Macabre the 13th

I really don’t need an excuse to watch the creepy, macabre “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) but on Friday the 13th it just seems apropos.




This film showcases not only the destructive rival between two sisters Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) but also the real life, career-long rival between the actresses. That’s at the center of what makes this such a fabulous movie. I can just see Bette’s wheels turning as she relishes her slow, ongoing torture of Joan, her on-screen nemesis.


What ever jane and blanche


Directed by Robert Aldrich from the novel by Henry Farrell, the story revolves around former child star – Baby Jane Hudson who can’t make the successful transition to film unlike her sister Blanche who spent her childhood in Baby Jane’s shadow. But, because of a car accident, Blanche is left crippled and Jane is begrudgingly forced to take care of her. Emphasis on the begrudging! – The result? – 133 minutes of pure on the edge of your seat, I can’t believe she just did that, sadomasochist Baby Jane Hudson.

What ever i've written a letter

Baby Jane – “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy”



What ever blanche bird

Blanche Hudson








For full disclosure, I’ve always loved Bette Davis! Check out my previous post, If it’s Sunday, break out the hankies! Bette always sought out challenging roles and wasn’t afraid to “go there.” As a matter of fact, in her first acclaimed film, “Of Human Bondage” she both emotionally and physically portrayed the grotesque nature of her character. She made her appearance “haggish” wanting to express the true physical appearance of someone with tuberculosis.

The success of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” re-energized both actresses careers in the 60’s as the “psycho-biddy” subgenre of horror/thriller films featuring psychotic older women came into vogue. Two other movies that followed the trend were Aldrich’s Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?.

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design.

So, on this Friday the 13th if you’re looking for a treat – I recommended spending a little time with the Hudson sisters and find out – “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”


What Are You Watching on Friday the 13th?

  • Dementia 13 (1963)

Dementia 13

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

A wacky little flick about the Haloren family and the annual ritual of reuniting in remembrance of the death of the youngest daughter Kathleen. The mom works herself up into a frenzy as usual but this year is a little different. There’s an ax murderer roaming around hacking up the residents of the Haloren Estate.

  • Thirteen Ghosts (1960)

13 Ghosts

 Directed by: William Castle

What are your thoughts on the supernatural?  Well, when you’re broke, an inherited haunted house is still a free house.  But this family takes on a lot more than they expected with their new roomies.  Fortunately a special pair of “ghost goggles” allows them to see their tormentors.



Also, check out the 2001 version.  Takes the ghosts up to a whole other level.  Produced by Terry Ann Castle (William Castle’s daughter)


  • House on Haunted Hill (1959)




Directed by: William Castle

Classic all the way.  Frederick Loren and his “haunted house theme” party.  He’s so amusing:)  Whoever of his guests makes it through the night walks away (or limps, whatever the case may be) with $10,000.  Let the games begin.


I’m not much for remakes, but the 1999 version with Taye Diggs, Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen is outstanding!  Also produced by Terry Ann Castle. (William Castle’s daughter)



Happy Viewing!