13 Nights of Morbidly Halloween Movies - Night 1: LADY IN WHITE


Night 1 brings us LADY IN WHITE by Dr. Jose!

Heavy-handed. Schmaltzy. Disjointed. Tonally uneven. Cheaply imitative. Unnecessarily over-sentimental. Mawkish and saccharine. These are some of the more colorful adjectives I’d use to describe Lady in White.
When I saw Nick from MORBIDMUCH was taking guest submissions for his site on the topic of “your favorite Halloween films” for the late-October homestretch, I jumped at the chance to contribute a piece, naturally. (What can I say? Any opportunity I get to ramble on other people’s sites, I take.) For whatever reason, the first Halloween movie that popped into my head was 1988’s Lady in WhiteDon’t ask me why, but it honestly took me .2 seconds to decide on that film. Why was that my immediate go-to? I do not know. It ended up being a dreadful choice, but I’m no quitter: I told Nick I chose Lady in White, so I’m gonna talk about Lady in White.
Now, admittedly, I hadn’t watched Lady in White all the way through since I was a very small child. I mean, we’re talking multiple decades. But I recall some very vivid, memorable imagery from the film, not to mention that hauntingly simple and strangely beautiful poster/VHS box cover. In fact, I think I even remember being scared by the movie (!) — so any doubts I had over choosing Lady in White were a million miles out of my mind. The memories I did have were vaguely positive (if not wholly generic), so what could it hurt?
In 1981, Frank LaLoggia made his directorial debut with Fear No Evil. For the life of me, I cannot get into that film. I own it on DVD and have watched it several times, but I can never enjoy it. Some people I know swear by it, but I just can’t do it. To be fair, LaLoggia was only 27 at the time and it was an ambitious project, but then again Paul Thomas Anderson was 27 when he made Boogie Nights, and well, I guess the moral is: age means nothing when it comes to talent.
Somehow that movie was apparently successful enough to secure LaLoggia a studio-backed follow up with an even bigger budget — almost $5M — as well as a cast of familiar faces, such as Lukas Haas, Alex Rocco, Len Cariou, Tom Bower, and Jared Rushton. Alas, more money and better talent aren’t enough to save Lady in White.
Set in a small coastal town during the fall of 1962, Lady in White follows a young boy who ends up getting locked in his elementary school after hours and is attacked by a mysterious stranger. He survives the attack, but now he starts seeing the ghost of a little girl who was killed by the same shadowy figure, and it’s up to this little boy to figure out who it is and help allow this unsettled spirit to finally rest in peace.

My main issue with Lady in White is that it wants to be every genre ever: murder mystery, ghost story, family film, courtroom drama, racially-charged socio-political film, fantasy, dramedy, nostalgia film, holiday film. Literally every single one of those elements plays some sort of relevant role in the movie. There are ghosts, steel mill workers, flashbacks, hints at pedophilia, and a goddamn assassination! It’s completely insane. Imagine The Lovely Boneswith hints of A Time to Kill, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and you’d get Lady in White. That’s the level of crazy we’re talking.

It’s very clear, however, that there’s no one director this movie wants to emulate more than Steven Spielberg. This movie is straight from the Spielberg handbook: one part E.T., one part Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and one part Poltergeist. I mean, they even have a scene where a kid jumps his bike over this huge gap, ala E.T. The nods and references come in a flurry.

At the heart of the movie, there is a fun and enjoyable story — a whodunnit with elements of fantasy, like The Hardy Boys meets Scooby Doo. But there’s so much superfluous bullstuff that bogs the movie down, distracting and unnecessary elements that take away from it rather than add to it. For example, the boy has a goofy grandfather who keeps trying to covertly smoke cigarettes but the grandmother keeps catching him. In a more talented director’s hands (cough*Spielberg*cough) this bit might come off as whimsical or endearing, something that adds a realness to the characters. But here, again, it’s more distracting than anything else. It keeps happening. We get it! The grandpa wants to smoke but the grandma won’t let him! You don’t need to have 5 separate scenes peppered throughout the movie to make this point.

In the end, the movie — much like my articles — would have benefitted from a very judicious editor. One who could’ve trimmed all the fat and gotten down to the meat of the story. What I’d love to see is a recut of this movie; with the right edits, the final product could be closer to Spielberg than LaLoggia had originally hoped for. Steven Soderbergh, if you’re reading this: I have your next project right here.

Happy Halloween!

