Friday, September 21, 2012

So You Want a Scary Movie

It’s almost October and Halloween is just around the corner. If you are looking for a good scary movie I’m here to tell you about one of my favorites.
Wait Until Dark is an Audrey Hepburn film that you will probably never forget, because of a famous scene near the end. I can still hear the audience scream. Horror fans of today may be disappointed- no blood, no skin and all that, but the psychological unraveling of the story brings with it a sense of horror that is truly memorable. 

The film, actually playing well into the damsel-in-distress archetype, was derived from Frederick Knott’s play of the same name. Knott had the guiding hand in Dial M For Murder and so he knew a thing or two about scaring people. 

Audrey plays Suzy Hendrix, a blind person, to a tee. It is said that she prepared for the role by spending much time with a student from the Lighthouse for the Blind academy in Manhattan, and it is apparent that Audrey learned the mannerisms of a blind person well. She even took lessons in Braille, walked with a stick while her eyes were covered, and learned to do other things, such as putting on makeup without a mirror, a minor miracle for a Hollywood star, well. With her skill as an actress of the highest caliber, all this turned Audrey into a fully credible blind woman on the screen. 

The story tells us that Suzy lost her sight in an accident, and now three crooks are using her to try to recover a doll a blond woman in an airport had given Suzy’s husband for safekeeping. The blonde, Lisa, was a mule for a drug ring smuggling heroin. She tried to cheat Roat, the head of the drug gang played by Alan Arkin, and was murdered as punishment for her betrayal. Roat wants the doll back, and persuades his criminal compadres Mike Talman and Carlino into helping him search for the doll. No smart criminal likes loose ends, and this particular loose end is worth a lot of money to him. 
The chemistry between Audrey and Alan Arkin is what makes this great film work. Arkin was great as a character actor, though he seldom played the heavy. However here, he is one of the best villains ever, and the macabre beauty-versus-the-beast battle of wits makes this one truly a taut and engaging thriller. Arkin’s famous move toward the end, though, is worth the price of the DVD. You’ll never forget it. 
Pros:Hepburn and Arkin scare the daylights out of you.
Cons:A bit cheesy in the story but the actors make up for that.
The Bottom Line:This is a film that is scary fun without all the gore and skin of contemporary horror movies.

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