Secret Window

Question: What differentiates the End of Mort story from the Shooter story? I mean, Mort adapts Shooter's story in the end, in which Amy is killed and buried in the garden, so what was the ending that Mort wrote in the book and magazine before John Shooter's "Perfect Ending"?


Question: How did the Waitress at the breakfast place not see Tom, Ken, or Mort at 9am and say nothing of Mort having been in there earlier? Ken and Mort were scheduled to surprise Tom at breakfast, so Tom would have already had been inside at the time when both Ken and Mort would have interrogated him.

Answer: Mort, as Shooter, would have intercepted Ken and Tom and convinced them to go to his secluded property. Also, Mort didn't go to the store at 9. He slept past 10 am.

Question: I didn't really get the beginning. How did Mort know the exact room where his wife was? And when Mort came in, why was Ted mad, shouldn't he be ashamed? After all, Amy WAS Mort's wife and he was sleeping with her. And when Mort was in the car and telling himself not to go back, was that another proof showing he was kinda psycho?

Answer: Mort followed Ted and Amy to the motel and watched which room they went into. Ted's reaction was a mixture of emotions: anger, shock, fear, shame, etc. It was a highly charged situation and considering Mort burst in screaming with a gun threatening to kill them, Ted's reaction seems normal under the circumstances. Mort talking with himself in the car is a subtle clue to the audience that his personality has more than one facet to it.

raywest Premium member

Question: At the end of the credits, we hear Johnny Depp sing "mama's little baby loves shortnin' bread." Is there any reason for this, or a tie-in to the movie I missed?


Chosen answer: An additional reference to the full dominant personality takeover of Shooter, everything gravitates South Mississippi.

Answer: 1993 Jeep Cherokee Country.

Question: What is the meaning behind the Morton salt and other groceries that Mort buys at the end of the movie?

Answer: Mort Rainey buys the salt, butter, and napkins for eating the corn he grew in the garden above Ted and Amy's graves. The "Morton" brand of salt uses the advertising slogan, "when it rains, it pours." Mort Rainey's name can be translated to "raining death." The "Vanity Fair" napkins could be a refernce to Mort's personality.

raywest Premium member

The term Vanity Fair was coined (I believe first) by John Bunyan in 1678, as a place in a story called ‘The Pilgrim's Progress'. Mort is referred to as ‘Pilgrim' by a few different characters in the film, including himself, without much explanation until the serviettes. Brilliant. Vanity Fair in John Bunyan's story is a never-ending fair of frivolity, which is similar to Mort's charade of denial. Found this info when I searched the meaning of Vanity Fair on

Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress was also the inspiration for William Thackeray's 1847 novel, "Vanity Fair."

raywest Premium member

Question: Why does Mort Rainey want the screwdriver back from Tom Greenwald's head, and doesn't take his axe back too?

Answer: The screwdriver could be used as evidence to convict him if the body would ever be found. And he may have taken out the axe as well. It is not shown, but that doesn't mean that he didn't take it.

Nelleke Rietvink

Question: What does Depp try to signify (if anything) with the facial tic of open mouth jaw popping?

Answer: The tick signifies Shooter's attempt to "come out." In the beginning, Mort complains of a jaw ache before the first appearance of Shooter and at the end, when Shooter takes over Mort, the ticking of the jaw indicates that Shooter is the personality with control, not Mort.

Answer: It's from grinding/clenching teeth. Due to anxiety and stress. The biting down and clenching your teeth will leave your jaw soar and tenses. He's opening and stretching his jaw to relieve the tightness. I had the same thing first year of college.

Question: When Mort shows Ken his bruises, does Ken see them? Later in the movie when Mort is obviously crazy, he can't see his bruises. So, were the bruises his imagination or were the bruises being gone his imagination?

Answer: Mort never shows the bruises to Ken. He plans to when they meet Tom in the morning, but we never see him actually do it. It doesn't matter whether they were there or not (either they were self-inflicted or imaginary), the fact that they appear and disappear shows his altered perception.


Question: What's the point of the braces?

Answer: What I find ironic is the fact he tries to fix his teeth with braces hoping to minimize double-personality jaw mimique, while he grows and eats corn in the garden. Corn and braces are one of the worst possible combination in terms of comfort of eating. That was nice spice of absurdity to the story.

Answer: Mort had some problem with his jaw and eventually got braces to help correct it. I also read that it was Johnny Depp's idea for Mort to get braces, believing it added an interesting facet to his character.

raywest Premium member

Answer: If you recall, Mort was kicked in the mouth after he had stabbed his wife in the leg. I'm thinking braces were the result.

The point of braces is to straighten your teeth out. Getting kicked in the mouth isn't going to render your teeth crooked. Your teeth would be completely knocked out first.

Phaneron Premium member

When one has their teeth almost knocked out they often get braces in order to hold them in place while they heal.

Answer: As read in previous answers the jaw aches came about because of his imagination of Shooter. Shooter is taking over Mort's personality, throughout the movie it progressively gets worse and worse until the end where Shooter finally gets through to Mort and takes over. The braces are now a sign that Mort can no longer hold back Shooter, and it's shown because the braces stop the mannerism. (Shooter is the sole personality and no longer needs to push his way out, thus the need for braces and no more pain). He finally got his way. The true ending.

Answer: He's just getting his teeth straightened.

