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The DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK footage scares the shit out of Quint and 6,000 other geeks at Comic-Con!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here playing a little Comic-Con catch up. I wanted to make sure my favorite stuff I saw was reported on before Comic-Con fades too far into memory. In preparation for Comic-Con I pulled out my copy of the Warner’s Archives release of the original television movie DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. I bought it because I’m kind of obsessed with horror and after growing up with Spielberg’s amazing DUEL I try to give ‘70s TV the benefit of the doubt. Let’s just say I didn’t care for it. I can see the elements that put the fear of God into the children who snuck in a TV viewing of it… the whispering demons, the bleak as shit ending… but Kim Darby is a horrible, horrible actress. Even in True Grit, but even more so in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I almost wish I could have seen the ’73 TV film early in my life to enjoy it on the level of those who love it. However, this is the perfect storm for a remake… a film that has really smart elements, but due to budget restraints and a lack of creative vision really falls short. In other words, a better concept than movie. I love that Guillermo del Toro champions young directors and helps mould them into great filmmakers with a sharp eye. I’m a big, big fan of THE ORPHANAGE and can’t wait to see future films from J.A. Bayona. This time out it’s Troy Nixey, illustrator and comic book artist known for his work in books like Mike Mignola’s BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM and from the footage they showed I have to say “Holy Shit! This guy is one to watch!” For one, the trailer they cut was brilliant, a great horror teaser that opens with the little demon voices over blackness and then leaves you hanging with nothing but a dark screen for dozens of seconds… I felt my stomach tighten up, waiting for the jump and even for me, a jaded horror fan familiar with the pacing of scares, I was caught off guard, hit right at that sweet spot when the tension is at its peak and when you’re not expecting the scare. And it wasn’t just me. All 6,000 people in the audience jumped out of their skins. And that wasn’t the only time. There’s a shot of a little girl (Bailee Madison) crawling under her sheets in her bed, looking for the source of whispers that is drawn out to excruciating suspenseful lengths and when the ghastly face of the little demon pops up the lady behind me literally shrieked. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a woman who unblocks a chimney in an old house and unknowingly releases little bastard tormenting demons. Unlike the original film, this one has a sense of production value. Del Toro’s fascination with fairy tales is evident in the lighting, which has ink-black shadows and bright shafts of dusty light through stained glass window. Oliver Stapleton’s work as cinematographer looks to be incredible from the footage shown. Outside of the sharp trailer they showed the opening of the movie, which was totally Gothic as a maid carrying a candle hears a commotion down in the basement and slowly descends the dark stairs. She not only hears movement, but those goddamn whispers. But it’s not the demons she has to be scared of, it’s her master. Lord Blackwood is a sweet old guy… except his son has been taken by the demons who demand he delivers them certain… things… in order to get his kid back. So this poor lady trips on a wire, falls hard and Blackwood comes out, blood on his face and straddles her, slurring an apology as he squeezes her mouth open and places a metal chisel against her teeth… the most fucked up part about this, by the way, was that the chisel scraped back and forth on her teeth a few times. As she screams he raises a hammer and holds it in a shaking fist until he brings it crashing down to some god awful sound effects. God awful in a good way, of course… but breaking teeth sounds ain’t exactly pleasant. Our crazy old dude goes scurrying around on his hands and knees collecting broken teeth and putting them on a small platter, which he takes to the open fire place. He’s slurring his words, mumbling about getting them the teeth they want. “They’re not children's teeth,” he says… but they’re good. Then he smiles a bloody and gum-filled smile and we see he also removed all his own teeth. The creatures whispers rise in pitch and intensity as we look up from down the in the dark bowels of this deep fire place. Apparently the young maiden’s teeth and the old, worried father’s teeth aren’t good enough. He asks for his son back and he hears the kid call out for him, so, naturally, he leans into the fireplace, looking down into the darkness. There’s movement and light, but his hope turns to dread as he’s yanked in, legs kicking up a storm outside the fireplace before they disappear from view as he joins his, assuredly, doomed little boy. Pretty crazy stuff. Totally gothic, creepy and unsettling. The audience went nuts for the footage, which is easily near the top of my favorites of the Con shortlist. One of the most memorable portions of the Q&A, featuring Guillermo, Troy and producer/webmaster done good Nick Nunziata was when Guillermo was talking about the movie’s R-rating. To quote… “Horror has to have balls… sweaty and wrinkled!”

