Well, pardon me all over the place.

I watched the movie, Cape Fear tonight.

Last time I saw it, I was thirteen, sleeping over at my best mate’s and her parents decided to take us to the movies. An odd choice for two innocent kids (more innocent than most), given it’s a psychological thriller about a rapist who terrorizes a family.

What the fuck were they thinking?

They were kinda weird like that, too cool to be good parents. Yuppies you see, the 80’s kind. The dad had a weird body (built like a man on top, but with Liza Minnelli legs) and I always wondered how he’d landed the mum (who was beautiful). She dressed like the sister of my mate, not her mother, and worked out like she was exor-cise-ing the demon (or waiting for him to trade her in for a younger model) (which he eventually did).

Not so surprising then, that they’d treat us like the adults we weren’t and take us to a monumentally inappropriate movie. I was bloody terrified, I never forgot it.

Watching it with adult eyes gives me new appreciation. I wonder now if Martin Scorsese intended it as an homage to Hitchcock or the classic suspense thrillers of the 1950s. I can see why it remained so powerfully in my memory all of these years – it has the feel of classics like Rear Window and Vertigo with short, swirling camera shots and heavy dramatic music. It seemed so hammy then, but weren’t the classics a little silly and melodramatic? Even the choice of Jessica Lange seems a nod to Kim Novak or Eva Marie Saint.

The irony is that if it had been made in the Decade of Denial, maybe it wouldn’t have evoked such terror (Hitchcock notwithstanding). Much as I love old Hollywood, they seemed too intent on glamour to successfully depict violence or the crevices of the human psyche.

It’s seems almost better to have a modern homage (with Scorsese at the wheel), taking a little from each to create a hybrid of terror and ham, and a side of fries.

Published by the wuc

I'm a chick living in Australia, working for the man. I hate office work with a passion usually reserved for James Cameron, but somehow I ended up with a career behind a desk, stapling my forehead at random intervals.

14 thoughts on “Well, pardon me all over the place.

  1. Yeah.. love that movie. And almost anything else DiNero or Scorsese does. do. ? So, you were 13 around 1991. Jesus Christ almighty I’m old. Don’t suppose you’ve ever seen the original w/Mitchum and Peck. Rare thing though, the 91 version is better. DiNero is a beast.

    1. I love old Hollywood movies but for some reason, haven’t seen the Peck version. I suppose I should get off my ass and see it, wot.

  2. Have you seen the original Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck? Both are great films, much as I like Robert Mitchum, I don’t think he’s quite as scary as De Niro in this role.

  3. I felt as if we were sitting in a common room and talk to each other!!! Loved ur style of writing!!

  4. When I was 6, my mother forced me to watch “The Exorcist” when it was the Friday night movie on TV. Her sage words: “If you’re naughty, that’s what happens.”

    Oh, how I’ve tried to be good!

    Now, I’m all grown up, a proper Catholic with tattoos and an IUD to prove it. My heads only spun ’round once and that was all the rum’s fault.

  5. You reminded me that my mother took me and two other girls to see The Godfather for my 13th birthday. Talk about scaring the chit out of a kid.. I think I thought WTF mom. In reality, I think my mother saw it as a way to get to see a movie she wanted to see and knew that it was now or never. She raised 5 of us on our own, so a day at the movies was rare, but WTF mom.

  6. That’s exactly what was, Caribou. A nod to Hitchcock I mean. Actually more of full-on smashy lips to Hitchcock.

    Right down to the title sequence by Saul Bass, who did many of Hitchcock’s title sequences.

    May he rest in peace. I love that fat man. I love Saul Bass. I love Scorsese.

    They are my parents.

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