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#213- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Quick recap: A man witnesses a woman being stabbed and observes something ‘off’ about the assault. He takes it upon himself to solve the case, all the while trying to remember the one detail that will solve everything.

*SPOILER ALERT* It wasn't the bird

*SPOILER ALERT* It wasn’t the bird

Fun (?) fact: There is no such thing as a bird with crystal plumage. Playing the part in the movie is your common household Grey Crowned Crane.

A woman is being stabbed! Now is not the time for your mime routine, Sam.

A woman is being stabbed! Now is not the time for your mime routine, Sam.

My thoughts: Although this movie is listed as horror, it’s really more of a thriller. There’s nothing supernatural or paranormal- just some person killing a lot of people. In that respect, I guess Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Silence of the Lambs aren’t really horror movies, either, but they have more frightening moments than this one. Bird with the Crystal Plumage starts with a person in a black trench coat taking pictures of women. A little creepy, I guess. And then a few moments later the main character, Sam, sees what he thinks is a woman being stabbed. She writhes on the floor covered in blood, and because it’s an art gallery where the doors are pieces of art and can’t open, Sam can’t do anything about it. When the police come, they question him because it’s all really suspicious. It is then revealed that the city has a serial killer and this is one of the victims. At that point, the movie no longer became scary and actually not even interesting because I figured out the ending way before I was supposed to. Suck it, Encyclopedia Brown!

As is usually the case, it was the minor details of the movie that ultimately ruined it for me. It made sense that the police questioned Sam extensively and even took away his passport because he was a valuable witness. It did not make sense, however, to let him take a tour of the forensic lab and give him a how to on evidence. Nor did it make sense to give him details and photographs of the case and expensive equipment just in case the killer called him. I don’t watch many crime shows so maybe this is a thing, but I imagine that it’s generally not a good idea to make your star witness also a detective.

Regarding the serial killer, it turns out that it was the woman Sam saw getting stabbed that night. What really happened, is that she was trying to stab her husband, as serial killers are wont to do, and somehow stabbed herself? That part wasn’t very clear. If so, she kind of sucked at her job. Her husband also helped kill people or something, but some scientist guy explained at the end that he was under some psychosis and didn’t do it on purpose. And not to be sexist, but once I realized that the killer was a woman, I stopped being even a little frightened. Her laugh at the end was supposed to be scary but it came off as annoying. Seriously, focus on stabbing and stop laughing about it and MAYBE you would have a higher body count. It really shouldn’t be that difficult. As for how the bird fits into all of this, Sam’s friend is some bird scientist and heard a bird sound when the killer called him. He really built up the whole thing, saying it was a very rare species only found in one part of the world, but that there was one in Italy. ‘Where??’, everyone wondered out loud and after a dramatic pause, the man said, ‘the zoo!’, and everyone rushed off excitedly. Sometimes it makes you wonder where the line is that separates ‘good’ movies from those perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Final review: 1/5. I could see it as a midnight showing with a small cult following, but that’s about it.

Up next: the final film for Horrorfest

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