Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) (DVD)
Directed by John Newland
Distributed by WarnerArchive.com
Nearly forty years after its release as a TV movie in 1973, everyone is now excited again about Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. True, the focal point of the enthusiasm is mainly centered on the Guillermo del Toro produced remake, but it's important as a horror fan to know your roots. Thankfully the Warner Archive is here to remind us all of the goodies of days gone by.
Sally (Darby) and her husband, Alex (Hutton), are a happily married and lucky couple. Lucky because Sally's grandmother left her a huge mansion for them to live in. What could be better than getting a new home free and clear? A lot of things actually considering their newest property acquisition has a fireplace that leads straight to hell complete with demonic imps. Talk about an amenity! Of course the demons are freed, and once they're loose, Sally's world becomes a very dangerous place.
For a TV movie, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is packed to the gills with scares that still hold up after all these years. In fact del Toro himself has gone on record as saying that the film is one of the scariest he's ever seen. I'm inclined to agree.
Being that this is a Warner Archive release, you need to be aware that all titles distributed under that banner are made to order and not mass produced. As a result, once you order, you don't get an "official" DVD, just a DVD-R in a nifty box so if you have a player that has problems playing that type of disc, you may want to steer clear. That being said, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark breaks new ground for the Warner Archive label as it is the only product put out by them that features supplemental material.
In this case there's only one extra (better than nothing at all) to be found, and it comes in the form of a commentary track by our own Uncle Creepy, Final Destination screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick, and Fangoria's Sean Ably. If you're a fan of the film, this is a real treat as all three participants are not only knowledgeable but are seemingly having a great time just watching the movie. Rarely will you encounter a moment of silence, and there's a lot to be learned here. For those wondering, Creepy manages to go the whole track without saying "fuck" once. That's another first!
In short, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is presented here in top-notch form. The print has been lovingly remastered, and the commentary is totally recommended. There's never been a better time to snag yourself a piece of horror TV history. Don't hesitate for a second. Order one today.
4 out of 5
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