It’s time for another installment of Victorian Snark Theatre 3000! And this time we’ll be discussing The Raven (2012). As you guys know, I watch a lot of shitty Victorian-inspired films with my good friend @VictorianMasculinity (whose blog can be found here) and we decided to turn them into blog posts.
Previous posts on VST3K include:
–Vanity Fair (2004)
–The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Let’s get started on the film!
WARNING FOR SPOILERS (obviously), SOME MILD GORE, AND EXCESSIVE SWEARING
Me: *to VictorianMasculinity before the film starts* I am horrified that I’ve only seen The Man Who Would Be King (1975) once, but this will be the FOURTH TIME I’ve seen this piece of shit.
VictorianMasculinity: I‘m horrified to admit that this film has four stars on Amazon Prime.
The film opens with the first and last accurate thing we’ll see tonight:
I gotta hand it to John Cusack–the rest of this movie looks like a bunch of moody bullshit, but he looks like a million Gothic bucks.
Then we are treated to. . .
. . . the title of the film: A RAVEN! I’m sure this will have profound symbolic importance!
DIRTY CITY STREETS
A WOMAN SCREAMS A SCREAMLY SCREAM
POLICE GRUMBLE WITH WORRIED URGENCY
PONIES GALLUP WITH ADVERB ADJECTIVE
ARE YOU EXCITED YET
In short, my good readers, someone is being murdered.
Precisely 6.8 million police officers arrive at some slum building to help the screaming woman.
Not sure how long a woman has to scream in order to mobilize that many police officers, but hey ho, this is probably not the sort of film for those kinds of questions.
The police officers climb 17 staircases, go through two secret passages, take a ferry, then a train, navigate a hedge maze, and finally zip-line to the woman’s door, following the sounds of her screams the whole way.
VictorianMasculinity: You know, for a woman being suddenly murdered, she’s got a surprising amount of scream in her.
The police officers break down the door to find the woman deaded real bad. Apart from her, the room is empty.
But but but! The door was locked from the inside! The windows are nailed shut! Even the chimney is blocked . . . with the corpse of the woman’s dead daughter. Gross. SO WHERE IS THE MURDERER?????
A not-dead-on-a-bench Poe (for this is several days before his death), is walking through the street, contemplating roadkill and poking it with his pen.
VictorianMasculinity: “Well, it’s been a wild night of drinkin’ and dead cat probin’! Time to go back to the flat!”
But he does not go back to his flat. Oh no. His night of drinkin’ and dead cat probin’ is just getting started. He goes to a bar, because Poe–super cool though he may be considered today–is a fall-down, broke-ass drunk.
The bartender is NOT pleased to see him because Poe’s bar tab is way overdue.
Also, the bartender is Mista Baaaaaaates from Downton Abbey, so I guess this actor is typecast as “serving others in a taciturn manner in a costume drama” role.
Poe finally coughs up some cash and say to Mista Baaaaaaaaaates, “Try not to shit yourself.”
VictorianMasculinity: Was that really a concern?
But that only just covers the tab he wracked up last time, so the bartender ain’t pouring. Poe’s also kind of a major prick, so he just steals some random dude’s drink and chugs it.
The random dude at the bar, quite rightly, tells Poe he’s acting himself a right dill-hole and maybe he should leave. Poe responds by calling him a mouth breather and making a bet. A drink for the first man who recognizes him or one of his poems! He starts screaming poetry in the bar, which always goes down well, in my experience:
“QUOTH THE RAVEN . . .”
He gets heckled, until some poor sod in the back takes pity on him and says, “Nevermore!”
Poe gets overexcited and starts smashing shit, like a ramped-up toddler. He insults everyone, calls one dude “a mental oyster” and gets kicked out.
Okay, at first I was on board with the creative insults, but now it’s just getting silly. He’s Poe, not the fucking Riddler.
Guys, this is why you can’t take drunken poets anywhere.
Meanwhile, back at the murder shack, the police have called in the big guns, Inspector Emmett Fields:
To be honest, they probably unaware of just how big those guns would be in a few years:
(don’t ask VictorianMasculinity and me to recap Dracula Untold. We won’t do it. We can’t do it. We saw it at the cinema together and just threw our hands up when it ended).
