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30 December 2014 @ 12:44 pm
Movie Reviewed: Nightmare Castle  
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title


Nightmare Castle
1965

Starring: Barbara Steele, Paul Muller, Helga Liné
DIR: Mario Caiano


Blurb: A count who experiments with electro-stimulation of human blood discovers that his wife is having an affair. Catching the two lovers together, the count tortures and kills them, using their hearts and blood to further his experiments and to restore the beauty of his own lover. [Edited because the entire plot is laid out for you, and what fun is that?]


Scene 01: We open today’s film with a close up of a man with smoke drifting in front of his face. He’s got a half-smile, but the framing is so close upon him that we can’t see any other detail about him or his circumstance.

It turns out that he’s in a lab doing some work. His presumed wife comes in and complains that at the rate he’s going he’s going to destroy the entire frog population in the county. She’s got a glass of brandy and he complains both that he’s asked her before not to come into the lab while he’s working and that she always seems to have opinions of his work when she overindulges.

Our unhappy couple are Muriel and Stephen Arrowsmith. Muriel is there to complain about his going off for another conference leaving her in their large home alone again, while making pointed comments about how being worried when he leaves is supposed to be her job as his wife. She suddenly becomes amorous toward him and asks that he spend the night with her before his long trip to Edinburgh.


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Muriel suddenly gets a nasty look on her face when she spots the housekeeper Solange spying on them. She wanders across the room to verbally assault the woman, telling her that she bet she enjoys spying on her and her husband, but Solange takes her barbs with a grain of salt and tells her that she’s too old to think about such matters any longer. We find out that Muriel and Stephen are Baroness and Baron. Solange’s real reason for having found the Baron was to ask about the luggage because it’s gotten quite late and he has a long journey.

Rather than staying for the night, the Baron chooses to leave now.


Commentary: So, the first thing to comment on is the interesting focus on the Baron’s face which at once places us in an uncomfortable position toward him. The half-smile could be construed as being maniacal, while not being over the top or otherwise suspicious. But already we’re ready for a mad science tale from that first image.

The second thing I want to comment on is the inclusion of Barbara Steele - who is ALWAYS a welcome presence with her expressive face and her magnetic eyes. She’s wonderful as a woman who sends unspoken meaning behind her words through her physical acting. I also like that she has an immediate chemistry with her co-star, Paul Muller that let’s me buy that they’re married and could’ve been happy at some point before the obsession with work and her drinking got in the way.

Solange is a problem, and it’s a pretty big one. It’s obvious that actress Helga Liné is “aged” through a really bad wig and some unconvincing makeup. She does what she can with her voice and physical mannerisms, but no… she’s just a younger woman in a bad makeup job.



Scene 02: As the horse-drawn buggy is brought up to the house, the doctor asks about the horse’s obvious case of nerves. David puts it down toward his having been cooped up in the stable too long and opines that the trip will do him some good. He also gets some last minute instructions on some new plant samples that have been delivered.


Scene 03: In the huge manor, Muriel wanders to the music room by candlelight. There she plays the piano, while her facial expression seems to indicate that her thoughts aren’t actually on the music.


Scene 04: Outside, David the hunky grounds man is moving the doctor’s plants into the greenhouse as instructed. He can hear the piano playing from the main house. We see him come to a sudden stop and listen for a moment.


Scene 05: In the music room, Muriel seems to sense his presence as she gets a sly, seductive smile to herself.


Scene 06: David puts the plants down and walks away from them.


Commentary: Very interesting camera work on this sequence as well. Muriel is given a lot of attention to her eyes and smile, while David is only seen from his boots. It’s become quite obvious that there is a seduction game between these two and that the piano selection is probably the signal from Muriel to him that she’s ready for him to join her.

I like the suggestion that this isn’t really about David at all and it could’ve been anyone relatively young and virile on the grounds that Muriel would’ve started a physical affair with -- as shown by her thoughts only being interested in his coming to her… he’s a faceless entity otherwise out in the garden shown only from his boots, where as when David was interacting with Stephen his face was seen as the Baron and Solange actually see him as more than an object.



