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Ten Year Celebration Part Three

It is time again for another guest post! When I was thinking of who I wanted to ask for guest posts from, Christine Hadden was an easy choice, Her blog, Fascination With Fear, is one I always enjoy reading. She doesn't always write a lot, which is something I get at least. Both our blogs have been around a long time now, though mine just edges her's out. We also talk on Facebook here and there, so I have gotten to know her some outside of the blogs. Not only does she run a great blog, but she is also a very nice person. For some reason I didn't really expect her to agree to do a guest post, but I was super excited when she happily accepted. Be sure to check out Christine's blog, if you haven't already, after you finish reading her post here of course! I will hand things off to Christine now.

When asked to contribute to Heather's ten year anniversary of her blog, I of course said yes!  After all, we've both been in this horror blogging community for a pretty long time together.  My blog will hit 8 years in March, so I'm familiar with being surprised about still being a blogger after this many years.  Both of us have thought of giving it up, but neither did.  So when she asked me to write about a film I love, I immediately thought of JAWS.  But after considering it for a while, I decided to write about something else.  While JAWS is hands down my favorite film, I feel like I've written about it so many times it was redundant.  So you're getting something else!  If I were to have an actual list of favorite films, this would be my number three (after JAWS and PSYCHO).

THE WOMAN IN BLACK (1989) used to be a fairly obscure film until the 2012 Hammer re-make came along. Based on an excellent novella of the same name by Susan Hill, it is a chilling ghost story of revenge.  Though written in 1983,  the story itself feels like 19th century classic British literature, with enough atmosphere to make your hair stand on end and read with the lights on. When adapted to film, it translated just as fabulously and is hands down my favorite ghost story put to celluloid.

I can't even remember the first time I saw THE WOMAN IN BLACK. I do know I read the book first, which is always the best way to experience a favorite story.  Though we formulate how characters look and act in our heads when reading a book, it is always great to see how that story is interpreted in a film.  The book gave me genuine chills, which I can't say about too many books, truth be told.  The film did exactly that and more.

Telling the tale of Arthur Kidd (name changed slightly from the novel), a British solicitor tasked with closing the estate of one Alice Drablow, a widow whose home - Eel Marsh House -  is across a remote causeway and unreachable at high tide.  A recluse with very little contact with the adjacent town of Crythin Gifford,  Alice's funeral doesn't draw many mourners, which is the first thing Arthur Kidd notices upon arrival.  He does take note of one griever in the back of the church - a woman dressed all in black.  Again he sees her in the cemetery after the service but upon mentioning it to the only other attendee, a local solicitor, he is quickly advised to forget about her.

The whole of the story then becomes Arthur Kidd's experiences with this mysterious woman in black.  Needless to say, her ghostly presence all but drives Arthur mad and terrifies him quite rightly.  The atmosphere here is a driving force in this film, present at all times along with a profound sense of dread.  It's backed up by creepy visuals, subtle glimpses of fear, and outright blatant moments of terror.  Let's say you're walking, late at night on a deserted sidewalk down an empty, dim-lit street - devoid of any true movement except maybe the wind blowing slightly through the trees... And you can almost hear dread sneaking up on you, causing your hair to stand up on the back of your neck?  THAT is the feeling you get throughout the entirety of THE WOMAN IN BLACK.

Over the years I have championed this film to many, many people and have never had a new viewer be disappointed or come back and tell me there isn't enough gore (that said, there is essentially NO blood in this film - it absolutely doesn't need it at all) or they didn't like the story, etc..  The acting is stellar as well, with Adrian Rawlins starring as Arthur Kidd (quick side note:  Rawlins played Daniel Radcliffe's father in Harry Potter, and then Daniel Radcliffe starred in the Arthur Kidd role [as Arthur Kipps] in the 2012 remake of TWIB...crazy, eh?) and Bernard Hepton as Sam Toovey, a wealthy local businessman who helps Kidd in his quest to find the truth as to why the woman in black is so vengeful.

I really can't recommend THE WOMAN IN BLACK strongly enough. While Hammer produced a fairly decent remake in 2012 (forget the sequel, it's awful), it still cannot hold a candle to the spine-tingling and unnerving feeling you get watching the original.  It's difficult to find it on DVD, or anywhere else for that matter.  It is able to be viewed on YouTube, which isn't the best format to see it, but it's at least out there. Years and years ago I had the film on VHS, then was able to secure a bootleg DVD I'm just waiting (and hoping, more than likely in vain) for a Blu-Ray to come along.  Because folks, I never want to be without this film in my collection.

Thanks to Heather for allowing me to chat a bit about one of my favorite films, and best wishes to her on her blog-a-versary - here's to ten more years!!

This post first appeared on Mermaid Heather, please read the originial post: here

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Ten Year Celebration Part Three


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