GERALD’S GAME. (2017) A STEPHEN KING FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.

GERALD’S GAME. (2017) BASED ON THE 1992 BOOK BY STEPHEN KING. CO-WRITTEN, EDITED AND DIRECTED BY MIKE FLANAGAN.

STARRING CARLA GUGINO, BRUCE GREENWOOD, HENRY THOMAS, KATE SIEGEL, CHIARA AURELIA AND CAREL STRUYCKEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Question: What is a woman…?

Answer: A life support system for a cunt…

Wow. I loved this Stephen King movie adaptation of the supposedly ‘unfilmable’ book, GERALD’S GAME. I found it on Netflix during a routine scroll-down and was happily immersed within five minutes.

I love films about troubled marriages, having had my own share of rubbish relationships, and it’s obvious fairly early on that rich couple Jessie and Gerald Burlingame are heading off for some kind of make-or-break romantic weekend away at their super-isolated country house in Alabama.

Gerald, a good ten or fifteen years older than his wife, is some kind of executive business hot-shot, and he’s told his office people he’ll be out of touch for a few days. They have no children, and Jessie has only a few friends but they’re not really close, so there’ll be no-one to disturb them for these few days.

Carla Gugino as Jessie Burlingame is a truly beautiful woman in the Rachel Weisz mode, the kind of delicious, red-lipped, smoky-eyed brunette, perfectly proportioned, who makes us washed-out blondes all look like a sack of crap.

Gerald is clearly lucky to have her, as she seems to be a lovely sweet person as well, but Gerald isn’t entirely happy with their sex life- they currently have none- and he’s hoping that this weekend will rekindle something in them that’s been missing.

Two hundred dollar steaks are his idea of a culinary aphrodisiac, and a prologue to the nookie. Then follows the sex, and a smugly smirking Gerald, hepped up on Viagra, whips out the handcuffs, and not the furry novelty kind either, but the real thing. Sheriff issue handcuffs, lol. ‘Put your hands on the car, boy, or I’ll pepper yo’ ass with buckshot six ways till Sunday,’ and that kind of thing.

Jessie is a little weirded out by the metal love cuffs, but Gerald has made it clear he needs to try out some new stuff, so she feels obliged to go along with him, to save their marriage, see? But only up to a point. When she tells Gerald she’s had enough of his shit, much to Gerald’s angry mortification, something thoroughly unexpected happens that leaves Jessie fighting for her life.

They’ve left the back door open in their eagerness to get to the bedroom. But that’s okay, isn’t it? I mean, the place is in the middle of nowhere, right, and there isn’t a living soul for miles around, which was probably what Gerald, the sneaky sod, had in mind when he was whisking his gorgeous missus away on a dirty weekend for a spot of how’s-yer-favver, lol.

Jessie is in an exceedingly vulnerable position in their lavish holiday home. A stray dog, a stray escaped lunatic and some very disobedient memories from her troubled childhood that just won’t stay buried are some of the things that walk right up to her and get in her face while she’s a sitting duck, trapped in a SAW-style how-far-will-you-go-to-survive-type situation.

Well, they’re the only things that walk up to her, but, trust me, they’re enough. I had a sleepless night over this film, I can tell you. The horrific topic of child sexual abuse is handled very well here, by the way, showing us that the demons that come out of our closets at night are not the only monsters we have to fear.  

The ‘Crypt Keeper’ or grave robber in the film was inspired by none other than Wisconsin serial murderer Ed Gein, the gift that just keeps giving as far as cinema is concerned. PSYCHO, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS were all inspired by Ed, who liked to gut people and make furniture and ornaments out of their skin.

He’s possibly the spookiest of all the ‘famous’ serial killers, is Ed. Anyone who’s as much at home rootling about in a cemetery as in his house, as comfortable around the dead as the living, has the power to make other, so-called ‘normal’ people feel very uncomfortable.

He’s one of the few major serial killers of the twentieth century who doesn’t seem to be the subject of a Netflix documentary. I’d love to think there was one in the pipeline. Ed’s a fascinating, if gruesome, study. We’d all have nightmares after watching his story.

You’ll be rushing to research the condition of ‘acromegaly’ after watching GERALD’S GAME, and, just to warn you, there’s a scene in the film that would take the actual skin off your hand. Shit. I meant to say it would put the heart crossways in you. Forget I said that other thing, would you? The film also covers the grisly but extremely interesting topic of how long can you go without water/food, etc., before you die…?

You’ll be reminded very much of one of King’s other book-to-film adaptations, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, when you watch this film. It seems like a lot of strange, unasked-for things can happen during a total eclipse of the heart, sorry, I mean the sun. I went all Bonnie Tyler there for a minute.

Do the normal laws of God and Man not apply during this short but eerie time-span when the sun is obscured by the moon and dark shadows fall across the earth? ‘Keep watching, Mouse, keep watching!’ ‘Husbands die every day, Dolores.’ We don’t go all out for eclipses over here. Maybe it’s just as well…

‘You’re not real! You’re made of moonlight.’

