Lady in White Blu-ray
Director: Frank LaLoggia
Screenwriter: Frank LaLoggia
Cast: Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | 117 / 126 / 113 Minutes
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Written and directed by Frank LaLoggia, 1988’s Lady in White is a ghost story loosely based on the urban legend of “The White Lady.” Lukas Haas (Inception, Mars Attacks!) stars as Frankie Scarlatti, an inquisitive kid tormented by bullies.
It’s Halloween, 1962, when Frankie is locked inside his school’s cloakroom by domineering middle schoolers Donald (Jared Rushton) and Louie (Gregory Levinson). While trapped inside the dark school, the boy sees something inexplicable: the ghost of a young girl murdered years earlier. The red-headed girl was the first victim of a serial child murderer that has eluded the police of Willowpoint Falls for nearly a decade. Now, the killer is after Frankie. After an unseen assailant attacks the boys and leaves him for dead, the police arrest Harold “Willy” Williams (Henry Harris), the school’s African-American janitor.
After recovering in the hospital, Frankie is haunted by the ghost of Melissa Ann Montgomery (Joelle Jacobi), the red-headed girl from the cloakroom. The two form a friendship of sorts, with Frankie vowing to solve the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death and bring the real killer to justice. Lady in White is a forgotten ’80s movie that has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, popping up on “[Insert Number] Horror Films You Probably Haven’t Seen” lists all over the internet. This newfound appreciation has no doubt led to LaLoggia’s film receiving a Blu-ray release courtesy of Scream Factory, Shout Factory’s sub-division dedicated to resurrecting forgotten genre titles.
While Lady in White may be underappreciated to some, I’m left wondering what the fuss is all about. Tonally, LaLoggia’s movie is all over the place. It’s part kid-friendly horror-fantasy (think Hocus Pocus or The Monster Squad), part murder mystery, and part To Kill a Mockingbird, thanks to a heavy-handed subplot about racism. For me, Lady in White never quite gels as a coherent (or particularly interesting) narrative. As a horror film, it isn’t nearly as chilling as the classic ghost stories it tries to emulate. I’m not sure who this movie is for – it’s hard to imagine it’s made for kids due to its disturbing subject matter, and yet it’s hard to take seriously as an adult because it’s so melodramatic.
Lady in White is not for me, but with three different versions of the film on Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release, maybe there’s a version for you! In addition to the 117-minute director’s cut, the first disc includes an introduction by LaLoggia, as well as an audio commentary. There are several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including deleted scenes and footage from the film’s production and post-production. You can also expect to find theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots, photo galleries and a promotion short film. Disc two includes the extended director’s cut (126 minutes) as well as the original theatrical cut (113 minutes).
As for the Blu-ray transfer, Lady in White is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and English 2.0 DTS-HD MA audio tracks. The picture is solid, albeit soft and dim at times. The Extended Director’s Cut uses footage from a scan of the interpositive, which varies in quality from the master used for the other versions of the film. All in all, fans who herald Lady in White as an under-appreciated classic will be happy with Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release, which you can purchase at Amazon.