Lady in White (1988)

DailyView: Day 298, Movie 421

What the hell did I just watch?

At first I thought it was a horror movie. Then, I thought it was an amalgam of Stand By Me and The Wonder Years if they were a ghost story, with some racial undertones tossed in. However, there were so many other weird things that happened that I just was not sure what was happening.

On HBO Max, there is a movie called Lady in White. The synopsis on the streaming service said the following: “A little boy who loves to tell ghost stories has an encounter with a real ghost that marks him as a child-killer’s next victim.” That intrigued me, but it does not come close to what this movie was.

The film started following the life of Frankie (Lukas Haas) and it felt as if it was going to be a 1980s kid adventure… but then Frankie’s friend Donald (Jared Rushton) dropped the N-word, shocking the crap out of me. This was the first time that I sat up straight and yelled at the screen. It was not the last time.

Donald and Louie (Gregory Levinson) tricked their friend (although the film made them out to be friends, I think the jury is still out on that) Frankie to go back into the school after hours and they locked him in the coatroom as a joke. Nice friends.

However, then Frankie started to see the ghost of a little girl (Joelle Jacobi) calling for her mother and then get strangled, though the killer was invisible. A few moments later, a real man entered the coatroom and saw Frankie (wearing a Halloween costume that covered his face) and the man began to strangle Frankie too.

We then come back and Frankie is coming to with his dad (Alex Rocco) on the floor beside him. The police were here and Frankie was saved. The police arrested the janitor Harold Williams (Henry Harris) because he was still on site at this time of night and because he was black.

Okay, I’m not going into any more plot than that because there are so many things that I may miss because there is a hugely convoluted story going on. There was also a Lady in White who was supposedly wondering the cliffs calling for her daughter.

This film’s tone jumped all over the place. There was a joke made about Frankie’s older brother Geno (Jason Presson) and masturbation, there was a running gag about their grandfather Popa (Angelo Bertolini) and his attempts to keep his smoking a secret from his wife, and we also found out that the person who tried to strangle Frankie might be a serial killer who had killed 11 other kids in the town.

HUH?

Wouldn’t that be something that you would lead with? Not here. Here it is just one more bizarre moment.

Katherine Helmond was in this movie too as a weird piano teacher who I was not sure was alive or dead. The story of Harold Williams took a rather tragic turn. The third act was just totally crazy.

I don’t know how much more I can say about it.

The effects was absolutely from the 1980s, the worst green screen effects you could expect. Yet it felt as if it were in perfect place in this movie.

I was thoroughly entertained by this, because I had no idea what was going to happen next because I really think that they just kept tossing elements into the film whether it fit or not. It went from comedy to supernatural thriller to horror movie to revenge flick. It was all of these but none of them as well.

I loved the experience of this movie. It was not a good movie, but I was engaged and thrilled by it at the same time.

It absolutely earned the following category:

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