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With: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton, Barbara Anderson, William Demarest, Pedro Armend�riz Jr., Lesley Woods, Robert Cleaves, Sterling Swanson, J.H. Lawrence, William Sylvester, Don Mallon, Celia Kaye
Written by: Nigel McKeand
Directed by: John Newland
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 74
Date: 10/10/1973
IMDB

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Little Creatures

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Don't Be Afraid of the Dark on DVD.

It's hard to imagine kids staying up late to watch this made-for-TV horror movie back in 1973; it's filled with every kind of horror cliché, including the stupid characters who jump to conclusions and all the cheesy special effects (oversize props to make the costumed actors look like small creatures). But that ending would have been enough to send little ones to bed with nightmares for weeks! Kim Darby stars as Sally, a young married woman who inherits an old mansion. Jim Hutton is her jerk of a husband who wanted to live in a high rise and treats his wife as a prop for his upcoming business deals. She becomes obsessed with a little room and a bricked-up fireplace. Despite warnings from the old handyman (William Demarest, a veteran of Preston Sturges movies!), she opens it up and unleashes a bunch of creepy little monsters. They whisper in the dark and threaten to kill her, but no one believes her stories. Director John Newland ("Star Trek") keeps everything pretty low-key; he never explains the origin of the creatures, nor wastes too much time on them. They're left mainly to our imagination. It's too bad that the human characters are so shallow. Overall though, it's an effective little film. I keep wanting to edit that title, however: how about Don't Fear the Dark? Warner Archive has released this on DVD with no extras, as well as another made-for-TV horror film from the following year, Bad Ronald.

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