November 20th, 2007

Shadowmancer

The Other

SPECHTREUM



The OTHER
VII A.S. Written by Tom Tyron. Directed by Robert Mulligan. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Starring Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky, Norma Connolly, Victor French, Loretta Leversee, Lou Frizzell, Portia Nelson, Jenny Sullivan, John Ritter. Genre: Horror.
That harmless-looking dear, may be the one to fear...

Set in rural, provincial New England in the early 20th century, The Other is one of those "evil child" films in which a veritable "evil twin" scenario unfolds when one of the two Perry brothers perishes at the bottom of a well. The very apparent subconscious ghost of 'Holland' takes root in Niles' schizophrenic mind, wherein he deals with his grief by externalizing his dead brother as a mischievous split personality influence, thus committing various gruesome murders. To Niles, his brother is very real in his subjective reality, with all the blame transferred onto him, the "other". A definite mental dissociation.

One by one, the country folk in this small township begin experiencing a series of mysterious deaths, with no one the wiser that it could possibly be this very clever innocent-looking child, and thus, the events continue to unfold.

Victims include his very own parents, an obnoxious whining playmate, a musical old lady, and perhaps most disturbingly, even a new-born baby: Dad "trips" and falls into the barn cellar; after discovering and confiscating a secret item, Mom tumbles down a flight of stairs but survives with paralysis; a tattle-telling boy is impaled on a conveniently-placed pitchfork while jumping into a hay bale playing "King of The Mountain", even though he was forbidden to romp therein; Mrs. Rowe is quite literally frightened to death {her phobia is exploited}; probably feeling all the attention he craved was being diverted, the new-born baby goes missing one stormy night only to meet a tragic fate, while shifting the blame onto a local farmhand. In each case, it became an exaggerated matter of revenge wherein his 'evil twin' felt justified to finalize.

Throughout the film, Niles is counseled by the wise and kind Ada about his special gifts, a gypsy-grandmother type who teaches him to practice mental projection via visualization, wherein he travels into the perspective of a raven, flying forth across the land wherein he actually prognosticates the demise of the pestiferous boy. Learning of his nefarious 'Holland' alter-ego, she tries to provide grounding through asserting his death by admonishing him to 'view' his brother at the grave in the coffin, but it proves too much for his mind's eye, and so she assents. She eventually learns the extent of his deeds, blames herself, and thereby takes it upon herself to rid the town of them both.

Besides the deaths, other notable scenes include a trip to the carnival, wherein he witnesses various 'freaks', and the shenanigans of an illusionist 'disappearing' for the crowd.

For a horror movie, the film uses atypical wholesome-like common-day settings as a stage, instead of standard nightmarish props, effects, characters, or environments, seemingly stating that the likelihood of such occurrences could unexpectedly happen any where at any time, even in the most day-lit or misperceived 'safe' circumstances. The Other also features a marvelous score by the extraordinary Jerry Goldsmith. ∞