Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Tribute to A Wonderful Film!

Starring Carrie Snodgress & Ray Milland (1980)

Here for your enjoyment is a tribute to a wonderful film called The Attic (1980).  Part thriller, part horror film, it starred Carrie Snodgress as mousey librarian Louise Elmore and Ray Milland as her abusive, widowed father, Wendell.  Years ago, a fire in his department store caused Wendell to jump out of the 2nd floor window to save his life.  He's been a cripple ever since that fall.  And he has relied on Louise to take care of him these oh so many years since the accident! 

Now, poor Louise is about to lose her librarian job at the Wichita Public Library, after 19 years, which also happens to be the length of time since her handsome fiance Robert disappeared on their wedding day.  Between losing her lover, living with her creepy father and now losing her job, it's a wonder Louise can hold on to life at all.  Can we really blame her when she repeatedly slashes her wrists open to try to escape from her world?  Her father is so mean to her, that we cannot help but get excited whenever Louise lapses into one of her frequent fugues of patricidal fantasy!

Fortunately, one bright spot recently entered Louise's life in the form of a new, younger friend from the library named Emily.  Emily, played by Ruth Cox, is an hysteric teen whose lives with an abusive mother, played to great effect by the inimitable Rosemary Murphy.  The gals bond over their abusive parents.  They sneak away, forever flirting on the verge of a lesbian lovefest that never quite gets fulfilled as they spend hours in the sunny Wichita city park, partaking of luncheon meat sandwiches together whilst commiserating over their beastly parents.


Once we get to know her, there is no way we can blame Louise for taking a little nip now and then.  A bit of whiskey helps her get through the day, be it at the library, at lunch with dear Emily, or perhaps on a night out at the movies after she meets a sailor named Richard.  After rebelliously leaving dear old dad at home, Louise heads out to the movies on her own.  No sooner does she settle down for a spooky teen slasher flick, then the studly sailor Richard shows up and comes on to her.  In no time at all, they are back at his hotel!  Louise is shy, nervous and delusional - in the heat of the moment, we uncomfortably gaze on the two of them like voyeurs, while Louise believes that she is making love to her dear, long lost Robert. 

She experiences a similar fugue when a young hottie drops by to mow her lawn!

Louise sure could use a break.  And she's about to get one!  After Louise confides her love of monkeys to Emily during a visit to the local pet shop, Emily surprises her with a gift - a baby chimpanzee!  Louise nicknames the chimp Dickie.  She takes him home and creates little man outfits for him to wear.  Of course, Wendell is rife with jealousy at the new creature who steals his daughter's time away from him.  Uh oh, trouble is brewing at the Elmore household!

"Get that beast away from me!  I'm allergic to him.

  I want him out!  You know there's something sick about you...

Don't complain Louise, just massage my lower back!" 

Well, one thing's for sure.  We're so glad to see Louise have a bit of fun amidst all her misery!  When Emily invites Louise over to dinner, Wendell complains that"Suddenly,"  she's "all over town.  Dancing on the table tops!"  Louise meets Emily's mom - the frigid, bitchy Mrs. Perkins and David, Emily's stuttering, queer little brother.  More laughs follows for us when Louise purposely drops one of Mrs. Perkins' "very expensive" bird figurines ("Aren't they lovely?") onto the floor, smashing it to pieces.
"Oh, sh*t!"

Believe me, I have just scratched the surface of this grossly underrated film.  There are plenty more thrills, perversity, delusion and tears in store for you.

It also has an awesome soundtrack!

  Carrie Snodgress gives an Oscar worthy performance here.  Watch it for yourself, and I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting The Attic, again and again!

  "You didn't leave the back door open.....did you?!?"   

"Ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooo!!!" 

 Carrie Snodgress as Louise Elmore

 Ray Milland as Wendell Elmore

Ruth Cox as Emily Perkins

 Rosemary Murphy as Ms. Perkins

 Frances Bay as the Librarian  
 Marjorie Eaton as Mrs. Fowler

 Dick Welsbacher as the Missing Persons Agent

 Phil Speary as the Travel Agent


Although it does not include The Attic, Carrie Snodgress gives a very interesting interview.