Scene 07: Muriel goes up to her suite, while the soundtrack continues with her piano piece, with an orchestra treatment. Muriel undresses to a white, sheer nightgown.

Meanwhile, we see David’s boots on the stairs heading up.

Muriel dabs some perfume on herself just as David is arriving to the bedroom. They kiss and David expresses his relief that the Baron has finally made himself scarce. He speaks harshly about his boss and Muriel tells him not to speak of poor Stephen that way. David asks if she might still love her husband, but she assures him that it is he that she loves [although with so much attention paid to avoiding David’s face on his trip to her room, I would still need to question if she isn’t just a liar using him for his body].

They passionately kiss. Muriel tells David she’s going to break him of his vulgar ways and fill him with refinement, which confuses him but she tells him it’s unimportant and goes back to snogging with him.


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Commentary: Again, I like this subtle hint that Muriel isn’t really interested in David so much as interested in someone who pays attention to her. She doesn’t really like him all that much, or at least his “commoner” status and attitudes. And the lunk doesn’t get that she actually thinks she’s above him.


Scene 08: For some reason, Muriel drags David through the manor and down the stairs. If she felt she was being sneaky, she’s got another think coming - as Solange is in the hallway seeing what her mistress has been getting up to.


Scene 09: Muriel and David return to the greenhouse. In the greenhouse, it’s more passion.

BUT… it turns out that the Baron Arrowsmith hadn’t gone as far as thought. He’s standing in the greenhouse also, with a steel poker looking quite stone faced at our frolicking couple. Our musical interlude has also changed to one of an organ or harpsichord. Either way, the music is no longer light and airy, but is heavy with meaning.

Stephen watches David pawing at his wife for a moment before stalking forward. He slashes David across the face, sending him unconscious to the ground.


Scene 10: Sometime later, Stephen has his wife and grounds man chained in a dungeon and is whipping the tar outta them cheaters.

Muriel pleads for why Stephen doesn’t just kill them and he promises he will, but only after he’s pulled all of the suffering a human being can stand from them first. He promises that she has no idea how long it can take for a person to die from pain.

She calls him a monster, which is hard to argue with - righteous anger notwithstanding.

[And I gotta think that David is begging her to shut up and stop antagonizing him into further madness!]

Stephen isn’t the only one consumed with his darkness… Muriel describes her hatred as so deep that even after he kills her body, she’ll never leave him in peace. This isn’t impressive to Stephen who doesn’t believe in spirits or the walking dead. But Muriel has another bit of news for him… if he thinks that he’ll be inheriting all of her wealth and her castle with her death, he’s sadly mistaken. She informs him with spite that she changed her will when she discovered his vile experiments and how loathsome a man she married really is; he’ll get nothing.


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Unfortunately, Muriel talks too much. She namedrops her half-sister, Jenny as her heiress thinking she has one over on her husband now, but really only putting a target on her unknowing sister. She may have wanted to drop a line in her will about not trusting her husband… but one thinks she probably didn’t. Worse, she describes her own sister as a blithering idiot which means she may be easier to manipulate than wanted.

Stephen regards this new information and tries to barter freeing her and David’s freedom to run off somewhere far away in return for her signing over her material wealth to him. David warns her that once he has what he wants, they’re both dead regardless.


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After knocking David around, he turns to his wife and asks pleasantly if she agrees to his terms. She glares at him with gritted teeth, and knowing that she’s probably in for some more torture yells “no” in his face several times.


Commentary: I really liked this scene for both the acting and because it was allowed to play out without any sudden jump cuts to elsewhere, like Solange standing around with a thoughtful look, which would’ve happened in modern storytelling. The entire tableau is allowed to play out and the acting by all involved was really good here to carry the extended scene.


Scene 11: In the lab, Solange is busy grousing about Muriel leaving everything to her irresponsible, idiot sister. She bitches about having to let Muriel live now, but he tells her straight up that isn’t happening. She complains that she didn’t help him just to feed his twisted jealousies for nothing and expected a cut of the huge payout for her assistance and now it’s all been for nothing.

