Shirley (2020) - full transcript

A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.

They stone her, Fred.

You reading one
of Shirley's stories?

The whole town,
even her own children.

They all stone her.

That's creepy.

It's terrific.

♪ I'm in town ♪

♪ Can't you hear me, honey? ♪

♪ I'm in town ♪

♪ Hanging 'round ♪

♪ Just waiting for you ♪

♪ Can't you see ♪

♪ You're the one
and only one for me ♪

♪ I confess ♪

♪ I just can't live
without your kisses ♪

♪ But I'm gonna say ♪

♪ Ain't nobody gonna
bring me down ♪


Moving target, bonus points!

- That looks delicious.
- Oh, thank you.


Welcome to our hallow end
of the Earth, my boy!

Welcome to Bennington!

Good to see you, Professor.

Oh, look at this!
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya.

And, oh, who is
this lovely dove?

Rose Nemser.
You must be Professor Hyman.

Oh, Stanley.

I profess nothing.

Come, come, come, come.

Let's get you watered down.

I'll bring him back
in one piece, Rosie.


I'm trudging back up
the hill,

and I'm cursing my back.

I'm cursing my feet.

I'm cursing all
of goddamn humanity,

and then it hit me.

The whole thing.

So I sat down at my desk,
and two hours later...

the most reviled story "The
New Yorker" has ever printed.

I read it as
an anti-Semitic parable

in the tradition of Isaac Babel.

Calling my wife an Anti-Semite,
are we?

Well, to be fair,
she never hated a single Jew

until she married me.

We had a wonderful courtship.

Didn't we, dear?

He asked me out
for cheeseburgers.

Who could refuse such a...

such a romance?

Next thing I know, he's ripping
apart a story of mine.

Then he has the gall to tell me
that he has lost his wallet.

That wallet's been lost
for over 20 years.

Now, mind you, that story...

was the most remarkable story
I'd ever read.

I knew I was going to marry
the woman who wrote it.

I was going to hunt her down
and make her marry me.

To our suffering, my dear.

There's not enough Scotch
in the world for that one.

So, Shirley,
what are you writing now?

A little novella I'm calling
"None of Your Goddamn Business."

Excuse me, I'm Rose.
Rose Nemser.

Betty, Debbie, Kathy...

You're all the same to me.

No, no. I'm Fred's wife.
Fred Nemser.

He's helping Professor Hyman
with this semester.

We were invited to stay here
for a few days

until we could find a place.

No one said you were pregnant.

W-We weren't telling
anybody yet.

I-I-I read your story.

There have been several.

"The Lottery."

When I read it,
it made me feel...

...thrillingly horrible.

♪ Father, did you bring me
the silver? ♪

♪ Father, did you bring me
the gold? ♪

That was Lead Belly.

Huddie Ledbetter.

This is Myth and Folklore.

I am Professor Stanley Hyman,

your fearless leader
for the next 12 weeks

as we ascend to the heights
of the gods

and stoop to the very depths
of human depravity.

- Oh.
- Hello.

Isn't he great?

Oh, terrific.
I wish my Chaucer class

that I'm auditing wasn't
at the same time.

Oh, well, there will be
other semesters.


Might I burden you
with a favor?

Hmm. What's that?

Shirley has these bouts...

and just can't, uh...

can't keep up...

with the household, shopping,

and our last housekeeper
just quit.


Bad back or lungs.

I don't recall.
Maybe gout?

But it would be such
a titanic help

if you would just tidy up a bit.
Excuse me?

Maybe chip in
with the laundry...

- Yes?
- ...the cooking?

- Oh...
- Well, no, no, no.

That's too much.

Don't think I confuse you
for a scullery maid.

It's just, we are
in a bit of a bind.

Well, perhaps I could...

I could help out
in between classes?

Well, obviously, room
and board on us.

- Oh, no, no, no. We couldn't.
- No, no, no. Of course.

- We couldn't.
- Of course. I insist.

Might you stay, hmm?

Just until we're...

settled in, hmm?

How's your rump roast?

I love hot food in hot weather.

He really seems in a bind.

It could be sort of fun, hmm?

Or we say no.