Submitted by Dr. Jose, Camera Viscera



13 Nights of Morbidly Halloween Movies,4,1989,1,8-Bit,1,A Nightmare on Elm Street,6,A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,1,ABC Family,1,Alex Vincent,1,Amy Smart,1,And Then There Was Shawn,1,Andy Barclay,1,Are You Afraid of the Dark?,14,Arnold Schwarzenegger,2,Artwork,1,Ash vs. Evil Dead,1,Ashley Greene,1,ATM,1,Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns,1,B4TM,2,Baby Announcement,1,Bates Motel,3,Batman,3,Batman and Robin,1,Batman Returns,3,Beetlejuice,2,Beetlejuice 2,1,Before the Mask,2,Behind the Mask,2,Bella Thorne,1,Betsy Palmer,1,Bigfoot,2,Bill Hader,1,Billy Crank,1,Bizarro League,1,Blair Witch,2,Blair Witch 2,1,Bloody Murder,4,Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp,1,Book of Shadows,1,Bootlegs,1,Boy Meets World,1,Brandon And Daisy,1,Branson Busted,1,Bride of Chucky,1,Brittany Murphy,1,Bruce Campbell,1,Bruce Willis,1,Bryan Cranston,1,Bryce Dallas Howard,1,Camp Anawanna,1,Camp Blood,1,Camp Crystal Lake,1,Camp Forest Green,1,Camp Placid Pines,1,Camp Slasher,2,Campfire Tales,1,CBS,20,Cereal,1,Cherry Falls,1,Child's Play,6,Child's Play 2,4,Child's Play 3,1,Chris Pratt,1,Christina Ricci,1,Christine Elise McCarthy,2,Christine Taylor,1,Christmas,7,Chuck Palahniuk,1,Chucky,6,Cici Cooper,1,Classic Christmas,1,Columbine,1,Comedy,1,Commentary,1,Convention,3,Corey Feldman,1,Costumes,1,Courtney Love,1,Cry_Wolf,2,Curse of Chucky,1,Cursed,1,Cut,1,Cut Throat,1,CUT!,2,CUTmovie,2,Daisys Firstborn,1,Daredevil,1,David Rountree,2,Deadpool,1,December,1,Dick Tracy,2,Dinosaur Dracula,6,Disney,1,Don Mancini,1,Dream Seekers,3,Ecto Cooler,1,Eduardo Sanchez,1,Elizabeth Banks,1,Emma Roberts,1,Emma vs Branson,1,Ernest,1,Ernest P. Worrell,2,Ernest Scared Stupid,3,Evansville,1,Evil Dead,1,Exists,1,F13 Ripoff,1,Facebook,1,Fallout,3,Fan Films,2,Fight Club,2,Fight Club 2,1,Filming Locations,1,Final Destination 2,1,Final Stab,1,Flea Market,4,Found Footage,2,FOX,2,Frankenstein,1,Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor,1,Freddie Highmore,1,Freddy Krueger,7,Friday the 13th,5,Friday the 13th Part 2,1,Fright-Rags,1,fsociety,1,Fun,11,Funny or Die,1,George Clooney,1,Ghostbusters,2,Ghostface,7,Ghosts,1,Ghostwriter,1,Giveaways,4,Good Guys,1,Goodwill,1,Goosebumps,4,Goosebumps Movie,1,Graphic Novel,1,Gremlins,1,H2,1,Haley Bennett,1,Halloween,21,Halloween 2014,1,Halloween 2015,22,Halloween 2016,6,Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,2,Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,1,Halloween 6,1,Halloween H20,2,Halloween II,4,Halloween III: Season of the Witch,2,Halloween: Resurrection,1,Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,6,Halloweenie,1,Harley Quinn,2,Harvest of Fear,1,Haunted,1,Haunting Emma,1,He Is Back,1,Headless Horseman,1,Hey Vern,1,Hook,1,Horror,38,HorrorHound,5,Horsehead Bookends,1,Hotel,1,House of 1000 Corpses,1,Houses Oct Built,1,I Am Santa Claus,1,I Know What You Did Last Summer,2,I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,1,Interviews,3,Is Brandon James Back,1,Is It Audrey,1,Is It Branson,1,Is It Jake,1,Is It Kieran,1,Is It Noah,1,Is It The Mayor,1,It's Ernest!,1,Jack-O,3,Jack-O & Friends,1,James Marsden,1,Jamie Blanks,1,Jamie Kennedy,1,Jamie Lee Curtis,2,Jared Padalecki,1,Jason Voorhees,7,Jason X,1,Jaws,1,Jeff Wadlow,1,Jennifer Aniston,1,Jennifer Love Hewitt,1,Jim Varney,1,John Carpenter,1,John Ottman,1,Julian Morris,1,Jurassic Park,1,Jurassic World,1,Justice League,1,Kaley Cuoco,1,Kane Hodder,1,Kate McKinnon,1,Kevin Williamson,23,Kevin Zegers,1,Key of Awesome,1,Kids Horror,1,KNB,2,Kristy,1,Kurt Cobain,1,Lady in White,1,Lanford,1,Leatherface,1,Legend,1,LEGO,1,Leprechaun,2,Life Events,1,Lil