Stephen goes on to tell her how Jenny is mad and everyone is aware of this. He intends to get that wealth from her and when he does, he’ll finally discover the secrets of permanent youth and give loyal Solange a gift far more valuable than mere money or property.

Solange looks like she’s starting to wonder if Jenny is the only crazy one she knows.


Scene 12: Sometime later, our philandering couple have been moved to Muriel’s bed chamber. Muriel has been chained to the bed, while David is shackled into a chair with unusual arms that close and pin him. Stephen promises to show David how he felt seeing them together.

He dabbles in some forced kissage and mild stroking. [We cut to David trying to shout him off, so I thought we’d get a bit of marital rape, which would’ve been the logical conclusion -- but apparently that was too far - even to suggest happening off screen, because we switch back to Stephen only seconds later and apparently forcing a kiss on his wife was enough “torment” to put on David.]

Next, the Baron turns a spigot and drips acid on his wife’s body until she passes out. He releases David to go to her -- but he’s still manacled about the ankle. Stephen pushes him over on top of his burned wife. We see that the manacle around David’s ankle has been wired to a generator.

The Baron walks behind a curtain. He gives his former groundsman, and through him his wife, a prolonged electrical shock.


Scene 13: Sometime later, Stephen is back in his lab. He’s draining blood from his wife. He next collects her organs. Finally, the remains that won’t be put to use in his experiments are consigned to an incinerator.

He mixes his wife’s ashes into soil and uses this for a potted plant in the house.


Commentary: We don’t see any indication of what he did to David’s remains, which seems like an odd oversight. He could’ve at least been lying on a gurney in the lab so we could draw the obvious conclusion, or been shown chained up and despondent in the dungeon if he isn’t killed yet.


Scene 14: At the plant, Solange -- looking very not-white-haired and old -- waters said potted plant. She hears horses’ hooves outside and sees a buggy pulling up to the estate.

This contains Stephen and the grieving Jenny. Jenny is the spitting image of her late half-sister, except that she’s blonde.

Solange greets them outside and is taken aback by the resemblance to the murdered mistress of the castle. Dr. Arrowsmith is gleeful to inform Solange of that morning’s marriage between himself and the latest baroness of Hampton House.


Commentary: We get no explanation for Solange’s change in appearance, and I assumed that it wasn’t a miracle youth serum at the time. I assumed going in that the whole wig and old makeup was a trick on the Baroness -- though what the hell that was about, or how long she’d been playing old I couldn’t even guess. It seemed rather… dumb…, especially of the Baroness not to see through the crappy makeup job. But it turns out much later in a throwaway line that Solange was meant to be an old woman and has had her youth restored to her… which we’ll talk about then because as hinted here -- it’s coming out of left field and is really weirdly introduced.


Scene 15: The first thing to catch the new Baroness’ eye is the unusual plant on a set of drawers in the parlor. The doctor informs her it’s quite rare in these parts and is of immense value to him. Obviously it’s the plant he chose to display in his wife’s ashes.

Jenny next spots a painting of her sister and is equally taken aback by the resemblance they shared.


Scene 16: Once Jenny has been sent to the dressing room to get out of her travel clothes, Solange confronts Stephen on this sudden surprise marriage he’s sprung on her.


Scene 17: In the dressing room, a faint yell is heard. Jenny turns in time to see that a snake is slithering in the room with her. She gasps a scream. [There is no indication of who Jenny heard -- it could’ve been her sister’s ghost, or Solange raising her voice at Stephen, it’s never addressed.]

Stephen and Solange come in where Stephen assures her that the snake is quite harmless and escaped from his lab. He assures her that it won’t happen again.


Scene 18: Later in the lab [ouch… sudden jump cut causes whiplash], Solange continues their discussion about this unexpected marriage and his intentions. She’s pissed that he’s still carrying a torch for his dead wife, which Jenny looks so much like and that she’ll now be stuck with another mistress lording over her.


