A Scary Movie Worthy of Stephen King

         For a movie that was released many years ago, Jack Clayton's 1961 The Innocents, based on Henry James's 1898 The Turn of the Screw, could definitely compete with one of Stephen King's scary movies. I was very surprised at how disturbing this movie was. The way that the producers of the movie portrayed the ghosts of Mrs. Jessel (Clytie Jessop) and Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) was amazing. These two characters had the scariest looking images on the screen.

         It was amazing to see how the director and cinematographer, Freddie Frances of The Innocents could fade these images in and out to make them appear and then disappear. They made Peter Quint and Mrs. Jessel look so real.

         When I first started watching this movie, it seemed like a normal story. Like the unnamed governess in the story, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) came to live with Mrs. Grose (the housekeeper) (Megs Jenkins) and Miles and Flora (the two young children) (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin). It sounded like a Sound of Music story at first. I was very badly mistaken. The former governess, Miss Jessel, no longer worked there since she had died, so Miss Giddens came to replace her. The children seemed very sweet in the beginning as they seemed to be in the book The Turn of the Screw.

         One of the best things about the movie was the children, Miles and Flora. They reminded me of freaky and possessed scary children that one would see on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. I never liked to watch this show when I was younger because the re-enactments of ghost sightings were just too real for a little girl to handle watching.

         The children that played the roles of Miles and Flora were phenomenal actors. When the children would laugh, using that scary and mysterious laugh, I think that it created a lot of suspense. The children also reminded me of that possessed little boy in the Stephen King movie The Shining. I think that having scary children in a horror movie can make the movie a lot better.

         Deborah Kerr as Miss Giddens was another phenomenal actress. I felt kind of bad for her because no one believed that she was seeing the ghosts of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint. I thought that this made The Innocents a good movie because the audience never really knew if the ghosts that Miss Giddens was seeing were real or not.

         The movie was always suspenseful because the music and the lighting in the movie were wonderful. There were lots of shadows and dark places in a lot of the scenes. This made it exciting to watch because I never knew whether a ghost would come into view and scare the audience.

         Out of all the books and movies that we have read in this class, this combination of the book and movie has made me see how different the book and movie can be. When I read the book The Turn of the Screw, I was bored to tears. It was very slow moving, and it was not very fun to read. However, when I watched The Innocents, which was based on the book, it made me see the book in a whole new light. The movie was very suspenseful and thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next.

         The director of the movie did a wonderful job making The Innocents a scary movie for that time period. I think that the director of The Innocents could definitely put his movie up for an award against Stephen King's modern-day scary movie.

Katie Konrad

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