Hopefully we’ll see the trailer pop up soon for this… but I gotta say… they should save it for theatrical and not release it online for a while. It’s one thing to watch it on your computer monitor, it’s another to sit in a dark theater with an awesome surround sound system, surrounded by a bunch of strangers, and experience the teaser. With that all said, I’m going to call it a night and get to my extremely busy day tomorrow! I’m headed to the Ray Harryhausen exhibit at The Academy tomorrow and I’m psyched to see his works of genius up close and personal. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • July 27, 2010, 3:45 a.m. CST


    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

  • July 27, 2010, 3:46 a.m. CST

    Is this the one with Katie Holmes ?

    by barnaby jones


  • July 27, 2010, 3:47 a.m. CST

    You know...

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    Posting first... really doesn't feel any different than posting THIRTEENTH, or any other number for that matter. Hhhmmm...

  • July 27, 2010, 3:48 a.m. CST

    HAHA Barnaby!

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    I beat you to it. YOU... are 2nd, so DEAL WITH IT! <P> ;-)

  • July 27, 2010, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Like anyone else is even gonna post on this particular talkback.

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD


  • July 27, 2010, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Movie should be great. Del Toro

    by ranma627

    is a talented man and has a good eye. I can't wait for it.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:11 a.m. CST

    I've been working on this film for a while

    by Fineus Fog

    I hope the opening they showed you was fully colour graded opening sequence - cos the grade is damn good Quint?

  • July 27, 2010, 4:18 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    It looked fantastic. Totally top notch and creepy as hell!

  • July 27, 2010, 4:18 a.m. CST

    Too bad it isn't an Are You Afraid of the Dark movie

    by TheMcflyFarm

  • July 27, 2010, 4:31 a.m. CST

    I've also been working on this film for a while

    by ISleptWithKathyBatesAndAllThatIGotWasThisStupidTalkbackName

    It was a real blast!<p>Anyone else been working on this film for a while?

  • July 27, 2010, 5:01 a.m. CST

    I've been working on this film since I was 12.

    by The Dark Shite

    I'm exhausted!

  • July 27, 2010, 5:03 a.m. CST

    I worked on it for about 28 minutes ....

    by livrule

    Got bored as FUCK told Del-boy to shove it up his ass and left.

  • July 27, 2010, 5:06 a.m. CST

    I too have been working on this film...

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    If by "working on it", you mean NOT working on it... and in fact, have never heard of this project until 20 minutes ago, and not giving 2 shits about it. <P> Then... yes, yes i have!

  • July 27, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I've been working on this film too.......

    by Righteous Brother

    we had to shut down production for a day after livrule humiliated del Toro in front of the crew like that, cost the production quarter of a mil. Never heard of this Fineus Fog character ought to be careful being taken in like that Quint.

  • July 27, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    John Wayne was a "horrible, horrible" actor.

    by TheManWhoCan

    (Even in True Grit)

  • July 27, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Is this film going to be as ridiculously dissapointing as...

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    Trick r Treat? Good GOD what a cinematic failure that was! lol

  • July 27, 2010, 5:13 a.m. CST


    by livrule

    Sorry to hear I cost you guys time and money but that FUCKER Del-Toro just kept PUSHING and PUSHING ...

  • July 27, 2010, 5:26 a.m. CST


    by Clean_Vageena

    to point out the obvious socialist subtext of this review

  • July 27, 2010, 5:36 a.m. CST

    You guys crack me up

    by Fineus Fog

    jealousy will get you nowhere. Good news Quint - glad they showed close to final pics

  • July 27, 2010, 6:03 a.m. CST

    So many Talkbackers ACTUALLY work in the film industry!

    by JaimeFoxx

    Wow! Also I loved this film when it initially aired. I, too, look forward to a proper remake, though. As long as it stays as bleak as the original! No happy endings in my horror films, please! Thank you.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST


    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    Agreed about bleak horror movie endings :) The Mist FTW! haha... man, that was one of the most badass, fitting endings to a film that i have ever seen. It saved that film from being a complete waste of time lol

  • July 27, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST

    The problem with the talkbacks and working in the industry

    by Fineus Fog

    is last year I worked on District 9 and it was damn hard to bite my tongue when the geek masses were on here, before the film's release trying to figure out what it was about. You just have to sit back and watch the madness.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:09 a.m. CST

    I agree The Mist ending did save the film.

    by JaimeFoxx

    I need to get this on dvd. I had nearly forgotten it due to it being so long ago and its obscurity. <br> <br> I also love how AICN writers were always "big fans" of the subjects of their articles. You guys should cover the porn industry as well. That would be a great read... <br> <br> "I remember being a horny lad of 8 years old and first beheld what I would grow to know as the joys of double anal..."

  • July 27, 2010, 6:18 a.m. CST

    I agree Fineus...

    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    I too worked on District 9, as well as MANY other films in hollywood... it is so hard to "bite your tongue" and not let anything slip to these clueless cunts on here. It's just so hard to be humble, you know? Man, we are sure better than everyone else aren't we? Hooray us!!

