Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 28 of the 30 Day Horror Challenge: The Lonesome Death of Julia Lofting (Our 2nd Haunting of Julia Blog... Whoa!)

Day 28 - Your favorite horror film that no one's ever heard of –

“She had no one to play with for thirty years...”

A classic film from my youth. No matter how many times I mention The Haunting of Julia to my friends and family they have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. It’s this little ghost story that you’re sure to hate. Most people really find it drab and somewhat quiet. I disagree whole heartedly. From the death of Julia’s daughter (via apple no less) the movie follows Julie Lofting into a state of honest depression and then… into a tale of ghostly disturbances, murder and a spirit that just won’t sleep. Is it all in Julia’s head? Has Julia’s daughter come back to kill her, make her life miserable… worse?

The music is haunting. It’s more haunting than the movie itself (sampled below of course). Just a little melody on a piano, taken over by a larger, creepier synthesizer. It’s the best of the late 70’s. The quiet in this movie will get you as much as the melancholy score. You wait for the ghost. You wait for the scares to start. If there’s one thing the Haunting of Julia gets right it’s the the concept of “silence” as the second lead in the movie. The notes you’re not hearing are just as important as the notes you do are as important as when you hear them. If you’re not careful with this score, you’ll end up feeling more depressed than frightened, and if you’re feeling depressed than your one step away from understanding Julia just a little bit better. Take this film with a heavy dose of Prozac (or Zoloft or whatever it is the kids are taking these days).

Mia Farrow plays a paranoid, lost soul Is Mia type cast for this ala Rosemary’s Baby? One minute life is normal. Small house, family, normal husband and then death, chaos, can’t trust her husband or her own senses. She pulls it off too perfectly and like I’ve said… her perfect performance will leave you in need of some serious couch time with a therapist. The only thing this movie is missing is Ruth Gordon telling Julia to take Tanus root to keep up her strength in the midst of her lost child. Hell, most likely Ruth would have Julia’s daughter hiding out believing her to be the child of Satan anyway.

This picture hasn’t been released on DVD yet. I still own a VHS copy and have owned several in the past, lost a few, found them again, had a taped off TV copy, and even still remember the commercial on channel eleven. This movie goes by Full Circle out of England (which may pose a whole other, separate problem when attempting to discuss it with horror gurus). Mostly I find that critics think it’s a sleeper and doesn’t compare to half a dozen other ghost stories released during a similar era. Consider the end, if you’re lucky enough to see and be overly critical… built for high school Goth kids right?... it’s a movie that really just needs to find its audience. People who like The Haunting of Julia also like Harold & Maude, listen to the Smiths and drink wine out of the bottle. Be forewarned. Paint your fingernails… you might as well be wearing a “Julie Lofting for Spokeswoman for Better Living Through Medication” T-shirt.

If you haven’t seen it, check it out if you can download it or own a VHS player. Hopefully we get a DVD release someday. By the by, the other movie up for this was Summer Camp Nightmare which was also up for the next category in the 30 Day Horror Challenge (that would be the Guilty Pleasure Category) was up for this category. That one’s available on YouTube, but since I was a kid Haunting of Julia actually gave me the willies. Let’s stick with what works and give Runk the Punk a rest. We will visit him in a future blog along with his “Beef Bologna”. I haven’t figured out why we wouldn’t just put these movies on the 50 best compilations I see on DVD store shelves all the time. Copyrights blow chunks.

I’ve written about this movie before and even compared Julia Lofting and Rosemary Woodhouse before. Both find pictures. This one isn’t nearly as shocking, but it’s the ghost story you’ve been looking for. Also important to note: when you take a bath, move all electrical objects away from the fucking tub. Also, I just re-listened to the music and got scared (and it’s only 10:30 at night). Also to note…


-Dr. Terror

PS. Any opinions concerning the mental health, musical taste or drinking habits of any movie goer half interested in watching this film is a direct reference to Dr. Terror pre-medical licensing exam i.e. in high school with a slight acne problem and long, black hair. Any similarities to persons living or dead is purely self-reflective.

PPS. I can be bribed with an original vinyl copy of the soundtrack. Seriously. Try it.

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