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Janet is a young student at a private school; her nights are troubled by horrible dreams in which she sees her mother, who is in fact locked in an insane asylum, haunting her. Expelled ... See full summary »
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Jean Carter, nine-year-old daughter of the town's newly-appointed school principal, Peter Carter and his wife Sally, is playing in the woods with her 11-year-old friend Lucille, when Jean discovers she has lost her purse containing her "candy" money. Lucille tells her she knows where they can get sweets for nothing, and leads her to an imposing mansion, from which the owner, Clarence Olderberry, Sr., a tall, gaunt man of 70 has been watching the girls from a window. That night Jean, unable to sleep, tells her parents that Oldeberry made her and Lucille dance before him nude in exchange for some candy. Carter files a complaint, but the local police chief, Captain Hammond, is skeptical of Jean's story and warns Carter that the Oldenberry family put the town on the map and have far more standing in the community than the new-comer Carters. Oldenberry, Jr. also tells Carter that if he follows up on the complaint he may be certain that Oldenberry's lawyers will show Jean no mercy. In the ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
I saw this on video as "Never Take Candy from a Stranger," under which title it was apparently released in the U.S. It was the one serious film produced by Hammer Films, famous for its Gothic horrors, and I found this much more suspenseful, as well as much better made, than the lot of them. It begins with small tensions of frustration and mild dislike among members of the academic community in a small town and gradually, subtly builds to an atmosphere of dread that catches in the throat. Every character, down to the bit parts, has something of interest to say, and what they say and do, and how their actions combine, lead step by step to the harrowing conclusion. The only fault is the over-simplicity of its social viewpoint, as expressed by the main character and justified by the events of the story, which are by no means unbelievable but not inevitable either. Apart from that, I thought it was a first-class B-picture, a small film in the good sense, compact and economical, with all its resources, human and otherwise, firmly in hand. Also, it has the grey photography that once used to give films of this type the aura they needed: the grey of rain and fog and dusk and uneasy feelings.
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