Not the Typical Scary Movie

     During these past several decades, our society, especially teenagers and young adults, have craved scary movies. Movies such as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legends, and many, many others have been the huge blockbuster hits of the nineties and the new millennium. These movies contain gruesome murder scenes, high-paced chases, and dramatic struggles. But, in my opinion, The Innocents, a film directed in 1961 by Jack Clayton and based on Henry James's 1898 The Turn of the Screw, has them all beat.

     This movie is so scary to me, because it leaves so much to the imagination. Everything is not depicted for the viewer. The children Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens) were so mysterious and seemingly possessed, and the characters that they portrayed were enough to scare me for days. One of the reasons that I found this movie so intriguing is that at the end I was thinking about what had really happened. I was not sure about what I had just watched. While reading the novella The Turn of The Screw, by Henry James, I could not make up my mind if I believed that the ghosts really did exist, or if I thought that the governess was just crazy. The reason for this is that James leads us to believe that the children are just young, innocent, beautiful angels; but in the movie, Franklin and Stephens do not help us in any way to believe that. They are more like little monsters. Even if the governess, named Miss Giddens in the movie, as played by Deborah Kerr, was crazy, the children are probably the reason she got that way. I was led to believe that Miss Giddens was not just losing her mind, though; something was going on in the evil mansion.

     There is just so much in the movie that actually scares one's mind instead of just temporarily scaring one by using special effects and blood and guts. Hearing a little girl screaming at the top of her lungs non-stop and watching a little boy being possessed by a grown man and passionately kiss someone at least twenty years older than himself, is troubling to me. I was actually frightened to leave class. The novella was not as disturbing to me, but I will always think of The Innocents when I think of a scary movie.

Natalie Bringham

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