PS, you might have seen on social media recently that the Bed, which is one of the three main stars of GERALD’S GAME, has finally married the Handcuffs, also an important player in the tightly-knit cast. After meeting on the set of the film and enjoying a whirlwind romance, the couple gave birth during the summer to Baby Futon, an adorable cherub who, according to her mother, the Handcuffs, is the living image of her father, the Bed. The couple have decided jointly that the Handcuffs will stay home and take care of Baby Futon, while Daddy Bed tries out for a part in the new John Lennon retrospective, A Bed for all Reasons.

‘We couldn’t be happier,’ gushed the couple from their new Hollywood home when I caught up with them during a Zoom chat yesterday. ‘We’ll always think fondly of GERALD’S GAME, as obviously that’s how we met. We’ve asked Carla and Bruce to be godparents, but we haven’t heard back from them yet. Of course, they’re very busy with their various careers. Um, did we mention that we couldn’t be happier…?’

Aw, it’s too sweet…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

I SAW WHAT YOU DID. (1965) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

i saw what you did 1965

I SAW WHAT YOU DID. (1965) BASED ON A NOVEL BY URSULA CURTISS CALLED ‘OUT OF THE DARK.’ SCREENPLAY BY WILLIAM MCGIVERN. PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY WILLIAM CASTLE. STARRING JOAN CRAWFORD, JOHN IRELAND, LEIF ERICKSON, SHARYL LOCKE, ANDI GARRETT AND SARAH LANE.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Fate dials the number… Terror answers the phone…!’

‘I saw what you did and I know who you are…’

Hmmm. I loved the concept of this old black-and-white hag horror-slash-thriller, and I loved that Joan Crawford was the star name in it, but the kids who are the main protagonists were just so awfully annoying and grating that it put me off the film a good bit.

The worst and most irresponsible big sister-babysitter in the history of cinema, Libby Mannering, is put in charge of minding her precocious little sister Tess for the night while her parents attend a part-business, part-pleasure get-together with friends some ninety miles away.

Libby’s best friend Kit, only slightly less irresponsible than Libby herself, comes over to join them. Do they do what babysitters normally do and order a pizza and watch movies together while giggling non-stop about boys they fancy? Do they heck as like, as they say on Coronation Street.

No, these two teenaged brats and their little charge take out the phone book, select numbers at random and phone them up, then, when someone answers, Libby puts on a sexy, sultry grown-up accent and says: ‘I saw what you did and I know who you are…’

Now, at some point, human nature being what it is, what Libby says during her prank phone calls is bound to resonate with someone. Moe the Bartender from The Simpsons is doing something very similar when he wanders around telling random people that their secret’s safe with him if they just cut him in for half a million. Why are you saying that, his friend Homer asks him, to which Moe replies that he goes round saying it to folks in the hopes that, one day, it’ll be applicable, lol.

This exact thing happens when silly little Libby Mannering phones up a guy called Steve Merak. He, as it turns out, has just done something which he most certainly wouldn’t want anyone knowing about. When he gets this call out of the blue, he’s dumbstruck with horror.

He’s desperate to get his hands on this sultry-voiced woman on the other end of the phone calling herself Suzette (like the crepes!) who says she saw what he did, and get it out of her just exactly what she knows about his crime. And, trust me, when a man drives to the forest in the middle of the night to bury the contents of a big trunk in a shallow grave, you can be sure he’s committed a crime of some sort…

Joan Crawford is magnificent as Steve’s nosy busybody-ing neighbour Amy. Amy has already worked out what Steve has done, through the power of spying, lol, and she’s determined to make it work to her advantage. She seriously ‘digs’ Steve, as you might say, and wants a romantic relationship with him, whether good old Steve wants it or not. This kind of one-sided enthusiasm certainly bodes well for their future romantic life…

Clad in a sophisticated black dinner dress and the most magnificent beaded necklace, with her blonde hair piled up and fixed elaborately on top of her head, she tells Steve that she’s ‘giving the orders now,’ a prospect that doesn’t exactly fill Steve with joy. Amy shouldn’t push her luck. What Steve did once, he can surely do again…

The fog that wreaths the babysitter’s house makes the setting very atmospheric, and Libby, aka Suzette, aka the big sister-babysitter, is so irresponsible that she constantly exposes herself and her little sister to terrible danger.

Imagine sending a six-year-old girl downstairs in the middle of the night to open the front door to let the dog in while you snooze comfortably in your bed…! And on a night when murder has been committed not a million miles away, as well.

Their parents seem to be taking things terribly lightly from ninety miles away, but when they eventually return to their homestead, they need to ground that Libby kid back to the Stone Age and ban her from ever using the telephone again. I saw what you did, indeed.

Little punk-ass kids. If that’s what they were getting up to in the ‘Sixties on the family landline, then God alone knows what trouble they’re getting into nowadays with their Smart phones and their unlimited access to the Internet. It hardly bears thinking about, does it?

Anyway, favourite scene? Apart from the shower-scene tribute to Psycho, it would have to be a gloriously angry and jealous Joan Crawford as Amy giving the spoiled, silly ‘Suzette’ the elbow, loudly and unequivocally, right there in the middle of the street outside Steve’s house. ‘You’re just too young, honey.’ Ain’t it the truth, Joanie dear? Ain’t it the truth…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com