Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This Movie Scared the Ever-Loving Shit Balls Out of Me in 1992

Maybe it was my age (12-15) or the era (1989-1992). I guess it could have been both, either, or neither. But something in my neural architecture during these specific five years made every movie I saw at the time occupy several acres of semi-permanent real estate in my brain, especially the psychological thrillers. 

I haven't done a film retrospective on here in awhile, but somehow today I was recalling the Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

Fam, when I tell you this movie scared the ever loving SHIT BALLS out of me in 1992! 

There was SO much trauma packed into 110 minutes of Rebecca De Mornay acting crazy (my 9th grade boy classmates creatively renamed her "Rebecca De Hornay,” although if this movie came out in 2018 she’d be Rebecca De Morecray); Annabella Sciorra (Law and Order/Sopranos) and Generic Hot Dad With a Beard™, a.k.a. Matt McCoy. Matt's only other film credits appear to be Police Academies 5 and 6. FIVE AND SIX, y’all. Not even two or three. Or four. 

Still, that's about three more movies than I've ever been in, so who am I to drag the man?

Anyway, to recap, per Wikipedia: "the tale follows a vengeful, psychopathic nanny out to destroy a naive woman and steal her family."

Annabella Sciorra plays a meek, mousy-yet-still-pretty asthmatic gardener and secular wearer of an Orthodox Jewish sheitel-chic hairstyle who, while preggers with kid number two, gets sexually assaulted by a dude gynecologist. 

Side note: what is up with dude gynos in 1992 much less 2018. Is that even a thing? Seriously, I kinda feel like vaginas are a medical specialty that MAYBE dudes can just sort of voluntarily opt out of from now on? Like where is the female peen doc? Nowhere, that's where.

But anyhoo, the dude gynecologist is married to an also-preggers Rebecca de Morecray. He kills himself after Annabella #MeToos him, and four other women come out saying he diddled them in the stirrups. Of course, instead of facing up to his Weinstein/Cosby conduct, he kills himself, and then Rebecca goes into early labor from the stress and bleeds so much she’s forced to have an emergency hysterectomy.

And THEN--here's the kicker: instead of being pissed at her dead husband for committing serial sexual felonies and then offing himself rather than face the consequences of his actions, Becky with the Crazy Eyes™ decides to commit the rest of her living days to ruining Annabella’s life by changing her name, applying for a job as a Annabella’s Nanny, seducing the star of Police Academies 5 and 6, wet-nursing Annabella’s infant son, turning Annabella’s young daughter against her, and trying to murder Annabella in her own greenhouse by rigging the glass to fall on top of her, but instead it falls on her BFF and Annabella has an asthma attack and turns blue because Crazy Becky™ secretly emptied all of her inhalers. 

Oh and btw Becky frames the family’s mentally disabled black handyman as a pedophile and gets him fired, because OF COURSE SHE DOES.

In the end, Annabella figures everything out, but there's of course a propulsive final scene in which Crazy Becky breaks Police Academy Husband's legs with a shovel and tries to kidnap both kids, but Annabella fakes an asthma attack and shoves Becky out of a window where she is OF COURSE impaled on a picket fence and dies before the sirens and blankets--which signal the "happily ever after" of all 90's psychological thrillers--arrive. 

Looking back on this movie, I'm struck mostly by the INSANE MISOGYNY of it, and how totally normal it felt and seemed at the time.

I mean, let's recall that the triggering event for the entire plot line of this movie was a gross man gynecologist who serially sexually assaulted his patients. And really the movie should have ended there. But it didn't, because, SHOCKER, Gross Felon With Zero Agency™ was married to a CRAZY LADY who got even MORE crazy when her uterus came out.

And then, once her uterus was gone, she couldn't do anything but try to steal another woman's motherhood and husband because her life was gonna be empty and meaningless without a hot husband who wanted to fuck her and give her a couple of shorties. 

It's no coincidence that this movie came out one year after Anita Hill. We've come a loooong way baby. 

Or have we?

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