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But he explains that Jenny looks well and beautiful, but her doctor warned Stephen that her sanity holds by a thread. He suggests to Solange that it could snap quite easily being trapped in the house in which her sister died so recently. He goes on to tell Solange that they’ll find a doctor who can testify to her unsound state of mind, placing him in charge of her welfare and wealth as her husband. It seems the safest route out of their financial situation caused by Muriel’s altered will.

Solange cautions that they can’t be assured that Jenny’s mental condition will get noticeably worse, but the Baron tells her he’ll take care of that with a little homeopathy.


Commentary: I really don’t like the way that they’ve skated over Muriel’s death and destruction of her corpse with nary a word about the authorities. I mean, c’mon… even whenever this is [1700’s, 1800’s?] that has got to look a bit suspicious to somebody.

We never even get an inkling that they were involved.



Scene 19: In the drawing room later, Solange slips some of the drug into Jenny’s glass.

We focus on the painting of Muriel with her expressive eyes while her piano tune starts to play.


Scene 20: Stephen is sitting in a chair, thoughts on his wife as the piano tune continues. Muriel’s portrait gets another close up, which is in the bedroom sitting room.

Jenny greets her new husband with a shy smile. When she removes her robe, she’s wearing a duplicate of the nightgown that her sister was wearing on her last night alive.

The newly married couple make their way to Muriel’s murder bed. He starts to kiss her, but she’s zonking out.


Commentary: Oh, my goodness. It is especially warped that Stephen not only kept the chair that he’d pinned David into, but actually kept and intends on bedding his wife’s sister on the bed that he’d used when he was killing Muriel.

Stephen is turning out wonderfully twisted.



Scene 21: Sometime much later, Jenny awakes lying next to her sleeping husband. The clock chiming midnight startles her. From across the room, she hears the sound of a heartbeat through the closed bedroom door. She tries to wake Stephen but he doesn’t respond.

She gets up to check out the noise. When she opens the door, there is a burst of laughter and a wind from nowhere that chases her back into the bedroom where she slams the door shut.

She notices the plant, which has been moved to their room is starting to weep blood. This chases her back to her bed, where she lies nervously listening to the house. Her gaze falls upon her sister’s portrait and she hears loud rasping and the sounds of breathy yells echoing.

Jenny feels a swoon….


Scene 22: Suddenly, she’s lying on the floor next to a sarcophagus. Above her stands David who helps her to stand and then leads her away. They’re in the greenhouse, where the bright sunlight is nearly blinding above them. They share a kiss before they lie down in each other’s arms.

David suddenly stands and there is somebody in a suit with the iron who hits David across the head. But the attacker’s face is completely whited out so Jenny can’t see who is doing this. She sits up to see that man standing over her looking down on her, but his face has been covered in a white stocking so she can’t make out his features. She puts her arms out to the stranger and starts to strangle him.


Scene 23: In the bedroom, Jenny is strangling her husband. She’s calling out David’s name when Stephen awakens her. He tries to convince her she had a nightmare, but she insists she was someplace else with a strange man. She also brings up seeing blood coming from the plant.

Naturally when she rushes over, there is no sign of any blood coming from the plant in question. She insists to Stephen that she did see it, and also that she isn’t mad.


Scene 24: The next day, Solange is excited at the medication working on Jenny’s mind so quickly. They’re both sympathetic toward poor Jenny, but a scheming couple of murderous thieves have to do what they have to do, amiright?

Solange asks about the vial for that night and Stephen goes to prepare it, only to find that the vial from the previous night is still on the shelf. He argues with Solange and we find out that he also kept a vial of sucrose in the lab and this is what Solange dosed Jenny with the night before -- her nightmare hadn’t been caused by the hallucinogen at all!

