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I was able to see Lady in White today on TV. At first I was just mildly
interested in what I believed to be a kids movie. Once I realized this
film was no children's film, I was sucked right in.
Frankie is a young, smart child of an Italian family in the town of Willowpoint Falls. He has a great imagination and is able to express it on Halloween while in school. Afterwards however, Frankie is locked into the school's coat room for the night by two bullies and witnesses something remarkable. He witnesses the ghost of a little girl being killed by the hands of an unknown man 10 years prior. The ghost begins to follow Frankie and he sort of befriends her as he attempts to discover who killed the little girl and 10 other children in the town.
Lukas Haas is exceptional in the lead role of Frankie. He is sweet, fun-loving, and extremely enjoyable to watch on the screen. Haas does a fine job in his portrayal of the haunted boy and brings out his character quite easily. Alex Rocco also does quite well in his supporting role of Frankie's father. You are able to tell, even without it being talked about, that he is a good, kind man and father. That he is always looking out for his sons with the loss of his wife. Rocco shows his acting ability well.
Originally I thought this film to be a children's film and was quite convinced it was until I saw the coat room sequence. The acting of the little girl as she is killed by the invisible force is shocking and terrifying. I was truly frightened by the scene and knew it was no longer a children's film. My only complaint, which is a large one, is the lack of emphasis on the Lady in White. SHe is barely shown the whole film and it confused me slightly why they named the film after her.
Age does show on this film with the cheesy special effects. However the story is able to overthrow the poor special effects. The acting is solid, the story is well thought out and the characters are quite enjoyable to watch.
3 out of 5 Stars
I saw this movie when I was only seven or so and have loved it ever since. Perhaps it is not has high tech as other movies but it has really wonderful elements. The execution of this film is wonderful. As opposed to the last comment on this movie, I have to disagree. I think an open mind is needed to fully appreciate older films. If you do not feel that something from the eighties and older is worthy of your time this probably is not the movie for you. If you do love a good ghost story, try this one on for size. It isn't a scary movie, relatively mild with very little violence and no blood. It is creative and really heart warming.
I just don't know what it is but this movie is like an "Old Friend" to
my older sister and I. We always watch it together and now my 6 1/2 yr
old watches it with us. I think because it's "scary,but not too scary"
and YES we always end up singing that song for day's after we watch it.
When ever we ask people "have you seen this movie" they are alway glad we told them about it..it's one of those movies you either never heard of, or never thought to watch and once you do your glad you did.
I love the Halloween theme and the "Little Sleepy Town" feeling you get in this movie. Grandma & Grandpa are by far my favorite's in this film, There is such a "Loving Closeness" between them.
It's just a good "anytime" movie.
Despite a few plot gaps, this is a very charming, atmospheric movie. The view is through the eyes of the main child-character, Frankie Scarlatti, and we see what he sees. This is a wonderful ghost story, not a horror film at all. Lukas Haas' character, Frankie, is vulnerable, yet determined to get at the heart of the mystery. Katherine Helmond is touchingly effective in her role as the grandmother of the murdered girl. My only complaint is that I get no clues from the plot or characterizations about what caused the killer to act. Yet I can suspend belief long enough to go with the childlike curiosity into the mysterious story. This is what I call a "little movie", no splashy special effects or over-the-top story lines, just a simple, sweet movie.
If you're expecting a typical slasher, you'll be disappointed. Frank
LaLoggia's "Lady in White" is a more subtle horror flick, with limited
violence and no sex or nudity. It depicts a boy who witnesses an
apparition of a murder and then tries to find out what happened. The
movie makes a lot of use of shadows to elicit its horror, and the
answer to the mystery slowly but surely evolves. Moreover, it's also
interesting to see a horror movie seen from the eyes of a child, as
opposed to horny teenagers. Of course, there's no shortage of comic
relief, especially from the boy's grandparents. This movie isn't any
kind of masterpiece, but I still enjoyed it.
Starring Lukas Haas (the Amish boy in "Witness"), Len Cariou, Alex Rocco (Moe Greene in "The Godfather") and Katherine Helmond.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frankie and his so called "friends" are having a Halloween party at
school but his friends end up locking him in the cloak room for the
weekend. Some friends they are. So Frankie is sitting there freezing
when he sees a ghost and it leads to solving a series of murders over
the past ten years. Frankie gets out of the cloak room of course and
then he has to figure out who did what.
It was a pretty good mystery. The special effects were pretty corny but the story is well thought out. There is also a little dark humor in it too that involves the grandfather. The older brother is a big jerk but not really a major character until he becomes the hero at the end. Sort of. It's not too scary but it's a pretty good family mystery movie.
What makes a good mystery? First of all, weirdness. I've seen a lot of
ghost-movies but only a few come close to the beautiful weirdness of
this independent movie. Over 4000 people gave their pennies to make
this movie come true and it was really worth it. Just like Taboada's
"Hasta el viento tiene miedo", LaLoggia's "Lady in White" is an
absolutely astonishing movie in every part of it, starting from the
visual style to the plot. Of course, like in every movie made on low
budget it has pretty bad special effects, sometimes so bad that you
want the movie to be remade, but in fact, this is the kind of movie
that's totally impossible to be remade without ruining its
incomprehensible glamor. Once finished watching, someone would think
that it's the plot that makes this movie so unique, but for a
movie-lover it's not too hard to remember at least a couple of other
flicks with similar plots but miles weaker than "Lady in White", so
it's obvious that everything: acting, direction, music, design,
photography; so well fit together so they create a potion of pure
imagination incredibly interknit with an almost touchable reality. It's
the best movie that can be called a screen version of a Christmas story
told by the fire by your grand. More than worth watching.
