Sunday, March 27, 2016

Horror Movie Classics: The Innocents

Oh, here's a movie I put on my queue some time ago as a "classic horror film." 1961's The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr, who is an actress I've heard of. It begins with a black screen and a creepy singing child. A+ milieu establishment, film. Birds tweet. A lady's hands look like they're praying as she cries at the birds or something. Lady cries and whispers in her brain about wanting to save the children, not hurt them or something. Fade into:

Same lady? at a job interview. It's old-timey. Lady interviewed by a rich bachelor man. He's a "very selfish fellow." He's become "saddled" with two orphan children and he's like, "FUCK THAT." The children live at his country estate. She's the daughter of a country parson. Miles and Flora. She's going to be their governess. Miss Giddens. It's her first job. The dude doesn't want any complaints or to be bothered ever. What a dick. The former governess died and traumatized everybody. "It was all very odd," Mr. Dick says. Miles has been at school and Flora watched by the housekeeper since then. Dick wants to hire her so bad. She's got to handle everything on her own if she agrees to accept the position.

Now we're in the country. Horse and carriage nonsense. Picturesque pond. Giddens asks the coachman to stop at the gates to the estate so she can walk in past the pond and such. It must be the 1860s or so with those giant hoop skirts happening under there. Walking up to the house, Giddens hears some singing but also sees a fancy gazebo by the water. Giddens sees Flora and tells her someone was calling her name. Flora wants to show Giddens her turtle. His name is Rupert and he's adorbs. Mr. Dick is Flora's uncle. Flora's chatty and excited. She brings Giddens up to the house. The housekeeper is very glad to see Giddens. Giddens is amazed by the fanciness of the huge mansion. "It's a heaven for children." Housekeeper sets Giddens up with some tea. She wasn't the one calling for Flora outside. BECAUSE IT WAS THE GHOST OF THE DEAD GOVERNESS OBVIOUSLY. Giddens: "I expect to be here for a very long time."

So many white roses. The housekeeper says something about "the devil's own eye," but apparently wasn't referring to the master. Housekeeper (Mrs. Grose) has set up Giddens in another bed in Flora's room. Bullshit. I'd insist on my own room. How is she supposed to masturbate? Flora can't sleep next to Rupert because she might roll over and CRUSH HIM. Flora has prayer questions. She implies some people don't go to heaven, but just stay and walk around. Weird squawking outside. Mrs. Grose says they have to ignore such things. In the middle of the night, much wind in the curtains of the wide open windows. Flora creepily watches Giddens sleep. Flora looks outside and hums. Probably at a ghost.

Next day. Giddens' ruffles are OUT OF CONTROL. Flora holds Giddens' mail hostage because she's a bitch. Giddens has gotten a family photo from her sister. Dick uncle's gotten a letter from Miles' school. Giddens looks upset. Giddens asks Flora about knowing Miles was coming home before she did. She watches a butterfly being eaten by a spider. Giddens tells Mrs. Grose Miles has been expelled. Mrs. Grose is ILLITERATE. The letter says Miles is "an injury to the others." Mrs. Grose laughs at the idea that Master Miles could corrupt anyone.

Giddens and Flora pick the kid up from the train station. He's a creepy little charmer and gives her a nosegay. Miles says he's home for the holidays, but they're not holidays. He won't answer questions about the school term or anything else. Miles tells her she's too pretty to be a governess, and she gives him shit about it. At home, the kids run off to see the pony.

Giddens claims the school letter must have been a misunderstanding, but she'll talk to him about it later. Mrs. Grose is worried about there being "trouble." Miles is too excited to sleep at night. She asks what he thinks about while lying awake. Oh come on, he's clearly at wiener-pulling age. Not a good convo. She confronts him about being expelled. He knows his uncle won't give a shit. Giddens tries to make excuses for Dick uncle, but insists she cares about Miles. He cries a single tear, but won't tell her what happened back at school. "Trust me," she says. The window crashes and the candle blows out.  "It was only the wind, my dear," says a 12 year-old to a grown woman.

Daytime. Giddens cuts some of the billions of roses. The singing again. A creepy ceramic cherub statue. A bug comes out of its mouth and the music stops. Giddens looks up at a tower on the house and sees someone standing up there through some haze. It's silent for a moment, then he disappears. Then the birds and the singing start back up. Her clothes are so stupid. Good thing she works in a mansion with gigantic wide doorways, because her skirts have like an 8-foot diameter. She enters the stairs to the tower through an ivied wall. At the top, she finds Miles, charming all the doves. They're standing on his shoulder and head. He claims there was no man up there. "Perhaps it was me," says the creepy kid. He says she's imagined it or may need spectacles, though she's "much too pretty" for that. CREEP. He says Flora told him she makes groaning noises all night, but Flora makes up lies all the time, so who knows!