Inspector Fields is here to . . . inspect.
VictorianMasculinity: I would give anything for him to walk up to the crime scene and go, “What if the murderer were . . . hear me out . . . a monkey?”
Alas, there are no murdering orangutans in this film. More’s the pity.
While all the bumbling cops are going, “We don’t know where the murderer went!”, the Inspector takes one look at the crime scene and figures out that there’s a secret spring in the nailed-shut window that allows it to open. That’s how the murderer escaped. Additionally, the staging of the murder scene rings a distant bell.
The Inspector goes, “. . . this feels very familiar . . . Hey, have you guys seen Castle? You know the pilot? Where a serial killer bases his murders on a crime writer’s plots? And then the crime writer comes to consult for the police? Yeah! That’s what this is! FIND ME POE!”
And where is Poe?
He’s still acting himself an asshole out on the streets of Baltimore. This time he’s jumping out in front of carriages, because he wants to talk to the people inside:
And apparently he does this to this particular carriage ALL THE TIME.
Buddy. There’s this wonderful new thing called “paying a house call” or “writing a letter.” Sheesus.
He jumps inside and says to the dude, Charles, “I AM HERE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER, I LOVE HER, SHE WILL BE MINE“.
Charles is like, “Oh, ffs,” and the daughter, Emily, is like, “Poe, you’re gross and your stories are gross, too.” But Poe isn’t really the type to take “You’re gross” for an answer:
The father pulls a gun and tells Poe to get out, but Emily–contrary to what she has just said–gives Poe some serious Fuck Me eyes. Look, I get that teenage rebellion, keeping secrets from your parents, and dating older bad boys is, like, omg, SO HOT, but maaaaaybe she should just admit that she likes Poe, rather than letting her father almost shoot her secret boyfriend, because the father thinks that his daughter is being assaulted right in front of him.
Over in another part of town, Nothing Good is happening:
The guy screams, “Please! I have children! I’m only a . . . [something unintelligible]”.
VictorianMasculinity: What is he? “I’m only a . . . spinach? A cribbage? This is the real mystery of the film! WHAT IS HE?
Poe, meanwhile, goes to his local newspaper office and gets liquored up by his print-setter buddy, Ivan, who breaks some bad news: Poe’s review has been cut, in favor of one of Longfellow’s shitty poems.
Poe accepts this with perfect grace and humility.
The editor says that lately, Poe does nothing but criticize other people’s work. What the editor needs for the paper is more stories, bloody, gory stories.
VictorianMasculinity: You need stories? Well, I need a passable American accent, so I guess we’re both disappointed.
Back in Dexter’s Laboratory, that giant blade is about to start swinging:
There are cogs, and levers, and general murder steam-punkery, and the knife is gradually lowered inch by inch with every swing:
Eventually, as you may guess, it cuts the guy in two, and I’m 99% sure this film is just dieting propaganda.
VictorianMasculinity: It’s a bad day on the set when Cusack screams louder than the murder victim. I’m not sure which one of them to blame here.
That night, Poe plays with a human heart . . .
. . . which he then throws to his pet raccoon, Karl, to eat.
Ya know, Poe, your quirks really ride that fine line between endearing and FUCKING ODD.
But then there’s a knock on the door! And errybody knows that when you get a knock on the door at dissect-a-heart-o’clock, it can only mean a booty call:
But, to be honest, this booty call is kinda weird, because Emily comes in reciting Poe’s own poem, Annabel Lee, to him and says that this poem about a hot chick dying is the most romantic thing she’s ever heard. This girl is REAL kinky.
She asks why Karl is eating a human heart, and then asks Poe to propose marriage to her. Nothing gets women hotter than raccoons eating human hearts. It’s science.
Poe gets cagey around the subject of marriage (I imagine his internal monologue is going, “Marriage! You know I only like thirteen-year olds!), and eventually he says to Emily, “You are my greatest and only inspiration.”
Well, you and Karl. You can have what’s left of the heart when Karl’s done.
