What’s your favorite scary movie? Part 1 – ‘Wait Until Dark’

Seeing how Halloween is coming up, and seeing how I love scary movies (but am rarely scared by them), and seeing how this is my 50th post (in less than five months of blogging, no less), I’ve decided to start a new series of reviews (similar to Batmania that I did this past summer) that celebrates what I think are some of the best scary movies of all time.

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Wait Until Dark, based on the play by Frederick Knott (who also wrote Dial M for Murder), is a delectable game of cat-and-mouse.  In one corner, you have a blind woman who’s still getting used to living in a world of darkness.  And in the other, you have a man who’s full of darkness, eager to destroy the lives of those around him–even those who are his accomplices.

What’s it about? Audrey Hepburn (who was nominated for an Oscar) stars as Suzie, a blind woman who’s being conned by three scam artists looking for a doll hiding a stash of heroin.  Alan Arkin plays Roat, the enigmatic ring leader who’s two steps ahead of his accomplices (Richard Crenna and Jack Weston).

Suzie’s husband (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) became the unwitting caretaker of the doll when Lisa (Samantha Jones) gives the doll to him at JFK airport.  The doll goes missing, Lisa is murdered, and Roat moves in for the kill, devising an elaborate scheme to get Suzie to believe her husband is responsible for Lisa’s death and that finding the doll is the one thing that could clear Suzie’s husband’s name.

Suzie’s bratty neighbor Gloria (Julie Herrod) keeps sneaking into Suzie’s apartment (she’s big on playing tricks on the blind) and eventually helps Suzie figure out what’s really going on, leading up to a heart-pouding climax.

What’s good about it? The play, of which the movie is based on, is one of my favorites.  The movie tries to add a bit of scope–like the prologue in Montreal which is not in the play–and it takes a while for things to get rolling.  But hoo-boy, once things have been set in motion, the tension builds and builds.

Hepburn’s Suzie is one of those characters who you wish nothing bad would happen to, while Arkin’s one of those characters who’s evil just to be evil, oddly reminscent of Heather Ledger in the Dark Knight (although Arkin’s performance is far more subdued.)

What’s bad about it? It’s a good 35 minutes before things really start going.  Be patient.

Perfect for: Audrey Hebpurn fans, anyone looking for a good scare without coarse language or gratuitous violence.

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One Response to “What’s your favorite scary movie? Part 1 – ‘Wait Until Dark’”

  1. deadmansbones Says:

    I think I saw this when I was a kid. I like Audrey Hepburn so I stuck with it and finished watching. I like the suspense of it. 🙂

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