Psycho, Jaws, Get Out, and The Silence of the Lambs
Horror Bulletin 152
Episode 152 Summary
This week, we’ll be watching our usual line-up of four full-length films and a short film. This week, we’ll watch four of the most popular and highly-acclaimed horror films of all time, including 1975’s “Jaws,” “Psycho” from 1960, “The Silence of the Lambs” from 1991, and “Get Out” from 2017.
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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
• Directed by Jonathan Demme
• Written by Thomas Harris, Red Tally
• Stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 58 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
What’s better than a crazed killer in a movie? Two of them. The performances are brilliant, the story is gripping, the special effects and music is great. This movie is an all around win. If you haven’t by chance seen it by now, check it out spoiler free. There are some surprises.
We open on FBI Academy trainee Clarice Starling doing a workout in the woods. She gets interrupted; the boss, Crawford, wants to see her in his office. Crawford is working on the “Buffalo Bill” case, a lunatic who skins people. Crawford wants Starling to talk to a prisoner who won’t cooperate with anyone else. The prisoner is “Hannibal the Cannibal.” Crawford warns her not to tell Hannibal anything personal and be very, very careful around him.
Dr. Chilton is the psychiatrist in charge of Hannibal Lector, and he’s a bit of an arrogant pig. Lector is buried deepinside the prison since he’s so dangerous. She meets him, and Lector is surprisingly perceptive. They finally talk about Buffalo Bill and why he does what he does. That doesn’t go very far until Lector psychoanalyzes her before describing how he ate a census-taker. He does give her a clue to follow-up on.
Clarice goes to the storage locker that Lector hinted at. She looks around and finds a head in a jar. Lector wants to see Buffalo Bill’s case file. The head in the jar was one of Lector’s own patients, who may have been killed by Buffalo Bill. He can tell Clarice all about Bill and help her catch him; if she can get him moved to a cell with a window.
Meanwhile, in Memphis, a girl named Catherine helps a guy load a couch into his van. He kidnaps her since she’s a size 14. A week later, Clarice is called in, since it looks like a “Buffalo Bob situation.” She and Crawford go to examine the body. They find an insect cocoon in the corpse’s throat. That kind of moth only grows in Asia, which is weird.
We see that at Buffalo Bill’s house, he’s still got Catherine held as a prisoner. She’s a senator’s daughter, and the senator agrees to Lector’s terms. He’ll get his fancy new cell, but only if he helps with the case. Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill and Precious the dog insist that Catherine put on lotion. He wants her skin softer.
Dr. Chilton makes a power move and tries to get to the bottom of things first by intimidating Hannibal and transferring him to a new facility. The senator herself confronts Lector and makes the deal. Lector tells Chilton and the senator everything, but he’s lying.
Clarice goes to visit Lector in his new palatial cell. They talk about screaming farm animals. Clarice takes her case file back and returns home to DC. Shortly thereafter, Lector rather brilliantly and brutally escapes.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill is sewing a flesh costume made of human skin. Clarice looks at the notes Lector left in her case file. She tracks him down to Belvedere, Ohio, where Bill’s first murder occurred. Meanwhile, Crawford is going to Chicago to arrest the suspect.
Back at Bill’s, Catherine captures Precious the dog and holds her hostage. Clarice continues to follow up on the first victim’s details. Crawford is on the wrong lead, but Clarice finds Bill, who invites her in.
Clarice quickly figures out that she’s found Bill, but he runs off. She goes downstairs and promises to rescue Catherine. Then the lights go out; Bill has infrared night-vision goggles, and he stalks her in the dark. She hears him cock his gun and blows him away.
Time passes, and Clarice graduates the academy to go to work for Crawford. During the graduation party, Clarice gets a phone call from Lector, who is stalking his next meal, who just happens to be Dr. Chilton. ”I’m having an old friend for dinner…”
There’s never been a more compelling psychopath than Hannibal Lector. That’s mostly due to Anthony Hopkins, of course. The best part is that Hannibal isn’t even supposed to be the villain of the story. Buffalo Bill, the target of the manhunt, takes a back seat to Lector for the first half of the film, but he gets his time toward the end.
The ending, with hunting in the dark basement, is definitely horror material, as is the lunatic making a skin suit. Still, it’s Anthony Hopkins who’s the really memorable one here.
• Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
• Written by Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
• Stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miller
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 49 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
A thief spends the night at a motel. The proprietor is a little off, but his mother is simply over-the-top crazy. Fun times ensue. Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that. Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing. This movie is a classic and should be watched in its entirety by everyone.
We begin in Phoenix Arizona, and we get a clear view of the small city’s skyline. We zoom in a hotel room where Sam and Marion are having premarital sex (scandalous!). She wants to get married, but he can’t afford to do it, so they put it off yet again.