Mrs. Grose brings Giddens some scissors from the garden that she dropped earlier while investigating the OBVIOUS TOWER GHOST. She asks Mrs. Grose if there's "anyone else living here." OF COURSE NOT. JK, this is either a ghost or a clear Secret Garden/Jane Eyre crazy person wing of the house situation. Flora grabs Giddens to show her Miles riding around on the pony (too fast?).

OOPS I Skyped with an old friend for like an hour and half and now I'm not sure how long I can stay awake, despite the second energy booze I started at the beginning of this blog. LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS. Giddens' skirts are so huge and dumb. The kids draw pictures. Miles calls his sister "dear." He says he doesn't want to grow up. Giddens' old house was too small for secrets. The kids want to play hide and seek. Giddens will seek. How could you play this game at night without electricity? In the dark, Giddens sees a lady walk behind a curtain, but hears a voice calling her upstairs and ignores it. In a creepy attic, she finds creepy toys. An old dusty rocking horse and a bouncing clown doll. She bumps a CLEARLY HAUNTED music box, which starts to play. Inside she finds a cracked photo of a man. Miles busts out to catch her. "Now you're my prisoner!" She tells him to let her go because he's hurting her, but he doesn't care. Clearly he's a creepy sociopath.  Flora busts out to save her and insists Giddens hides this time.

She takes her gigantic skirts downstairs and hides behind some curtains as the kids creepily count in unison. At the window she's hiding behind, Giddens sees a man approach and then dissipate. She goes outside to look around, and just hears noisy birds. Mrs. Grose comes to check. It's the guy from the tower and the attic picture. Mrs. Grose says it must be Mr. Quint, the master's valet, who is DEAD. The kids laugh maniacally from the stairs.

Another day. Giddens looks at the little photo. Later, she has a nightmare and wakes to wide-open windows in a thunder storm. Guys, thunderstorms are the best. Now she's staring out at heavy rain while the kids are doing lessons. Flora throws her pencil. Miles yells that she's begging for attention. Giddens comforts her. Giddens says they'll pretend it's Flora's birthday and they're going to have a costume party. They're going to surprise her with their outfits. Mrs. Grose says the attic is no danger to them, but Giddens isn't convinced. Apparently Quint drunkenly slipped and hit his head on the icy steps outside. He had secrets. Miles discovered the body. (Sure, "discovered.") Quint was Miles' hero.

The kids come down in costume. The music box plays and Miles recites a poem, pacing in a crown, holding a candle. Something about his lord being gone. Giddens thinks there's something going on. Mrs. Grose says nothing is wrong. Quint was once in charge. The previous governess maybe fell in love with him? Mrs. Grose won't say. The kids yell at a convenient time. Okay, a man clearly invented hoop skirts. So, so stupid. So, so large.

Giddens sits in the gazebo by the pond. Miles rows out on a boat. Flora wishes she could row, too. She asks if tortoises can swim. Uh-oh, that means Rupert is dead. Flora is humming the music box song, but doesn't know where she learned it. Giddens sees a woman in black standing in the reeds across the water. Flora apparently didn't see her. Giddens is freaking out. She tells Mrs. Grose there are two "abominations." Mrs. Grose has a weirdly optimistic view of the kids, claiming Flora wouldn't lie about seeing the ghost. Giddens knows it's some kind of "indecent" game. Quint and Miss Jessel were clearly in love. Mrs. Grose thinks it was fucked up. Quint was violent and abusive. Giddens makes Grose tell her that they were fucking, I think. She's not sure what the kids saw. All the whispering. The framing is weird. Giddens thinks THE INNOCENTS have been corrupted by Quint. Miss Jessel stopped eating and sleeping when Quint died until she herself died OF A BROKEN HEART. Mrs. Grose doesn't want Giddes to talk to the vicar about the whole ghost situation at their house because of possible SCANDAL.

Giddens has a restless sleep. She sees Miles whispering to Flora about secrets. Something about the tortoise. The kids giggling in the woods. The man on the tower. A man's and a child's hands grabbing. Doves. Whispers. The music box. Flora dancing with a woman in black. Giddens prays. Church bells! Giddens tells Mrs. Grose she's going to London to talk to their uncle. Sure, they're well-behaved, but not necessarily "good." Just "easy to live with." She knows there's more going on. The ladies' capes are wonderful. She knows the kids are talking about the ghosts. Giddens insists she must know how Miss Jessel died. She apparently killed herself in the lake. Makes sense, actually. She doesn't go into church yet and sees Flora running through the churchyard. She finds Jessel's grave with flowers on them and whispers "Flora." Does she think she killed her somehow?

