I’m rather looking forward to the new Guillermo del Toro co-production, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, due out early next year. Rather bizarrely, it’s a remake of the TV movie of the same name from 1973, something of a favourite of mine. Del Toro has co-written the script too, and there’s a nice teaser trailer for the film, which stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, showing the expected, lush production values, spooky old house setting, and jumps and shocks aplenty to be all present and correct. Interestingly too, it’s being first-time-directed by comic book artist Troy Nixey, who also provides the stunning artwork for the film poster. In all, it looks like a delightful project, considering the source material is one of those films you tend to see accidentally, yet stays with you all your life.
The original, made by the ABC network, employed the age-old nightmare that you are not alone in your house – that there are others lurking in the shadows, creatures who only come out after dark. It makes for particularly creepy viewing for the supposedly brave youngster who dares to stay awake for the late-night horror film. My parents were never horror film fans, so I was often left to watch them alone, after which I’d have to find my way to bed in darkness. Having watched Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, I heard, and had my heart stopped by, every last creak in the house. I’m hoping one or two domestic channels will pick this version up again when the new film comes out. Of course, this could well be a rare case of the remake being superior to the original, but there’s something almost maverick about made-for-TV horror films in their ability to scare with cheap, surprising and highly effective twists on cinematic convention. Crucially, the TV version has no happy ending – which made my journey upstairs to bed all the scarier.
The trailer for the 2011 version itself is pretty formulaic in its “shock” tactics but I’m hoping that the marvellous poster is an indication it won’t be your average, juvenile fright-fest. All the same, it’ll have some way to go to beat its cheap ‘n’ cheerless predecessor.