Emily withholds sex until Poe proposes, and they decide to announce their marriage before all of Baltimore society at her father’s masquerade ball in a few days, so her father can’t refuse.
This seems like a perfectly healthy and mature romantic relationship.
VictorianMasculinity: Do you think this film started as Shakespeare in Love, but with Poe, and then they were like, “Nah, it needs a raccoon, and a dude being cut in half”?
The next day Poe gives a poetry reading to some society women in the Beige Room of Sub-Par Feminine Intellect. It’s a good thing he’s reciting “The Raven” to them, because I don’t think any of them know how to read. Everyone wears pastels.
Also, the Trunchbull is there, and she offers up her own poem, which is an insipid little bit of verse about a bee, and it’s hilarious because WOMEN CAN’T WRITE POETRY. STUPID TALENTLESS WOMEN.
Except Poe, either out of politeness or total tone-deafness, manages to find some brilliant critical reading of her poem from a pseudo-Marxist perspective, and–wait a fucking minute. I am connecting with this film over the bee poem. I do this kind of nonsense for a living!
But before we can get into a full deconstruction of the bee poem, Poe is whisked away by police, who have finally tracked him down, and he is brought to Inspector Fields’s office. Now the buddy-cop film can begin in earnest!
Fields breaks the news that someone is killing people in the manner of Poe’s stories. “This is Kevin, our prop boy. He’ll provide you with the props that keep the plot moving”:
Fields asks Poe for an alibi at the time of the murder. He was seen drunk in the streets around that time. Poe takes a big swig from his hip flask and says that he has no alibi. Fields takes a two-second look at Poe’s hands, says that they’re probably too small to match strangulation marks on the girl stuffed in the chimney, and hey, I guess that rules you out! Come work for us on this case!
Police work at its finest.
Then an officer comes in, saying that they’ve discovered the body of the cut-in-half dude.
Poe’s editor is there to identify the body: the cut-in-half dude’s name was Griswold, and he was a noted detractor of Poe’s work! Ohhhhh, so that’s what he was screaming! That he was a critic! Not a spinach! Not a cribbage! Mystery solved–we can all go home now.
The editor says that Griswold and Poe had a HUGE fight in the papers because they both did “criticism – the easy stuff“. It was at this point in the film that VictorianMasculinity and I both went
YOU’VE MADE AN ENEMY FOR LIFE, FILM.
The editor is worried that Poe is a suspect. Fields goes, “Do you not know how murder mysteries work? Everyone’s a suspect. You. Poe. The dead body. Even myself. Especially myself!” So the editor responds by saying that all of Poe’s darkness is just in his head, and that Fields should give him a break because Poe’s a drunk and every woman Poe has ever loved has died in his arms.
Wow, when you put it like that, Poe really sounds like an up-standing, not at all psychologically disturbed guy, who may or may not be capable of murder.
Poe is officially brought in on the case.
The murderer also left a creepy red mask at the scene (after Poe’s story “Mask of the Red Death”), hinting where he’ll next strike: Emily’s costume ball.
Fields warns Charles that a serial killer dressed as Death will be targeting Emily’s costume ball, but Charles is more worried about the party’s wine selection, because Charles is bourgeois as fuck.
In total fairness to Charles, it’s probably not that big a deal. Death comes to every party in Baltimore. Because Maryland was a giant pit of yellow fever in the nineteenth century.
It’s like pulling teeth, but eventually Charles agrees to let police officers attend his ball incognito, as long as the officers make sure to “scrape the shit off their boots”. Because cops are notorious shitty-boots.
I would like to point out that VictorianMasculinity and I have two PhDs between us and have written articles about conceptions of nineteenth-century masculinity, and yet both of us giggle every single time they say “ball”. Which is a lot.
In a desperate, frantic attempt to make us care about the heroine before she’s probably violently murdered (because we’re 30 minutes in, and we know nothing about Emily except that she’s bland and manipulative), she gives a piano recital.
The Trunchbull says to Charles, “She’s so wonderfully full of life!”
VictorianMasculinity and I groaned a groan a deep as the ages. Our disdain could consume the sun. Our eye-rolls were powerful enough to summon a tornado.