Unfortunately this movie has not been released on DVD in Russia (just as "Hasta el viento..." and many other amazing fantasy movies), so I can share my admiration with only a few people.
This film combines elements from many other genres, and makes itself
unique. It is a ghost story, a murder mystery, a nostalgia film, and a
The story is centered on Frankie, a successful novelist of horror stories. He returns to his home town in the Northeastern United States, during autumn, and the basic film is a flashback.
Within the film are hints that make it more intriguing. Frankie sells greeting cards, and from them gets a typewriter, presaging his career as an author. His schoolwork reflects this, as he writes a frightening short story to spook his schoolmates -- and his teacher. A couple of his classmates trick him into going into the coat closet as the school is closing, and lock him in.
After trying to get out, he eventually falls asleep, and wakens to the sight of the ghost of a young girl, who is condemned to relive, as it were, her murder. Later, the murderer comes into the closet and nearly strangles Frankie to death.
Frankie has a near-death experience, but is revived. He then experiences a number of unusual events, such as seeing The Lady In White, a ghost of a woman seeking her missing daughter. Much of the story is seen in the context of an Italo-American family, with mild comedic incidents.
Major spoiler: The identity of the murderer is a bit easy to figure out, particularly with him whistling an early Bing Crosby song that Frankie (and the audience) knows is connected to the little girl's ghost.
The film delivers on all its fronts, and is perfect to watch after the Trick-Or-Treaters have finished.
Picture a sleepy rural community by the sea where children play in fields, family members work together and a ghost appears to a young boy to receive aid in finding peace. These are some of the story lines of Lady in White. the picture was directed by Frank LaLoggia and he gives it a picturesque Ray Bradbury kind of tone, mood, and setting. It was as if I were transported back into some aspects of my childhood as the film centers on the point of view of a young boy named Frankie Scarlatti. The story is not grandiose by any means: you will know the identity of the killer fairly quickly just by instincts. The real power of the film for me was the presentation of the film - the creepy moments with the Lady in White, Katherine Helmond as a crazed woman obsessed with candles, and the claustrophobic atmosphere of a little school room. The rural setting is wonderfully portrayed and the resolution to the story has heart and scares. I was impressed with the acting all around from Lukas Haas as Frankie, to Alex Rocco as his father giving a great performance and certainly one not his general type, Len Cariou as a family friend, and Helmond as well. This is at its core a ghost story and one of the better ones I have seen of late. It is family-friendly yet eerily frightening. This is one of those perfect films to watch on a cold, winter evening.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lady in White is directed, produced & written by Frank LaLoggia. It
stars Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, and Katherine Helmond.
Lady In White arrived to no great fanfare in 1988, it got a limited release in theatres and promptly vanished from the public view. However, it did find a cult following thanks to the burgeoning success of the VHS home format. It seemed that, for home viewings at least, there was a market for a good old fashioned ghost story with a mystery killer kicker at its core. 1988 was the year that cash cow blood movies really started to bang the horror fans over the head. There were sequels for Elm Street, Critters, Friday the 13th, Fright Night, Hellraiser, Halloween, Poltergeist, Phantasm, Living Dead and Killer Tomatoes. But in amongst all that grue and lazy film making were two smart atmospheric movies splicing fantasy realms with their horror. One was the magnificent Paperhouse, the other was of course Lady In White.
It would be foolish of me to claim that Lady In White is flawless because that simply isn't the case, the rubbish score and its budgetary restrictions mean it simply hasn't aged as well as the afore mentioned Paperhouse. Suffice to say this isn't a film for everyone, and certainly not for those who drooled spittle over Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers or Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. But LaLoggia's ambition and genuine affection for his story lifts this far above many of 1988's tepid releases.
Plot sees Lukas Haas play Frankie, a young boy who as part of a bully prank gets locked in the school cloak-room on Halloween night 1962. Whilst there he observes the ghostly apparition of a young girl, from where he then learns how she sadly became a ghost in the first place. First as he witnesses her murder, then as he is attacked by the unknown assailant who has returned to the cloak-room for some incriminating evidence he left behind. Surviving the attack (one of the film's itchy flaws since the killer must closely know him to let him live), Frankie embarks upon a mission to uncover the story behind the little girl's murder. It's a story that involves ghosts wandering around searching for closure, a serial child killer and the potentially wrongful incarceration of the school's black janitor. All of which is set in the delightfully named Willowpoint Falls; which by day has ethereal charm, but by night oozes with creepy hues.
It's using this home town feel of small Americana that gives the film its solid base to build from. LaLoggia knows that we have seen all too many ghost stories framed around the creepy mansion formula, so he sets this up in and around an everyday life that most can identify with. This Capraesque type town has a very human feel to it, thus the dark secrets that unravel gain added chills. It's an approach that David Koepp's criminally undervalued Stir Of Echoes would harness in 1999. LaLoggia's movie also benefits from strong performances from the principal actors, with Haas (unassuming with commonsense child mannerisms) & Rocco (emotionally tortured but stoic father) playing out two of the best turns in the horror calendar year.
Guessing the killer isn't hard, and in fact he shows up rather too early. While the motive(s) for the monstrous acts that are committed here are never given (he just does it it seems). But this is a clever and well made film. The monsters lay not with the ghosts that glide in and out of Frankie's life, but in the maniac that kills children and the racist undertones that bubbles behind the surface of Willowpoint Falls' pretty facade. Factors that sadly over 30 years on still trouble society greatly. 7.5/10
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