Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 18 - Movie 2

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) is a pretty effective made for tv movie. Sally (Kim Darby) moves into a house she's inherited along with her insensitive, self-centered husband (Jim Hutton). Despite being told by the handyman to leave well enough alone when it came to the bricked up fireplace and bolted shut door made for removing ashes, Sally goes ahead and undoes the bolts anyway freeing these tiny creatures which live below the house and which only she can see and hear. They want her, claiming her spirit, because she's the one who freed them.

The little creatures look a bit goofy in stills such as the one above, but are used effectively in the movie, as is lighting and sound design. The whole movie has a creepy vibe to it, which still holds up and leads to a somewhat unsettling finale.

Until tonight, I hadn't seen this movie since sometime in the 70s. I remembered it as being a bit creepy as did most people I know who saw it way back when. I was pleasantly surprised that in spite of the dated hairstyles, fashions, and home  decor that it still held up so well. As you probably know it was also remade as a theatrical movie released this past summer. The remake followed the core aspects of the original, but added a new character to the heart of the story, but while it had plenty of atmosphere, it was a bit bland and remote with some serious script problems. The original film is much simpler, and because it was made for tv pretty low on violence, but took advantage of the limitations that the market it was made for dictated and created something pretty unique.

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