I guess if you can’t be bothered to write a halfway decent character, you can always just have some random person tell the audience, “THESE ARE HER TRAITS.”
Based on what we have actually observed, I’m going to tell you some of Emily’s other equally well-supported characteristics: 1.) She’s got a bad gambling problem when it comes to mahjong. 2.) She is surprisingly good at wakeboarding. 3.) She once beat a refrigerator in a staring contest. 4.) She is the grandmother of Mickey Rourke.
I COULD GO ON ALL DAY, BUT I HAVE TO GO BACK TO WATCHING EMILY BE SO WONDERFULLY FULL OF LIFE
Pardon my outburst
Poe sneaks into the piano concert, as he is wont to do. Charles gets pissed, as he is wont to do. Emily says insipid things, as she is wont to do, and Fields tries to hold everyone’s shit together, as he is wont to do.
Charles: If Poe comes to the costume ball, I’ll eat my hat!
Fields: He has to. He’s a consultant on the case.
Emily: Daddy, I want a new dress!
Charles: Poe’s a ATHEIST.
Poe: And I’m a drunk. And an opium addict.
Emily: Daddy, why do we need security? We’re only the richest people in Baltimore allowing a thousand strangers in disguise into our house.
Poe: (psst, Emily, we shouldn’t announce our engagement), also there’s a killer on the loose!
Emily: That sounds thrilling!
Me: She’s an idiot.
VictorianMasculinity: Yes, but a ‘full of life’ idiot.
And without further ado . . . THE BALL!
VictorianMasculinity: Please god let Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu in drag show up.
The police are there, TOTALLY INCONSPICUOUS IN THEIR MATCHING COSTUMES. Fields tells them to be on the lookout for anyone dressed as anything even remotely resembling Death.
“Gentlemen, we are here to arrest Death himself. Not an easy endeavor, but I feel like the Baltimore Police Department is up to the task.”
And who should we see on his way to the ball, but a foggy, sinister figure on a horse. Because even Death has to commute to work.
Fields is really edgy and almost shoots a guy who he thinks is dressed as the Red Death, but is actually just a normal dude dressed as a cardinal or something.
“If only . . . I’d planned . . . for disguises!”
Aaaand, then we get more shots of Death’s evening commute:
We really couldn’t stop laughing at this point, because it’s like that scene in The Holy Grail.
Emily continues to be weird, even in costume. She goes around reciting “Annabel Lee” to EVERYONE. She’s like that one person at a party who just discovered kale and won’t shut up about it.
Poe lurks around like the Phantom of the Fucking Opera, chugs some champagne, and then smashes his glass because he can’t be bothered to even set it on the ground or something.
He really is the worst.
VictorianMasculinity: Don’t get me wrong, John Cusack chews the scenery like his life depends on it, and it’s fantastic, but I gotta be honest . . . I want this film remade with Joan Cusack.
Poe whispers “Nevermore” and then goes to ask Emily to dance.
But all hell breaks loose when Death rides his horse directly into the party.
Hey, Death, you don’t have city ordinance for this!
Emily gets swept away in the crowd:
And Charles shoots Death off his horse, because Charles takes no shit.
They rip Death’s mask off, and it’s just some poor kid who’s like, “He said you ordered it for the party! I’m supposed to deliver this note!”
The note says that the murderer has kidnapped Emily.
Fellas, you might as well give up now, because the murderer is a fucking white wizard. It has been 24 seconds since we have last seen Emily (I counted), who was struggle and yelling, in a room full of people, and yet she has been spirited away from the building and out of all range. You don’t stand a chance. Just forget about her and enjoy the party.
The next day the murderer sends a note: he’s going to kill more people and leave clues on their bodies that will lead Poe to Emily. In the meantime, Poe needs to publish a story about what’s happened, and figure out a way, through fiction, that he can rescue Emily.
If he does not, the murderer will kill her.
So, this is pretty much just a prequel to Misery. The murderer is Poe’s Number One Fan. Please let the murderer be Cathy Bates.
Emily awakens to find herself in a coffin, being buried alive. She shouts for help.
The murderer, who’s doing a bad Batman gravely-voice impersonation, tells her to “Shut it, or I’ll shut it for you“.
