Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Haunted House Film  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Ranking with Dan Curtis' Trilogy of Terror as one of the spookiest made-for-TV horror films of the 1970's, this atmospheric monster chiller stars Kim Darby and Jim Hutton as a comfortable, reasonably happy young couple who inherit the archetypal "Old Dark House" from the wife Sally's deceased aunt. While renovating the creepy mansion, they enter a previously-sealed room, which features a securely bricked-up fireplace. Despite the insistence of a local contractor (My Three Sons' William Demarest) that they leave the room undisturbed, Sally's husband manages to open the flue, releasing a horde of shriveled mini-monsters imprisoned there for decades. The little demons immediately fixate their malevolent attention on Sally in an effort to claim her soul, a mission which can only be averted by the love of her husband -- which, in light of his self-centered careerism, means poor Sally's pretty much on her own. Director John Newland manages to pull off this one-note premise with some effective, frightening scenes -- especially when he chooses to show as little of the goofy-looking monsters as possible -- but it's hard to sustain this level of suspense for a full 90 minutes.

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Keywords

monster, couple, creature, house, newlywed, fireplace, demonic-possession, rampage