Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark Finally Comes to DVD

One night in the 1980s, after my family got cable TV, I was laying on the large brown couch in the living room. It was summer. I remember, because the air conditioning was on. I was skipping between channels on the bulky wired controller the cable companies used back then, when I hit the start of a horror movie called, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. I had never heard of the movie before, but it seemed to me to be the perfect way to pass a lazy summer evening. I did not know what to expect, if I had known it was a made for TV movie, I would have lowered my expectations, but of course that would have been a huge mistake.

I don’t want to give to much away, but the film begins with a house restoration that reveals a lurking evil. Now when the “evil” first appeared, I think I may have giggled, but do not let that deter you from the rest of the movie. It does have some B horror qualities, but it is in fact one of the creepiest made for TV movies ever made. How do I know that? Well when the movie was over, it was already pretty late and those evil creatures I had giggled about an hour or so ago? They started appearing in every shadow in the house. And for the rest of the summer, they would plague my dreams.

The movie is an effective horror film because it IS creepy, well written and well acted. Revealing just enough about these creatures that plague this house without giving too much away, which allows us to fill in the blanks in the worst kind of way.

Alright so I established I am a fan. A fan who would own a VHS copy of the movie that was given to him by a friend. That copy was well worn, well lent out and just about impossible to watch nowadays. So like many fans I was waiting for the official DVD release. I waited and waited and waited. Well no longer! The Warner Archive, champion of so many great films, has found the wisdom to release the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark on DVD this week.

It’s back! The classic TV MOW that continues to cast a spell almost 40 years after it was first broadcast, in a new remastered and enhanced edition. Sally (Kim Darby) and Alex Farnham’s (Jim Hutton) marriage has a sinister wedge driven through it, when her occult “imaginings” threaten to derail his career after they inherit Sally’s grandmother’s house. Also starring William Demarest. Enhanced Content: Superfan commentary track from horror fans and pros Jeffrey Reddick, Steve Barton (“Uncle Creepy”) and Sean Ably.

I was lucky enough to get access to a screener copy and the movie looks great. I am so accustomed to my lo-fi copy or seeing it cut up with commercials, that watching it again was a completely new experience. Add to the a commentary track by some horror fans/experts that is informational and you got the makings of a solid DVD release.

I am pretty sure this film is only getting a release because of the upcoming remake. So even if I do not like the remake, I am grateful to see it hit theaters, because it probably spurred the release of this made for television horror classic.

Order your copy of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark on DVD from The Warner Archive or Amazon. The street date for the film is August 23, 2011 (tomorrow).

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark Finally Comes to DVD

  1. i too watched this one in the 80’s on summer vacation…and I agree, it was one of the creepiest (and best) movie watching experiences ever! I have to pick this up!!

  2. this drives me nuts. where the heck was i that i have NO memory of this film? the only scary movie i remember watching on cable tv in the early ’80s over and over again was poltergeist on hbo. i am so anxious to get this on dvd. hope netflix hooks it up!

  3. @SmashHansen I’m not sure you should write the remake off yet, friend. I mean…Guillermo del Toro seems to have a handle on this type of horror film. Little things just waiting to get their hands on you in the dark. ;)

    I caught the ending of this film back in my youth in the very early hours of the morning on TBS. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD.

  4. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Great classic TV thriller, having burrowed itself deeply in the minds of lots of friends and family.

    Caught this on late night TV, in the 70s, after a build-up of daily promos a week before and older cousins whose praise of it (having seen it probably the year before) entailed recounting every single fact they could remember about it, including, of course, the ending.
    At least I wasn’t told who worked on it and could be surprised by the credits.

    But seriously, that kind of thing happened a bit too often as a kid (even today a buddy of mine will stream out scenes of an unseen flick till you tell him to stop. And I still don’t think he gets why I have to stop the spoilage).

    However the new movie turns out (And, yeah Vic, I think del Toro’s presence as producer is a good sign of quality control) I’m glad it gave life to this DVD and I’m looking forward to the extras.

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