FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 20, 2023

Day 20 - "Then I am a freak, the girls are right!"

When I first reviewed Audrey Rose (1977) for a SHOCKtober past--2009, to be precise--I found it fine but disappointing because I'd been told it was terrifying, not only by someone I knew but also by the VHS box for it. Since it appeared as one of a lone reader's favorite horror movies on the 2020 list, I thought this year would be a good time to revisit it to see if I would enjoy it more than I did way back when.

Spoiler alert, no I did not! In fact, I think I enjoyed it less!

It's got a fine birth year in 1977. It's got a fine cast in Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Beck of television's Dallas. It's got a fine director in Robert Wise. He directed The Haunting for chrissakes! 

What I remembered from last time, mostly, is that there is so much screaming and crying, and Anthony Hopkins says "Audrey Rose!" a lot. What I didn't remember is that Marsha Mason really doesn't have much to do beyond this:

Even she has admitted she disliked the role: "All I did was cry!"

I'd also forgotten just how little horror there is in all the drama. I'm good with that kind of thing usually, but once this really gets to the courtroom plotline, it is just glacial and dull and I start dreaming about the fantastic horror movie it could have been. That's pointless, I know, and unfair to the film Audrey Rose actually is. I don't care! I also know I'm giving a shitty "review" this time, and I don't care about that either! (That 2009 review is a bit more in-depth, if you are interested.) This movie made me cranky. Is that the movie's fault? I'm not sure!

But I do know that I'm counting my blessings that Chris MacNeil was a single mother, because she could and did do whatever it took to get help for her daughter and wasn't clamjammed by her stubborn husband.  

Well, I have given this film two tries and I think that's enough to say "I am happy for that reader who calls it a favorite, but it is definitely not for me." If you catch me trying it again during SHOCKtober in 2037, please knock the videotape out of my hand!


Steve K said...

I definitely read this book in the early 80s AND its sequel For the Love of Audrey Rose, which I remember absolutely nothing about other than its equally creepy cover. It's telling that they never made a movie of the sequel, I guess....

Astroboymn said...

I was in high school at the time the Audrey Rose paperback book came out and seemingly all the kids like me who read horror novels in study hall instead of actual studying were carrying this around. I remember liking the movie at the time but a recent rewatch confirmed: it is kind of Reincarnation Is For Real propaganda and that's an immediate turnoff. Also: love Marsha Mason but she cries too much throughout and John Beck is that annoying "I'm A Rational Man and REFUSE To believe in anything Supernatural in The SLIGHTEST" character that we all want to see meet a brutal end like the lawyer in Jurassic Park, but sadly he ends up alive at the end of this and that's a bummer.

IRL update: Susan Swift, who plays the tormented little girl, grew up to be a rightwing loon! A FREAK, one might say. It turns out the girls WERE right, omg!

Stacie Ponder said...

The comments on the first review also intimated that it's one of those "if you saw/read this as a youth, it was scary" kinds of things. SO I missed the boat and it can stay gone!

And thank you for the S Swift update. That's a real bummer, although it does also allow me to be righteous: oh her? Yeah I hated that movie she was in anyway! *flips scarf*