He goes to the airport, and she heads back to her job at the real estate office. A wealthy client comes in and brags about buying his daughter a house with cash. He’s carrying the money in his pocket. The boss gives Marion the stack to put in a safe deposit box over the weekend.
But she doesn’t go to the bank. She packs her bags and heads out of town with the cash. She drives until she has to pull over to sleep and a policeman notices her. The cop freaks her out a little bit, so she trades in her car on a different model. It must be a slow crime day, as the cop follows her to the car dealership and watches the whole thing.
It starts pouring rain, so she stops at the first motel she sees, a place called the Bates Motel. The proprietor is Norman, and he checks her in; she’s the only one staying there tonight. She’s hungry, so he invites her up to his house for dinner.
Marion listens to Norman arguing with his mother about the unexpected guest. Mother doesn’t sound particularly pleasant. Marion and Norman talk over dinner, mostly about his hobbies and history. He explains that his mother goes “a little mad sometimes.” Marion decides to go home and return the money, but first she goes back to her room for the night.
Norman’s got a peephole into Marion’s room. He looks in for a bit and then goes up to his house on the hill. Marion, meanwhile, hops in the shower, which leads to what is very likely the most iconic scenes in all of horror history.
Norman finds the body; he’s terrified. Still, he grabs a mop and cleans up the crime scene. He loads her corpse and belongings into the trunk of her car. He does not, however, notice the big wad of cash stashed in her newspaper; he tosses that in the back with the body. He then pushes the car into a pond and watches it sink.
Marion’s sister, Lila, comes to see Sam at his hardware store; she hasn’t seen Marion in days and has no idea where she is. Detective Arbogast comes in, and he’s looking for Marion as well. They tell Sam about the missing money, but he honestly doesn’t know anything about it. They both think Marion will turn up looking for Sam.
Arbogast stops at the Bates Motel and talks to Norman about Marion, but Norman says he hasn’t seen her. Arbogast sees an entry in the guest register, and although the name doesn’t match, her handwriting is the same. Norman gets flustered during the questioning, so Arbogast knows something is up. Arbogast then calls Lila and tells her what he knows.
Arbogast then sneaks back to the motel and snoops around. He goes up to the house and goes inside. Mother Bates stabs him to death. By the time Sam shows up at the motel, Norman is out back standing next to the pond - he’s disposed of another body and car.
Sam and Lila go to the sheriff. The sheriff phones Norman, who tells him that Arbogast left several hours ago. The sheriff explains that Norman Bates’ mother has been dead and buried for ten years; it was a murder suicide thing. Then who was it that Sam saw up at the house?
We watch Norman go upstairs and listen as he argues with his mother. She doesn’t want to leave her room, but Norman wants her to hide in the fruit cellar until this trouble blows over. We watch him carry her down the stairs.
Sam and Lila decide to check into the cabin as husband and wife and search the place. Norman checks them in, $10 for the night. Lila thinks Norman took the money away from Marion. They search cabin #1 and find a scrap of paper that might indicate Marion was there. Lila insists on questioning the old woman in the house while Sam distracts Norman.
Sam keeps Norman talking in the office while Lila goes into the big house. Norman figures out that Sam is distracting him and beats him over the head. Lila heads to the cellar when she sees Norman coming up to the house. She finds Mrs. Bates’ mummified body in the cellar.
Norman comes charging in wearing a dress and wig, and Sam grabs him from behind. He was “Mother” all along!
Later on, the psychiatrist explains that Norman is gone; only Mother Norma remains. Norman killed his mother ten years ago when she found another man. The psychiatrist details the whole thing.
The photography and camera work here is just outstanding, but what really makes this film is the soundtrack. Iconic is really the right word for it. Hitchcock killed the main character halfway through, which was a first as far as I am aware. We all know the big reveal at the end by this time, but if you didn’t see that coming, it would be a shocker. The ending is chilling, as we see and hear what goes on inside Norman’s mind.
This one is so classic that you’ve probably heard or seen clips from about every part of it, but it’s really worth checking out and watching it firsthand in its entirety.
Short Film: The Visit (2022)
• Directed by Roxy Shih
• Written by Roxy Shih
• Stars Felicity Huang, George Young, with Yin-Shang Liu
• Run Time: 13:55
• Watch it at:
Driven career woman Yi-Hua visits her aging grandmother, Nai Nai, at the old family farm, pregnant and with her American-born husband in tow. Disappointed in Yi-Hua's dedication to her new life in the city and uninterested in the trappings of modern existence, Nai Nai storms off in a fit of rage into the thick forested mountains surrounding her home.
