Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Spooktacular # 6: Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural

This one also kind of snuck up on me last Halloween, as I had just ordered it in a mass frenzy of horror movies for no real reason beyond that it came up in a bunch of Amazon’s “Explore Similar Items” lists for movies I liked. From such humble beginnings I unwittingly snagged one of the best unknown horror movies of the 70s.

Almost like a much, much better precursor to Underworld, this film concerns the fate of a girl named Lila as she’s fought over by a pack of vampires, led by the seductive Lemora, and a pack of werewolves, possibly led by Lila’s father. It’s about so much more than that, though, playing almost like a nightmare, as Lila begins to blossom into puberty, and suddenly is thrown into this nightmare world where even the normal humans have become hideous creatures and nothing looks safe. While not quite as effective as The Descent, this also does a great job at using darkness and shadows, to where even a normal house and shed look like something out of some hellish landscape where safety is a dubious prospect at best, even in the daytime.

This movie knows full well how monstrous children are.

I said this looks like a nightmare, but perhaps a dark fairy tale would be more appropriate. Lila almost looks like Alice, if she had gotten stuck in the wrong part of Wonderland, and the story’s simplistic style feels more like a dark fable than anything else. It’s handled extremely effectively, and should appeal to anyone that enjoys reading the non-sanitized versions of Grimm’s fairy tales. This one is a must-see.

Rating: ****

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