  • July 27, 2010, 6:18 a.m. CST


    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    "the joys of double anal..." <P> lmao nice...

  • July 27, 2010, 6:35 a.m. CST

    That Girl...

    by Fineus Fog

    District 9 was very much NOT a Hollywood film - but I'm glad you work there. I'll stick with Wellywood

  • July 27, 2010, 6:36 a.m. CST

    That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commerc ials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    by Righteous Brother

    .....I hear ya brother, but its by remaining humble as we do, and not bragging about working in the industry that allow us to turn out quality movies like Transformers 2 and Jonah Hex year after year.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:41 a.m. CST


    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    Damn, your sarcasm detector must be broke. lol But in all seriousness... District 9 was VERY hollywood. Truly overrated film. I expected much more... It was extremely derivative, crap dialogue, lazy writing, etc... all the "usual suspects" of a hollywood film. <P> I will however, give it props for the visuals. Some nice cinematography, some pretty outstanding CGI based on the fact that it cost only 30 million to produce. Pretty impressive...

  • July 27, 2010, 6:41 a.m. CST


    by That_Girl_From_The_Lowes_Commercials_GARGANTUAN_FOREHEAD

    Fucking SPOT-ON bro! <P> ;-)

  • July 27, 2010, 6:46 a.m. CST

    me sarcasm detector is a bit bung

    by Fineus Fog

    sorry mates - it's late here in kiwi-land. Now I have to go fuck a sheep or a hobbit

  • July 27, 2010, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Boo scares

    by DannyOcean01

    Maybe I'm reading the description wrong, but that just sounds like a load of boo scares to me, and that's fairly generic horror. The reason Japanese horror became so popular, before it got milked dry from within and without, was how good it was at maintaining tension and dread. One of the creepiest scenes in Ringu is the boat trip to Oshima Island (believe that's the name)and that's because of the careful, slow-burn build before it. A load of teeth smashing is gore, which, again, is cheap, generic horror. Anyway, I'm pretty numb to horror now. It's as prone to hype as any genre, but fails the most to deliver.

  • July 27, 2010, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Just great . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . AICN has once again gotten my hopes up. And you know how THAT usually goes . . .

  • July 27, 2010, 8:03 a.m. CST

    whoever said Trick R Treat sucked

    by shiekybaby

    is crazy! I loved that movie and a Halloween viewing tradition for me now. In fact, I worked on that movie, and I was dating the hot chick that turned into a vampire. Man that sex was awesome! But we broke up after I was done, you know, working on the movie.

  • July 27, 2010, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Lord Blackwood WTF??

    by m_prevette

    Is this a gothic period film? If so count me out. The modern day setting is what made the movie, the "it could happen next door" vibe. Screw period costume horror

  • July 27, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Trick R Treat DID suck

    by JaimeFoxx

    but mostly because of the hype. My expectations were too high going in and it didn't even stand up to the legacy of films like Creepshow. <br> <br> I'd have to get a windy from the hot vampire chick to call it anything than mediocre.

  • July 27, 2010, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Nick Nunziata said the trailer

    by DanielPlainviewOnVacationInBoston

    would be out near the end of August.

  • July 27, 2010, 8:36 a.m. CST

    August? Can't wait. Awesome.

    by JaimeFoxx

  • July 27, 2010, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Sounds promising

    by Colonel_Blimp

    But what an awful title. Are there any marketing reasons for not renaming it? Is the original a household name in the US or something? <P>If not, it should be renamed. Seeing as the whole cast and crew is present on the TB, I'm sure my complaint will be conveyed to the director promptly.

  • July 27, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Lmao Colonel

    by JaimeFoxx

  • July 27, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    I agree . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . Trick R Treat didn't come remotely close to living up to the AICN hype.

  • July 27, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    The Mists ending was bleak but also contrived and idiotic

    by Lovecraftfan

    From Jane shooting everyone the minute the gas runs out to the fast there was apparently army convoy behinf him he conveniently didnt hear til he did the deed it was very stupid. The books ending was equally dark but actually made sense.

  • July 27, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST

    I agree, Lofcraftfan...

    by Blue_Demon

    I loved the movie version of THE MIST until the ending. I would have preferred Thomas Jane walking out and disappearing into the mist to an uncertain future. As it was, having the military roll up and everyting being "reset" to normal removed the magic from the movie. Its appeal to me was the unknown. How far did the mist effect extend? New England only? World-wide?<p>I tell everybody to watch the dvd and shut it off 20 seconds from the end and it's perfect.<p>I can't wait for DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. I remember seeing the original as a little kid and it scared the crap out of me.

  • July 27, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST

    er...that's "Lovecraftfan"...sorry bro.

    by Blue_Demon

    Edit button? No? No...

