Mystery

Two 90’s Hitchcockian thrillers; “Shattered” and “Final Analysis”

There’s a word you can look up on Wikipedia; Hitchcockian. Meaning; “Hitchcockian films are those made by various filmmakers, with the styles and themes similar to those of Alfred Hitchcock”. The master of suspense’s influence cannot be underestimated, and I doubt many filmmakers had as great an effect on the film industry (this is of course debatable). His filmography is huge and filled with classics in the suspense genre. Not a calendar year goes by without me visiting at least a few of the master’s films. Then there are also a few Hitchcockian thrillers that I’m quite fond of and I’d like to cast a light on two fairly forgotten titles. They’re both early 90’s flicks, definitely Hitchcock inspired and set in San Francisco.

Terminal Invasion (2002)

Inside an isolated airport, a group of people learn that their charter flight has been grounded. Things don’t get any better when two guards escort convicted murderer Jack to the premises after their car skidded off the road. But soon things get even worse as the group discovers that some may not be who, or what, they appear to be. An alien invasion is taking place and it begins at this terminal.

Jack the Ripper (1988)

The mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper and his killing spree has fascinated amateur sleuths as well as bona fide detectives for well over a century. Much of said mystery stems from the fact that the killer was never caught and many theories have emerged as to his identity. The theory presented here is very well pieced together, very entertaining to watch unfold and certainly a juicy piece of conspiracy theory for those interested in the English elite in the 19th century.

Witchboard 2 (1993)

An Ouija board was left in the apartment and Paige makes contact with a spirit that calls itself Susan…
The script is decently written and functions as a bit more of a murder mystery than the first “Witchboard”. It’s not predictable and has a few surprises up it’s sleeve and inserts some good humour in places. The way Paige connects the dots is done in a fairly believable way and the film is well paced.

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

At Alpine University the film students are competing for the coveted Hitchcock award. Ace student Travis is considered the likeliest to win but fellow student Amy impresses Professor Solomon with her idea of doing a horror short based on urban legends. Soon the students of Alpine start turning up dead and just maybe someone wants the Hitchcock award badly enough to kill for it.

Ten Little Indians x4

Dame Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel “Ten Little Indians” (which initial title was quite edgy (and it’s easy to google) and quickly changed to “And Then There Were None” when it was published in the US in 1940) is one of the Queen of Suspense’s most enduring piece of literature. It’s a remarkably grim novel whose basic plot has been imitated countless times and undoubtedly will continue to inspire more works for the unforeseeable future. In the 20th century there were four English speaking film adaptations of the novel produced in 1945, 1965, 1974 and 1989 that greeted audiences but there was one fact that not everyone knows that tied all the films together in a peculiar way that differed from the novel. When the novel was adapted for the stage Dame Agatha herself changed the ending and altered the plot slightly. No doubt a reason for this was partly to let theater patrons depart on a slightly happier note but also some key things would have been very difficult to realize on stage that is much easier to communicate in a novel. The following film versions were all adapted from Christie’s stage version and so they did not faithfully adhere to the nihilistic tone that so distinguishes the novel from the rest of her work.

Terror Train (1980)

“Terror Train” is excellent. It has everything that a slasher film fan could want in spades and delivers it with a straightforward narrative that’s blissfully free of absurd red herrings that make no sense. That said it does present a possibly implausible revelation but it actually ends up being a clever mislead in a film noted for it’s twist free nature. The script for “Terror Train” is pretty good.

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