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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Year: 1973
Production Co: Lorimar Productions
Director: John Newland
Writer: Nigel McKeand
Cast: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton

The 70s were the era when horror finally found blood on its hands through the wonders of special effects. Until then, horror had always been about the mood and occasionally dodgy models and plastic skeletons.

There were a lot of ideas around that had just enough money to exist but not enough to make them look any good, and for a fair while into this movie, the fashion, acting, camerawork and the quality of the film stock made me feel like I was watching an erstwhile sequel to Deep Throat.

A demure housewife and her steel-jawed husband move into what they think is their dream home, but the ol' man carpenter keeps warning them not to unplug the bricked up fireplace in the cellar with repeated and amusing refrains along the lines of 'there ain't some thing you shuddit be uncovrin', Miss'.

Of course she does, and in doing so releases the lamest horror movie creatures I think I've ever seen in a movie, two foot tall, poorly lit (except in a few scenes were you can see the stitching) Leprechaun-ape things who call to her in the night, telling her they want her to be one of them.

There's absolutely no rhyme or reason to where they go or how they operate. The bathroom scene seems to intimate that they just manifest themselves wherever they want when the lights are out, but the fact that they take over a week to move towards any kind of objective seems to refute that completely.

Of course nobody believes her and the bodies pile up (including her Bronx-Italian-hairdresser-porn-producer-style interior decorator), and the whole thing's as scary as a flashbulb – and makes you strain to see what's going on just as much.

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