Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - LADY IN WHITE on Blu-ray ""

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Scream Factory - LADY IN WHITE on Blu-ray

LADY IN WHITE (1988; Frank LaLoggia)
Yet another in a long line of films that I had heard about for years and even heard praised many times, but that I never gotten around to seeing. The blessing and the curse of this kinda thing is I've missed some pretty good movies, but at least I'm seeing them in good-looking new Blu-ray transfers these days. So I had only ever seen the trailer for this film and all I could remember from it was Lukas Haas being very little and having some line about "the cloakroom". I didn't realize it was a period piece (it's set in 1962) and I also didn't realize how disturbing it would be in parts. There's some heavy stuff in there - from child murder and molestation to horrible racism from the kid that starred opposite Tom Hanks in BIG (Jared Rushton). It's got a whole lot of checks in the "this movie would never get made today" column. That's not a bad thing though as that allowed it to catch me off guard. It's an interesting mix of sentimentality, mystery, and horror - not like too many movies I've seen from this period. Not that those elements are totally original, but the way it all plays out - the pacing, the structure and the mixture of tones - make it stand out a bit as unique. There are even odd bits of goofy comedy and slapstick played back to back with surreal dreamy sequences. It certainly doesn't feel like a studio film. In hearing director Frank LaLoggia talk about making the film on this disc's commentary track - you get much more of a sense of why it is the way it is. It was apparently financed independently and LaLoggia says it is a very personal film for him and he had been determined to make it with as little creative interference as possible. That said, making a movie like this one at the time he made it sounds like it was no picnic. Making any film is no easy task, but making with it independently raised money (and only a part of it in place when shooting began) is one heck of a stressful proposition. The result is something special.
I've been a fan of Lukas Haas for a long time and have always found him to be an intriguing and different naturalistic presence as an actor. He seems like the slightly offbeat kid you knew in high school that had a fifty/fifty shot at being a famous artist or living in his parent's basement at forty when he got older. The way he reacts to things is often just slightly to the left or right of what you've come to expect from child actors his age. He doesn't seem like he's on autopilot or spouting some rehearsed speech, but rather he feels like he is present in the moment of the scene he is in and thus grounding things in a much more organic way. That's part of the reason LADY IN WHITE is so frightening and affecting. It's all about his performance. His face and the way he expresses things with his eyes - especially in the context of a scary movie - really has a powerful impact. So he hooks you emotionally and you can't help but feel even more strongly for him because he seems so small in this film. He's a little kid who is witness to and put through some dark adult stuff. There's a lot of sadness underlying it all. The reality of the scenario that is revealed in the movie is terrifying enough, but when you add in the supernatural elements of the story as well, it's all the more impactful as a horror movie. Apologies for being vague, but I'm assuming there are other folks out there who've not seen the movie and I'm trying not to spoil much. It's definitely one of those hidden gems or cult favorites that horror fans recommend to each other over the years. It's creepy and atmospheric and well worth picking up. 
Special Features:
Kudos to Scream Factory on this one as it has some nice extras (and three(!) cuts of the  movie):

-Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
-Audio Commentary With Frank LaLoggia
-Behind-The-Scenes Footage With Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
-Deleted Scenes With Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
-Extended Behind-The-Scenes Footage – Production And Post-Production
-Promotional Short Film
-Theatrical Trailer & Alternate Trailer
-TV & Radio Spots
-Behind-The-Scenes Photo Montage
-Extended Photo Gallery


You can purchase LADY IN WHITE on Blu-ray here:

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