This rattles Solange because of the details of Jenny’s experiences and she starts to worry that an external agent is working against them, but the Baron is contemptuous of all of the talk about spirits wandering the castle. He has never met any in all of his years there. Solange is frightened about Jenny knowing David’s name upon awakening, but Stephen tells her to just be quiet. He plans on getting Jenny’s former psychiatrist to see how weak of mind Jenny is currently in order to push ahead with having her committed and thereby gaining control of her assets. Solange pleads with him to wait a little longer to ensure that their risk is minimized and that Jenny is really over the edge before she sees the doctor. Stephen agrees, before putting a passionate kiss on Solange to calm her nerves.


Commentary: I also liked how the relationship between Solange and Stephen has been treated. He’s been hinting that he may not want to get rid of Jenny so quickly because of a sexual attraction to his new wife, but as soon as Solange glares at him in this scene, he’s quick to introduce a romantic interest in her. It’s impossible to tell just what… if anything… Stephen actually feels about anyone. He’s coming across as a true sociopath but Solange hasn’t struck me thus far as being entirely gullible, either. The two of them are very interesting together.


Scene 25: In the music room, Jenny is playing piano while glancing nervously at her look-a-like sister. It the sitting room, Solange is reading while Stephen is listening to Jenny play. When the music suddenly stops, Stephen wonders where his wife has gone so suddenly.

Solange acts first with irritation, and then offers to go check on where Jenny has gone without a word to them.


Scene 26: Over the orchestra soundtrack of Muriel’s favorite piece of music, Stephen and Solange check Jenny’s room to find her not there. There is the sudden sound of a fearful scream.

They rush to check on the sound, when it comes again. Stephen tells Solange that it must be Jenny and for some reason she must’ve gone down to the vault. Both rush to the basement.

There they find Jenny standing in shock… before she collapses.


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Scene 27: Once Jenny has been settled into her bed, she begs forgiveness from her husband and tells him she can’t remember what she was doing. He coaxes her with the last thing she does remember. At first it was being at the piano, but suddenly she recalls that somehow she was standing in the vault and her hands were in pain and covered in blood. She remembers trying to claw at the walls.

When she realized suddenly where she was, she had rushed to the door but found it locked from the outside and she couldn’t open it. But Stephen has to tell her that the door wasn’t locked, all he had to do was push it and it opened right up. He puts down the experience to a hysterical state but she insists again that she knows that she isn’t crazy. She pleads that he not send her back to the clinic.

Stephen suggests that perhaps he acted too quickly in bringing her back to her family’s home and that although he doesn’t want to send her away because he wants her beside him, he’s decided to have her clinic psychiatrist come and observe her. He feels, so he claims, that the doctor will be able to focus his care better by devoting his time to her treatment while she remains with her loving husband.

He tries to get her to drink a mild sedative [or the vial of hallucinogen?] but she tells him she’s afraid to go to sleep. He doesn’t push her, but instead sits in the armchair nearby to read until she’s calmed enough to sleep on her own. As he sits in the chair, he gets a thoughtful look.


Scene 28: Sometime later, Doctor Joyce arrives to Hampton Castle. He’s greeted warmly by Stephen, but Jenny doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence over her sanity with mentioning things like how she hadn’t realized the day was so nice as she rarely leaves the interior of the castle and calling it a sort of magnificent prison.

She entices the doctor to walk in the garden with her and mentions an exotic plant she’d like to show him. Stephen intervenes to mention the doctor not even being settled yet. The doctor offers he’d like to walk with her, but she snits that her husband is correct and rushes back to the interior of her ‘magnificent prison’, leaving the two men to share significant glances.


Scene 29: In the music room, Jenny hands the doctor a brandy. He mentions that Jenny had told him that she never drinks, but Jenny mentions that even when the Hampton Castle lacked water, it always had alcohol. She tells him that brandy was Muriel’s very favorite drink.

Doctor Joyce doesn’t imbibe and instead turns conversation to what exactly happened during her fugue walkabout.


Commentary: Hold a sec, time out. What in the hell is up with Jenny’s hairdo??


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Okay, back to the flick.


So, before I got distracted by the crazy-cue attached to the back of her head, Jenny was telling the doctor that she can’t explain what happened other than that it felt like somebody else had taken possession of her body and she became confused. The doctor is upset by this because he is sure that when Jenny was at the clinic, her mind was solid.