Giddens is insistent upon leaving for London, despite Mrs. Grose's protest. Giddens goes to get a book from the schoolroom and encounters the sobbing ghost of Miss Jessel. She gets to the desk and she's gone, but there's blood? on the slate. Mrs. Grose comes to tell Giddens the carriage is here. She says she's not going now. She says the children can't be let out of their sight. Okay, so Giddens claims that the ghost of Jessel is so hungry for Quint that they've both possessed the children so they can be together, I guess? So this is getting pretty incest-y. Cool. Obvs. Mrs. Grose wants to tell the master, Giddens won't leave them but wants to write him. She's going to try to make the kids confess the truth.

At night, Giddens has her hair down, reading (probs the Bible--BORING) by the fire. Okay, yeah. Bible. A white rose petal. "Always happening here." She pokes the fire. The piano makes a sound. A whisper. A giggle. Her nightgown is supes ruffly, unsurprisingly. She goes out into the hallway with her lil candelabra. Mysterious noises. Voices. Pre-electricity times must've been HAUNTED AS FUCK. I can only imagine. Giddens wanders around upstairs with her candles. Spectral giggling. A locked door. A door opening? "The children are watching," says the ghost. Lots of locked doors. The voices get louder. A creepy cherub carving. Giddens runs to the bedroom, but Flora isn't in bed. She's at the window. A bird call. "Somebody's walking in the garden," she says. It's Miles in his night shirt. She yells and he stops walking, but is seemingly possessed or something. Giddens runs off with her candles as Flora snuggles up with her doll in bed.

"I just thought he was quiet."
She pulls Miles into the house. He said he knew she'd look outside. Miles claims he'll explain everything now. He claims he wanted to pretend to be bad to amuse her. They planned it together. Under his pillow, it's a pigeon. A dead one with a broken neck. He says he'll bury it tomorrow and then kisses her HARD on the lips goodnight. She's all freaked out, obvs.

This is a pretty good nanny job, eh?
Next day, she wears all black and writes to Uncle Dick. Miles knows it's about him. He plays the same old tune on the piano. Flora disappears and Giddens freaks out, disturbing Mrs. Grose petting the cat. Flora knows she's gone out on the lake in the boat by herself, possessed. She spots Flora down in the gazebo, dancing to the music box. She's got to get these kids out of here. Writing a letter is NOT going to help. Giddens sees the dead lady across the lake as it starts to rain. She tries to make Flora admit she can see Miss Jessel across the lake. Mrs. Grose comforts Flora as she screams. Now Giddens is sadface in the gazebo.

Miles sits across from Giddens by the fire. He likes when the fire crackles. They both warm their hands. Flora screams elsewhere in the house. He's a pretty good creepy kid. Flora won't stop screaming. WTF? Mrs. Grose tries to calm her. Give her some booze or something, whatever they did back then. Apparently she's swearing and stuff. Mrs. Grose says she didn't see Jessel's ghost. Grose claims Giddens turned Flora into this by forcing her to face a bad memory. Um, okay, lady. Giddens wants everyone to go away except for her and Miles. Giddens tells Grose to tell the uncle the truth when she shows up with Flora in London. Grose is super freaked out, claiming she won't judge Giddens, but we all know Giddens is just going to fuck Miles because he's possessed by the HANDSOME, CHARMING, ENTRANCING Mr. Quint. Grose and Flora and apparently the rest of the servants have gone away.

Giddens hugs a doll in the schoolroom, waiting for her Man to come back from wherever he's wandered away to. Thunder. Wind. Creepy statues on the lawn. That lake would be a good place for Colin Firth to emerge from. Mmm yeah. At some point, Giddens hears a kid yelling, but then Miles just saunters into the sitting room. "I feel quite the master of the house," he says. He knows she's scared. He calls her "my dear." GROSS. "Don't worry, there's a man in the house." He claims he's happy after asking about Flora. Miles finds Rupert the tortoise in an arboretum.

Giddens wants to know why he wandered at night. He tells her she gets ugly when she's mad. Fuck you, kid. He tells her he was sent home from school because he's different. He admits he stole her letter to his uncle. He admits he "said things" at school. He heard things at night. He scared the other boys, but now says he made them up. She sees Quint in the window as Miles gets mad. He calls her a "hussy" and laughs maniacally. Miles then throws Rupert through the window and runs away. He trips in the yard. She hugs him as he says "forgive me."She says it would be over if he says the name. "He's dead!" He's very sweaty. "Where, you devil!" and then faints. Giddens strokes his head and says he's hers now. But then she realizes he's dead and screams. Bird chirping. Now she kisses his lips creepily. Her hands in a praying position as birds chirp.

Okaaaay. The end, I guess!

No comments:

Post a Comment