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211 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2001
I remember seeing "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" on TV when I was a kid. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was originally made for TV back in 1973. There are movies that stick with you for the rest of your life- this movie stuck with me!! It's the creepiest movie that I have ever seen. I saw it a few years ago on late night TV and it scared me just as much as it did when I was a kid!! Don't Be Afraid of the Dark starts with a young couple inheriting an old victorian style house. They don't know that the house is inhabited by three small demons that are locked in a blocked off fireplace. The caretaker, played by William Demarest(Uncle Charlie from "My Three Sons") warns Sally,played by Kim Darby, that some things are better left alone when she wants the old fireplace opened up. Sally attempts to open the fireplace thus releasing the three small demons into the house.They then want her for thier own. Strange things begin to happen around the house and Sally at first begins to question her own sanity. She sees the demons and her husband Alex, played by Jim Hutton, does not believe her. I think the scariest part of this movie is how vulnerable Sally feels. She cannot feel safe even at a dinner party (she sees one of the demons on her lap under a napkin) The demons cannot stand light and only attack in the dark. I can still hear the whispering whenever I think of this movie. Sally.....Sally......Sally.....Sally..... Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is the creepiest movie ever made. What amazes me the most is that it was made for TV!
See it for yourself....with the lights on!!
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2001
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is the one movie I have yet been able to complete. By this I mean, when I saw it at seven, I changed the channel as Sally was being dragged into the fireplace. Singularly the most haunting film of my life. If you want creepy, you've got it here. Psychologically disturbing, this "made for tv" movie is one of those that has the ability to stay in your mind for twenty years. The Lovecraftian darkness which surrounds the plot, as well as the haunting physical and vocal images will make a long lasting impression upon you. I was recently able to locate and purchase this film, and it is just as frightening at thirty as it was at seven. Leaving me anxious and jumpy in my own old house. A former Marine, I do not scare easy, but this film has Lovecraft's influence written all over it and if Lovecraft doesn't scare you at any age you haven't read enough. Find this film, buy this film and see this film.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2003
I remember being a child in the late '70's/early '80's and being afraid to watch this on TV. I'm now 33 years old and finally got the courage. The movie is a little dated but still really creepy. I went to bed shortly after watching it and was hesitant to turn the lights out! I usually laugh at horror movies but this was very effective because of what the viewer doesn't see, rather than what he sees. It's a person's wild imagination that gets him every time. This is the theme for Sally, the main character of the film, and the viewer. I wish this quality thriller would be released on DVD. I would be the first to add it to my collection. The clincher is that it was made for TV. I've never even seen a theatrical release that was this scary.
Sally's husband thought it was mice...WRONG...
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I remember "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" from the 70's (when i was a kid). I made the 'mistake' (in the not-being-able-to-sleep plus being afraid to go down in my basement) of watching it when i was around 5, and it made such an impression on me (notably, the little green gremlin-like creatures) that at the age of 40, i popped for a copy of this on DVD to relive my childhood freakout, when i saw it was available. I was not disappointed - this is a pretty good made-for-TV film, and achieves a bit of suspense as Sally tries to convince everyone that she's not crazy and is not hallucinating seeing the creatures. There are a couple of minor plot holes (which i won't get into here, at the risk of spoiling stuff from the film) but overall, if you're into 70's horror, this is a pretty good film, if a bit tame by today's standards. The creatures are pretty cool looking. This film would probably be a good candidate for a remake today, with better effects and a bit of a more macabre director's vision.

This is part of the Warner Archives series - made-to-order DVD's in DVD-R form. There are really no extras (other than plugs for other titles in the WB Archives), and the movie chapter stops are in 10 minute increments (not necessarily by scenes) but the transfer itself is actually relatively clean (couple of scratches/etc) and exceeded my expectations, as i hadn't bought any titles in the WB Archives prior to this one.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 6, 2011
I can not believe the industry has stooped this low with both DVDs and many CDs. No remastering, no officially manufactured product--and something that collectors hate most of all...a format that has a very limited lifespan. All at the inflated price of the real deal. Based on the titles this 'archives' series is releasing, the studio clearly knows people are searching for these titles, but they just want to take the cheapest route to make money off them--selling you something you could make yourself if you have an old copy on VHS and a recordable DVD player...

Even more insulting is the fact that, now that the remake has been released, WB has re-released this as a 'special edition'. A special edition DVD-R???? Really???? Yep, that's what you get. A purple disc DVD-R. Oh, you also get a commentary by a coupla hacks who had nothing to do with the original movie...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2011
Widely considered to be the best made-for-TV horror flick, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark finally gets the lights turned on a little in this remastered edition from The Warner Archive. If you own this movie on VHS or the previous DVD incarnation, let me say that this is definitely worth the upgrade. You can actually see what is going on instead of just hearing it and seeing a dark, grainy screen. Is it perfect? No, but it looks pretty darn good for a 40 year old made for TV movie. A flick like this probably isn't going to win over many new fans in this day and age when people are used to lightning-quick-editing and digital effects but if you are in the mood for a creepy haunted house story, which emphasizes atmosphere, and a slow, suspenseful build, this is one you'll want to watch - alone, in the dark, with your cell phone off. Great acting, quick moving story, awesome ending!

The only complaint I have is that some scenes towards the end of the movie have not been remastered correctly, they were shot in the daytime and were supposed to be readjusted to look like night, but they forgot to do it in this edition and so we wind up with some ridiculously obvious daytime scenes that are supposed to pass for nighttime.

The only "extras" are a commentary by some "fans" of the movie which seems to me like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 type of thing that I have zero interest in.

