Frank LaLoggia. Release Date: April 22, 1988. DVD Release Date: March 14, 1998.
This has the dubious distinction of being the first thriller/horror movie that I was allowed to see, although I'm still not really sure whether it's really intended to be horror or some sort of supernatural thriller. The relatively low rating has me assuming the filmmakers were just going for mass market appeal and minimizing their potential for offense. I've talked about movies that try and waffle back and forth between thriller and horror before in an attempt to dodge the dreaded R rating and the resultant drop in potential box office sales, but I rarely have anything positive to say about the approach. It usually ends up with the kind of confusion and questions that I have about this movie.
I remember this movie creeping me out at the tender age of 11. When I happened across this in a Netflix Cinematch list, that was pretty much all I remembered about the movie. It's a good sign that a movie I haven't seen in 20 years still manages an emotional impact. Watching it today, I had many of the same reactions, although a few of the scenes that once would have given me the creeps then were now a bit cheesy. In 1988, the appearance of the ghost characters looked real, but today they were hokey and a little rough around the edges. I would; however, LOVE for someone to do a remake on this. Maybe up the gore quotient a touch, get a solid R rating, and do some decent special effects.
Back then, the only association I had with the cast was Katherine Helmond, who I knew as Mona from Who's The Boss?. It was a little weak, as was Ms. Helmond's odd and disjointed performance, but it was what kept me connected. Now, I'm familiar with most of the major players. I've seen Lukas Haas in Witness, Brick, and a few other films, the dad in this movie is the man who played the dad on The Wonder Years, and I recognize the killer, but I can't think of where from.
I really enjoyed this, right up until the end. There's only so much cheese I can take in a movie, and I guess this exceeds my recommended daily dosage in the last twenty minutes or so. If you have a tween or young teen (especially one that's a bit of a wussy) this isn't a bad starter movie to see how they're going to deal with scary movies. Oh man, now that I've written that I'm wondering if my mother, who is a total wuss about these movies, thought I was, too.