HIDDEN HORROR and TERROR TV: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”

Don't_Be_Afraid_of_the_Dark_VHSIn the 70s several made-for-TV horror films came along, such as “How Awful About Allan,” “Trilogy of Terror,” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is from 1973 so obviously it is dated. However this film has a cult following from all the children (now grown adults) who saw it in the 70s and love it for its nostalgia.

The film revolves around a woman named Sally (Kim Darby) and her husband who have inherited a creepy old mansion. While they are having a handy man remodel the home, they come across a sealed brick fireplace. Sally wants the handyman to open it but he refuses to, not giving a reason why. Later Sally opens it for herself and unleashes an evil army of little creatures that intend to transform her into one of them and convince her to “not be afraid of the dark”.

I’ll be honest this film isn’t cutting edge effects-wise. The creatures are made with stop-motion animation like those in Ray Harryhausen films. However the advantages of this film are that it has solid atmosphere, great acting, and a great soundtrack to go along with it. The atmosphere of the old, dark, and serious house is the perfect horror film atmosphere and when it’s accompanied by the perfect movie soundtrack it makes up for the convincing effects film lacks. The creatures in this film are sinister and actually murder a few people. Their whispering of “Sally… Sally…” is memorable too and scared a bunch of kids back in the day when they heard it.

This film has been remade, but fuck the remake watch the original. While the remake has cutting edge effects it does not have the creativity or nostalgia that this film has. There are a lot of horror fans that saw this when they were children and remember it scaring the shit out of them. If you love old school horror: “The Twilight Zone”, “Night Gallery” or any of the made for television horror then you will love this film. This film has also inspired several of the popular modern horror film directors out there today.

-Dakota Bailey

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