Screw Valentine's Day; the most interesting "holiday" this weekend was today, Friday the 13th. Since I'm not home to go see Rocky Horror and have no interest in viewing the latest slasher-movie remake, I thought I'd celebrate by finally posting something about the only horror movie I've seen lately that's actually earned the label.
A lot of movies try to create suspense by using plot twists to keep the audience on its toes. Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte is one of the few movies I've seen use that technique successfully. Not only did this movie keep me guessing; it managed to do so in a way where everything still made perfect sense by the end of the film. Director Robert Aldrich strikes the right balance between presenting questions, leading the audience astray, and providing clues to the right answers anyway. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to correctly guess how the story is going to play out, but these hints are so obfuscated by the madness entrenched in that old Southern house that I jumped from theory to theory several times before having my suspicions confirmed -- and there were parts of the solution that I never saw coming.
Even the movie's unusual opening credit sequence brings the creepy. There's something about Bette Davis standing alone on a black screen, looking utterly devastated and vulnerable yet completely out of context, that's more than a little grotesque. It sets the tone beautifully for the rest of the movie.
Hush... Hush is all at once a psychological thriller, a classic horror flick, and a whodunnit mystery that's consistently one step ahead of its audience. It's not a movie to watch while half-asleep on the couch; if the all-star cast doesn't command your attention, the intricate plot certainly will.