Jenny and the doctor discuss other details about Jenny’s recent experiences but Jenny is too worried that everyone thinks she’s crazy to cooperate any further.

Stephen barges in, interrupting to invite the doctor to check out some of his experiments later. At this, Jenny goes into wild, mocking laughter at his so called “experiments” before he snaps her back to herself, where she stands confused at her behavior.


Scene 30: Later, Jenny joins Doctor Joyce in the greenhouse where he attempts to force her to recall the details of her dream. She continues to tell him she simply cannot remember what her dream was about or who David was supposed to be. Doctor Joyce tells her that if she won’t cooperate with him, then he can’t help her and she risks being a prisoner to her madness forever…. [JEEZUS, doctor… thanks for that expert patient care!]

Although she’s upset now at the thought of his not being able to help her, it doesn’t make her remember any more clearly. But then she does start to remember details about their surroundings including David being hit and her earring being lost in a clutter of leaves. Jenny and the doctor search and she finds the earring from her dream lying where she dreamt she lost it. It’s all very wild and strange, and Jenny insists that the earring isn’t hers.


Scene 31: In the lab, Solange nearly breaks a vial and Stephen snaps at her. She tries to apologize but Stephen sneers that though he returned her youth, he couldn’t do anything about her old mind. She wiseacres back at him that her mind isn’t what he uses when he needs her.

Before their tit-for-tat snarking can continue though, Dereck interrupts them.  Stephen invites him in, eager to show off his frog experiments. But Dereck is only interested in discussing Jenny.

Dereck tells Stephen that he does believe her hallucinations are from her weak mind, but he also believes that the surroundings are also adding to her moods. Stephen tries to pooh-pooh any theory of the doctor’s that Jenny is anything but a wackadoo, but Dereck shows him the very real and physical earring that he guesses is Muriel’s… the woman that Jenny identified with in her dream. During this, Solange reacts with surprise and worried interest.

She buts in to claim that Jenny has gotten into the habit of hiding things about the house and then forgetting that she had done so. As a dig, she also “helpfully reminds” Stephen that she had told him about this behavior already. Stephen has to play the forgetful husband to cover Solange’s story, which you know is galling him.

Solange is sent off to find the matching earring to prove that the one found really is in Jenny’s collection, while Stephen takes this opportunity to once again entreat the good doctor to check out his revolutionary research.


Commentary: So there are a few things with this scene. First, I do love how Solange and Stephen keep throwing annoyed glances at one another while they’re both verbally sparring and trying to keep Dereck from suspecting there is anything going on but Jenny’s madness at the house. But, I find Dereck’s insistence that there is more to the story they’ve told just because of one dream and an errant earring to be … oddly scripted. I just don’t buy that he’d suddenly start believing Jenny is experiencing something other than a delusion at this point based on nothing more than what he’s been told so far.

But more of a problem is that little exchange of Stephen being snippy at Solange. It’s just bizarre to me that something as important as Solange being returned to her youth is entirely played off as a throwaway. We literally get a scene where she was old and now is young, and here we’re suddenly told off-handedly, “oh yeah, and by the way Stephen did discover a youth potion and used it on her” … just… I don’t even know how to take this. You don’t just drop something this huge to the characters as one line and then leave it at that… well, usually.

I wish they’d established all of this surrounding her character in that first transition scene and cut some of Jenny’s repetitive “I don’t remember, I don’t remember… except that I do recall all of these details, but I don’t remember” scenes.



Scene 32: Solange returns to her own room, where she digs into the back of her dresser drawer for a jewelry box. Inside is the purloined earring without its match. She grasps it tightly.


Scene 33: Elsewhere, Jenny is flipping the pages of a book without really reading, lost in thought. Solange knocks and excuses the interruption to tell her that Doctor Joyce and her husband would like to take a look at some of her jewelry. She asks if she can get her jewelry box, which Jenny agrees to. Naturally Solange has the stolen Muriel earring palmed to slip into Jenny’s case.


