A band finally gets the opportunity for that breakthrough gig if they can make it to an "in" club on another planet in time...
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Pamela D (br) wrote: DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973 and 2010)WRITTEN BY: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins (2010), from, the 1973 script by Nigel McKeandDIRECTED BY: John Newland (1973); Troy Nixey (2010)FEATURING: Kim Darby, Tamara De Treaux, William Demarest, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Robert Cleaves (1973)Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Jack Thompson, Garry DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973 and 2010)WRITTEN BY: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins (2010), from, the 1973 script by Nigel McKeandDIRECTED BY: John Newland (1973); Troy Nixey (2010)FEATURING: Kim Darby, Tamara De Treaux, William Demarest, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Robert Cleaves (1973)Bailee Madison, Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Jack Thompson, Garry McDonald, Alan Dale, Julia Blake (2010) GENRE: HORRORTAGS: mystery, haunted house, demonsRATING (2010 version): 5 PINTS OF BLOODRATING (1973 version): 8 PINTS OF BLOODPLOT: Upon the breaking of a seal in a long disused basement, tiny devils escape and seek to murder the house occupants.COMMENTS: If you're looking for scary movies to watch on Halloween, the Screaming Room has two for you this week which fit the bill very nicely! Guillermo del Torro (CRONOS ; MIMIC ; SPLICE ) has written an update of DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, a 1970's horror movie which achieved cult status. It's well-produced, bold, loud, visually spectacular, and worth seeing, although it loses some of the essence of what made the original so good. For purists, the first version is also available, newly digitally remastered. The two films nicely compliment each other.The late 1960's and early 1970's brought a number of high quality, made for TV network horror pictures, especially those produced for ABC Movie Of The Week. Considering they were made for television and aired during family hour, these efforts are original and imaginative. What's more, they're actually scary. The movies had a lot of atmosphere, the characters died awfully, and the stories didn't always have the happy endings so requisite today.Examples include films such as PICTURE MOMMY DEAD (1966), DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969), HOW AWFUL ABOUT ALLEN (1970), SEE NO EVIL (1971), THE STONE TAPE ( 1972), THE EYES OF CHARLES SAND (1972), ALL THE KIND STRANGERS (1974), and DON'T GO TO SLEEP (1982). Asserting what a profound impression it made on him, filmmaker Guillermo del Torro felt compelled to reinterpret the 1973 TV movie DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. . In the original, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, Kim Darby (Mattie in the first TRUE GRIT ) plays yuppie homemaker Sally Farnham, who's plagued by demons she unwittingly unleashes from an ash pit underneath a sealed-up basement fireplace. With major plot elements repeated a year later in The Exorcist, and makeup characterizations which reappeared in the PUPPET MASTER films, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK provides chills and Freudian undertones unexpected in a family hour TV movie of the time period.As the goblins' maliciousness becomes increasingly aggressive, Sally's behavior grows correspondingly erratic; her friends and power-attorney husband are convinced she's gone mad. The little ones want Sally body and soul. After assaulting a naked Sally in the shower with a straight razor, they ineptly kill her decorator by mistake, leaving Sally as the suspect. When her distracted husband leaves town on business, Sally's left alone with her demons -literally. She finds herself in a bind when the demented Lilliputians tie her up Gulliver style, and drag her short-skirted, quivering, moaning form to the cellar for God-knows-what.Artfully filmed in shadow and light, the premise works better than you might think. It's one that must be handled skillfully lest it become funny for the wrong reasons, with a silliness akin to the Evil Monkey hiding in Chris Griffin's closet in the animated TV sitcom, Family Guy. Writer Nigel McKeand (in whose McKnight-Hill style Victorian home DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK was filmed) and director John Newland pull it off almost as frighteningly as Stephen Spielberg executed a nearly identical premise a year earlier in the chilling and shocking 1972 made-for-television, SOMETHING EVIL.In the 2010 DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, as would be expected in anything authored by Guillermo del Torro, the elements are enhanced and grotesquely larger than life. The manor is huge and Gothic, the small amount of violence is bloody, and the pit under the basement fireplace becomes a bottomless chasm to