Monday, April 23, 2012

A to Z Challenge. Letter U


The Uninvited (1944)
Directed by Lewis Allen.
Plot: A brother and sister move into an old seaside house they find abandoned for many years on the English coast. Their original enchantment with the house diminishes as they hear stories of the previous owners and meet their daughter (now a young woman) who now lives as a neighbor with her grandfather. Also heard are unexplained sounds during the night. It becomes obvious that the house is haunted. The reasons for the haunting and how they relate to the daughter whom the brother is falling in love with, prove to be a complex mystery. As they are compelled to solve it, the supernatural activity at the house increases to a frightening level.

Review: The Uninvited is one of the rare Hollywood ghost stories that does not cop out with a "logical" ending. In fact, the film has more in common with British ghost tales of the period in that the characters calmly accept spectral visitations as though they were everyday occurrences. Based on the novel by Dorothy Macardle (with a few uncredited "lifts" from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca), The Uninvited remains one of the spookiest "old dark house" films ever made.


Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan le Fanu.
Published by Dublin University Magazine in 1864.

Blurb: In "Uncle Silas", Sheridan Le Fanu's most celebrated novel, Maud Ruthyn, the young, naïve heroine, is plagued by Madame de la Rougierre from the moment the enigmatic older woman is hired as her governess. A liar, bully, and spy, when Madame leaves the house, she takes her dark secrets with her. Then Maud is orphaned and sent to live with her Uncle Silas, her father's mysterious brother and a man with a scandalous, maybe even murderous, past. Once again, she encounters Madame and her sinister role in Maud's destiny becomes all too clear. With its subversion of reality and illusion, and its exploration of fear through the use of mystery and the supernatural, "Uncle Silas" shuns the conventions of traditional horror and delivers a chilling psychological thriller.

Review: A Victorian Gothic Mystery-Thriller, this novel is one of the earliest and most notable examples of the 'Locked room mystery' sub genre. It does not delve into the supernatural but it isn't any less creepy because of that. The story, like all good gothic ones, is atmospheric and claustrophobic to its best, you feel the sense of danger and worry about Maud, the seventeen-year-old protagonist. Another great bonus of the book is that it is obviously catered to a Victorian readership and presents a very clear picture of the moral values and fears of the time. Though the scandals at the core of "Uncle Silas" won't scandalize anyone with our modern sensibilities, it is of great interest to realize what it took to rock the Victorian society to its core. Do not miss this jewel.


Donna Sexton said...

I'm amazed that you are not only able to find a book and a movie for each letter, but then also provide well-written reviews.

TMW Hickman said...

I will go check out Uncle Silas as soon as possible, as I am always in the mood for a good thriller!

loverofwords said...

Turner Classic Movies--what gems! Especially the old Black and White ones which we would never see without, TCM. Thank you!

Lynn Proctor said...

i saw the uninvited and thought it was pretty good-great posts

Gina said...

Thanks Donna! I'm having fun, here, and it seems others are liking it, too. =)

TMW, those words are what makes it worth it. I hope you enjoy it!

Loverofwords, I know, right? I love TMC, too. Hope you enjoy the movie. ;)

Lynn, hearing others say they like my posts makes me feel very happy. Thanks for your kind words. =)

To all, I love seeing you around. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, I want to see that movie! I love suspenseful movies. Old time scary movies are great for that, because they don't distract with a whole bunch of sex and gore. Thanks for the suggestion!


Shelley Sly said...

That movie is probably too scary for me (I'm a wimp!), but it sounds intriguing nonetheless.

Gina said...

Acommonsea, you're so welcome! I enjoy old movies because they are really all about the characters and not special effects. Hope you enjoy this one!

Shelly, I think you might find that old movies are not as scary for us with modern sensibilities. They still make you sit at the edge of the seat, but you won't have nightmares for days without end. ;) Thanks for commenting!

LindaK said...

Thank you for the recommendations - both sound worth checking out!:-) LindaK

Diane Weidenbenner said...

Congrats for finding both a movie and a book that begin with "U". I enjoy reading your blog - found you on the Challenge. I'll check out some of your earlier blogs now that I have you bookmarked.

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't know these ones, but they sound fun :)

November Rain - k~ said...

The movie sounds like something I will enjoy watching. Thank you for visiting :-)

Gina said...

Thanks to all for commenting!

Linda, I hope you give it a try to any of the suggestions--or both--and that you enjoy them.

Diane, I'm so happy to have you on board! I hope you find lots of interesting content. If you have suggestions, I'm always happy to comply. =)

Jemi, I'm glad you liked them!

November, I liked your blog. Thanks for stopping by.

Sangita Kalarickal said...

Uncle Silas sounds really interesting! Your reviews are really wonderful.

Michael Pierce said...

Uncle Silas sounds right up my alley. I haven't read a good gothic novel in awhile, so it's about time. Thanks for the visit! I like the look of your blog.

Gina said...

Michael and Sangita, it seems you both share a taste for the gothic! Hope you enjoy reading the book. =)