Scene 34: In the music room, Dereck is noting that the earring he’s holding matches the ones that Muriel is wearing in her portrait. Stephen agrees readily enough, but adds that he was embarrassed to admit to him before that Jenny had taken the habit of hiding items for no explicable reason, and then forgetting that she’d done so. Obviously, the implication being that she’d retrieved the earrings from her sister’s jewelry and then hidden one of them in the greenhouse as part of her continued psychological issues.

Jenny comes in with her jewelry case and Stephen and Solange share glances, where she nods to him that she’d taken care of the earring issue. Meanwhile, Jenny is pulling out piece by piece what she owns to show to Doctor Joyce. Naturally enough, her collection suddenly includes her sister’s earrings. Jenny can’t explain how she has them or why she would have one of them in the greenhouse and runs off, upset and confused.

Solange wears a satisfied smirk.


Scene 35: Over dinner with Stephen, Dereck and Solange, Arrowsmith is all aghast at the condition of his poor wife, who has taken to her bed. Solange suddenly cries out as she has cut her finger. Stephen quickly marches her out of the room, as she’s near swooning. He turns down Dereck’s offer of assistance, but explains that Solange has a blood disease that makes it dangerous for her to suffer bleeding and he must take care of her wound immediately.

Dereck notices something odd about the blood left on the table cloth and peers at it for closer inspection.


Commentary: This scene was a little off too, until Solange had her accident to explain it. I found it highly unlikely that Stephen wouldn’t attempt to present a certain image of the household by having Solange dine by herself in the kitchen in these circumstances. It felt really wrong that she’d be sitting at the family table to dine with he and the doctor and it struck me as weird that the doctor wouldn’t also find it odd that “the help” which is what Solange supposedly is to Jenny, would eat with the master of the house. But of course, she has to be there in order to cut her finger. This scene would’ve worked much better though if she’d been serving, rather than seated - especially since it appears that the rest of the estate runs without any other servants.

Also, we'll never hear of the incident again or why Dereck inspected the blood left behind... apparently it turned out not to be that unusual after all??


Hmm. I'm wondering if my cut of the film is missing a few minutes.


Scene 36: In the lab, Solange receives an injection which Stephen announces was successful again, but that the solution can’t remain working for much longer.


Commentary: This was a bit confused to me. Is he saying that the solution can’t keep her from bleeding to death if she gets cut again, or is he speaking more generally with the entire anti-aging thing wearing off? Because it didn’t look like Solange was aging, just that she wasn’t clotting which although obviously dangerous doesn’t seem to warrant the gravity given this scene. I’m not sure how to take this part in the story, because whatever has been going on with Solange and the doctor’s experiments with her hasn’t been given any development time in the film. It’s obvious that it will be tied directly to Muriel’s harvesting by Stephen after he killed her but we’ve never heard anything about it in relation to Solange, which seems doubly odd since this film has more than enough running time to address it on screen before now.


Scene 37: Up in her room, Jenny hears her name being called out by a ghostly voice. Muriel tells Jenny to go to the lab for her blood and to hurry about it. With a heartbeat over her, Jenny leaves her room in a daze.


Scene 38: Meanwhile, Dereck has taken the distraction of Stephen and Solange to do a little exploring. He’s decided to visit the vault that so fascinated and terrified his patient.  As Dereck is looking down on the empty crypt of Muriel, the tomb lid slides aside all on its own.

It reveals its emptiness to him.


Scene 39: Meanwhile upstairs, Jenny is still be drawn through the castle to her husband’s lab. She creeps in with a scowl on her face while Stephen is checking Solange’s pulse. As she walks by a tray of instruments, she snags a scalpel.

Stephen just finishes telling Solange that her pulse is regular when she sits up with a cry of alarm. Jenny slices her husband’s face just as Dereck has returned from his sojourn. He grabs the distraught Jenny before she can do any more injury.

Dr. Joyce drags Jenny away to her room. After they’ve gone, Solange insists to Stephen that the look on Jenny’s face wasn’t hers… it was Muriel.


TBC


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