♪ I like your walk ♪

♪ Your simple ways ♪

♪ A million things
about you, honey ♪

♪ I could praise ♪

♪ 'Cause everything
about you ♪

♪ Appeals to me ♪

I'm counting down from three.

3... 2... 1.

Get dressed for dinner,


Go away.

I really think the two of them
are gonna work out.

Did you see our kitchen?

A clean house is evidence
of mental inferiority.

Well, thank God
for the simpletons.

How else would we ever
have fresh linens?

You hired spies, is that it?

I'm trying to help you,

Take some of the pressure off
so you can get your work done.

I don't want strangers here.
I don't like them.

We've already discussed it,


Fred's going to lighten
my class load

so that I can be
around the house more.

Won't you like that?

You can't expect me
to indulge this, can you?


Staying in bed all day?

Well, the party was too much.
It set me back.

You have to get back
to your desk.

You're putting an undue
amount of pressure on me.

Fussing over you
when I have work to do.

You don't want my work
to suffer, too, do you?


I'm going to get better.

I promise.

I will.

Starting tomorrow.
No, starting tonight.

You are putting on
clean clothes

and sitting at the table
for a proper meal.

- I can't.
- You will.

Besides...'s cocktail hour.

Up, up, up.

It's going to be so dull.

Well, I didn't ask you
to behave at the table.

Ooh, hoo, hoo, hoo.

Oh, a gorgeous slab of flesh.

Oh, it was nothing.

Oh, go on, my boy.
Shed a layer.

We aren't formal in this house.

I've often thought
about participating

in the Native American ritual
of the sweat lodge.

- Thank you.
- Often?

Why, yes, dear.

But then I learned you have to
crawl through a dirt tunnel

under the ground

and sit naked buttocks
to naked buttocks

with a dozen other men
while some shaman

stokes a smoky fire, maintaining
the 100-degree heat

and peddles some noxious
root tea

that inspires hallucinations.


So when's the baby due?

- The baby?
- Oops.

Was it supposed to be
a surprise?

You should have
told me that, dear.

Well, I hope it's yours.

Of course it's his.

February. Hmm.
Right, darling?

I would really rather discuss
something else,

if you don't mind.
February? Ha.

Did you tell him you were
knocked up before the wedding?

I fear, my love,
stories of copulations

might leave the table
without an appetite,

but that one does have
a sixth sense about babies.

Calls it. Girl or a boy,
she's never wrong.

Is poor Freddie here
going to be disappointed?

Okay. Shall I...?

Stay put.

You promised
to take care of that.

As you wish, dear.

So, Rose, you were telling us
about your shotgun wedding.

Excuse me.

I should see
if she's all right.

I feel a bit like
we're in the Scottish play.

I, the Thane of Cawdor,

with a murderous prophecy
over my head.

And you, Lady M...

on the verge of madness.

What will happen?

I have a title.


It's about that girl.

The missing one.

The Welden girl?

What do you think?

Well, you haven't said much.

Well, it's just an idea.

I can try something else.
Disappearing college girls.

Sounds trite and a bit trashy,
but, you know, give it a go.

I'll read, of course,
before you wade too far in.

It's going to take some time.

Well, give it to me
in a couple of days.

It's a novel.

Oh, no, dear.

You're not...

You're just not up to it.

You're wrong.

Darling, you haven't been out
of the house in two months.

You're barely able to put
on a pair of stockings.

Ease back.
That's all I'm saying.

If that phone rings...

one more time during dinner...

Stanley, so help me, I'm going
to take care of it myself.

I'm well within the bounds
of our agreement.

Ah. Hmm.

Our agreement didn't include
sluts interrupting my dinner.

I will talk to her

and tell you everything,
as I always do.

You're really scraping
the barrel these days.

♪ Yes, I wonder ♪

♪ Who's boogie'n
my woogie now ♪

♪ Hey, dog, hey, dog,
hey, dog, hey, dog ♪

♪ I wonder who's boogie'n
my woogie now ♪

♪ Hey, dog, hey, dog,
hey, dog ♪

♪ I wonder who's boogie'n
my woogie now ♪

♪ Hey, dog, hey, dog ♪

♪ There's a little red rooster,
a little white hen ♪

♪ Ain't had no lovin'
since I don't know when ♪

♪ I wonder who's boogie'n
my woogie now ♪

♪ Hey, dog, hey, dog,
hey, dog ♪

♪ I wonder who's boogie'n
my woogie now ♪

♪ Hey, dog, hey, dog ♪

♪ Yeah, let it out ♪

No, nothing he said is...

One week.
That's enough time.


Maybe she'll even out
when she gets better.

No, no.
She's a fucking monster.

Shh. Shh.
Hey, hey.


Look at me.

Look at me.

Don't upset yourself.

It's a big opportunity for us.

Do you like your students?

I like you.

Are they smarter,
do you think...

- Smarter? No.
- ...than my class?


Just richer.

"Always wore a red coat.

Last seen at the trailhead.

Paula was 17
and already disappointed.

The dread of going
to college..."


"She was 17, an age
that brought with it

the possibility
of her whole life ahead..."

"...that brought with it

the stabbing nervousness
that at any moment

her life would go horribly..."


I found that article
that links the tonality

of the Druid dirges

to the Appalachian
mourning ballads

in the second volume
of Francis Child's collection.

Well, that's grand.
Just grand.

Yes. Yes. That's what I was

Milk? chapter 7
of my dissertation.

I'm not sure if you had the
opportunity to read that yet.

Good god, son.

Might I have a cup
of coffee in peace?



Keep an eye on the missus
for me, won't you, dear?


Of course, Professor.

Stop that this instant.

Mrs. Nemser, Stanley.

Stanley, hmm?

Don't make me tell you again.


You want to see
what a writer does?

Absolutely nothing.

Come here.
Come here!

Look for anything
with fertility,

maternity or full moon
in the title.


I'm a witch.
Didn't anyone tell you?

Happy, healthy baby.

That's the spell we need.

Unless you want a spell
for the other thing.

How... How could you
even say that?

Motherhood comes with a price,
you know.


Cut them.

Go on.

They won't bite.


What did you see?


Paula preferred to keep
her expectations

of people meager at best.

Why should she be
constantly taken in?

Why should she be
constantly disappointed?

Yet she couldn't help but
wonder, what was she missing?

This... This...

This doubt was intensified by
the girl with the sweater set

sitting across from her
at dinner."


What are you doing in here?

I'm sorry. I thought I'd bring
you coffee. I'm sorry.

Get out!

Get out!

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Don't touch my writing.
Don't touch anything!

Get out!

You're drunk.

I thought you were meant
to be advising

the Shakespeare Society.

I didn't know they served
booze at that.

They don't.
Don't be stupid.

I just stopped for a few drinks
at the men's club, that's all.


Who's the jealous housewife?


Ahh. Mnh-mnh.


Is it because...?

No. No.
You're beautiful.

I had a crazy dream.

There was mud oozing
from the fridge.

Big worms coming out of the...

coming out of the crisper,

just fat as fingers.

Freud would've had a field day.

- I haven't read any.
- Do you regret it?

Not reading Freud?

And dropping out.

I'm keeping up,
reading what I can.

After the baby, Fred says
I can go back to school.

He's allowing you.

Was he at the
Shakespeare Society tonight?

Fred's a good man.

So you've said.

His parents cut him off
when we eloped.

And he knew they would...

but he married me anyway.

And you have to prove
that you're worth it.


It sounds exhausting.

I'm lost, Rosie.

I'm lost.

Do you know what it's like
to have a secret?

I can't write worth a damn.

You're a terrific writer.

Everyone loves your work.

They talk...

...about me...

in town.

I see things on people's faces.

They're afraid to brush up
against me.

My dark, my thoughts
are going to infect them.

This book, it's...

It might kill me.

I can't figure out this girl.

Maybe disappearing
was the only way

anyone would notice her.

I need you to run
an errand for me.


Oh, so the writing's
going well then?

Please don't ever ask me
that again.

I need you to run up to campus.

Okay, I can send Fred.

No, this is between us.

Stanley doesn't really want you
being alone right now.

- Forget it.
- No.

Forget I ever asked.

I just thought you would like
a little adventure.

I'm simply saying
that I would go with you

if you wanted an outing.

Like a picnic?

Do you want to make up
some egg salad sandwiches?

Fly a kite while we're at it?


Do this for me.

"Paula normally hated
socializing at school,

but she forced herself
to do it."

- Hi, Caroline.
- Good day, Mrs. Nemser.

My, you are a voracious reader.

You know, you and Fred
should come to the house.

The Dean and I would love
to have you.

Plus, it must be rather dull
for young folks like you

to spend all your time with...

with that woman, I mean.

I hear she never
leaves the house.

Or her bed, for that matter.

She's gone sick in the head.

No, she's...

she's working quite hard.

Every hour, every day.

I only get my information
from Stanley.

"She was relieved to spot
someone lurking

near the punchbowl,

looking as miserable
as she felt,

but his was a face that she'd
never seen before on campus.

And men were always
easily spotted."

- Hyman house, huh?
- Yes, sir.

I can't get my carriers
to deliver up there anymore.

She writes stories
with cannibalism in it.

That's what I've heard.

Mr. Fisher, do you...

do you, um,
often give young girls rides

in your postal truck?

I'm not sure
I like your question.

Well, I just mean,

is it a habit of yours
to shuttle college girls

along your route?

"Paula was proud of the way
she contradicted him,

how she stayed ahead
of the conversation.

This is what it's like to be
a grown woman talking to a man."

I never seen Paula
before that day in my life.

Giving her a ride was
the Samaritan thing to do.

The girl was half frozen,
nothing but thin sneakers on.

Said she was going for a hike,

and I wasn't going to get
any further into her business.

But I didn't like that,
seeing it was almost sundown.

She had no knapsack.
She had no provisions.

I assumed she must've been
meeting someone.

"When they were at the party,
he had barely looked at her.

His voice had a lightness.

'Let's go somewhere quieter, '
he said.

A hand on her back.

But now...

But now, away from everyone...

his voice was muted,
floating above her.

And she couldn't..."

"...she couldn't contradict him.

Are you all right?

Oh, you little thief.

Severe menstrual cramps,
last week of November.


Doesn't go home for the holiday.



A miscarriage.

And a week later,
she goes missing.

That's good work, Rosie.

And the post office?

Randy Fisher said that he
thought she was meeting someone.

The timing is perfect.

She gets pregnant.

She won't go home
for Thanksgiving.

A week later, there's
a rendezvous in the woods.

Why there?

Because she's ashamed to have
someone meet her at campus

or he doesn't want
to be seen there.

Because other people
might recognize him.

Someone recognizable
from campus.

- Yes.
- Yes.

Someone with authority.

"Meet me at the trail,"
and she does.

A professor.

Why would she go?

If you were her...

...and an accomplished,
confident, smart man...

paid attention to you...

You'd never really been in love.

Would you go?

Are you all right?

Are you okay in there?

Did I startle you, Rosie?

I-I thought...
I thought you were...

It's just we three for dinner.

Oh, wait. Two.
Shirley doesn't want to eat.

Fred's up on campus tonight

the Shakespeare Society.

I'll make her a plate.

Mm. Mnh-mnh.

If she wants to eat,
she needs to come to the table.


Oh, no, thank you.


Well, she's not a child,

Who's saying she is?

We just have to get her back
to her desk, back to her work.

She's working constantly.

She barely has time for lunch.

Poor thing.

She must really be having
a time of it.

I haven't seen anything yet.

Well, there are pages and pages
of a manuscript

just sitting right on her desk.

You've read it?

No, of course not.


you can differentiate a stack
of pages from a manuscript?

Such a bright girl.

Is there any of our pie left?

Rosie says you've got half
a manuscript already.

I wonder why
she would say that.

Just inquiring, darling.

You're not...

halfway through a novel
you haven't shown me?


No, I don't.

It's mostly grocery lists.

Well, in that case,

I'll just pop over to the Dean's
before dinner.

You do that.

Say hello to Caroline.



Hey, let's go home.

Come on.

The death cap mushroom.

Fatal to anyone who ingests it.

Don't you find it exhilarating?

Oh, most young women are
fascinated by their mortality.

They shouldn't be.

And the truth is, nobody really
cares if you live or if you die.

- Do you want to taste it?
- No.

Split it with me.

It could stop our hearts
from beating.

Spit it out!

Spit it out right now!
Spit it out!

- No.
- I'm going to go get help.

Why are you laughing?

It's not poisonous.

But you said it was the...

- It's not going to kill me.
- ...the death cap.

These are the death cap

These are oyster mushrooms.

You had them
in your omelet yesterday.

I like you, Rosie.

Why would I want to harm you?

You could run...

run fast away from me,
but you don't.

Why don't you?

Why do you stay?

Can I trust you, Rosie?

Do you want to betray me?

"Paula felt that no one
really cared if she lived

or if she died.

Not that she
was afraid of death.

She thought about it
all the time.

It was the way she might die
that frightened her.


face down in the soup."

I stopped by
the Dean's office today.

Just a formality.

Welcoming new faculty
and all that.

He hinted there might be
an opening

in the English Department
next fall.

- Oh, that would be nice.
- Yes.

I just keep waiting for Stanley
to loosen the reins a bit.

I am not a lackey, after all.

I have lectures
prepared of my own.

Don't want to sit
on the bench all season.

Ow! What the fuck is this?

Oh, no, no, no.
There's a nest under the bed.

No, it's nettle.
It's nettle.

- I'm getting a broom.
- It's a fertility offering.

- What?
- It's a fertility offering.

No. No.

You are not getting
into that bullshit.

I'm not getting into anything.
Just leave it be.

- No.
- I'm sorry.

She did this.

What is this, some sort of hex?

No, I don't believe that.

You don't believe in it?

Hmm? Hmm?


Not one bit?

Not at all?



Not even a little bit?

Stop it.
I'm tired.

Can we stay on a little longer?

I need to keep working
on Stanley.

Would you mind?

Don't get any ideas.

Not even a little idea?

Five-minute idea?

Wake me early.

Mm. Mm.

Stop it.
I'm sleeping.

You want to replace my Mourning
Ballads lecture with your own?

Of course I'm not
going to touch

any of the Delta spirituals.

Freddie, Freddie.

Let things settle, shall we?

There's one other thing.

Oh, joy.
There's more.

I would like you to read
my dissertation.

Son, easy.

You're under a lot of pressure
with the baby.

No, no. This has nothing to do
with the baby.

I would like you to recommend
my work to your editor.

Of course I've read
your dissertation.

Of course I have.

Well, how did you think
you got this job?

Alright, good talk.

Now run out that steam, hmm?

Vigors of youth!

Wasted on the young.


That boy who's had everything
handed to him...

Ivy education, perfect teeth.

We would never behave like that.

- Alka-Seltzer.
- We were always the outsiders.

Everywhere we went,
we fought for every

last crumb that was accidentally
dropped in our path,

but these entitled pricks

just expect the world
to be handed to them

like it's their divine right.

Why don't you just
give him a lecture?

What's the harm?
I built that class.

I built that department.
Year upon year, I did that,

and he dashes off
some mediocre dissertation.

- Which you didn't read.
- I didn't need to!

Just tell him no.


He's played the system.

Over my dead body will
that boy be getting tenure.

Give him enough rope,
and he will hang himself.

- Good point.
- Mm-hmm.

You're getting on well
with the wifey.

She has her moments.

I might say you are
smitten with her.

I don't smote.

♪ Well met, well met,
said an old true love ♪

♪ Well met, well met,
said he ♪

♪ I'm just returning
from the salt, salt sea ♪

♪ And it's all
for the love of thee ♪

♪ Come in, come in,
my old true love ♪

♪ And have a seat by me ♪

♪ It's been three-fourths
of a long, long year ♪

♪ Since together we have been ♪

♪ Well, I can't come in ♪

♪ Or I can't sit down ♪

♪ For I haven't
but a moment's time ♪

♪ They say you're married... ♪

So, my name
is Professor Nemser.


Fred Nemser, stepping in
for Professor Hyman... today.

So, okay.

Uh, yes.
Yes, let's start with this one.

Can anyone tell me...

Can anyone identify
that musical excerpt?


Do we need to hear it again?

- Use the good china!
- I'm looking.

And the silver.

Professor Nemser
is home, ladies!


...fetch the good
professor a cocktail.

- So it went well?
- Oh, he was a triumph!

A triumph, I tell you!

Had all the gals eating out
of the palm of his hand.

- Oh.
- I did all right.

Shirley, get out here!

The boy wonder is home.

- Would you like a drink?
- I'd love a drink.

♪ Well met, well met,
said my own true love ♪

♪ Well met, well met ♪

♪ Well met, said she ♪

♪ I just returned
from the salt, salt sea ♪

♪ And it's all
for the love of thee ♪

What is all this
hollering about?

We're very busy, Stanley.
♪ Come in, come in ♪

♪ My own true love ♪
I have to get the pasta on.

- Should I go check?
- Alright.

- ♪ Come in and sit with me ♪
- Stanley, please stop it!

- ♪ It's been three... ♪
- Come on. We have to... Alright.

It's not my turn.

I have to get the pasta.
Bolognese waits for no man.

Stanley, look...

♪ For I haven't
but a moment's time ♪

...I'm a very delicate woman.

♪ They say you're married
to a house carpenter ♪


♪ And your heart
will never be mine ♪

Oh. There we go.

You're not drinking alone.

Thank you.


I was reading my way through
your dissertation last night.

I've actually read it twice.

Both times, last night.
You were right.

I only skimmed it before,

but it was sufficient
to hire you.

Oh, that's excellent.

I'm trying to figure the word
I'd use to sum it up.

Well, you can use several.

I thought it was very engaging
for an academic...

I've got it.

Let's see.
It was...


I-In... In what ways
is it derivative?

Oh, in the ways that it was
all derived from others' work.

I spent years and years and
hundreds of hours of research...

read everything.

I'm sure.
But you didn't do any thinking.

Just the same old chattering on,
no new ideas.

No new ideas?
I think you're oversimplifying.

Darling, you're hardly
the first person

to hear this lecture.

Originality isn't something
one can simply will to manifest.

Is that right, my dear?
If it were only true.


Originality is
the brilliant alchemy

of critical thought
and creativity.

And your work is so original?

Who am I to say?

But it has been said of me.

Have you ever thought
about teaching

at the high school level?

Exceedingly rewarding.

I'm going in the bedroom
to refresh my...

Now you've done it.

Was it really that bad?

You know how insulted I am
by mediocrity.

If it was awful,
it would've been exciting.

But terrifically competent...

...there's no excuse for that.

I respect your opinion.

I really do, but it's not shared
by the Dean.

Not at all.

Perhaps we can discuss this
next Friday

at the faculty party?

- Splendid.
- It's that time of year again.

The Dean's party.

Oh, no need to bother, darling.

I know how you abhor
the hoi polloi.

Oh, I think I can make
my annual appearance, darling.

It's the least I can do for you.

I have a lead on an apartment.

We'll be out
before semester break.

If you get the job
in the English Department,

we're going to have to see them
all the time,

live in the same town,
so just take the...

I don't understand. You...
First, you want to go.

Now I want to, and you're...
and you're trying to...

I don't like the way
he talks to you

any more than you do.

This is about Shirley.


I can see
how she relies on you.

The way she talks to you,
your secret looks.

You sound crazy.
She's my friend.

Women like Shirley
don't have friends.

If we are going to be
treated to a scene,

I, for one, would love
to be forewarned.

I'm not one for dramatics.

Yet your appearance.

You don't look up for it,
my dear.

I'm going to the party.

Well, that would require
you leaving the house.

Something that seems
difficult for you

to manage at this point in time.

I am going...

to that party.

Shirley, do you need me
to get you another size?


I found something that I think
is going to look good on you.

You want to try it on?

What do you think?





Do you think
she killed herself?


Do you think she went
to the woods to kill herself?

Let's pray for a boy.

The world is too cruel to girls.

"Paula was seized with the
desire to tell her friend

every single thought
she had ever had.

And after she had done that,

Paula herself would cease
to exist

because there would be
no more thoughts,

no more words.

And then she would be free
to do anything she pleased...

because she wasn't there

Come here.

Come here.

You are hiding something.

- No, I'm not.
- Hmm.

And you find that
every semester?

Darling, you're making
a mess of your meal.

Did you know your wife
was such a good cook

before you married her?

She's a better cook
than my mother.

Oh, come now.
That's not true.

Such a rare thing...

to find someone who doesn't
merely feed you,

but anticipates
your needs day after day

to sate your hunger.

Who stokes your appetite
and leaves you feeling...


It's truly rare.

Don't you think, Stanley?


Rare, indeed.

Stanley, would you refill
our cook's glass?

She has been on
her feet all day.

No, I suddenly got very tired.

I think I'm going to have to...

- Oh.
- ...go up to bed.

Well, you might have a fever
or something.

Come here.
Yes, you might.

You know, you're feeling
a little flush.

I don't have anything.
I'm just tired.

- Yeah.
- I swear, I'm just tired.

Fred, you better go
put your wife to bed

before she faints
in the sauerkraut.

What are you up to?

You're unusually cheerful.

You're going to
finish your book?


...what becomes
of your dear heroine?

What happens to all lost girls?

They go mad.

The one, the only...
Shirley Jackson.

Dean Sands.

Shirley's here.

What a lovely skirt you have.

What a lovely insouciant
tone you have.

Shirley, you're too much.

I never know what
you're going to say.

Neither do I.

Rose, I'd love you meet
some of the other faculty wives.

Come, darling.

- Hello.
- The Wood-Sprite.

You terrify me.

Reading your stories...

the world doesn't feel the same.

The other night,
I was alone in my office,

and I was petrified
by the paperweight on my desk.

What if I simply lifted it up
and bashed my skull in?

How do you do that?

They're just stories.

They are prophecies.

Delightful little

but prophecies nonetheless.

Oh, here we go!

♪ The stars were bright ♪

♪ My heart was light ♪

♪ As we went whirling
through the night ♪

♪ And soon I learned to dance ♪

♪ The dance of love ♪

♪ The dance of love ♪

Oh, ho, ho, ho!

Want a Scotch?

What are you doing
at this shindy?

My husband,
I'm looking for him.

Yeah. Yeah.

We're all big fans
of your husband.

Oh, ho, ho, ho!

Have you seen Fred?

Maybe try out on the porch.

It's the handkerchief dance.

"Paula was long past
their sophomoric treacle,

writhing nest of hairpin
stockings and formal gowns.

The names they called her
penetrated intact

through her closed door...

creepy, loner, disturbed.

It didn't concern her

because when she first came
to the school, the bad...

the bad thing happened.

She was so frightened, and she
didn't have any friends

and she never supposed
she would want...

She never supposed
she would need anyone.

But now that she had found...

that she had found a friend...

she felt the old fear
leaching back."

What... What are you doing?!

Oh, my goodness.
Oh, my goodness.


No, no, no! No.

Don't rub. Dab.

You'd bore him to death
in a week.

I would comfort him.

Well, he is an expert

at finding a willing pair
of legs to open wide.

You'd die without him, he says.

That's the only reason he stays.



What happened?
Are you all right?

Take me home.

Who do you see?

Who do you see?

You see tired mama.


I know.

I know.

You're never here!

Rosie. Rose.
Stop. Please.


You rang, madam?


- Out.
- We're drinking Scotch

because you worked
straight through dinner, dear,

as is your habit, apparently,
these many, many weeks.

And I'm here to say,
I'm sick of it.

I hate sitting
at the table alone.

It makes me feel like a widower.

Or worse,
a decrepit feudal lord.

You know, you've left me
in a... a vexing position.

And the children in bed
by 9:00 with their little one.

Take pity.


Won't you let me read it,


It's nothing yet.

The thing is, Stanley,
I don't know if it ever will be.

I have no idea of an ending.

Well, all the more reason
for me to...

have a peek.

Has the little wifey read it?

Yes, of course.

She's a regular William Shawn.

She comes in here,
and we sit by the fire,

and she gives me line edits.

And then she scurries back
into the kitchen

to make me supper.

Stanley, don't be mad at me.


It's the genre, darling,
that's stymying you.

It's not your arena.

And frankly, it's beneath you.

- Keep your theories to yourself.
- Well, you didn't know her.

Don't tell me that I do
not know this girl.

Look, I might have walked
by her a dozen times on campus.

There's nothing fascinating
about this girl,

except that she's gone.

What has she done?

You don't know your subject.

She's a nothing.
Who is she to you?