When she doesn't return at nightfall, Yi-Hua is tormented and heartbroken by the potential loss of the woman who raised her. Nai Nai miraculously returns days later, unharmed, but Yi-Hua worries that there may be more to her grandmother's absence than meets the eye.
The atmospheric scenery and cinematography are excellent; it’s very sharp and clear. The characters and motivations are clearly spelled out and realistic; there’s a full story here.
Once Grandma returns from her mysterious five-day absence, things start getting strange. I’m pretty sure if this happened in America, that poor old Granny would end up in a nursing home, but this being Taiwan, it’s a whole different situation.
• Directed by Steven Spielberg
• Written by Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
• Stars Roy Schieder, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
• Run Time: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes
• Trailer: •
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
Afraid to go in the water? No? You might be after watching this thriller. It’s well made, well acted, and the practical special effects still hold up as realistic. Plus it has an iconic soundtrack.
Hippies on the beach at night. Chrissy wants to go swimming, but her boyfriend can’t keep up. She swims out to the buoy while he fights to get his shirt off and passes out. Something under the water grabs her and drags her around like a doll. She screams, but no one hears her. Then she disappears. All is quiet.
Chief of Police Martin Brody is fairly new in the town of Amity. It’s a resort island preparing for their 4th of July celebration. They soon find Chrissy’s body on the beach, half-eaten. He orders the beaches closed, which gets the mayor on his case right away. “Amity is a summer town; we need summer dollars,” he explains. He wants to cover it up.
Later in the day, it’s business as usual at the beach with swimmers everywhere. Brody is from New York, and he doesn’t like the ocean or sharks, so he starts seeing sharks everywhere. Brody watches as a kid on an inflatable raft erupts in blood and disappears. There’s no arguing about a shark now. The boy’s mother posts a large reward for the man who kills the shark.
There’s a town meeting, and an old fisherman named Quint says he’ll save the town and bring in that shark for a whole lot more money than they’re offering. The mayor says he’ll think about it. Soon, the town is swarming with fisherman and shark hunters. One of these is Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute, a shark expert.
The fishermen bring in a large shark. Everyone is thrilled. Happy ending! But Hooper thinks it’s way too small to be the one that attacked the girl. Hooper cuts it open, and there’s no body parts inside; it’s the wrong shark. They go out that night on Hooper’s boat and find another boat that’s been attacked by the big shark. The mayor, of course, is still in denial— and the tourists are arriving in droves.
It’s the Fourth of July, and the beaches are packed. At first, no one wants to go in the water, but the mayor convinces a few people to do it. Before long, they’re all in there splashing around. They all panic and stampede when a fin is spotted, but it’s just a couple of kids playing a practical joke.
The actual shark is on the other side of the beach in the pond. It eats a man, and we get the first glimpse of how big the shark really is. Brody talks the mayor into hiring Quint to kill it.
Quint wants to go alone, but Brody and Hooper insist on accompanying him. Quint laughs at Hooper’s array of equipment; he likes to kill sharks the old-fashioned way; the two clash right away. Quint is a colorful character, to say the least.
Before long, they find the beast. Brody spots it first, saying, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” They tag the shark with one barrel, but it gets away. That night they all sit around drinking and comparing scars and stories until the shark returns.
They do battle with the shark, and the shark pretty much wrecks the boat. Hooper sets up his shark cage and goes down to try and poison the shark. That goes badly when the shark eats the cage.
Next the shark jumps onto the boat, and Quint slides right down its throat. Brody’s all alone on the sinking boat now, but the shark wants him too. Brody throws an air tank at it, and it tries to eat that too. It makes a final charge at Brody, who shoots the air tank, blowing the big fish into a million bits.
Hooper surfaces; he had only been hiding on the ocean floor. The two men then paddle back to the beach.
We hadn't really given this one much thought as a “horror film,” it always seemed more of a summer blockbuster or action-thriller to me. Still, if we’re counting the number of nightmares and phobias caused by a film, this has to be up near the top of the list. It’s also got another one of those iconic soundtracks that even people who haven’t seen the film will recognize. The shark is so realistic that it’s hard to believe that it was a robotic puppet.
The action scenes are exciting, the suspense is excellent, and even the quiet, talky segments are fascinating. The characters and actors are perfect, and the casting couldn’t be any better. It’s just about the perfect movie, horror or otherwise.
Still, they shoulda got a bigger boat.
Get Out (2017)
• Directed by Jordan Peele
• Written by Jordan Peele
• Stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 44 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
A fun, racially-charged story of a strange white family in the suburbs and the daughter’s black boyfriend. They’re not racist, but…
An African American man walks through the suburbs, and he tells his friend on the phone that he stands out like a sore thumb in that neighborhood. He’s attacked and dragged into a waiting car as “Run Rabbit Run” plays in the background. Credits roll.
