It’s just a bit of filmed promotion. It can’t possibly hurt you. Besides director Troy Nixey and cowriter-producer Guillermo del Toro are, I’m sure, nice people who wish only to entertain you. They mean you no harm. Their remake of the 1973 TV movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” doesn’t even appear to have much gore in it. (It’s rated R for “violence and terror”). Yet…well, watch if you dare. (H/t Bloody Disgusting)
Good work, that. I literally had my eyes half-covered while I watched this thing, even as I was laughing at my own fright. The longer the black lasted, the most scared I got. Why does this work? I’ll let Kirk Douglas, with a little help from “The Bad and the Beautiful” screenwriter Charles Schnee, explain.
1946’s “Suspense” is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest classic-era Hollywood films ever made. It attempted to blend the appeal of tough-as-nails post-war film noir thrillers with, yes, ice skating.
An Olympic skater for her native England at age 12, Belita “the Ice Maiden” (not sure how long that moniker lasted) had been best known in the movie world as a competitor to Norwegian Sonja Henie, the hugely well-paid skating star of a series of successful light musical comedies for Fox. Working with “Poverty Row” studio Monogram, Belita understandably wanted to get out from Henie’s shadow and become more of a dramatic actress. “Suspense” must have seemed like a natural transition: a fairly lavish crime drama with an ice-show setting…a noirish one. Here, Belita skates — suspensefully — as Barry Sullivan and the great Eugene Pallette look on.
I’ll be doing my weekly box office preview next, but before I do we have an apt movie moment for this week’s box office derby as the “extreme” horror of the latest entry in the “Saw” franchise will be pitted, among other films, against the clever head games of “Paranormal Activity.” Just in case anyone out there thinks the push and pull between scaring an audience by showing it disturbing material or by almost showing it disturbing material is anything new, I’ve got a wonderfully concise sequence from Vicented Minelle’s soapy-but-brilliant 1952 inside-Hollywood tale, “The Bad and the Beautiful.”
Below Barry Sullivan as a hardworking director and Kirk Douglas as a hotshot writer-producer partially modeled on horror-legend Val Lewton (“Cat People,” “The Body Snatcher,” etc.), deal with the rather basic filmmaking problem their low-budget scare flick is presented with.
That’s Ned Glass as the costume guy, by the way, feeding those great reactions by Douglas and Sullivan. Gotta love Ned.