  • July 27, 2010, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Not saying this is good, not saying its bad

    by Redmond

    I am saying that anything DelToro touches this site fawns over, so I'll wait for a more objective review, or the trailer itself.

  • July 27, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    I remember when Del Toro and I first met

    by Detective_Fingerling

    and we sat in his hotel room drinking absinthe and quoting Friday the 13th - the series and outa nowhere he goes "Man, one day, I'm gonna produce a remake of Don't be afraid of the dark." At the time I thought he was bat shit insane, but I guess thats Del Toro for you.

  • July 27, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST

    The original is great

    by kolchak

    Not hindered by budgetary constraints at all. The picture takes place entirely within one house. There's no need for a big budget. In fact, that makers me think they're going to add all sorts of unnecessary CGI and shit. <p> The people who think the original was hokey are the same people who think "The Innocents" is too slow. <p>

  • July 27, 2010, 12:22 p.m. CST

    The Mist ending would have been DARKER

    by misnomer

    if they'd ended it with them driving through The Mist for miles. Suicide is easy and yet again, the Earth survives. Whats a bit of guilt compared to the end of the world?

  • July 27, 2010, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Scariest movie of the 70's

    by fuldamobil

    I was one of the many unsuspecting children that watched this movie back in the day. They would rerun it all the time during the day when I was just wanting to watch some Woody Woodpecker. I'm positive this was an evil trick to traumatize as many kids as possible. Just read the IMDB comments. I've never rewatched the movie since first seeing it because it's seared into my mind. I once looked at some stills of the creatures online, but they made me feel sick and even just thinking about it gives me the sweats. I'm telling you, there's something evil and wrong with that film. I'm sure the director had his eyes burned out like the architect who built St. Basil's cathedral, so he couldn't pull any shit like Don't Be Afraid of the Dark again.

  • July 27, 2010, 2:16 p.m. CST

    This was one of my favorite panels at the con

    by YoyodynePropulsionSystems

    GDT was great panel candy. Funny, honest, and taking fan artwork from the crowd. The poster was cool, but I didn't get one. The second clip they showed with the teeth was insane. Really looking forward to this, and hoping GDT's next big announcement is Creature from the Black Lagoon.

  • July 27, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST

    70's tv horror is bloody good horror

    by Carl's hat

    Yeah, I saw 'em all as a kid growing up in the 70's Dan Curtis, Richard Matheson, Darren McGavin, Karen Black, John Llewellyn Moxey, William F. Nolan...these guys are my heroes and so under-rated. The original "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" is still as creepy as shit and how hot was Barbara Anderson? This is the slow burning moody horror shit that nobody gets today.

  • July 28, 2010, 8:48 a.m. CST

    I have faith in GDT

    by mojoman69

    He does know what scares you. I stil lpisses me off that he had to leave THe Hobbit because MGM is so fucked up and cant get their collective shit together. They should just go bankrupt and let a real studio pick up the Hobbit and the Bond franchise. Clive Owen as Bond! Hugo Weaving as Blofeld!

  • July 28, 2010, 9:03 a.m. CST

    I too thought it was Are you afraid of the dark

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • July 28, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Anyone see "House of the Devil"?

    by SK229

    I put that on netflix instant wahtever the fuck it is expecting a piece of shit and couldn't believe how committed that director, Ti West, was to getting the right tone of 70's and 80's horror. The suspense was unbearable at times and every actor, with the exception of the bearded asshole 'son' of the family, was perfect and brilliant for what the film was trying to accomplish. The funny thing about that bearded dude is that I then read reviews and things online singling him out as great, when he was the one thing that took me out of the movie... he was the only one I saw that I went, 'That guy is in a different movie, a modern day indie film, everyone else is straight out of the 70's or 80's'. Then I read he's in a lot of indie horror shit and everyone loves him... exactly the fucking problem with indie movies, no discernment of good acting whatsoever. The rest of the cast smoked that guy. Anyway... as an experiment in trying to make a modern day horror movie feel like it was made in another time, it's the only one I've ever seen that got it 99% right... the exception being bearded guy (ok, his name is AJ Bowen).

  • July 28, 2010, 4:26 p.m. CST

    I don't think I've seen House of the Devil.

    by cyberskunk

    As a child, I was really scared by the possessed warrior doll story in Trilogy of Terror. It was about hair-raising to me. Although, I was also scared by some television story involving a moaning sink hole and a dog that disappeared and then a child accidentally stumbled into the sinkhole and scrabbled at grass to get out, at night, with the sinkhole going MOOOOAAAAN. I saw it again as an adult and it wasn't so scary anymore. It had an unsatisfying climax of a guy being lowered on a rope into the sinkhole, screaming, and coming back up again intact but insane.