And what, may I ask, are you going to do if she doesn’t shut it? Keep burying her alive? Oh fucking no *wrings hands*
But Emily, being a good, simple girl, shuts it.
In a medical school across town, young doctors start their day examining cadavers:
VictorianMasculinity: Gentlemen, welcome to ventriloquism 101.
But instead of finding a male cadaver who has died of consumption, they find a raven and a female murder victim dressed like Mary Queen of Scots (actually, she’s dressed as Lady Macbeth. Whatever. She’s fabulous and Scottish).
The detectives ask Poe if this is another one of his stories. He says yes, “The Murder of Marie Roget”. Only, here’s the thing: that story was based on a real crime that Poe had read about. We cannot, in good conscience, credit this film with a high enough level of intelligence for this to be meta.
That night, as Poe is inspired to write, Fields knocks on his door.
“Karl . . . get the door.”
Fields and Poe have a heart-to-heart, talk about the case, and then Poe opens up to Fields about his first wife’s death from consumption. He gets very purple prose-y about her coughing up blood, and Fields pretty much has the face of the audience at this point:
Meanwhile, back in the corpse box, Emily tears at her bloomers.
Lady, now is not the time for that.
Well, I guess you do have an established peril-kink, and you have nothing else to do.
But wait–she’s not “ya-ya-ing the sisterhood”! No, Emily, has taken some of the boning (heh) out of her corset and is using it to file through the coffin!
The corset is going to save her? I told you this film was dieting propaganda.
Poe does as promised and writes the first installment of his “Solution to Emily’s Kidnapping” story.
VictorianMasculinity: Ahh, the good ole days when a short story is breaking news. “Extra extra! Man with goatee writes purple prose!”
Fields tracks down the Marie Roget murder victim. She’s an actress in a local production of Macbeth. Quick, to the thee-atre!
On their way, Poe says, “I would gladly give my life for hers [Emily’s]” in a way that bludgeons us about the head with the Hammer of Foreshadowing.
At the theatre, the police got no respect for the Bard’s words–
–and the stage hands are topless.
VictorianMasculinity: Oh, I say. Is it that kind of a show?
We discover that one of the stagehands is missing: a former sailor named Maurice.
SAY IT, FUTURE GASTON
Fields wanders around the theatre looking for clues, but you know he’s going to run into trouble because he is carrying the Flickering Candle of High Gothicism.
Sho nuff, there’s some Phantom of the Opera/Joseph Buquet bullshit with a shadowy figure in the rafters. Fields manages to corner the shadowy figure and points his gun at him, but Poe (who’s in another part of the theatre) manages to drop his gun, where it goes off. Because he’s a dumbass who doesn’t know how to properly secure a weapon.
Fields, wondering if it’s his gun, turns it around to look at the barrel.
VictorianMasculinity: If a detective has to look at the barrel of his gun to know if he just fired it or not, maybe he shouldn’t be allowed a weapon.
Everyone panics and the shadowy figures gets away.
In Maurice’s locker, they find a tongue stabbed with a pen.
This can only mean the nihilists have kidnapped Mrs. Lewbowski again, and this time they’re serious!
And if this weren’t enough for one day, someone then sets Poe’s house on fire [for reasons that are, frankly, never explained].
Wait, how did Karl manage to escape the fire? I bet Karl’s the one who did it. “Edgar, goddamn it, I told you I hated this neighborhood. Now we have to move.”
Also, we don’t actually get to see Karl, probably for budget reasons.
VictorianMasculinity: Did they only have the raccoon for one scene? I can hear the director saying, ‘We’ll just hand Cusack a bunch of rags and make a raccoon noise. It’ll be fine.’
Meanwhile, Emily is still scraping away at the coffin with her corset boning.
VictorianMasculinity: Is she trying to escape, or make fire? Did she set the fire at Poe’s house?
Me: I’m not she’s even discovered fire.
She starts gasping at the hole:
But 1.) wasn’t she being buried alive? Why is there light shining through? 2.) If she wasn’t buried alive, and you could clearly hear both her and the murderer whispering to each other, then I don’t think this box is air tight.
