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Horror Fans: Is DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973) on DVD?


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141 replies to this topic

#1 of 142 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 21 2003 - 07:17 AM

Okay, I remember this GREAT movie I used to see
all the time on TV as a kid. Thought it was the
scariest movie I ever saw.

I can't remember the name, but I'll describe it
to you.

A couple buys a new house. The wife soon finds
out that there are creatures that live beneath
the floorboards and in the cellar.

She soon discovers the creatures are sensitive to
light and don't come out unless its dark. She lights
the house up with flashlights and candles to keep
herself safe. However, the creatures cut the power
lines to the house.

In the end, she gets dragged down the stairs and
eventually "joins" them.

I believe this film was made in the 70s, and it
probably was a made-for-TV film. I think the
starring actress' first name was Kim.

Anyone familiar with horror films should know
what this is -- I just have totally forgotten the
title.

Anyhow, is it available on DVD?

Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 142 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 21 2003 - 07:22 AM

I answered my own question.

Went to IMDB.COM and did some fiddling
around.

Finally came up with....

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

It was a 1973 TV film starring Kim Darby.

Doesn't look like it is on DVD.

Ronald J Epstein
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#3 of 142 Jay E

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Posted May 21 2003 - 07:38 AM

Hey I loved this film as a kid too

My brother and I still imitate the creatures when they are calling for Kim Darby:

"Sally...Sally..."

#4 of 142 michael deakin

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Posted May 21 2003 - 07:39 AM

Hi Ron.
Yeah i remember this film too. Quite scary, Shame about the ending. She really put up a fight.
mike.

#5 of 142 Jack Briggs

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Posted May 21 2003 - 07:48 AM

Isn't Carl Betz in this as well, playing Kim Darby's husband? And the little boy is the one from the old Family Affair sitcom on CBS.

If I recall, there's a scene where Betz is looking at a film or a videotape of one of the front windows of his house. He sees a couple of red dots, "demon eyes." Pretty effective scene.

#6 of 142 Andy Sheets

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Posted May 21 2003 - 09:19 AM

One of my family's favorites. I would love to be able to give a dvd of this to my sister someday. This movie scares the hell out of her Posted Image

#7 of 142 michael deakin

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Posted May 21 2003 - 10:13 AM

Jack.
The husband is played by "Jim Hutton".
mike.

#8 of 142 Rex Bachmann

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Posted May 21 2003 - 10:16 AM

Jack Briggs wrote (post #5):

Quote:
Isn't Carl Betz in this as well, playing Kim Darby's husband?


No. The late Jim Hutton, father of Timothy, played the husband.


Quote:
And the little boy is the one from the old Family Affair sitcom on CBS.

There was no "little boy" in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, as far as I can remember. Darby and Hutton played the Farnhams, a young couple with no children yet. The "little boy" you're thinking of is Johnnie Whitaker ("Be damned!") and the tv-movie you probably have in mind is Something Evil (CBS Entertainment, 1972), directed by none other than your favorite movie director of all time: Mr. Steven Spielberg.

Quote:
If I recall, there's a scene where [Carl] Betz is looking at a film or a videotape of one of the front windows of his house. He sees a couple of red dots, "demon eyes." Pretty effective scene.

The father there was played by Darren McGavin, who sort of looks like Carl Betz.

As far as that scene, which I, too, vaguely remember, is concerned, there is a reference to it in comments by "Gary" at the movie's imdb.com page, dated: June 10, 2000:

Quote:
Better than ET by a long chalk . . . . . Best scare is the demon eyes caught during the filming of a commercial at the haunted house.

The creepiest aspect of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is not the appearance of the demons, but how they sound as they talk past each other---with a cacophony of whispers---, and only Sally (Darby) can hear them tell what they're going to do to her.

It was, if I recall correctly, a Lorimar film, which means it should be owned now by Warner Bros.
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#9 of 142 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 21 2003 - 10:27 AM

I think all of you will find this interesting....

Miramax already has a remake of this film going
into production. You can read more about it here:

http://movies.yahoo....v&id=1808403782

This should most likely bolster the chances for
the original to be released to DVD.

Ronald J Epstein
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#10 of 142 Malcolm R

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Posted May 21 2003 - 11:56 AM

The creepiest aspect of the film is not the appearance of the demons, but how they sound as they talk past each other, and only Sally (Darby) can hear them tell what they're going to do to her.
Sounds like it could be especially cool with a good 5.1 mix. Posted Image

Seems like lots of decent horror films in the pipeline.
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#11 of 142 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted May 21 2003 - 08:54 PM

Ron,

their are moments of incredible coincidence that don't happen very often in life and I just experienced one of them right now! Posted Image
When I saw your topic header, this is the first film I thought of since I saw it as a kid too and it scared the shit out of me, and like you, I coudn't remember the title until this thread. Imagine my shock when I read your post to see this was the very same film I was thinking of!

