Monday, September 28, 2009

The Countdown to Halloween Begins...

The year is 1962.
The place is Willowpoint Falls.

No one knows about
what happened
in the school

classroom ten years ago.

Now, in the dead of night,

Frankie Scaroltti, is going
to find out why.

For the next 31 days, until the dawn of Halloween, I'm going to countdown each day by paying homage to 31 of the greatest scary movies of all time (with extras thrown in for good measure).

My list comes from having seen countless 'frightful' movies over the years. I have no idea why, but I've always loved suspense movies (which makes no sense - I'm the most anxious guy I know!).

My love of all things scary runs more to the suspense and thriller side then strict blood and guts horror...but I do appreciate a good gut spilling like anyone else (as long as it's done with wit and style).

Each day I'll highlight one movie I feel is superior in style and substance, and list a few others which are obscure and unknown but worth you time.

Go to the video store.

Turn the lights out and pop some popcorn.

Snuggle up on the couch and get ready to get the living crap scared out of you.

Without further ado, let's start off with a nice old-fashioned ghost story.

Frank LaLoggia's 1988 curiosity, Lady In White...


For me, this movie is like one of those great, old-fashioned ghost stories, but with a nice social commentary in the center. The filmmaker, LaLoggia, has since disappeared off of the film radar. Not sure where the hell he's gone, but he was a talented filmmaker who also made a nifty little 80's thriller called See No Evil.

Lady In White boasts a fantastic original soundtrack that is both inspired and cheeky. The lead actor, Lukas Haas, was a few years fresh from Witness and was ideal for the part. He didn't possess any of the sarcastic and grating style of so many child actors of the time. He was centered and down to earth.

I am LOATHE to tell you much about the story except it's a fun ghost story that is rather lurid and mean spirited - but that's not what makes the movie. What makes the movie is a subplot concerning an old man in the town who is after the character played by Lukas Hass and a cameo by Katherine Helmond during the over-the-top finale which has to be seen to be believed.

The stairs...beware of the stairs!

Cheesy and great, ridiculous and cinematic, touching and well-made...this is the perfect start to your Halloween movie watching.

Give Lady In White a shot and you won't be sorry.

(Extra credit (if you dare)....

If you can find a copy on VHS or set your TIVO to tape it when it comes on late at night, watch The Haunting of Julia aka Full Circle with Mia Farrow, based on the book Julia by Peter Straub. And excellent thriller from the 70's that unfortunately has yet to appear on DVD...and the ending? Dear God...the ending haunted me for years as a child. Superb ghost story AND book.

Many feel The Changeling from director Peter Medak is a great ghost story. It was made in 1980 and had a wonderfully demented George C. Scott in the lead role. While I don't feel the movie as a whole is that good, the suspense does have a very nice build and dear Lord, what director Medak could do with a bouncing ball and a staircase will make you scream bloody murder.

And one cannot forget The Innocents from 1961. A sublime exercise in suspense with poor Deborah Kerr. Much spooker than you'd expect for 1961. It's playing this month on TCM. Tape it!

If you dare...)

1 comment:

  1. Ciao Mikey and thank you for your kind words regarding LADY IN WHITE. I thought you might ne interested in my latest work:


    Frank La Loggia