Friday, August 14, 2009

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973)

Fear 1/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

Brought to you by Lorimar Television Productions (AKA, a made for TV horror movie) Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a simple and silly, yet effective little flick. Its not gory or bloody in the least or even all that scary. OK, apparently this scared our friend B Sol over at the Vault of Horror when he was a kid. I don't ever remember seeing this, but other folks I have talked to relayed the same story that upon viewing the film, it kept them up for weeks when they were wee ankle biters.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark follows a couple who have just moved into an old mansion which they inherited from the wife's father who kicked the bucket. Upon the films start, you hear little midget-like scraggily voices asking to be let out from the house. This can't be good. As the wife gets the house situated, she stumbles upon an old room downstairs which has a fireplace that has been sealed and bolted up. She asks the groundskeeper why the fireplace is soundly shut and he exclaims 'Some things are better left alone.' Rut-ro. Doubly no good Shaggy!

Her curiousity getting the better of her (totally playing into the dumb 'why did you do that?' woman role that is pervasive in horror cinema), she unbolts the seal, opening up the fireplace, initially finding nothing of consequence. She goes to bed and wakes up in the middle of the night when a drinking glass inexplicably slides off her nightstand and breaks on the floor below. Zoinks!

The next day, as she's still clearly spooked, she tells her husband the story and he makes nothing of it. He instructs her that he is having some coworkers over that night for dinner and that she needs to shape up and be on her best behavior (i.e. stop being a crazy bitch). So the suits come over that night and all is going well until this peeps out from behind a potted plant:

She's goes nutso and freaks the shit out of the party goers and her husband is assuredly denied a promotion because his wife is a stark raving lunatic.

An interior designer shows up the following day to do well, whatever it is interior designers do. As the designer is leaving for the night, the wife notices a rope at the top of the stairs and finds a couple of little oompa loompas at the end of it. He trips, falls down, breaks his neck and promptly expires. When the husband comes home, she again tries to convince him that something evil is in the house and he suggests that its time for some crazy pills.

The rest of the film is spent with the little buggers (demons with conical heads that vaguely look like those silly hats a la Devo) tormenting her and chasing her about the house. We never really find out why they were there to begin with, just that the house is evil and that 'Some things are better left alone.'

All in all, the flick is simple and fun, with some pretty creepy and well done atmospherics thrown in for decent measure. For true gorehounds, this may be too slow moving and boring. But I think its totally a must see. I can see how this would scare the bejesus out of little kids when it came out. And apparently its getting the Extreme Makeover Horror Film Remake Do-over from Guillermo Del Toro. Color me interested.

Cortez The Killer


Ms Harker said...

Its filming here in Melburne at the moment, if I see one more TomKat fighting, shopping, eating article in the news I am going postal! However, I am interested in Del Toro's interpretation.

B-Sol said...

Cannot wait for this remake. As much as I love the original TV movie, this is clearly one instance where there is mucho room for improvement!

Al Bruno III said...

I am looking forward to the remake, I have a lot of faith in Del Toro.

I also hope we get a decent DVD release soon.

Now when do we get our remake or dvd release of THE BERMUDA DEPTHS?

Cortez The Killer said...

Agreed, unlike other remakes, I think a lot could be brought to the table to update and make Febreze fresh.

Al Bruno, never heard of it. Another made for TV flick?

Al Bruno III said...

Yeah THE BERMUDA DEPTHS was another made for TV movie. It somehow combined the elements of a ghost story and a Gamera film