I remember watching this as a kid on VHS in the 80s and loving it.

Now as a gay horror fan whos all grown up watching the film feels different.

Firstly, it’s because the great gay icon Bette Davis is in it. Safe in this knowledge I know that this isn’t just any run of the mill performance in a horror film. Ms Davis makes every scene her own, revisiting each line her own way and with her own meter. It’s as if she’s too big for the film. Every scene she’s in is special.

The divine Ms Davis

Secondly, I now watch this knowing it’s a very rare gem- a Disney horror film. And what’s really shocking is that this is very scary indeed! And judging by the film’s alternate endings and the idea for the original opening scene (as yet, unavailable to watch) the film was intended to be even darker. I think Disney must have not wanted to completely sully their family-friendly name with an out and out scarefest.

The monster from the alternate endings that were cut from the film

Atmospheric, haunting and intelligent. This is a must-see. Just don’t underestimate its power. 4 out of 5

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