Phaneron Premium member

Question: I'm having trouble working Ted and Mort's confrontation at the gas station into the narrative. Throughout the scene, Ted acts as if he knows all the events that have afflicted Mort vis-a-vis Shooter (he reacts to the dead dog, he says "I admit that most of what has been happening is my fault," etc.). But then it turns out that it was all Mort's doing, that John Shooter didn't exist, and that Ted had absolutely nothing to do with it. The scene, therefore, is decidedly strange. It is not in Mort's imagination, as in a later scene Ted still has an aching hand from punching the car. Anybody have an idea?

Answer: The director explains this scene in the commentary on the DVD. Ted is talking about Amy and the messy divorce and thinks Mort is talking about Amy as well. Mort is talking about Shooter. Ted doesn't understand why Mort mentions his dead dog. But other than looking away puzzled he doesn't address that issue. It's also why Ted gets angry when Mort says "your filthy friend" - Ted thought Mort was talking about Amy.

Nelleke Rietvink

Question: I have seen the movie three times, and I still don't get it...why does Mort Rainey try to hide the fact that he smokes?

Answer: Mort doesn't smoke, but Shooter does.

Answer: Particularly in America, within one generation smoking has moved from a very widespread convention to a habit viewed as filthy and unseemly. Thus, many people hide their smoking from others to avoid this prejudice.


Answer: Actually Mort does smoke He does it when he's stressed out.

Question: Why does the lady in the post office where Johnny Depp got his UPS package acts strangely when she sees him (I assume he was shooter in this moment) once again in the grocery? The lady tried to flirt with him before. I didn't get why suddenly she's too uncomfortable with him in that scene.

John Edther

Answer: The woman was afraid of him because by that time, it was pretty well-known in the town that Mort was suspected of having murdered his missing ex-wife, Amy, and her fiance, Ted (and also Tom Greenleaf and Ken Karsch), but it had not yet been proven.

raywest Premium member

Question: There is a scene in the movie where Mort destroys his bathroom, once he destroys his shower door he sees a mouse, he picks it up and lets it go, what does this have to do with the movie?

Answer: He hears the mouse and sees his reflection in the mirror, leading him to believe Shooter was in there. He releases the mouse out of compassion.


That is to show the contrasting personalities of Mort. Original personality of Mort is kind, on the other hand Shooter is his other extreme who doesn't hesitate to even committing a murder. This difference is also shown when Mort cleans up the mess created by Shooter at the murder scene of the old man and the detective.

Question: What was the point of Mort accusing himself as Shooter for stealing the story? Did Mort write the story the first time during a breakdown also contributing why the story is written under Shooter's name; so, he didn't even realise originally wrote the story? How did Mort just find a copy of the manifesto lying around his house? And why would Morts alter ego want reconciliation years after Morts copy was published? Was it because of Amy's affair triggering the breakdown thus releasing Shooter?

Answer: Shooter was an alter ego created by Mort. When he catches his wife cheating, he had brought a gun to kill them. But doesn't end up doing it. Thus, Morts psychosis breaks. Shooter emerges. Notice how Mort is always taking naps. That's when Shooter takes over and does the deeds that Mort couldn't. You hear shooter say he took the cowards way out. But at the end, the accent gone, and he's all confident and happy again. Cause Shooter did what Mort couldn't do. Finishing the story was more about fulfilling his obligation towards killing the two.

Question: What's the story behind the murder of Tom and Ken?

Answer: Mort, not realizing that he was Shooter the whole time, brought them into the conflict, and the Shooter personality killed them because they were getting too close to the truth.

Phaneron Premium member

Question: How did the townspeople know about the murders?

Answer: Sheriff Newsome was actively investigating the disappearances of Amy and Ted, as well as Tom Greenleaf and private investigator, Ken Karsch. Newsome confronted Mort about it and knew enough to tie all four cases together. He would talk to the local residents regarding anything they might know. While these were still technically missing person cases, it was obvious to most that Mort had probably murdered them.

raywest Premium member

Answer: The Barbie doll is blonde, like Amy. Mort might have found the doll somewhere and handled it roughly because of his urge to hurt Amy.

Answer: One possible answer is that this may be an inside joke and a nod to Johnny Depp for being a Barbie Doll collector. He reportedly has a large Barbie collection, mostly of special editions and celebrity versions. He originally bought them for his daughter, but continued collecting even after she became older.

raywest Premium member

Question: Why was Chico so brutally murdered?

Answer: Mort, while in his psychotic persona as Shooter, and with no memory of his actions, killed Chico. It then appeared as if "Shooter", who did not actually exist, was threatening Mort and sending him an extreme warning.

raywest Premium member

Question: Toward the end of the movie, while wearing Shooter's hat, Mort looks into the mirror but his back is reflected and not his face. What does that mean?

Answer: It's a reflection (literally) of his insanity. He no longer sees reality.

raywest Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Mort is trying to figure out what to write, he is pacing around and his hair is messed up. He walks to the chair (hair still a mess) sits down, then in the next shot there is a close up of his face and his hair is perfectly brushed.

More mistakes in Secret Window

John Shooter: You strike me as the kind of guy who's on the lookout for a head he can knock off with a shovel.

More quotes from Secret Window

Trivia: One should really stay to the very end of the credits, as Johnny Depp (Mort) sings an amusing little tune.

More trivia for Secret Window

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