31 Days Of Horror: Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

“Chop chop, sweet Charlotte / Chop chop till he’s dead / Chop chop, sweet Charlotte / Chop off his hand and head / To meet your lover you ran chop chop / Now everyone understands / Just why you went to meet your love chop chop / To chop off his head and hand.”

After the success of director Robert Aldrich’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? it was quickly decided that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford needed to be teamed up again for another similar film.

Crawford and Davis fought like crazy during the making of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Crawford didn’t want to make another film with Davis. After agreeing to make the film and spending a few weeks shooting the movie with Davis, Crawford then decided that she was sick and she couldn’t make the film (she may have been faking). So after a brief search and an insulting quote from Vivien Leigh, Aldrich hired Olivia de Havilland to take over the Crawford role.

The film starts in 1927 where Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) is messing around with a married lover named John Mayhew (Bruce Dern). They plan to elope during a party that her father is throwing on their estate. Charlotte’s father threatens Mayhew and Mayhew agrees to leave Charlotte. Mayhew breaks the news to her and then goes outside where he is suddenly murdered. His hand is severed and then he’s decapitated. Charlotte then stumbles into the house covered with blood and everyone thinks that she killed him.

The film then moves to present day (1964) where Charlotte is an unbalanced spinster living in her father’s mansion where the state wants to put a highway through. She manages to hold off the construction crew by shooting at them. Her only friend is her housekeeper, Velma (Agnes Moorehead). She writes to her poor cousin Miriam (Olivia de Havilland) to come help. Miriam along with her old friend Dr. Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten) try to help Charlotte. But Charlotte has been having waking nightmares about the night of the murder. Somebody seems to be playing a song that Mayhew wrote for Charlotte and his severed hand seems to be running around the house.

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was another hit for Aldrich and Davis and it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, the most a horror movie had been nominated for at the time. The film has some creepy and Davis is a little of the top as she is driven mad by the events occurring around her but it’s still a fun film to watch.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.