Someone's in the house. He's watching. He's creeping round, only you can't see him. He's watching you from the walls. He's right behind you now. Looking over your shoulder. He wants the remote control. He's a bad boy. He wants to watch bad movies. Bad bad Ronald...

Friday, August 26, 2011

PopCereal Remembers... Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (TV 1973)

Don't Be Afraid of the Marketing Schemes!

This post was originally posted over at Pop Cereal... so, I guess it's really a remake.  Son of a bitch!!  I hate remakes!!

The remake phenomenon has taken another, odd twist this week.  It used to be that older films were remade to try and bring the classic story into a more modern age, making accessible, once again, to a new generation.  Lately, tough, the remake has become more a marketing scheme, trying to get the audience who grew up with the original movie or TV program to crawl back into their childhood clothes and enjoy another romp with their favorite characters (albeit a newer trendier, more adult oriented romp).  But with Guillermo del Toro's newly produced remake of the TV Movie of the Week classic Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, the original audience for this movie are way way out of the standard money-spending target audience range of 15-35 year-olds.  But, even with that said, I'm not sure the original audience is even much interested in seeing this movie remade.

But, maybe that's just me.  The plot of the movie is surely a creepy one: young bride in a new home starts hearing and seeing little creatures after opening a sealed up fireplace.  The movie was truly frightful for me when I saw it at 12 years-old.  And truth be told, it still was fairly chilling having seen it a few times as an adult.  But, do I need to see it remade?  No, not really.  Especially, seeing the trailers which make it look like so many of the other spookers about houses possessed.  The trailer actually looks like the American remakes of some of the better Spanish thrillers.

The fun part about the original Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, as well as many of the TV thrillers of that era, is that the setting of the story was decidedly ours.  The world was that of the everyday.  And the people who lived in them were all people who were familiar to us.  When the creepy things came out, they came into our world.  In the original TV movie, Sally Farnham (played by Kim Darby) was just like any other young newlywed, with the same joys and troubles any of the viewers would experience.  That is, until she dabbles in places where she shouldn't.  And then, the creepers come into her world... our world.  This is what made it so frightful -- that these little unseen creepy creatures, who no one knows of, and no one sees, could somehow come get us.  It sent shivers down our spines to think that one day, when all is fair and bright, that suddenly we are sneaked up on by the unknown.  What's worse is, who would ever believe you when you try and explain?

All of this "our world" stuff seems to have been drained from today's thrillers. The world we enter in today's horror is their world -- the world of the creepers.  The contemporary setting in these films are not so normal anymore, but ripe for sorrow and hurt, and the players seem resigned to the notion that misery is just around the corner. Contemporary horror seems so filled with dark and dankness that when the thrills and creepers finally arrive, the audience is already so overwhelmed with dread that the madness needs to be escalated by use of loud noises, thunderous clashes of music, and explosive violence.  Yes, many times that recipe has proved effectual, but more than often it hasn't.

For me, however, I think the horror works better when our world of everydayness is suddenly invaded by the creepies. 

Here's a peep at my review of the original TV Movie.

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