Shop of Horrors,1,Lindy Booth,1,Lionsgate Horror,1,Little Reaper,1,M. Night Shyamalan,1,Mail Call,5,Malvert,1,Mama James,1,Max Mouse,1,Memorial Day,1,Merchandise,4,Mezco,1,Michael Myers,9,Michael Stone,1,Midnight Society,14,MM Updates,2,Modern Monster Mash,1,Monster Mash,1,MORBIDMUCHGIVEAWAY,1,Morena Baccarin,1,Movies,35,Mr. Robot,1,MTV,13,MTV Scream,13,Music,2,Natasha Lyonne,1,Nathan Baesel,1,Nathan Thomas Milliner,1,NECA,1,News,2,Nick Carter,1,Nickelodeon,17,Nightmare Fuel Studios,1,Nina And Kieran,1,Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation,1,Nirvana,1,Norman Bates,1,October,1,Pamela Voorhees,1,Paranormal,1,Paul Feig,1,PC Games,1,Phantom Killer,1,Phantom of the Megaplex,1,Poor Noah,1,Porky Pig,1,Power Rangers,1,Prancer,1,Problem Child 2,1,Prom Night,1,Prom Night 2,1,Prom Night 3,1,Prom Night 4,1,Psycho,1,Psycho Xmas,5,Pumping Iron,1,Pumpkin Patch,1,Re-Animator,1,Retrospectives,2,Reunion,1,Reviews,15,Rhianna,1,Rings,2,Rings Movie,1,Rings on Her Fingers 2,1,RIP Betsy Palmer,1,RIP Wes Craven,2,RIP Will,1,Riverdale,1,Rob Zombie,1,Robert Englund,1,Ron Livingston,1,Rose McGowan,1,Roseanne,1,Run Riley Run,1,Ryan Merriman,1,Ryan Reynolds,1,RZH2,1,Salute Your Shorts,2,Sam Raimi,1,Samuel L. Jackson,1,Santa Claus,3,Sarah Connor,1,Sarah Michelle Gellar,2,Sasquatch,1,Save The Sheriff,1,Scary Movie,1,Scary Movie Ice Cream Night,1,Scary Things,1,Scream,26,Scream 2,6,Scream 3,1,Scream 4,3,Scream Queens,1,Sexy Armpit,3,Short Story,1,Showtime,1,Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth,1,Silent Night,5,Silent Night Deadly Night,1,Silent Night Deadly Night 4,1,Silent Night Deadly Night 5,1,Silent Night Deadly Night III,1,Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2,1,Silent Scream,1,Silver Shamrock,1,Simpsons,1,Slash Up,1,Slashers,6,Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland,1,Sleepy Hollow,1,Small Screen Scream,11,Snick,14,Soaked in Bleach,1,Social Experiment,1,Spoof,3,Stalker,20,Stalking Stalker,20,Star Wars,1,Stomping Ground,1,Student Bodies,1,Summer Camp,1,Summer Shirt,1,Superman,1,Sweet Madness,2,Tatum Riley,1,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,1,Terminator,1,Terminator 2: Judgment Day,1,Texarkana,1,Texas Chainsaw Massacre,1,Texas Cleaver Massacre,1,Thanksgiving,1,The Adventures of Danny & Mike,1,The Adventures of Pete & Pete,1,The Blair Witch Project,2,The Confession of Fred Krueger,1,The Dead Air Podcast,1,The Haunted Mask,1,The Hollow,1,The House of Masks,1,The Houses October Built,1,The Joker,2,The Killer Reveal,1,The Killers Lair,1,The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,1,The Lone Gunmen,1,The Lost Boys,1,The Mayors Confession,1,The Mayors Secret,1,The Mighty Ducks,1,The Movie Crypt,1,The Path of Evil,1,The Purple Stuff Podcast,1,The Return of Leslie Vernon,2,The Ring,1,The Ring Two,1,The Rise of Leslie Vernon,2,The Silence of the Hams,1,The Town That Dreaded Sundown,1,The Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014,3,The Walking Dead,1,The Wolf,1,The Wolf Man,1,The X-Files,1,TMNT,1,Tommy Jarvis,1,TOTS,1,Tourist Trap,1,Toys,1,Trevor Moorehouse,4,Trick or Treat Studios,1,Trolls,1,Truth About The Tape,1,Tuesday Knight,1,TV,53,Tyler Durden,2,Unbreakable,1,Universal,1,Urban Legend,3,Urban Legends: Final Cut,1,VCR,1,Venus De Milo,1,Vera Farmiga,1,VHS,2,Video Games,1,Vlog,11,Warwick Davis,1,Wes Craven,4,Where Is WIll,1,Who Is Emma's Caller,1,Who Is The Killer,1,Zeke the Plumber,1,
MorbidMuch: 13 Nights of Morbidly Halloween Movies - Night 1: LADY IN WHITE
13 Nights of Morbidly Halloween Movies - Night 1: LADY IN WHITE
Night 1 brings us LADY IN WHITE by Dr. Jose!
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