Throwback Thursday Review: “Lady in White” (1988)



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Posted May 12, 2016 by

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In the 80s, there were not only a slew of dark, borderline terrifying, kid/family movies. I have talked about them, at length, on this sight before. Legend, Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal… and many more scared the bejeezus out of me and my childhood pals. Also, during the decade of excess, there were horror franchises dominating the genre. Freddy, Jason, and Chucky were all over the big screen, with their catch phrases (well… not Jason) and their weapons of choice. It was easy for films to get lost in the shuffle, and quite a few of them were very, very good movies. One of those lost goodies is “Lady In White”.

lady in white 2“Lady In White” is a ghost story, and a damn dark and creepy one. At the beginning of the story, we meet Frankie (Lukas Haas) as he prepares for Halloween night. We meet his small town family, and his semi-bully schoolmates, and get a feel for the vivid imagination that Frankie possesses, when he tells a story he wrote in class.

Frankie is all set for his favorite holiday, when a couple of his “Friends” (one of which is played by Jared Rushton of ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ fame) decide it would be hilarious to lock Frankie in the school’s cloakroom and leave him there overnight. If that wasn’t bad enough, Frankie soon witnesses something deeply eerie. He sees the ghost of a young girl, who is singing a haunting tune. Then the ghost sees him. They talk for a minute, but then the ghost girl suddenly panics, is seemingly chocked to death (which is strange seeing as how she is already dead), and carried away by a dark figure. When the figure returns, Frankie becomes his new target and is almost killed himself.

Soon, we find out that there have been a string of child murders (and also molestations?), in and around the town, over the last decade. Frankie begins to investigate, and comes to find out that the ghost he saw is the killer’s first victim. Who is the killer? How is this all tied to the lady in white that haunts the town? Frankie must find the answers to these question, before he becomes a ghost himself.

lady in white 3This movie is, for lack of a better term, pretty fucked up. Not just because of the creepy factor (and there is plenty of that), but because of the underlying racism that runs through the town and it’s people, and the downright brutality of the violence that is happening on screen. There is even a scene (Spoiler alert) where a grieving mother blows off a black guys head, because she believes him to be the killer (she is wrong of course).

But… I have no problem with the insane darkness of this movie. In fact, I loved it! I had only seen it once before tonight (some time around 1990 I believe), and didn’t remember much other than that I knew it had scared me. Now, as an adult, I gotta say that this is one of my favorite horror/mystery flicks of the 80s. There is really no flaw to it, other than that about half way through you should definitely know who the killer is. It is super creepy, a little funny (mostly thanks to Frankie’s grandma and grandpa), and very, very entertaining.




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