The Uninvited

BeyondTheDoor.

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The butler did it.

But what exactly did the butler do?

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Whatever he did, I’m certain it was not as great a crime as what my neighbour is doing.

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Nor was it as thrilling as what I am imagining doing to her if she tells me once more to pay attention to what happens next, then proceeds to describe what is going to happen next just before it happens.

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The suspense isn’t killing me, but the lack of it is.

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From the most popular mystery romance since “Rebecca”! – the tagline shouted.

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The Uninvited

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I didn’t find “Rebecca” mysterious or romantic, it was stressful and frustratingly so, because I watched it with the same person who is seated next to me now while we watch “The Uninvited”.

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“The next scene terrified me when I first saw this film, the stillness and silence before the window blows open… you just don’t expect it! I screamed out loud, so did the entire movie theatre! Look, look, it’s coming up now…”

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I look, watch.

The scene plays out.

As I look and watch, I feel looked at and watched.

Her beady little eyes boring into me expectantly. Glistening with anticipation of my reaction.

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“You must have nerves of steel!”

That is not a compliment.

“I can’t believe you didn’t even flinch… mind you, it wasn’t as terrifying as I remember it, but then again I was a child when I saw it, not much older than you. I was such a scaredy cat in those days, such a vivid imagination. You’ve never been that way, perhaps it’s for the best, but still it’s a pity that you couldn’t enjoy it the way that I did. Although I would have to say that seeing it again after all those years… I’m rather disappointed in the film, it’s not as scary as I thought it was. That scene was rather bland compared to my memory of it. It’s funny how deceptive our memories can be.”

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Perhaps my memory of watching that film with her is deceptively defective.

I can’t recall the film at all, what I remember of it is what I was told about it, even though I know I saw it all the way through to its end.

I’m fairly sure it had an end, although it did seem interminable.

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That moment was not an isolated event.

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Suspense thriller, murder mystery, film after film… a black and white lesson in how to ruin another’s viewing pleasure with your own pleasures of viewing.

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Except for one.

One film which I enjoyed immensely, which was thrilling, even though she was there, the ever present neighbour looking out of her window into mine, telling me what to see when I looked outside.

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The birds.

In “The Birds”.

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Nothing You Have Ever Witnessed Before Has Prepared You for Such Sheer Stabbing Shock! – claimed one of the taglines of “The Birds”.

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I’ll never forget what those birds did.

The butler could never do that!

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The Birds

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7 thoughts on “The Uninvited

    1. What’s your favourite Hitchcock film?

      Mine’s ‘Foreign Correspondent'(1940).

      Alfred Hitchcock was a great observer of humans… and the darker side of human nature and all that entails.

      Did you ever read the series of books published under ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents…’ (I think that’s what they were called) which included short stories by up and coming authors. There was one short story called, ‘The Distributor’ (I think that’s what it was called) about a man who moves into ‘happy’ neighborhoods just to cause trouble amongst neighbours who get along… once he’s achieved that, he moves on. And another story about a man who gets told by his doctor that he is dying, so he ‘accidentally’ starts killing ‘rude’ people… becomes a ‘hero’ for doing that… then finds out his doctor made a mistake in the diagnosis.

      Twas ever thus 🙂

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      1. I’m reconnecting with “Psycho” right now. Years ago, when I first watched it, I just saw it as a scary movie. Now, I see, sadly, that the characters are more real than ever. I thought it was fiction…..
        I will look up “The Distributer”. Hitchcock was onto something-revealing this dark side of humanity. He was breaking the silence in true literary fashion.

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        1. Of course! Momentary lapse on my part there… I read your post about ‘Psycho’. I’ve seen the film, Hitchcock’s version and the remake, and also the TV series which you mentioned in your post.

          And I’ve lived it to a certain degree.

          They say – Truth is stranger than fiction… – it’s only that way because we edit out the subtleties of life and relationships when creating fiction. So fiction is easier to understand than truth, than RL, it is there for us, created by us, to make sense of RL and perhaps detahc from RL a bit by escaping into fiction… but things always chase us when we try to escape them.

          We take a certain comfort in things being fiction, in fiction over truth, even when it makes us uncomfortable because fiction tends to be more palatable than fact and requires less work, introspection, self reflection, and looking too closely at others.

          I read an article recently about the ‘red flags’ in relationships… which of course requires us to see them and then actually admit that we’ve seen them and know what they mean. Always a tough one. Usually… we have to make the mistake before we know that such a thing is a mistake. Usually we have to suffer before we form a guideline of what a red flag is… and why.

          Carl Jung said – Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. – sometimes we hide the darkness of others from ourselves, we tell ourselves that darkness does not exist there, is not real but a fiction, so we don’t have to deal with our own and see that it exists within ourselves. So, sometimes we don’t notice a ‘Psycho’ because… we don’t want to know such things and people exist, especially as that kind of knowing and being stirs things within us.

          Perhaps the worst part of the darkness of others is the darkness it inspires within us… which we don’t want.

          ‘Rope’ (1948) – Alfred Hitchcock:

          Brandon Shaw: I’ve always thought that it was out of character for David to drink anything as corrupt as Whiskey.
          Phillip Morgan: Out of character for him to be murdered, too.

          That’s an excellent film about the darkness within us all which we often don’t know about because we don’t want to know about it… until it won’t let us not know about it. Same applies to seeing the darkness of others… we only see it when we can’t avoid it.

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          1. Insightful…and true. I’m going to ponder this for a while. Why didn’t I see (or want to see), the darkness? I know why I didn’t see it at first-why I went forward into a relationship where there were red flags (I didn’t realize what that meant back then-thought I needed to “fix” it).
            Within the 13 year relationship, I recall always trying to “make it better”, more than fear facing it myself…but I was hooked…bonded by trauma by that time….and somehow, GOD reached His hand down and pulled me out. I have no other explanation for how I escaped…even after escaping, I remember a night wanting to just go back and let him rape me because that always calmed him down…that night, my mom blocked the door and held on to my soul with all her might. I haven’t written much about the severe PTSD episodes that I experienced upon the initial separation….maybe that’s the next layer to peel back….

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            1. PTSD is one of the hardest things to deal with because it comes with very strong coping mechanisms, some of which are buried in our unconscious, never to be dug up again. When we’re ready to look there… we never feel ready but we are and need to do so… but always wish we could just move on without looking. Kind of like driving by the scene of an accident (only that accident… we were in it and in some ways are still in it, so we need to look even when we don’t want to).

              Your situation is very tough. Everything is still happening, raw and vivid, even if certain aspects of it have changed. Remember to honour that with yourself. Respect yourself 🙂

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              1. I give myself little “self checks” to determine whether it is time to write. I may make reference to it…then stop the second I sense the hormones revving up. I do wish to move on without looking, but I have experienced healing through letting the words break free from my heart and mind….a layer at a time.
                You are right about things still happening in my situation. It is three steps forward-one step back. Logistically-12 years more…I’ll be 60…my abuser will be 70 (if he lives that long-high risk for heart issues). Well, now I feel old…think I’ll sign off on that note👵

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