hell. The film begins with a backstory which is only alluded to in the original. Sadly, del Torro drops the ball later in the film by trying to explain too much with his characteristic love of mixing myth with "history." The haunted mansion's original patriarch is enslaved to the goblins, and our first encounter with him has him yanking out his maid's molars and feeding them to subterranean demons as an offering. Despite it's R rating (there's no nudity), DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (2010) is a kid's movie. In this new version, Sally Hurst (Bailee Madison) is a taciturn, pouting little girl who moves to a mammoth country estate with her recently divorced dad (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes). Imposing sets and dreamlike cinematography are right out of a demented Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. This child's eye view technique is typical of del Torro. The optical footprint of DON'T BE AFRAID is what most distinguishes it. It's overdone, but visually spectacular in exactly the sort of way you would expect a big budget haunted house yarn for kids to be.There's artistic use of visual continuity. The elaborate latticework of Sally's headboard compliments the brass screens of the air vents and the artfully carved antique benches on the manor's grounds. With camera angles such as one in which Sally finds herself standing in a ring of toadstools, and another in which her face is framed by a tangle of vines, the implication is clear: Sally is webbed in. Like the perpetually foreboding and gloomy skies overheard, the mansion's cathedral-sized interiors are almost always cast in shadow. Akin to catacombs, duct work entwines its way through the walls. Creaking and groaning like a giant bellows with its myriad of ornamental grated heat ducts leading to an abysmal, possessed basement incinerator, the very edifice itself seems complicit in what is to transpire.And what transpires is that Sally is either very naughty, or has the IQ of a stringbean, because after the demons in the sealed-up basement incinerator whisper some very nasty, sick things to her in their hoarse croaks, she of course unbolts the damn thing and lets them out. Slowly, sardonically, all hell breaks loose in the Hurst household. Sally's phantasms embark on a malevolent series of destructive endeavors, for which Sally gets the blame, widening an already tense divide between Sally and her elders. As a result, Sally perversely attempts to bond with the goblins out of frustration. The plan backfires, and a child psychologist makes the scene as the situation spirals horribly out of control. The little entities really want to kill Sally. She's trapped in the mansion with them, and nobody will believe her. Sally will have to scheme her own salvation.You'll see some stock conventions in this 2010 version which will remind you of frivolous, campy movies which were likely inspired by the 1973 original: Greminlins, Ghoulies, Beasties, The Puppet Master franchise, etc. The plethora of films about tiny hellraisers in our collective memory tames the fright factor in Guillermo del Torro's version. That's a shame because there's nothing lighthearted about the DON'T BE AFRAID movies. They're deathly serious and the premise works.In the re-make, thanks to 21st century technology, the demons are impressive and scary, They get a lot more camera time than in the original. Sometimes less is more however. The goblin chill factor in the second film contrasts with the way the original cultivated our fear. In that one we caught for the most part, only fleeting glances out of the corners of our eyes, of the darting poltergeists. The known is never as frightening as the unknown. Which version of this story is the best? Both have their merits. The 2010 release has a contemporary feel and it's family-friendly. It's a big-screen extravaganza. The 1973 DON'T BE AFRAID is more intimate and is aimed at grown-ups. Despite the impressive special effects in the remake, the 1973 film's economy of sensation makes it the more sophisticated effort.In the 2010 film, Del Torro does a clever job of expounding upon the plot elements and story essence of its predecessor, making it bolder and more colorful. While this second DON'T BE AFRAID is solidly in the horror genre, with lots of loud, malevolent action, the first film is more subtle, features some genuine chills, and achieves its horror agenda by building an atmosphere of slowly mounting dread. The 1973 DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK has just been digitally remastered on DVD.Both DON'T BE AFRAID movies make a good Halloween package, but if you're trying to decide between one or the other, here's a final thought: When the studios redo a solid film, they often rearrange some of the details, such as who does what, and what happens to whom. This keeps the updated version from being a predictable duplicate. It also tends to weaken the story. The writers usually got it right the first time.