Of all the horror films out their you could have been talking about, what are the odds!?

I also remember very well how they sounded and looked, they had little brown shrunken heads with prune faces, and the one scene I remember most was her in the shower with the curtain drawn and the creatures walking around on the floor of the bathroom! Posted Image

I'd love to have this one on dvd, i'm also intriguied by the remake possibilities as well.
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#12 of 142 Jack Briggs

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Posted May 22 2003 - 04:45 AM

Rex: Excellent work! And that's exactly the made-for-TV film I remembered, down to a T. JB

#13 of 142 Claude North

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Posted May 22 2003 - 04:59 AM

There were so many horror- and suspense-themed TV movies made in the 1970s that are deserving of a DVD release. Some were better than others, but all of them had a certain charm and, I suspect, have cult followings.

A few examples:

THE LEGEND OF LIZZIE BORDEN
BAD RONALD
THE INITIATION OF SARAH
SOMETHING EVIL
SUMMER OF FEAR
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

How cool if a company like Anchor Bay could license several of them and release them as "Horror TV Classics" or under some such umbrella title.

CN

#14 of 142 Jay E

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Posted May 22 2003 - 05:55 AM

Nice list Claude

Another TV movie that scared the crap out of me was Fear No Evil with Louis Jordan, which was about a haunted antique mirror.

The scariest TV movie I ever saw was the pilot film for Night Gallery, actually just the first episode with Roddy McDowall and the haunted painting.

#15 of 142 Eugene Esterly

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Posted May 22 2003 - 09:06 AM

Summer Of Fear from 1978 (aka Stranger In Our House) is avaliable on Region 1 DVD. Summer Of Fear was released on DVD in Feb 2003.

#16 of 142 Jack Briggs

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Posted May 22 2003 - 10:43 AM

There was an eerie 1971 made-for-TV movie about witchcraft, starring William Shatner. What was it called?

Also, there was an adaptation of Zenna Henderson's science-fiction series about "The People" that was kind of effective.

The early '70s was a fertile period for decent made-for-TV films, wasn't it?

#17 of 142 ScottR

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Posted May 22 2003 - 11:27 AM

Didn't this movie air as one of those afternoon movies (either on abc or nbc) that they used to show....they showed some scary movies on these afternoon programs (and no, I am not talking about the afterschool specials...lol)

#18 of 142 JayF

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Posted May 22 2003 - 11:35 AM

Jack- I remember a scary TV movie with William Shatner called "Horror at 40,000 Feet" or something like that. Must have played on the popularity of the Airport movies & had something to do with an evil spirit on an airliner. I remember something about glueing a woman's nailclippings to the tips of a doll so the spirit would think it was a human sacrifice or something. Weird.

As for Don't be Afraid of the Dark... I remember that scary the heck out of me in the second grade. I could SWEAR I've seen it as a cheap DVD release at Best Buy.

Other great childhood TV movies from the 70s were Gargoyles and Killdozer.

#19 of 142 Joseph J.D

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Posted May 22 2003 - 01:35 PM

Yes, we definitely need more of these old 70s TV horrors on DVD. They can join stuff already out there like 'The Night Stalker/Night Strangler' and 'Trilogy of Terror'.....the source of many a childhood nightmare. Oh how I love those films- nothing quite like getting completely scared out of your wits as a kid after one of those shockers.Posted Image
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#20 of 142 TomF

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Posted May 23 2003 - 12:48 AM

I'm a member of the "this movie scared the crap out of me when I was little" club. It's even difficult to find on VHS. Would love to see it make DVD. It has quite a cult following. VHS "copies" show up at sci-fi conventions but I have heard they are pretty poor quality.

As for the remake, I always get a little nervous when I hear of a subtle classic like this being remade with today's Hollywood sensibilities (ala The Haunting). I hope they don't change the ending. I could just see them turning it around to have the couple defeat the demons in a blaze of special effects.

That ending scene of her being dragged, helpless (weakened by a sedative) to join the demons, slowing them down with the camera flash (they can't stand the light) but ultimately losing and her scream as she goes down...then her chilling voice-over at the end...that's what really made it stick with me.



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