In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: The Attic

The next entry in the Guide was George Edwards' 1980 picture The Attic. I had a vague recollection of the coverbox, mainly because of that monkey with the cymbals that seemed to be everywhere in the eighties, but that's as far as it goes.

A mousey librarian named Louise (Carrie Snodgrass) spends her days lamenting her lost love and fantasizing about offing her abusive wheelchair-bound father (Ray Milland).

Well, this movie escalates right out of the gate, with our protagonist slitting her wrists during the opening credits. Her suicide attempt is unsuccessful though, and we spend the next half-hour bearing witness to just how unhappy her existence is. After a few melancholy (and lengthy) montages - like we paid for this song so we're going to use the whole Goddamn thing - we get to the part where Louise's friend buys her a pet monkey from a pet store. Was that even a thing?? Yes, this movie goes literally bananas.
Dafuq am I watching?

When that happened I figured we were in for some sort of reverse Monkey Shines, where the monkey gets even with all those who have wronged her owner. But no, strangely the money serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, because its death doesn't even end up being the inciting incident that causes Loiuse to FINALLY do away with her father. 

Carrie Snodgrass as Louise in The Attic

I am surprised that Snodgrass' performance isn't talked about more. B-movie enthusiasts sing the praises of manic roles turns Susan Tyrell in Night Warning or Louise Lasser in Blood Rage (and rightly so), but Snodgrass' unhinged wallflower is worth some love, as well. I also dig that this father-daughter team was brought over from the Edwards penned 1973 film The Killing Kind. Milland, seemingly just dusting off his wheelchair and demeanor from his role in Frogs, is deliciously despicable, making every one of Louise's daydreamed patricides entertaining as hell.

Another cool piece of film DNA is that cinematographer Gary Graver - after apparently taking over director duties on this movie - built a relationship with Snodgrass that came in handy when he made his film Trick or Treats - a flawed piece of work I have a soft spot for - two years later.

Oh yes, I completely forgot there was an ATTIC, and that's okay because so did the writers apparently. There is no mention of said room until the very end and the reveal is rather ambiguous - at least to me - on who was responsible for that literal skeleton in the closet. So even though I threw my hands up in WTF a few times during this movie, it is also a pretty engaging character piece. The Guide seemed to agree, as well. 

But I can't fucking believe they didn't mention the monkey!

No comments: