[WOMAN NARRATING] Grandmother's house.
Though it's been many years since I last saw it, I'll always remember that even my first impression... was one of fear and wonder.
My childhood was soon to be lost, my innocence shattered, and all our dreams destroyed... by what we would find within.
My Mother and Father were the center of my universe when I was young, and I always wanted to grow up to be just like mom.
The whole family was really close. I still remember... how we'd greet dad when he came home from one of his many business trips.
Get Cory and Carrie. Yeah. Come on, guys! Hurry up!
[GIRL] Hurry! Come on! Daddy!
Come on, Carrie. Get behind the couch.
Get down. Get down, get down, get down.
[ALL] Daddy! Dad!
Yeah. Yeah! How you doin'?
[WOMAN NARRATING] He loved us all, but dad never let me forget... that I was his favorite.
[KNOCK AT DOOR]
I was afraid the others might be jealous, so I had to wait until they all went to bed.
But you give me so much. Shh.
Just tell me what you think.
And you see? It's a jewel box as well.
The moment I saw that box, I knew you had to have it.
Mother, how should I arrange the candles?
I can have six rows of six or three rows of 12.
Or just one big circle of 36 all around the cake.
What happened to two lines of 18? Couldn't you figure that one out?
We want to taste daddy's cake!
We want to taste icing.
And lick the bowl! And the spoon too!
Don't you look handsome and pretty? But we have to wait until we sing...
"Happy Birthday" to daddy before we eat the cake.
Can't we even have an little bite? Yeah!
And give dad a cake that looks like a mouse has been nibbling at it?
I've decided I'm gonna do six rows of six.
It's daddy! Cathy, dad's here! Come on out!
Get down. Hurry. Get down here.
[NO AUDIBLE DIALOGUE]
[NARRATING] When dad died, Mother's grief overwhelmed her.
We had to sell everything we owned just to survive.
And when that money ran out, they took our house.
We were forced to leave the place where we all grew up, where all our happy memories were, the only home I'd ever known.
Mother said there was only one place left to go.
How come you never took us to meet the grandparents before?
I suppose because we were never penniless before.
Years and years ago, I did something that angered your Grandfather.
His punishment was to disinherit me.
Then why are we going there now? If they won't give us any money?
Because he will.
Your Grandfather is dying.
He's not expected to live much longer.
But in that time, I'm going to win back his love.
And then, darlings, I'll be the heiress to a fortune beyond your imaginations.
And through me, every dream you've ever had will come true.
Mother should have prepared us for something like this.
What do you mean?
She never allowed us to have a dog or a kitten.
What that's got to do with anything?
Because pets die, Christopher.
And if we had had a pet and it had died, we would have learned something about that.
About what? About death? Yes, death. Death.
She should have told us. Somebody should have told us that fathers die too.
They die, Christopher, Even if they're young and they're handsome and we need them.
I don't want to be here, Christopher.
I don't want to go to the grandparents' house.
I could care less about being rich and having all my dreams come true.
All I want is to be at home and just stay at home where daddy's memory is.
[CORY] I don't want to walk at night. It's scary.
[CATHY] Why didn't they send a car for us.
Witches in there, mama. Witches and monsters.
Good morning, John.
Children, this is John.
He's been with your grandparents for... well, as long as I can remember.
This is Christopher and Cathy... and the twins, Cory and Carrie.
Very nice to meet you, John.
Leave all the bags with John, Corrine, and bring the children upstairs.
Let's get ready for bed, children.
Stay tonight, mama.
It's only 6:00 in the morning, sweetheart.
Mama's got to take a little nap herself.
The boys will sleep in one bed, Corrine, the girls in the other.
But I want to sleep with Cory, mama.
Stop your whimpering, young lady, and listen to me.
As long as you're in this house, you will abide by my rules.
You will not yell... or cry or run about.
And when your Mother and I leave this room, we will lock this door behind us.
Mother, please, they're children. You can't expect me to...
What I expect, Corrine, is that they will do precisely as I've instructed.
Listen to mom, all of you.
Behave and obey your Grandmother... and never ever give her any reason, any reason at all, to punish you.
Please? Please do this. Make them obey.
Make it seem like a game, like a wonderful adventure.
Why are you crying, Mother?
I'll come back this afternoon.
Don't worry about us, mom.
We'll be fine.
It won't be so bad. That Grandmother... she can't possibly be as mean as she seems.
Remember, God sees everything.
God will see whatever evil you do behind my back, and he will punish you for it.
Do you know why your Mother has come home?
Yes. To win back her Father's love... so he'll make her part of his will again.
And why was she stricken from that will? Did she tell you that?
I have to go to the bathroom.
And never, never speak unless I ask you a question.
He's just a little boy... What did I just say?
Your Mother has come home after 17 years... to repent for her sins and for her crimes... not only against your Grandfather and me... but against God.
Your Mother's marriage was unholy, a sacrilege, an abomination in the eyes of the lord.
She did not fall from grace. She leapt... into the arms of a man whose veins pulsed with the same blood as hers.
Not a stranger, but her own uncle.
And you, the children, are the devil's spawn.
Evil from the moment of conception.
I'm getting my Mother! Come back here!
[SCREAMS] Come back here.
And don't move again until I leave.
There is one other matter.
Your Grandfather will not be told that you are here.
He will never be told.
He has no idea that you even exist... any of you.
No idea that you were ever born.
As long as he lives... and I swear this to you...
I will spare him that final agony of shame.
[DOOR LOCKING] I don't like it here, Cathy.
I wanna go home.
Where have you been, mama? Where have you been?
Oh, mama's here. Mama's here. Mama's here.
What's wrong, mom? What happened to you?
Corrine! You will stop those children's screaming this very moment!
No! Devil! [SCREAMING CONTINUES]
Mama, make her stop!
Corrine, control your children or I'll whip them till the blood runs from their backs!
Your children are spoiled and indulged and need lessons in obedience.
No child that lives under this roof... will disobey... or scream, or show defiance.
Do you hear me?
Now, remove your blouse, daughter, and show them how punishment is given in this house.
If you're cruel to my children, I'll take them away tonight.
Take them, Corrine.
Take them now! Do you think I care?
Take off the blouse, Corrine.
Take it off.
Now, look closely, children.
One for each year she lived in sin with your Father.
So that you understand me now.
I will give you food and shelter, but never kindness or love.
For it is impossible to feel anything but disgust... for what is not wholesome.
If I had some antiseptic... [CHUCKLES] My young doctor.
The years of happiness I had with your Father are worth a hundred whippings.
The things that Grandmother said to us, Mother, they are ugly things.
They hurt you, mom. I hate them for that.
The worst is over. Beginning tomorrow, I'm going to start to win back my Father's love.
If you help me, if all of you help me... by doing what I ask, by being good...
The closet on the right has a secret panel.
Look for it tomorrow morning. If you push on it gently, it'll open.
You'll see a narrow stairway.
Up the stairs is an attic, an attic so big... you could easily get lost in it.
Make it a playground for the twins. Make it...
Make it your special place.
Do you need to use the bathroom?
Not even to brush your teeth?
I don't feel like it tonight.
What do you think about all that talk?
Uncles marrying nieces?
Maybe having kids with thorns and tails?
You're the future doctor.
What do you think? Could it really happen?
You sure can't prove it by us.
What are you thinking? About mom.
How different she's become since daddy died.
She hasn't been different. Just sad.
We're sad, too, Christopher. It hasn't changed who we are.
What if the Grandmother comes in before we wake up and sees us in the same bed?
Then we'll sic Cory on her. He can bite her other leg.
She doesn't scare you? Nobody scares me.
Anyway, we used to sleep in the same bed all the time.
I've listed the rules you're to follow as long as you live in my house.
Read them carefully and put them to memory.
Grab some food. We don't want to starve up there.
Let's go find those stairs.
I found it. What do you see, Christopher?
Nothing to see from here. Just some stairs.
Is everybody ready to go up?
[DOOR OPENS] [GRANDMOTHER] Not yet.
Your Mother was given permission to tell you about the attic.
But let me remind you again. You must never be seen.
[NARRATING] Grandmother's rules weren't rules, they were cruel punishments.
We were trapped, and the only way we could even feel the sunlight... was to look out a barred window.
Our Mother must've been desperate to have come back.
We were all going to pay the price.
[NARRATING] As the weeks became months, our memories of our real home began to fade.
But we clung to our dreams.
Chris wanted to go to medical school someday, and I wanted to be a dancer.
We tried to act like a family. It was the only way we could survive.
Mother's visits became fewer and fewer, and then stopped altogether.
We imagined that something horrible had happened to her.
Or had we been forgotten?
There seemed to be no way to escape, but soon, very soon, we'd have to find a way past Grandmother... to find and to help Mother if we could.
Do you think it's a good snail?
I think it's a wonderful snail. It's very beautiful.
It doesn't look like an orange?
Not in the very least.
And I've never seen an orange with feelers. Have you?
[CHRISTOPHER] Antennae, Cathy. Not feelers.
Snails are members of the family of Mollusks... soft bodies, no backbones, And tubular intestines that end with their mouths.
Dear Dr. Christopher. When Cory and I want to hear... about a snail's guts, then we will... [CHUCKLES] send you a telegram or something, thank you.
When do we get to go outside?
As soon as mom says we can. But mama doesn't come anymore.
If we could go outside, we'd have real flowers and real grass.
And real snails.
God's taken all the grass to heaven.
Why? For daddy.
Remember how he used to mow the lawn all the time?
Why do we have to stay upstairs all the time?
'Cause downstairs has gone away. That's not true, Cory.
Mama doesn't like us anymore.
Stop it, you two. I itch.
Mama's being mean. We want a TV. We want our ice cream.
We want to play with our friends. We want to go outside.
Don't you want to go to school? [BOTH] No!
Look at me. Look at me, all of you.
The bible says there's a time for everything.
A time to be born.
A time to plant. A time to harvest.
Probably a time to have ice cream too.
This is our time to sacrifice. For mom.
Later on, we'll have plenty of time... to live and enjoy.
[KNOCKING] Cathy? Can I come in?
Close the door so we won't wake the twins.
Something could've happened to mom.
Maybe she's sick.
Mom's always been healthy as a horse.
Well, where's she been all this time? Why'd she stop coming to see us?
And I had another thought.
A terrible thought. What?
What if they've locked her up somewhere in this huge house?
Just like they've locked us up.
Why would they want to do that? To punish her. Why do you think?
'Cause they're crazy as loons.
Gave me a chill.
Giving myself chills just thinking about it.
I'm sure it's not true.
How can you be sure?
Does it matter? We're never gonna know until she comes to see us again.
What's that supposed to mean? I've got a plan.
Christopher, what are you thinking of doing?
Don't worry about it. Christopher!
Shh. You don't want to wake the twins.
Carrie, you're in the wrong bed.
I want to sleep with Cory tonight.
Get up! Get out of those beds!
Don't! Don't touch that! No!
My Father gave that to me!
Oh, God! [SOBBING]
Tell me, Christopher. You thought of a way out of here, haven't you?
Without the Grandfather finding out.
I've thought about it for weeks, Cathy.
It's the only thing I've been thinking about.
Can it be done?
Christopher, if Mother's here, we have to find her. We've got to tell her.
We will. Tonight.
[CHRISTOPHER] Okay, grab the bar, Cathy.
Okay, pull it.
Come on, pull! Yeah.
That's it. Grab it.
[GRUNTING] Pull. Pull, Cathy.
I'm going with you.
No chance. Yes!
All right. But I go first.
And you don't lay one hand on this rope till I get all the way down.
You understand? I understand.
[BARKING] [CHRISTOPHER] My God.
Get out of here! Quick!
Come on! Come on!
Come on, Christopher!
Come on! Throw the rope! I can catch it!
Christopher, you can make it! Just climb!
Come on, Christopher!
Mama! Mama! Mama!
Christopher made me a swing, mama. And we made a garden of paper flowers.
Here! And Cathy has them pasted up right near the window!
You've been wonderful with them. Look how happy they are.
Happy to see you, mama, but not happy to be here.
You haven't been to see us in so long, mom.
We were worried about you.
Is that why you tried to run away? Is it? Answer me.
We weren't trying to run away, Mother. We were trying to find you.
Didn't it occur to you you could've ruin my plan? Our plan?
Don't you understand? I told you.
My Father... The twins aren't healthy, Mother.
They need to be outside in the fresh air and the sun.
They need to be with their friends.
They need plenty of room to run around, and they need to be in school.
All right. I'll leave it up to you.
We can pack our things and leave today... Yes!
...or we can wait a little longer until the reading of the will.
The doctors say he won't live out the month.
If we leave now, we have nothing. Nowhere to go.
If we stay, we... we'll have more than we could ever want... forever.
We love you, mom.
Whatever you think's best, that's what we'll do.
Cathy, you have a say in this too.
I think I'd better check on the twins.
We'll be all right, mom.
If it's just a little longer, we'll be all right.
I've got him! I got him! Christopher! I've got a pet!
"I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love.
Thou art my hiding place and my shield."
Christopher, come and look what happened.
Why did you put up more bars?
[NARRATING] I knew Chris would have second thoughts about agreeing with Mother.
I found a way to escape, even if it was only to a hot bath and my fantasies... fantasies of a life filled with dancing, friends, and maybe even romance.
Fantasies that might never come true.
Can I come in and talk? What is it?
You're not mad at me for siding with mom, are you?
No, but why do you always have to agree with her?
What have we done to be called sinners?
Do you expect us to live in one room, week after week, and not see each other?
You put us here. You-you locked us in.
You want to catch us doing something you can call evil.
Look at you in your black dress and your fancy jewels and your pinched face.
We're not afraid of you. We laugh at you. Do you hear that?
We laugh. Get out! Out! Out! [LOCKS DOOR]
Mom won't let her do anything to hurt us, Cathy.
We have to barricade the door, or we'll hide in the attic.
She won't come up there.
I'm so scared, Christopher.
We'll be all right. Mom'll make sure of that.
So will I.
What is it? What's wrong? Cory's gone.
[CATHY] Cory! Where are you? Cory! Cory!
Fred's gone. Look, you guys go that way.
Cory! Cory! Cory!
Cory! Cory! Cory! Cory!
Cory! Cory, wake up! Wake up, honey! Come on!
Fred got out. I had to catch him again.
Where is Fred? He's right here.
Guess we'd better keep Fred downstairs, huh?
Cathy. Cathy! Open the door!
Cathy! Come on. Open the door.
Cathy! Cathy! [POUNDING ON DOOR]
You are a sinner. Open the door!
Come on, open the door! What's going on? Cathy!
Cathy! Cathy! [POUNDING CONTINUES]
[CATHY] Why is Mother doing this to us?
Mom doesn't know what happened. I'm sure of it.
Why doesn't she come back?
She'll come, Cathy.
Soon. You'll see.
Why didn't the Grandmother bring our food today?
She's just coming late, that's all.
Maybe there is no more food. Maybe they ran out.
I'm not hungry anyway.
She'll be here.
Good evening. Good evening, Mr. Winslow.
[NARRATING] Starved for both sunlight and food, our faces became pale and our bodies thin.
When Grandmother stopped feeding us, little Cory became very sick, and every day, we watched him become weaker and weaker.
Move him over.
What are you doing?
What are you doing? Hold his head up.
Why? What are you gonna do? Just do what I say.
I figured another way out. I'm gonna try it tonight.
If you want to go with me, all the better.
If not, I'll go by myself.
Check that door.
This is Mother's room.
[SOBS] Come on. We can't stay here.
Look, there's an explanation for all this, Cathy.
As soon as we find mom, we'll ask. [EXHALES]
And she'll tell us.
Come on. We've gotta keep looking.
Let's go that way.
He's dead, Christopher.
What if he sees us? How can he see us if he's dead?
I always thought you were the best, Corrine.
Do you love her as much as you used to? Don't ask stupid questions.
Wherever she is tonight, she's thinkin' of us... and she'll be comin' back. And when she does this will all make sense.
The twins are sick, Christopher. They'll be all right.
Chris! No! I don't want to talk about it anymore.
That crazy, sick old man is not gonna live forever, Cathy.
You could see that tonight.
He didn't even know who we were. Who you were.
Did you forget why we came here in the first place?
All the money in the world isn't worth the living that we've lost.
Well, maybe not for you, but without some of it, mom doesn't have a thing.
She has us if she cares!
Let's just take the twins and run away, Christopher.
We'll find a way out, but let's do it now before it's too late.
And then what do we do? What do I do for the four of us to keep us alive?
Don't you even doubt her in the least? Can't you see how different she's become?
Can't you see what wanting all that money is doing to her?
I can't stop seeing that bed.
It's Mother, Cathy.
What do you want me to say?
Just the truth, that's all.
I have to throw up, Cathy.
Why are you taking the flowers away, Carrie?
'Cause it's time.
For what? Winter.
Do you have a headache, Cory? I had one yesterday.
Sore throat? A little.
Any numbness in your fingers or your toes?
Like when your foot falls asleep and you can't feel it.
Let me see your hand.
What are you doing?
Darlings! I'm back!
Darlings! I'm so happy.
Cathy, your hair!
What a sensible decision. It's lovely, sweetheart.
You're angry with me. But you don't know how much I've missed you.
And wait till you see the presents I've bought you.
I wanted to tell you I was going away, but... but guess, guess what's happened.
The Grandfather's dead. No.
He's been taken to the hospital?
No, I'm not happy because he's dying, I'm happy because he loves me.
Don't you see? I've done what I promised.
I've pleased him so much he's giving me a party tonight.
A grand party to reintroduce me to society.
And tomorrow my Father is having his attorney, Bart Winslow, a wonderful man, write me back into his will.
He's going to leave me everything. Even this house.
And what about your children, Mother? Does he know about them?
We know perfectly well what he feels about that.
So what's to become of us, mom?
How much longer do we continue living in this prison?
Prison? You come back with gifts for us, mom.
Do you think they can make up for what we've lost?
If you stop loving me... I haven't stopped loving you, mom.
I make myself keep loving you every day despite what you do.
Don't say another word. Look at us, Mother.
Do we look like you, with your rosy cheeks and your bright eyes?
Look at the twins, Mother. Cory has stomach cramps almost every day!
And Carrie has little sores growing on her skin!
Do you know, or even care, that the Grandmother stopped feeding us for over a week? Stop it!
You have no right to talk to me like that!
Tell me I've had pleasure while my children have been in pain.
You are heartless.
When you are ready to treat me with love, I'll be back.
What are you doing?
I'm going downstairs. I wanna see that party.
You going with me?
Why aren't you up and dressed?
What have I told you about being together in your night clothes?
Cory's sick. He's very sick.
He needs a doctor.
Why are you just standing there?
Cory needs to be taken to a hospital. There's no other decision to make.
What's wrong with you, Mother? Are you just gonna stand there... and think about yourself and your money while Cory lies there and dies?
Don't you care what happens to him? Have you forgotten that you're his Mother?
Always it's you!
Damn you to hell mama, if you don't take Cory to a hospital right now!
Do you think you can go on doing whatever you want to us... and nobody will ever find out?
If Cory dies, mama, you'll pay for it.
One way or another, I will find a way.
I promise you that.
Take the child downstairs and bring the car around.
My daughter is taking him to the hospital.
Don't worry, Fred. He'll be back.
Cory had pneumonia. The doctors did all they could.
There won't be a funeral. He's already been buried.
Something's wrong with Fred, Christopher. He won't wake up.
[CHRISTOPHER] Arsenic poisoning. In the sugar on the cookies.
In small quantities you can't taste it or smell it.
It doesn't leave much of a trace, Cathy.
If they did an autopsy they wouldn't have found it.
Unless they were looking for it.
What do we do?
Tonight I'll go downstairs by myself.
I'm gonna find us some money... or a couple of those diamond rings that Grandmother wears.
And then what?
Then we're gonna leave this place, Cathy.
One way or another we're getting out.
Whatever happens after that will be up to us.
But whatever happens we'll be free.
Do we really have to wait until tomorrow?
Don't know if I can. You must.
[BART] What difference would 12 hours make?
The difference between one ring and two.
[THUMPING] Damn you!
What happened? We're leaving tomorrow.
You found a way out? Yeah.
Where? A window? No, a door.
The front door. What?
There's gonna be another party tomorrow. I saw them preparing one of the rooms.
There's probably gonna be 100 guests, maybe more.
They can't keep locking the door, not with that many people coming in.
What else happened tonight, Christopher? What else did you see?
I mean, you told me that it's us against them. We're on our own.
Don't lie to me, Christopher.
It's not just a party, Cathy. It's a wedding party.
Mom's getting married to that man tomorrow.
[CATHY] No, Chris!
We're very excited to be here today. Congratulations.
[CARRIE] I'm scared, Christopher.
There's nothing to be afraid of. Nobody's gonna hurt us anymore.
This way. No, Chris.
They're not gonna get away with this. We gotta go tell our Grandfather the truth.
What difference does it make now? Let's just go!
No! Mother's not getting that money, not after the way she treated us.
Now, come on.
He's dead, Cathy.
Yea, we can be with mama now.
No, Carrie. Mama lied to us.
She said she'd come and get us after her Father died, but... she never came.
She only cares about herself, Carrie.
She's going to spoil everything. We can't wait any longer.
But your Mother... these are her friends.
It's my wedding. We'll start the ceremony now!
Today's April 23.
Christopher, what is it?
A copy of the Grandfather's will. It's two months old.
Says if it's ever proven that mom had children from her first marriage, even after he's dead, she'll be disinherited.
Mother's known all this time that we could never be found.
She never meant for us to leave that attic.
Dearly beloved, family and friends, we are gathered here on this most joyous of occasions... to join Corrine and Bart in holy matrimony.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we read in Genesis the creation story.
You said it was not good for man to be alone, so you created woman and thus gave your blessing to the union of holy matrimony.
Look now upon Bart and Corrine and pour out your grace upon them.
Give them the strength and peace to honor the vows they make before you today.
We pray that, in your loving kindness, you would bless their home by filling it with the sounds of happy, healthy children.
In the name of Christ, amen.
Do you like my dress? I thought it was appropriate for the occasion.
Who are you? How did you get in here?
Have you forgotten us already? Mama?
Who are you children? We're the children of the bride.
Nonsense. You know I don't have any children.
Get them out of here.
I'll not have my wedding day ruined by a cruel, evil prank.
You're the one who's cruel and evil, Mother.
You kept us locked up in that attic and you said you'd come for us... after your Father died. You never came!
You couldn't let anybody find out about us 'cause if you did you'd be disinherited.
It's not true. No!
What proof do they have?
It died from eating the same cookies Cory ate.
Who's Cory? He was your son and my little brother.
And you killed him. Just like you tried to kill us.
Look at us, Mother! How could you do this to us?
Here, Mother. Our wedding present to you.
Stop it. Go on, eat it!
Eat the cookie!
[NARRATOR] We finally got our real revenge. We managed to make it on our own.
I got a job to help put Chris through medical school.
Little Carrie grew up but she was never truly healthy.
I even started dancing again.
We left the past behind, all except the memories... of Mother, Grandmother and the attic.
I sometimes wonder if Grandmother is still alive.
Still presiding over Foxworth Hall.