Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to include The Woman in Black (1989) on my Willies List because it's a made for (British) TV film. Here at Final Girl, however, I can do whatever I want...and what I want is to tell you about The Woman in Black, for she's indeed a Willies runner-up.
The film, based on the book by Susan Hill, is set in the early 20th century and concerns the good-hearted young solicitor and family man Arthur Kidd (Adrian Rawlins). He's sent to settle the Drablow Estate after the last of the Drablows passes on.
At the elderly Mrs Drablow's funeral, Arthur is surprised to find a fellow mourner, for Mrs Drablow was rumored to be a rather solitary old broad. Nevertheless, a mysterious woman in black keeps to herself in both the church and the cemetery and manages to creep Arthur out sufficiently.
After the funeral (and despite local advice against it), Arthur heads to Marsh House- a lonely manor that's only accessible during low tide, as one must use a causeway across the marsh to reach it.
Before long, Arthur finds himself haunted by the same woman in black. She appears in the dilapidated cemetery behind the old house, and the poor fellow grows increasingly fearful as there are noises and screams coming from the foggy marshlands. He slowly pieces together the sad story of the house and the woman he's been seeing as he reads Mrs Drablow's papers and listens to her cool old-timey audio diary. It seems that Arthur isn't the only one who's been haunted by the spectre as Mrs Drablow relates tales of late-night encounters with the woman in black: "She has become wicked..."
I'd read numerous accounts of this film, about how terrifying it is; I managed to track down a copy some time ago, and I was both excited to see it and prepared to be let down. Thankfully, I wasn't let down in the slightest: this is one scary movie, definitely worth searching out (it's currently out of print with no release date in sight). It's a superlative ghost story, plain and simple- there's an old, creaky, isolated house...there are voices and noises both inside the house and out...there's unreliable electricity...and a cranky spirit you don't want to make eye contact with.
I love ghost stories...I love love love them, and I find that supernatural horror tends to frighten me the most. The Woman in Black is no exception. Apparently there's a stage version as well, and it's even better than the film. Now if I can just track down tickets to that...