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Seen when I was very young, this "made for TV" movie became the vehicle
which drove all my fears. These fears, once irrational, were validated
one unforgettable night. Before that night, during bedtime, it was only
instinct that asked my mom to leave the hall light on. After seeing
this movie, I had a reason, an image, and the creepiest soundtrack to
plead with her not to turn it off again! This movie plays right into
those dark corners of legend. Why we don't just reach under the bed
without looking first. Why, as we lay awake, closet doors need to be
constantly observed... just in case! I was eight years old, and truly
ripe for the scare of my life!
The movie begins with a cats meow and haunting music. The score of this movie is absolutely penetrating and perfect. This is not an overstatement. I can think of very few I would call it's equal. This music accompanies Sally (Kim Darby from True Grit) as she unwittingly, and unknowingly, sets free demons from a bricked up fireplace. They set about, slipping through the dark corners (and there's plenty of them), searching to get Sally's soul. As frightening events start to mount up, and with no support from her workaholic husband, Sally begins to doubt her sanity.
Darby has a quiet demeanor that lends itself to her rising panic. When the "creatures" do finally appear, they seem to have come straight from a casting call from hell. That...or a jar of raisins. The ending is absolutely unforgettable. "Dark" made quite an impact for it's time.
I am now 40. Don't like to have ANY lights on when I sleep. Can watch this film, or any other horror flick without strategically placing a body part to obscure the view. However, a few slight noises.....a scratch or a whisper, and my defenses still go up. The blanket is always on the ready. All because of a few film makers decided to take "TV movies" seriously. I thank them....I think.
When I was a kid I watched television every day until I was absolutely
saturated with popular culture. Although I was an athletic youth, I ran
home each day after school to catch the afternoon movie on Detroit's
ABC affiliate on Channel 7. I have never forgotten seeing the film
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, about a young couple who move into the
large rambling home once owned by the woman's grandmother. Something
sinister once lurked the basement, but had been sealed within the
fireplace by bricks stacked four deep -- the door giving onto the ash
bin had been bolted shut. Evil subdued.
However, the first thing that happens when the young couple take over the house, is the wife wants to turn this grungy dank room into her home office. And she just has to have that damned fireplace cleared out and working. An aged handy man warns her against "meddling with things you don't understand," but she doesn't heed him.
Remember, there would be no such thing as horror movies if there weren't stupid people.
Sally, the wife, managed to undo the bolt on the ash bin door. That's all the evil needs to be unleashed through the house in the form of tiny raisin-headed ghouls who look like Smurfs gone bad.
The movie hit me like a piledriver when I was eight years old. It scared the absolute shite out of me. Last night I borrowed this film from a friend, seeking to demystify it. I'm just after watching the film for the first time in twenty five years, and I have to say that this cheesy little horror knock-off still does the job. I don't think it'll keep me up tonight as it had when I was a kid, but the story's simplicity, particularly its makeshift special effects, came off quite effectively.
I've never seen the film on the shelf in a video shop. But if you do come across and are looking for a nostalgic thrill, I think Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is what you're looking for.
I saw this when I was 8 years old, and whenever someone asks me what the scariest movie I've ever seen is, I tell them about this one, but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about! I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who saw it and was creeped out! Another movie from those days that had the same effect was "Trilogy of Terror," when Karen Black gets a Zuni fetish doll in the mail and it comes to life and chases her around her apartment---both these movies had a profound effect on how I looked at staircases and other places where little creepy things could be hiding. I'm looking forward to the remake.
I'll always remember when the first advertisement for this movie was
It was on the old ABC Wednesday Movie of the Week (1973) and came right
after the flick for that week ended with the announcer saying "Next on the
ABC Wednesday movie of the Week". A clip of William Demarest telling Kim
Darby "Some things are better off left alone" then a few other quick clips
concluding with the announcer saying "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" as a
Flashlight in pitch blackness is snatched up by something which the viewer
is given only an eyeblink glimpse of. WOW! It was definitely worth the
week long wait. This was hands down the scariest Things that go bump in
night made for TV movie ever! Throughout the years it's amazing how
people I've met have seen and remember this movie. Sometimes all it takes
to say "Did you ever see the movie with the guy who played Uncle Charlie
from My Three Sons" and they'll immediately say "DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE
Unbelievably creepy. Is this movie on DVD or video anywhere? I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since seeing it in the 70's. Totally 70's gritty cool horror film. We'll probably never see horror made like this again. Especially when dopey heiresses are playing leads in current horror films. Movies, especially horror, have sucked since the early eighties. The film brings you back to a time when people didn't need spit shined, glossy Hollywood film style to be scared. Budgets were limited, so this movie makes do with lighting, shadows, eerie music, and mood. So again, shut out the lights, curl up under a warm blanket, and try not to be afraid of the dark.
