Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)
If Bruce Dern wins an Oscar for his performance in Alexander Payne's new movie Nebraska, we all know what he's really winning for, right? Clearly its residual affection from this scene.
this wonderful interview at Vulture with Bruce's daughter slash the great love of my life Laura Dern and she told a fantastic story about this movie in it:
Vulture: Your father played a lot of sociopaths and generally nasty dudes, a lot of them in Westerns, and he came to some sorry ends. Your dad told a funny story about you watching Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. You’d crawled into your mother’s bed late one night when it was on TV.Laura Dern: Yeah, I saw his detached head roll down a staircase. I was 5! [Laughs.] It’s been talked about in therapy. [Laughs.] My mom was like, we’re going to call dad and he’s gong to tell you his head is still on. And she passed me the phone and he said, "Yeah, kid, it’s still on. I still got my head." And I was like, Okaaaaaay. That was the generation where you thought your kids could see anything. [Laughs.]"
Can't you just picture her mother Diane Ladd cackling wickedly as her five year old daughter freaks out about seeing her father's decapitated head? I mean clearly I project too much of their relationship in Wild at Heart onto them, but whatever, it's my choice. And it makes me so happy.
And obviously this post isn't complete without the actual scene of which Laura's speaking, with her daddy's head bouncing down the stairs, so hit the jump for that!
Aww poor Bette Davis. She sure gets a rough deal in this movie. That dastardly Olivia de Havilland! (Are we sure that Joan Fontaine didn't write this movie?) In real life Bette and Olivia were great friends - in fact Hush Hush was meant to be a reunion between Davis and Joan Crawford after What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? turned out to be a smash hit, but Crawford bailed on it after a few days of shooting because she didn't want to be upstaged by Bette again, as she felt she had been with the former (and she was, really). It was a whole bunch of drama (the director had a private investigator follow Crawford!) until Bette suggested that her pal Olivia take over the role after big names like Katherine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Barbara Stanwyck had already turned it down. Imagine the possibilities!
Previous Ways Not To Die: Spotted Dick -- Chinatown Syndrome -- Feeling the Fury -- Blank With the Blank in the Blank -- Kill the Cook -- You be The Steeple -- Boiled Bashed Stabbed & Gassed -- Iced Princess -- Straight Razor Symphony -- Prey For Mantis -- Talos Unplugged -- A Mysterious Raptoring -- Mad Monkey Robo Rampage -- Give Me Liberty, Or... -- Horns of Plenty... Dead! -- Mistress-And-Run -- Wolverine Interrupted -- Who Let The Guts Out -- Zzzapped Innards-Side-Out -- Bad Romance -- Twas Beauty (And Also Aeroplanes) -- Bad Head -- Valentine's Day Massacred -- Belly Buster -- For Being Not The Babysitter -- Splat In Slo-Mo -- To Be Dis-Continued -- For Being Mouthy -- Do You Smell What Billy's Mom Is Cooking -- The Milk Done Gone Bad -- An Inability To Stop Drop and Roll -- Bug Sprayed -- Extreme Makeover: Leatherface Edition -- Window Seat Suck -- Razor Bunting -- Stabbed Thru The Heart And Witches Are To Blame -- Shark Kibble -- Is That a Straight Razor In Your Trunks Or Are You Just Happy To See Me -- Bad Dates -- Fry Guy'd -- Super Battle Bystander Shrapnel Shred -- Staring Contest of the Dead -- Satanic Self Sacrifice -- Fist and Fortune -- Psychedelic Penis Slice To Window Toss -- For Crimes Against Accent -- Sacked -- Speed Bumped For Traffic Spikes -- Shark Versus Jet-Ski -- Hot Oil Treatment -- Tucked In By Jason -- Just A Pair of Snowbodies -- Poison Pellet Kibble Swap -- Dolly Disassembled -- Fire Escape Fall Out -- Unbuggered -- Tell 'Em Large Marge Sent'cha -- Blue Man Gooped -- Tongue Stung -- Now Wouldn't Cha, Barracuda? -- Leaving on a Rat Plane -- Panthers! -- Fashion Faux-Pwned -- "It's Just A Box." -- Blasted Pigeons -- Taunting Ahnuld -- The Too Hot Tub -- Beyond the Veil -- Sunken Prayers-- Super Crack -- Brains Blown -- Fur For The Boogens -- White Hot Bunny Rabbit Rage --Dragged To Hell -- The TV Van That Dripped Blood -- Don't Mess With Mama -- Heads Ahoy --Martyred For Sheep -- Heads Nor Tails -- He Loves Me Knot -- The Great Bouncing Brad --Miss Kitty's 8 Mishaps -- Boat Smoosh -- Meeting the French-Tipped Menace -- A Magic Trick -- Slick Suck -- We Who Walk Here Walk Alone -- Raptor Bait -- Kneegasm'd -- Dare to Dream in Fincher -- Reach Out and Throttle Someone -- De-Faced -- Voluntary Drowning -- Cross Borne -- Pulled Up Hell's Sphincter -- An Arrow Up The Ass - The Numerous Violent Unbecomings of Olive Oyl -- Ack! Ack! Zap! -- Baby's First Acid Splash -- Chop, Drop and Sashimi Roll -- Forever Rafter -- Can't You Hear Me Now? -- Daisies Ways #5 - Harpoony Side Up -- Acid Dip -- On a Wing and a Prey -- For Standing in the Way of Sappho -- Busting Rule Number Three (For The Purpose of Number Two) -- Daisies #4 - Window Dressed To Killed --Hands Off the Haas Orb -- Bullet Ballet -- A Single Vacancy at the Roach Motel -- A School Bus Slipped Thru The Ice -- Trache-AAHHHH!!!-tomy'd - For Mel Gibson's Sins -- A Wide Stanced Slashing --- Daisies Ways #3 - Scratch n' Snuffed -- The Victim of a Viscous Hit & Run-- Curled -- Kabobbed -- Daisies Ways #2 - Aggravated Cementia -- Boo! Nun! -- 2009's Ways Not To Die -- Bug Scratch Fever -- Daisies Ways #1 - Deep Fat Fried in My Own Unique Blend of 500 Herbs & Spices -- By the Yard End of the Stick -- Screwed From A Very Great Distance-- A Righteous Bear-Jew Beatdown -- Fisted By Hugo Sitglitz -- Xeno Morphed -- Fuck-Stuck -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 4 -- Lava Bombed -- The Cradle Will Rock... Your Face Off!!! -- The Food of the Nilbog Goblins -- The Slugs Is Gonna Gitcha -- Phone Shark -- Hide The Carrot -- Sarlacc Snacked -- Avada Kedavra!!! -- Hooked, Lined and Sinkered -- "The Libyans!" -- Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry --Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 --Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye --Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away --Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door-- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue-- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!!-- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded --Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare --Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head