We meet Chris, a black man, and his girlfriend Rose, a white woman. They’re planning to go to visit her parents out in the country. He’s nervous because it’s his first time meeting them. “Do they know I’m black?” He asks, expecting trouble. She swears they aren’t racist.
Chris calls his friend Rod, who works as a TSA agent at the airport. Rod warns Chris not to go. They hit a deer on the way there. Missy and Dean, her parents, are happy to see them both, but Walter the groundskeeper watches them very closely. Georgina, the cook, eyes Chris oddly as well.
Dean suggests that Missy, a psychiatrist, could hypnotize Chris to help him quit smoking. Jeremy, Rose’s brother, arrives, and they all soon have a nice family dinner. That night, Rose and Chris talk about their family being maybe just a little bit racist.
Chris goes downstairs in the middle of the night for a smoke and he sees Walter running around the yard in the dark. When he goes back inside, Missy once again talks about how good hypnosis is for quitting smoking. She hypnotizes him without him even knowing it. She sends him to “The Sunken Place.” He wakes up in bed in the morning. Was that real?
The next day, Chris goes outside to photograph the wildlife. He’s a very promising photographer. He talks to Walter, who remarks that he really had been Missy’s office for a long time. Yeah, that was real, especially since he doesn’t want to smoke now.
The extended family and friends arrive for a party. They all seem really pleased to meet Chris. Chris meets Logan, yet another black man who acts strangely. All the African American people there act very, very odd. Chris has a conversation with Jim Hudson, an aging art dealer who has gone blind. Jim compliments Chris’s work.
Chris keeps finding his phone unplugged and out of power. He calls Rod and updates him on what’s been going on. Rod warns him about hypnosis, but he’s not super serious. Rod suggests that the weird black folks might be hypnotized. Chris wonders if there might be something to it. Georgina gives him a look like she wants to smile and scream at the same time. A camera flash seems to trigger Logan into a fit and he warns Chris to “Get out!”
Chris and Rose talk about the perceived weirdness. Meanwhile, Dean is running a silent auction with all his family members and friends. The only thing he has for sale appears to be a photo of… Chris. Jim Hudson is the winner of the auction. As Rose and Chris return to the house, everyone else is leaving.
Chris calls Rod and sends him a photo of Logan. Rod identifies him as Andre, the guy who got kidnapped in the pre-credit sequence. Chris tells Rose they have to leave right now. Before they leave, Dean asks Chris what his purpose is. Then they all, Rose included, close in on Chris.
Rod tries to call Chris back but can’t get through. The police don’t believe his story. He tries back repeatedly with no luck and eventually decides to go looking for him. He calls Rose, who says Chris left two days ago.
Chris wakes up in front of a TV, and a recording comes on. It’s Roman Armitage, who explains about cocoons and immortality. “Behold the Coagula.” Then he sees a video call with Jim Hudson, whose head is now shaved. Jim talks about the surgical procedure of transplanting most of his brain into Chris’s body. Chris will live in the Sunken Place while Jim is in charge of the body. This whole thing is a plan to put rich white people’s minds into strong, young black bodies.
Dean has a whole operating room in the basement, and he starts by removing Jim’s scalp. When Jeremy goes to get Chris, Chris hits him from behind and gets free. Dean goes looking for Jeremy but gets impaled by deer antlers instead. He then stabs Missy. Chris takes Jeremy’s car and calls 911. He runs over Georgina by accident and Rose comes after him with a shotgun. Walter, of all people, comes to the rescue.
The police arrive and Chris expects the worst— no, it’s the TSA car and Rod. Rod’s like, “I told you so.”
I saw this when it first came out, and the marketing at the time couldn’t decide whether this was a comedy or a horror film. With the exception of Rod’s scenes, it’s not particularly funny, so I wasn’t impressed. This time, however, I knew what to expect, and liked it a lot more.
The performances by everyone are great, and as the mystery builds, you wonder what’s going on. Something is definitely off about all these people, and somehow, it seems to be race-related. Still, it’s not until the end that we find out what’s going on.
We don’t see the head scars on Walter or Georgina until the end. All the questions are answered, and it all makes sense. And who knew the TSA was so good at fixing things?
Thanks for joining us. Stop in during the week at our website, HorrorMovieGuys.com for news and horror updates, to comment on this newsletter, or to contact us.
Get ready for next week, where we’ll be watching some more classics. We’ll watch four more horror films, this time, we’ll look at The upcoming film “Nocturna Side A: The Great Old Man’s Night” and also Part B. Then we’ll watch “Terror Train” from 1980, and watch a 1950’s double feature with “Attack of the Crab Monsters” and “Not of This Earth,” both fro 1957.
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