Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review Of LADY IN WHITE By Bethany Ruthven

Good evening, darlings, and thank you for reading. Today's subject for our 31 Days Of Halloween is most definitely a Halloween film: Lady In White, a curious and lovely independent work that was written, directed and scored by Frank LaLoggia.

In 1962, an imaginative young boy named Frankie Scarlatti (Lukas Haas) is locked in the cloakroom of his school by some bullies on Halloween night. As he waits to be let out, he
bears witness to a ghostly murder, and is almost murdered himself by an unseen assailant. When Frankie wakes up, he discovers that the janitor of the school is being arrested for attempted murder, and has been accused of a previously unsolved ten-year series of child murders in the town of Willowpoint Falls, where Frankie lives. As time passes, Frankie is repeatedly visited by the ghost of the young girl he saw that night, and begins to see a link between the girl, the identity of the real killer, and the Lady In White (Katharine Helmond), who seems to be a reappearing ghostly figure and a reclusive local legend of his hometown. Something strange and decidedly evil is going on, and it seems that it is now focusing on Frankie himself.

This is not a "scary" ghost movie in the sense of such modern items as the new version of Thirteen Ghosts, Boo, or any sort of haunted-house movie where the main ghost appears as a manic, flickering CGI image meant to resemble old film stock. This is an old-fashioned ghost story, and many people who have watched this film expecting the rather stylistic terrors mentioned above have been disappointed. What they do not understand is that it is a ghost story told through the eyes of a child, which makes Lady In White very different from your average ghost movie. Haas, who was quite young at the time, reveals quiet acting talents and is believable as an
unprepossessing child with an imaginative streak who suddenly must deal with real supernatural events, lingering loss, murder and death. While the special effects in this movie are reminiscent of amateurish Steven Spielberg (especially the slightly overwrought ending), the movie eschews the usual sturm und drang of such things and instead plays to its strengths, which are story, characterization and mood.

Lady In White is a moving film that should be seen at least once, even if you are not a fan of horror, and even if you are among its detractors. Do not judge this film without seeing it first; it is a document of innocence lost, told with an unlikely sense of hope.
Now before I go, I have one last bit of business. The month of October contains, of course, the worldwide holiday for all monsterkind everywhere (and humans as well), but it is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The National Cancer Institute has reported that during this year, there were 182,460 documented cases of female breast cancer, and 1,990 documented cases of male breast cancer. The recorded deaths for females total 40,480; for males, 450. This loss of life, in my opinion, is far from acceptable.

As you can see from my portrait above, I am wearing a pink ribbon. The other MonsterGrrls and I are actively supporting national breast cancer awareness in the hopes that a cure will be found. If you would like to find out how you may also support this cause, please go to You shall find more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month at We wish all our readers good health in this Halloween season and many more to come, and we wish the very best for those who are surviving breast cancer for the Halloween of 2008.

I extend special thanks to Mrs. Claudia White (also known as Auntie C. to our happy band of MonsterGrrls) for her assistance in writing this review. Do return tomorrow for more of our 31 Days Of Halloween.

Bethany Ruthven