Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

(1973) ***

Following the death of her grandmother Sally and her husband Alex learn that they have inherited an old decrepit house. Sally is excited at the prospect of restoring the home to its former glory while her sourpuss husband emphatically states that he would rather live in a high rise in the city. Given the amount of work necessary to restore the home a decorator and handyman (Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons) are immediately hired. The handyman had previously worked on the home decades earlier and is thus very familiar with the place.

Sally discovers a locked door in the house and after some searching locates a key in her grandmother’s old desk. Unlocking the door reveals a lavish study that Sally immediately wishes to renovate. In particular there is a fireplace, which has been inexplicably bricked up. The ash door is bolted shut. Uncle Charlie cryptically warns her about restoring the fireplace noting that he is the one who bricked it up at her grandmother’s request and it’s “best to leave certain things alone”.

Why does everyone ignore me?

Ignoring the old fart Sally unbolts the ash door and looks around. After leaving the room whispered voices are heard chanting, "Sally, Sally. Free, free...she set us free!" Meanwhile strange things begin happening. Things go bump in the night and Sally is convinced that there are mice in the house. While spending time in the study one evening she realizes that she is not dealing with mice after something grabs at her legs chanting, “We want you...we want you". Sally’s husband is oblivious to all of this as he is too occupied with an upcoming trip to San Francisco and has no time for the frightened ramblings of some chick.

After her husband leaves on his trip Sally finds herself in a fight for her life as the strange little creatures begin stalking her. Soon the power is cut off and Sally…

To give anything more away would be unfair. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark follows the rich tradition of scary made-for-TV movies that were prevalent in the 70s and early 80s - this is where Trilogy of Terror and Dark Night of the Scarecrow come from. I’m a sucker for this stuff and can recall being scared out of my wits on more than one occasion (e.g. after glimpsing Salem’s Lot I refused to go into my bedroom at night unless my shade was down). These films were balsy stuff and pretty intense for television. Great stuff!


Catfreeek said...

Oh man do I remember this one. Not only did it scare the poop out of me but it got me and my sister in big trouble. My Mother hates whispering, scares the crap out of her. After watching this we got the bright idea of hiding upstairs and whispering my Mom's name. Needless to say the end result was two sore asses but it was worth it.

Great pick, I'm a sucker for these old creepy films too.

50PageMcGee said...

"best to leave certain things alone."

no wonder nobody listens to you. be less vague. that's almost an invitation, and halfway to goading her to tear the bricks out.

Octopunk said...

If I found a secret room in my new house I would totally open it up. Then I'd leave some cookies for the monsters so there wouldn't be any trouble. You have to speak their language.

This is a hilarious pick, JPX! I love that you're culling some of these. Although don't I recall you issuing a blanket disregard of early 70's horror movies in an earlier comment? Hmmm?