'to let the book be!"
I'll beat you with my Keith Haring stick!
Turns out that Prof and co. have not left town but instead are poking around, looking for info on the family. They find out that Wilbur's mom originally gave birth to twins, but one died, and now she's in the looney bin:
And also Wilbur is giving Nancy more info on Grandpappy - who apparently believed in a pre-human superior race of beings that he wanted to resurrect....and then the town just went and hanged him after he tried to sacrifice some girl!
Of all the nerve!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
Just a little tour of the family sacrificial grounds!
Wilbur gets Nancy to lay down on the stone table - with more funky eye movements, apparently, since she sort of just does it with no real coaxing:
And then the real fun begins with chanting and this:
I have no words.
Then there's the writhing, and the trees, and the people and robes....and we find that Wilbur has this under his clothes.
Can't be good.
Then for some explicable reason, Nancy's friend goes back to the house alone and forces her way in past the old man. As you can imagine, she goes immediately to the locked door and...colored lights and screaming ensue
Can't be good.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Wilbur and Nancy return, all - a -post-ritual-glow, but not for long. Gramps is all upset and bitching that the girl came and claiming that Wilbur's plan won't succeed. Gramps claims that he tried once and destroyed Wilbur's mother. Gramps attacks Wilbur and falls down the stairs to his death.
What happens next is the fastest funeral ever - as we see Wilbur doing all kinds of freaky deaky spell like things over Gramps' grave, and Nancy just taking it all in stride....
Then Wilbur's mom kicks the bucket, Wilbur and Nancy drive back to university (when did the car start running again?) and Wilbur steals the Necronomicon. So he can take Nancy out to the family sacrifical grounds and start this bullshit again:
Meanwhile, the neighbors are getting attacked by something we never see, and then we're back to Wilbur...who proclaims to Nancy that's she's 'One of us now'.
What, she's going to start making overly dramatic eye movements???
I guess SOMETHING they did in the ceremony led to SOMETHING because the wind picks up and the trees shake violently and we get a lot of this kind of thing:
Then the ranch is burning down and the Prof and the Doc have somehow managed to organize the townspeople, and they all stand around watching the wind blow through the grass. Or something.
Wonder what they're all scared of?
Yep, that shit is TRULY frightening.
Guess this is the longest ceremony EVER, because Wilbur is still looking at the book, Nancy is writhing on the stone table, and the townspeople are on their way.
But suddenly they're attacked by the WIND:
FINALLY the Prof and Wilbur meet up and have a squinting contest:
Wilbur must feel pretty good about that, because he's right back at this crap:
Yep, that's pretty much how I feel about it.
But the Prof keeps yelling some word at him over and over - which only takes about thirty times before it has this effect:
Wilbur tries to do his backwards-ass horn thingie again, the Prof keeps yelling, and Nancy keeps writhing.
It ends with this um, thing that flashes in different colors:
Then Nancy snaps out of it, and the Prof is all, Hey, the other baby didn't die, it was stuck between two worlds, and its real father was 'not of this world', but you know what, it's all good now because the last of the family line is dead for reals.
Uh, what? (that's a transposed FETUS over her dress just in case you can't make it out) HAHAHAHAHA
God how i WISH this movie had ended with 'The End?' in big letters. Then I could have fell off my chair laughing. Which I might have done through the whole movie if I hadn't watched it with a puzzled 'Huh?' look on my face. It was sort of fun but on the other hand all the rituals and 'other worlds' and people apparently from them that we never really see......I don't mind not having ALL the answers but sometimes it just seemed sketchy because the filmmakers couldn't be bothered to come up with a better explanation. I know this is based on Lovecraft but I don't know enough about it to know if it's close to the original story or not. But I'm sure that googly eyes were not a part of the source material. Just a hunch.