Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
A woman and her husband move into an old house and soon discover it has a horrible secret.
Sally Farnham (Kim Darby) inherited a gorgeous large house from her grandmother and her and her husband, Alex (Jim Hutton) decide to move in. But the house holds a terrible secret. Shortly after moving in, a locked basement study reveals a bricked-up fireplace. Sally wants to open it back up, but their carpenter, Mr. Harris (William Demarest My Three Sons) refuses, and gives them a warning that some things should not be disturbed. Sally does not heed the warning and opens a small door that had been bolted shut on the side of the fireplace used to remove the ashes. This is where their troubles begin. Sally begins to see small creatures, at first thinking they have mice, she later realizes that they are tiny humanoid like goblins that keep calling her name. Alex doesn’t believe her, and it isn’t until an unexpected death of their interior designer that others begin to believe that there is something supernatural happening in the house. Can Sally escape the nefarious fate the goblin creatures have for her, or will she succumb? Watch and find out!
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark premiered on October 10th, 1973, on the ABC Movie of the Week, and is honestly one of the best in that series. The story is told well, and the whispered voices of the creatures are creepy and even adding some of the exposition. The music appropriately adds to the mood and accentuates the story. The script is well written, and the dialogue feels natural with the exposition never feeling forced. The story moves a bit slower than modern audiences are used to, but still travels at a good pace. The goblin designs are well conceived and executed although relatively simple. Since this film is well before computer generated special effects, the use of practical over-sized sets and props in combination with forced perspective succeeds in creating the desired illusion that the monsters are small, yet strong. The use of light and shadow is especially creative with the creatures giving off a type of green glow at times, allowing only their shadows to be seen as the scamper around the house. Visually this movie is very well put together.
This movie of the week has become somewhat of a cult classic even garnering a 2010 remake by Guillermo del Toro, but unfortunately that film missed the mark on recapturing the essence and feel of the original, suffering from over complicating the plot and relying too much on the creature designs. Guillermo del Toro was a fan of the original film with him and his siblings following each other around the house whispering “Sally, Sally”, mimicking the goblins within the film. Which is funny, because I remember teasing my sister in the same fashion after watching the original in the 70s. The original film garnered positive reviews sighting the movies originality, camerawork and tense direction, but some modern critics believe the film may be dated, but still calling it one of the better “made for tv” films. I feel this is a fun seventies horror film and if you are a fan of that sub-genre you should definitely take a look, or rewatch it if it has been a while. The film is available on DVD, digital purchases and free on You Tube. It’s well worth searching out and watching.
This is one of the more original and creative ABC Movie of the Weeks and is always fun to watch or rewatch!
Movie of the Week: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 8/108/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 10/1010/10
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