What a sadistically weird movie this was! Have you ever thought you saw
something out of the corner of your eye, but when you looked directly
at it, it wasn't there? Of course, it was in the shadows, so if it
really WERE there, you wouldn't know for sure, would you? That's what
this movie is about. Small, dangerous things in the shadows. Of course,
they couldn't harm you directly... while you were alert... but they
sure could mess you up if, say... they strung a rope across the stairs
or did something to you in your sleep.
The theme of this movie is, "Did I really see it?" And of course, we know Kim Darby really did, but it was too late when she finally knew forsure.
As a t.v. movie, it was okay - production, setting, acting, special effects and make-up... but the idea of things... lurking... waiting... made your hair stand up and want to exit the room along with the rest of your body.
And what the heck WERE those things, anyway? They lived in the furnace... or BELOW the furnace - we know that for sure. But were they demons? Goblins? Aliens? And was one of them Kim Darby's grandfather? We never know the answer to this. All we know is they're nasty spiteful little things that want to make you one of them. And, I guess, that was the spookiest part of the story - it never let you know the answer. Just made you wonder what sort of ickies could be lurking below YOUR furnace! The spookiest moment is when Kim ticks one of them off and it makes the nastiest face. You really don't want to tick one of these little creepy-crawlers off.
I watched this movie-of-the-week alone at night really late while I was home by myself. Even though I was well into my teens at the time, I was totally weirded out.
The moral of the story, I guess, is that if you don't want evil miniature creatures to drag your wife off to the nether-regions below your furnace, don't be a workaholic and ignore her when she says she's seeing strange nasties in the corners or the room.
I also saw this movie as a kid and was haunted by it for a long while.
I still remember being scared of the little creatures. There was
another somewhat similar TV movie called Trilogy of Terror (just found
the titles of both of these movies on the web out of curiosity) with
Karen Black where she was haunted by a little voodoo like creature with
a spear that also really got me good. As far as the effect a scary
movie had on me at the time I saw it, this was by far the scariest
movie I have seen in my life. I don't know if it would have much an
effect on me now or not but it certainly did then.
I'm guessing it is not available on DVD or video.
This is a classic horror that will stay with you for years. A young couple moves into a house where the previous owner, the woman's father, mysteriously disappeared years before. As it turns out, the young couple aren't the only ones living in the house, there are scary demons living in the basement. This movie is great! You just scream sequel. The ending will stick with you, it's a shocker. This is an amazing movie for a made-for-tv movie. Grab this one, it's that good!
This is one of those little films that lends itself to legendary status, because it is almost impossible to see nowadays. With a great deal of effort and patience, one can find a copy....but it sure isn't easy. So many of us remember seeing it when it aired...I was all but six or seven and remembered only these gnome-like creatures. Recently I was able to see it again....and started to remember a lot more of it. The film is pretty atmospheric as it chronicles the slow then fast menacing of Sally Farnham by pint-sized demons with conical shaped heads. Sally and her husband recently moved into this large house and forsaking the advice of carpenter William Demarest, Sally opens a fireplace which had been sealed over twenty-five years ago. These creatures lived in the fireplace and now they want Sally...to join them. Kim Darby does a good job playing Sally as she slowly descends into madness...as well as other destinations. Forget all the talk about it being only good for a television movie...this is a good movie period. It has loads of atmosphere and suspense, albeit a bit shallow in the area of plot.
Sally Farnham (Kim Darby) and her husband Alex Farnham (Jim Hutton)
move to an old mansion that belonged to Sally's grandmother and they
hire an interior designer and the carpenter Mr. Harris (William
Demarest) to redecorate the manor.
Sally opens a locked door in the house and finds a sealed fireplace and ash pit. She asks Mr. Harris to open the fireplace but the old man argues with her and refuses to follow the order. Sally uses Mr. Harris' wrench to remove the bolts of the ash pit cover. Sooner Sally finds that evil little creatures that fear the light have escaped from the underground through the ash pit and are threatening her. However, Alex and her friend Joan Kahn (Barbara Anderson) believe that Sally's imagination is affected by the words of Mr. Harris.
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is a simple and effective horror film made for television released in Brazil only on VHS. The story of a young couple that moves to an old house and the wife Kim Darby, the unforgettable Miri of "Star Trek" and the girl Mattie Ross of "True Grit", releases demon-like creatures is original and developed in an adequate pace.
In 2010, Guillermo del Toro remade this film with a lame screenplay that included silly sub-plots and spoiled the original story. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Criaturas da Noite" ("Creatures of the Night")
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