Recommended for nostalgia purposes for people who saw it years ago, or for fans of 1970's haunted house creepers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2010
Considering some of the OTHER stuff that Warner Brothers has given real DVD releases to, I can't beleive that this is only available as a Warner Archive DVD-r. I guess maybe they don't realize how many people saw this back in the 70's and that the film has stuck with them all this time. The DVD is a little on the dark side, and while I think another reviewer said that it was "LOADED" with scratches, I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. There are a couple here and there, nothing particularly distracting.

Of course, the story (if you don't know it) is that of a young couple that move to an big old inherited monster of a house. The woman (Kim Darby) wants her grandfather's old study for "her spot", but is rather upset the fireplace has been bricked up. And that the ash door is bolted shut. Their handyman/carpenter, William Demarest, was hired to do all that years ago by grandma, and urges Darby to leave it alone and this room too, but of course you know she doesn't, and unwittingly sets free some little creatures that want her for their very own.

I may have seen this when it was first aired, because in the days before cable and video and all that, one did what one had to, to catch the weird or scary stuff in TV. For a made-for-TV movie, it had quite an impact, and you can tell from the number of people that have reviewed it and remember it. Which is what kind of upsets me that it wasn't given a PROPER DVD release.

Still though, my old VCR is not working so well these days, and my big box USA VHS tape of this film is kind of collecting dust, so it is nice to have this on DVD, even if only a DVD-r with no extras. The 3 is for the quality, the movie itself would be a 4 out of 5.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2002
I finally tracked this movie down on Ebay a few months ago (I hadn't seen it since I was about 6 years old.) When it arrived, I settled down to watch it that night, and I had the same eerie feeling of deja vu I had when I watched Bob Clark's "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" for the first time in 20 years. I was shocked that I remembered so many scenes from this little TV-movie that I hadn't seen in over 20 years. This shows what an effective movie this was. Some of the more vivid (and frightening) images had somehow stayed with me since childhood. One scene in particular, in which the two little demon thingies are preparing to venture out from their dark crawlspace, whispering furtively, "Let's get her" over and over really stuck with me (and probably kept me up several nights as a child).
One reviewer was wondering whether the effects would look cheesy after so many years. Well, I'll admit, the movie does look a bit dated, but not detrimentally so. The creepy mood, atmosphere, and feelings of dread are all still intact (at least, they were for me.) In fact, a lot of the low-budget qualities work to the film's benefit -- namely, the heavy use of darkness and shadows. So, don't worry -- this is still a pretty scary little flick.
I love finding movies likes this on Ebay, movies that, 5 or 10 years ago, I had just assumed had faded out of existence and I would never see again....
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Farnhams, a young couple, move into a suspicious looking but beautiful house in California owned by the wife's father. Nobody has satisfactorily explained how Sally's father died in the old house. Only handyman Harris (William Demarest, AKA "Uncle Charlie") appears to know the truth - and he's not talking. (Demarest never looks happy, but he conveys a persistent attitude that things would be better for everybody if the Farnham's just moved out and sealed up the place). Instead, Sally (Kim Darby who's made to appear prematurely frumpy) tries to unseals a mysteriously bricked-up fireplace in a darkened room deep within the house. Opening up the ashbox, she does not realize that the sealed fireplace is really a prison, not for the cast of "My Three Sons" but for a race of homicidal imps. They know who Sally is, and they've got plans for her. But first they'll have some fun. Soon learning that she's released something, something that can't stand light (whether because the creatures are too evil, or simply because they've been stuck in that darkened fireplace for too long), Sally refuses to stay in the dark. Her upwardly mobile husband has no plans to leave the house (and walk away from equity?), and isn't about to listen to any stories of killer dwarves. The imps put in appearances in the obligatory embarassing moments - like a doomed dinner party - but soon decide to dispatch their prey. Sally has the light on her side, but this is a film with a dark bent, and Sally is pretty much outclassed.
This is one of those paradoxic movies of our 1970's youth - made for TV but more memorable than most feature films. Whether it's "Trilogy of Terror", "Gargoyles", "Salem's Lot" or this flick, we've watched them wondering the same thing: how did this flick make it to TV. And more importantly, how does a TV flick which looks like a TV flick (down to the house, which was probably used countless times on Aaron Spelling shows and in other TV movies) manage to sustain such suspense? Who cares - this is simply one more underappreciated classic that hasn't been seen on screen for years (basic cable is too busy repetedly running "I know what you did" movies). The direction is perfect, showing us exactly what we need to see about the creatures, no more and no less. The script is perfect also, actually benefiting from holes in the plot (like, why doesn't Demarest just tell Sally what happened - even if she can't believe in the imps, she can't ignore the fact of her father's strange death and the other weird stuff). The connection between the creatures, their obsession for Sally and the house itself are perfectly kept obscure, leading up to a pulse pounding climax that Hollywood can't touch. Supposedly, this flick is being remade for a 2004 release. I'm expecting the full Hollywood treatment -CGI effects covering up an uninspired script - so stick with this version.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
I saw this creepy movie on TV back in the 70s and it scared the hell out of me! This is a great example of how good TV horror movies used to be. It is a generally dark looking movie with very few daytime scenes. It does have lots of slow parts with people standing around doing the drama thing (which I don't really mind in 70s / 80s movies for some reason) but the creeping menace is always right around the corner. The score is deeply disturbing and is ever present which really helps maintain the eerie mood. This scary flick culminates in a nail-biting ending that is truly nightmarish! In fact I'd say that the creepier scenes in this movie do indeed have that seriously scary 'nightmare' quality that eludes lesser horror films. Check it out if you haven't already! And if you have seen it in the past check it out again! It's still creepy after all these years!
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