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Monday, June 28, 2010

Movie that influenced my love of suspense

I remember watching a movie years ago entitled “House of Secrets” which quite possibly triggered my fetish/obsession for Mardi Gras masks and spooky New Orleans themes. Supposedly, this made for television movie was a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Although the reviews were not met with high accolades, I beg to differ. I loved it and found myself enthralled and terrified at the same time.



Bruce Boxleitner, perfect for the villainous role of Dr. Frank Ravinel, played the part of New Orleans sanitarium physician quite well. The doctor’s wife Marion, afflicted with a muscle disease, was played by Melissa Gilbert. The couple live in Marion’s family ancestral mansion, now a sanitarium built by her father. After only one year of marriage, Dr. Frank begins to mistreat his wife and things go from bad to worse. And when Laura comes along, a young girl on parole for killing her boyfriend, confiding to Marion of Dr. Frank’s lecherous ways, the two women form an alliance and kill Dr. Frank by drugging and drowning him in a bathtub. Add to this mix a bit of voodoo by Evangeline, family friend played by Cicely Tyson, things get quite spooky.



But as the story unfolds, it appears Dr. Frank may not be dead after all. My favorite part of the movie was done in black and white for theatrical effects, reflections of Vertigo, when Melissa Gilbert races through the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.



Does anyone recall this movie? What did you think? Did it remind you of Vertigo, using the French Quarter during Mardi Gras opposed to the empty streets of San Francisco?



Sharon Donovan

Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

www.sharonadonovan.com

sharonad@comcast.net



Mask of the Betrayer




Movie that influenced my love of suspense

28 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

I loved this movie! Can't wait to hear who all watched it. It was initially a Sunday night movie, if memory serves. But it has been shown on Lifetime many times and I never miss it. LOL

Linda Swift said...

Hi Sharon,
Nope, never saw the movie but it horrifies me just thinking about your description.I still can't "picture" you as a writer of horror. Can you see me in that role? Been there, done that, too.
Linda

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Linda. What does this say about us as writers? Why, isn't it obvious, darling? Sharon pats her pal on the back. We can slip in and out of genres as easily as actors do different roles. Grin.

Miss Mae said...

No, never saw it, haven't even heard of it! But Bruce and Melissa act well together. This sounds like something I might like to watch -- I think! LOL

liana laverentz said...

I never saw this movie, but I remember Bruce Boxleitner in How the West Was Won. So he teamed up with Melissa Gilbert (from Little House on the Prairie?) to make a scary movie. Cool :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Hey, MM. I think you'd like this movie. It stayed with me and with the surreal dream-like fog of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, I found it intriguing. If I hear of it, I'll clue you in. Grin.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Liana. After Little House on the Prairie, I would never have imagined Melissa Gilbert doing a suspense part justice. She prooved me wrong. The movie had the aura of suspense created by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Again, if I hear of it being featured, I'll fill you in. Wink.

Laurean Brooks said...

Sharon, I didn't see the re-make,but I've seen Vertigo several times. Loved it! We had to beg our mother to sit up and watch Afred Hitchcock movies since they were sooooo scary!

I can see how "Mask Of The Betrayer" could be similar. The woman is running and the villian gives chase. Horrors!

Your talent for description can really work on the mind, girlfriend. The scenes are so intense you start shaking and want to hide under the bed. LOL

Keep it up. We readers love it!

Sharon Donovan said...

Laurie, thank you so much for your flattering words. I know what a huge fan of Michael Landan you were so you, like me, probably have some trouble associating Melissa Gilbert to such a role. But she did it. If ever you get the chance to watch House of Secrets, please do. I'll let you know. I remember sneaking peeks into my aunt's Hitchcock books that were forever on her coffee table. We were allowed to watch the movies, but back then, television was quite edited and young minds did not always pick up on the true meaning of his stories. Maybe just as well. LOL

Debra St. John said...

Hi Sharon,

I've never seen the movie, but it does sound chilling...

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon,
You are right movies can influence our writing, even if it is such a subtle influence we hardly notice it.

Cheers

Margaret

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for commenting, Debra. It was indeed chilling but that's why I liked it. LOL

Sharon Donovan said...

Margaret, how true. Certain movies give such visuals that they stick in our minds and we seem to create spin offs. At least that is what I do.
Sharon

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

haven't seen it but am intrigued now. Plus I love Bruce and Melissa.

Anne Patrick said...

I've never seen House of Secrets but I remember Vertigo. I love Hitchcock. I have several of his movies in a boxed DVD set that I watch whenever I have the time.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Lori, thanks for dropping by. As the senior editor of suspense, I am quite certain you would be intrigued. I thought the acting was great. If I hear of it being shown, I'll be sure and let you know!
Sharon

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Anne. Vertigo was a favorite Hitchcock film of mine as well. Although House of Secrets was far different in content, the surrealism was hauntingly familiar.
Sharon

P.L. Parker said...

I've seen Vertigo, but not this one. Sounds totally creepy - I love creepy. Hitchcock was the master of creepy if you ask me. Loved Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

許紀廷 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy, he was the master of suspense indeed. I can't believe not one person has even heard of this movie. Just when you want to dish. LOL

Lilly Gayle said...

Sharon, I do remember this movie but not by the name. I remember the stars. I've loved Melissa Gilbert since Little House on the Prairie. I feel as if we grew up together...although, she'd have to be my younger sister. lol! And I've loved Bruce Boxlightener since How THE WEST WAS WON. I was so disappointed to see him as a villain, even though he did an exceptional job. I also loved VERTIGO because I adore James/Jimmy Stewart! That whole watermelon splattering on the pavement still makes me jump!

Sharon Donovan said...

Lilly Gayle, yea! Finally, someone remembers this movie. Just when I was beginning to think perhaps I dreamed or imagined it. LOL I suppose playing the villain puts Bruce in entirely different light. But he sure pulled it off, didn't he? That bathtub scene still makes me shiver...

峻龍 said...

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Amber Leigh Williams said...

HI Sharon! I tagged your blog at The Cozy Page for Versatile Blogger Award: http://amberleighwilliams.blogspot.com

Mary Ricksen said...

I remember seeing previews of this movie, but I never saw it. We never go to the movies, and rarely rent a video. So if it doesn't come on TV I never get to see it.
My DH won't spend the money for cable! I think that one was on a cable channel not too long ago.
One of these days. But I do know what you are referring to.
Love you Sharon!

Ivy said...

Yes!! I remember that movie,LOVED it. Of course I had the biggest crush on BB beginning w/ How the West Was Won...Lord what that fella did to me.
Ivy

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary, I don't think they have the ABC and NBC night movies any more, do they? I miss them. I love Lifetime but they show the same ones over and over, especially on weekends. You would love it and I hope you get to see it one day. Love you too!

Sharon Donovan said...

Ivy, Hi! Mmm, we all had a crush on the hottie Bruce, didn't we just? I think he played a delicious villain, don't you? I'm so happy you remember the movie. It's been on so many times and I find it incredible so few have heard or seen. Pity.
Sharon