VictorianMasculinity: Look at her being so full of life! Is it bad that I’m siding with the murderer, in that I really want her to stop being so full of life?
The murderer hears her vocalizing like a walrus, so he comes and looks at her through the hole. She tries to poke his eye out with her corset boning, but he just grabs it and laughs at her. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T GIVE YOU SHARP OBJECTS, EMILY. YOU CAN’T BE TRUSTED WITH THEM.
Poe shows up at Fields’s house.
“Can my raccoon and I spend the night?”
They get into a huge fight over the case–Poe wants ACTION, Fields wants to do actual research (“What else should we do? Run around all of Baltimore screaming her name?!”–which, to be fair, is Poe’s favorite thing to do. Probably even before Emily was kidnapped).
Poe learns the hard way that boring research is vital: Fields reveals that the stagehand Maurice is actually a sailor who came to Baltimore on a ship called the Fortunado. One of Poe’s characters, Fortunado, was walled up in catacombs under a city in Italy. Baltimore doesn’t have catacombs . . . but they do have sewers!
TO THE SEWERS!
Fields instructs his policemen: we are looking for any sign of newly-laid brick-work. Someone has probably been walled up down here. Every time you examine a wall, you are to blow your whistle like so:
And then scream her name:
Poe just pops up behind Fields and, in case the police officers didn’t quite grasp the concept of yelling someone’s name, he goes, “EMILYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”
The best part is that no one in the scene reacts.
VictorianMasculinity and I had to pause the film at this point to laugh. I laughed so hard when I saw this in theatres that people started staring at me.
While the officers go about their search methodically, Poe veers off on his own with an ax and just starts smashing all the bricks that ever existed. Because he’s a fucking asshole.
One of the officers finds some brickwork where the mortar is a different color. Fields goes, “You’re right! I have touched it to confirm the color!”
Fields attacks the wall with his superior wall poking skills, because tearing down masonry cannot be entrusted to mere police officers. They discover a blonde woman wearing a blue ballgown inside.
When they pull her out, they discover it’s actually a dead man wearing Emily’s ballgown.
VictorianMasculinity: My god, this is the most animated she’s ever been. The Trunchbull was right–she is so full of life!
The man is covered in naval tattoos and it doesn’t take them long to figure out that it’s Maurice. One of Maurice’s tattoos has an X carved into it.
Maurice’s lips are also sewn together and Fields cuts the stitches.
VictorianMasculinity: I would laugh so hard if a raven flew out.
They figure out through sailor jargon that the killer is giving them latitude and longitude coordinates which lead to a church cemetery. Everyone goes out looking for her, including Charles, who starts screaming “EMILY!”
Aww! Welcome to the team, buddy. You’ll get your induction pack in the mail soon.
Fields’s plucky, baby-faced sidekick explores the cemetery on his own. Ravens start cawing, so you know his life expectancy just got significantly shorter.
Right on cue, V for Vendetta appears on the roof and takes Sergeant Baby-Face out.
RIP, Sergeant Baby-Face. At least we won’t have to transport you very far to your grave.
The police come running and V for Vendetta shoots Fields in the shoulder before fleeing on horseback. Fields yells at Poe to catch him.
“Find him, Edgar! I’d do it, but I have a mild flesh wound. Despite the approximately 35 police officers here at the scene, there are no other detectives in the greater Baltimore area. We have to resort to poets.”
Poe and the murderer play cat and mouse in the woods for a while, but the murderer gets away. Also, a raven gets shot.
VictorianMasculinity: They’ll never get their raven deposit back now!
Poe realizes there are only three hours until his short story installment is due to be published, and he hasn’t written it yet. He goes off to write while Fields gets the bullet taken out of his shoulder. But first? BOOZE!
Fields: *chugs, slumps back* AUGH!
I know, buddy. The 1832 vintage is pure piss.
Poe writes about Emily punching her way out of the grave, and all that serves to do is to remind me how much I’d rather be watching Kill Bill.
The editor comes in, reads Poe’s decision to kill himself for Emily, and is like, “No fucking way am I publishing this.” He and Poe get into a scuffle and Poe screams “I’ll send you to hell!”