There are dozens and dozens
of girls like this

littering campuses
across the country.

Lonely girls who cannot
make the world see them.

Do not tell me I do
not know this girl.

Don't you dare!


So you think
it might be that good.

- Oh, you...
- Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Get out!

Might it be time then to send
the little children away?

Oh, I didn't know you
came home last night.

Oh, I didn't want to wake you.

I slept on the sofa
in Stanley's study.

We had a nightcap.

Mm. Is there coffee?

You smell like a gin bath.

Oh, I ran out of eggs, so...

By the way,
Stanley found us a place.


We get to move out in a week.

Stanley's kicking us out.

Don't we have anything sweet
around here to eat?


Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh.




Can you get me that book?


The blue one on top.

- This one?
- Yes.

Thank you.

This is, um,
Stanley's syllabus,

and, uh...

the last name on the list
before mine is Paula's...

...which means that she was
taking his class maybe

at the time
that she disappeared.

I know who my husband
is screwing.

Do you know who yours has?

Fred hasn't.

See, there's no such thing
as the Shakespeare Society.

It's just how the girls pick...

which professors
that they're going to fuck.



Open the door!

Shirley, please!

You knew this whole time?!

Why didn't you tell me
six months ago?


Shirley, open the door, please.

I trusted you!

♪ One, baby count one ♪

♪ While you're having fun
with someone else ♪

♪ Don't come around ♪

♪ Two, baby count two ♪

♪ But when you're all
through... ♪

- Excuse me.
- ♪ ...with your romance ♪

♪ Leave me alone ♪

♪ Three and four,
four and five, six ♪

♪ And tricks that you try ♪

♪ To catch my eye
never work out ♪

♪ I'm on to your game ♪

♪ Seven, eight, nine,
you'll find out ♪

♪ You'll never be mine ♪

- What are you doing?
- ♪ Because I am a real gal ♪

- Is everything all right?
- ♪ Tried true and blue gal ♪

♪ Ten ♪
How many times?

♪ Baby, count ten ♪

How many times?

♪ But when you've the yen
to count me in ♪

Let's talk about this at home.

♪ Count me out ♪

♪ One, baby count one ♪

I didn't wash Stanley's
underwear for a year

so you could go off and...
Listen. Listen.

Rosie, stop. You're sick!
Stay away from me!


♪ Baby, count two ♪

♪ But when you're all through
with your romance ♪

♪ Wah, hoo, wah, hoo ♪

♪ Wah, hoo, wah, hoo ♪

I'm not going back.

Get in the car.
Get the baby inside.

I don't want to go home.

Where do you want to go, dear?
I'll take you wherever you want.

I want to go to the trailhead.


You've seen it.
Let's go.

Will you hold her
for just a second?



Come here, baby.

Rose, come back!



Step away, Rose.

Step away!

You were right.

It doesn't take any energy
at all.

It's just a hop.

Just slide the right
foot forward,

and it could all be over.

You'll feel better again
in no time.

I feel fine now.

You know what I mean.

A little rest,
a little time away...

...everything will be back
to normal.

No, no, no, no, no.

I'm not going back to that.

Little wifey.

Little Rosie.

That was madness.

Your book
is brilliant, darling.

Fucking gorgeous.

I don't know how you did it.

I have a few notes, of course.

Of course.

This is going to be the one.

Don't lose sight of that.

It hurts.

This one.

It hurts more than the others.

But you've done it.

My bride.

My horrifically talented

♪ Oh, won't you tell me ♪

♪ Pretty papa ♪

♪ What may be your name ♪

♪ If you just say the word,
daddy ♪

♪ I'll be your lover gal ♪

♪ Oh, I could love you ♪

♪ Yes, I could love you ♪

♪ Until it was a crying shame ♪

♪ How you fascinate me,
daddy ♪

♪ I can't find words
to explain ♪

♪ Oh, won't you give me ♪

♪ Your phone number ♪

♪ Let me call you up
some night ♪

♪ If I get a chance, daddy ♪

♪ I'll make everything
alright ♪

♪ I know the people ♪

♪ Are all wondering ♪

♪ Why I look at you like I do ♪

♪ I don't care if the whole
world knows about it ♪

♪ Yes, I'm deep in love
with you ♪