WE KIDS WERE SO MUCH SMARTER BACK THEN NEENER NEENER
The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976) French/Canadian
I'm not saying how old I am but I do know I was smart enough to know when to come out of the rain. Okay, so I liked playing in the rain. But you wouldn't catch me swimming in a thunderstorm. Oh, wait. Well I certainly was smart enough NOT to try anything I saw in a cartoon. HA! Laird Koenig wrote both the novel and the film.
This oldie but a goodie movie is about 13-year-old Rynn, played by a 13-year-old Jodie Foster (she always was cute as a button even today - I hate her! Nah, I'm just jealous.) who copes with living alone smarter than most adults. Ryan lives alone in Long Island, NY and must contend with nosy adults while she tries to live quietly, waiting for that magic age of 18 when people will leave her the hell alone. Not going to happen kid. Not now, not later.
It starts on Halloween which also happens to be her birthday. She is making herself a cake when who should appear but Frank, son of her landlady (Martin Sheen). This was a side of him I hadn't seen and it wasn't pretty - he's a mama's boy who's also a slobbering child molester who his mother married off in hopes of curbing his perversity. In spite of having two children of his own, he still lusts after others. And he's got his sights on Ryan. Letting himself into her house he makes his intent pretty clear without being too touchy feely. Somehow that makes him even creepier. And taught me a new word for today: hebephile.
I had to look that one up - it's someone who prefers a certain age, not necessarily children, but adolescents from the age of approximately 11-14. It is specified that this is NOT a pedophile. Could have fooled me. Great, one more species of psycho bastard out there.
Getting rid of him doesn't end her problems. His mother Cora seems to think that a lease means nothing, that even though they paid for the house, she should be able to cruise through anytime she wants. Sheesh. Actually I've had landlords like that. Anyway, Cora keeps insisting on seeing Rynn's father but it's no go. She also wants to go down to the celler but Rynn is having none of that either. Suspicious but blocked Cora leaves, threatening to come back. She also threatens Rynn with not going to school, stating she's on the school board and will tattle on her, which Rynn quickly finds out is a lie. She's not falling for it.
Meanwhile creepy Frank is keeping his own eyes on her but for even a more sinister reason. I don't get creeped out easily but he did a little TOO good of a job being this, uh, hebephile. He tries to get her in his car but a passing cop cools him off quick. The officer is nice though and drives her home - even being a bit more gracious than the others when he also cannot see her father.
But the witch Cora soon returns in the guise of getting some jelly glasses (no I've never canned so I don't know why she didn't have them in her own house) but since Rynn didn't know the seals weren't with them, Cora insists on going into the cellar. She sees something... horrible (this is the 70's we don't get to see what) and slipping, knocks the cellar door closed on her head and dies. Ahhh.
Rynn tries to get rid of her car but can't drive (She can deal with banks and lawyers and living alone but can't start a car?) and so is helped by a passing teenager (they were actually helpful then) who is a victim of polio but so nice to Rynn in helping her get rid of the car she invites him to dinner. When the friendly police officer comes by to see her dad, Mario (the teenager) lies for her, stating the father had already gone to bed. So now they're friends for life and partners in crime - he just doesn't know that yet.
Rynn and Mario have an adolescent romance (She's 13 for crying out loud - was them jumping into bed really necessary for the story? At least they used her older - hopefully over 18 - sister for a body double) and despite Frank's desperate attempts to get at her, things are good for a while. Then Mario stumbles across WHAT'S IN THE CELLAR. We still don't get to see.
Frank shows up and barging his way through again, takes Rynn's hamster and tortures it to death (not pretty) to get Rynn to answer him about what happened to his mother and her father. The answer - which she had told Mario - is that her father had become ill and had arranged for her to have a place to live after he died. Apparently her mother, who had disappeared long ago was abusive and so when she returned to take over, Rynn was prepared - she had served her mother tea laced with cyanide - the almond taste covered by the almond cookies she served her.
While she tells Frank that her father and his mother are dead she doesn't say how - and he takes full advantage, informing her that they were going to be together for a long time (or at least until she comes of age, since he only likes adolescent girls). Rynn appears to be resigned to her fate and offers him tea and cookies... the only duh in the movie and a rather convenient ending, as we watch Frank begin to cough while Rynn calmly watches him die...
Now for the nasty part. MY nasty part. This movie had more continuity problems than Evil Dead and Zombie Ass put together. Who was in charge of continuity anyway? It doesn't take a particularly sharp eye to see that clothes, props, even furniture changes from scene to scene. In fact, writing them down got tiresome - if you're curious, see for yourself. It's not hard - in fact it got in the way of the story 'cause I have a critical eye anyway and this was just ridiculous.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.