Mr. Poe, I don’t think you have the authority to do that.
Poe comes home to find a note from the murderer praising his story and accepting Poe’s death in exchange for Emily. The note admits that the murderer works at the newspaper office.
Poe! Don’t crumple the murderer’s note! That’s evidence! You’re a terrible cop! Turn in your badge and raven. AND your back-up raven. I know you have a smaller caliber raven in your ankle holster.
Poe confronts his editor and demands to know where Emily is.
Only the editor has been violently killed, too, and is just propped up at his desk. That’s right, kiddos, the murderer is Ivan!
Poe asks where Emily is, and Ivan responds with, “Dying”. He asked where, not how. Open your fucking ear holes.
They sit down and have a drink together. To be honest, I know Poe’s an alcoholic and I shouldn’t condone someone enabling his addiction . . . but if ever someone needed a drink, it was now.
Ivan explains that he’s Poe’s Number One Fan, and wants to be an artist just like him. So he’s concocted this whole thing to impress Poe. Poe loses his shit and shoots his gun right next to Ivan’s ear.
“Ow! I have tenitus!”
VictorianMasculinity: Poe would be a lot more effective if he got Karl in here to do good cop/bad cop with him. “I can’t control him when he gets like this, Ivan. Tell him what he wants to know and we’ll get the D.A. to cut you a deal!”
Ivan gets Poe to drink some poison, tells Poe that Emily is hidden under the floorboards here at the newspaper office, and then makes his escape, telling Poe that he’s going to France to stalk Jules Verne. As you do.
Can we pause here and talk about how Verne’s very first publication was in 1850? And this film is set in 1849? I guess they couldn’t be bothered to look up another French writer who would actually fit the timeline. *head-desk*
Poe does what Poe does best, and starts destroying things with hammers.
Poe only just manages to push over the incredibly heavy filing system by using his legs.
No, not the filing system!
A few questions:
1.) How was Ivan able to get in and out of his secret chamber on a daily basis if it’s that difficult to access? Poe has to tear up the floorboards with a hammer to get to the trap door.
2.) Even if it were easy to access, how on earth could he get in and out without people noticing? Have you ever seen a news office? Employees practically live there 24 hours a day. And this is in the main room.
3.) We’ve seen the murderer showing up at strange places at all hours of the day and night, and he’s clearly put in a hell of a lot of time setting up all the murders. Why wasn’t Ivan doing his goddamned job? Who is his supervisor and why didn’t they notice he was absent?
This newspaper must be a shambles.
Poe wanders around down in the secret vault screaming “Emily” over and over, because when in doubt, scream “Emily.” But that’s when the poison starts to take hold!
VictorianMasculinity: My eyesight . . . so blurry . . . any of these objects . . . may be my Emily . . . . They are all . . . equally animate.
He finds Emily and they make out for a while, and they gasp at each other like two boring Darth Vaders having a conversation.
Emily, honest-to-god, is like, “So . . . marriage?”
JESUS, WOMAN, GIVE IT A REST
He carries Emily upstairs where she is taken away by an ambulance. In the hubbub, Poe wanders off to a nearby park to die. An old man comes across the barely-alive Poe and is concerned.
“Is there someone I can call for you?”
“. . . Emily? But you have to call her real loud.”
Poe gets disoriented and tries to tell the old man that he needs to find Inspector Fields and tell him that Ivan is now traveling under the name “Reynolds”. The old man runs off to do so, and Poe dies.
He died as he lived. Frightening old men in parks.
Weeks later, Ivan is looking spiffy in Paris, because apparently type-setters make BANK.
Ivan gets into a waiting carriage, where he discovers Fields, who has tracked him down. Fields has a gun, and is PISSED.
Ivan lunges, Fields shoots–
-This film felt like the adaptation of a Wikipedia page on Poe.
-The killer should have been Karl all along. Karl was CRIMINALLY under-used.
-It’s a shame the film weren’t better, because Cusack and Evans were actually really good.
-2/10 stars, would not save Emily again. Nevermore.
Up next, VictorianMasculinity and I will be watching Titanic. You know I must love you, because that’s going to be a long-ass post.