Story: Frankie lives in a town with a deadly secret. For a decade a serial child killer eludes police. One night he gets locked into his school and witnesses the ghost of the first victim being murdered. Now the ghost guides him to find her killer. The secrets he uncover will reveal the identity of the town’s mysterious Lady in White and that the killer may be much closer to him than he could ever suspect.
The Film: This could be one of the most criminally overlooked horror films from the 80’s. Writer/director/composer Frank LaLoggia made a beautifully handcrafted movie that’s one-half crime-drama, one-half ghostly campfire story. It’s an eerie and understated take on the ghost story, and it has more in common with classic ghost stories like “The Uninvited” and “The Innocents” than it did with it’s more amped up contemporaries like “Poltergeist”, “Amityville”, or “The Entity”. Problem is that too often when movies try to ape that “classically spooky” feel of those films there’s rarely a compelling story to go along with the chills, instead they often end up flat mood pieces. “Lady in White” strikes a wonderful balance between atmosphere and story, using the ghostly scenes to further the story and push the suspense up a notch. It’s odd to call a nearly 20 year old film refreshing, but it is to see horror and true storytelling combined so beautifully. Also still refreshing is the very against-type casting in this film. Alex Rocco, usually seen playing gangsters and criminals, plays Frankie’s caring, gentle father. An unrecognizable Katherine Helmond, “Mona” from “Who’s the Boss” (yes, MONA FROM WHO’S THE BOSS) is amazingly effective as the witchy and sorrowful Lady in White. Some slightly dated visual effects (some apparent matte and blue screen work) distract only slightly, but keep your eyes open for some stunning camera work. Despite the dated FX work, the film is a beautiful example of how effective amazing cinematography, camera tricks, and excellent acting can be. Watch for scenes where lighting changes subtly and creates an entirely different mood in certain scenes. While this is, overall, fairly mild on the fright meter, “Lady In White” remains two decades later, a beautiful, rich, and very suspenseful ghost story. –Mike C.
Special Features : MGM has re-released this from the original Elite Entertainment version. They retain the original directors commentary. This commentary is excellent and reveals how LaLoggia painstakingly crafted this film from scratch, independantly producing it. The commentary also reveals what a truly personal film this is for him, incorporating many elements of his Italian-American upbringing. Whatever became of LaLoggia? Why did he only make one other feature after this? It’s such a shame, there is obviously such talent there. Other features include the theatrical trailer, photo gallery, and behind-the-scenes footage (shot on VHS camcorder) with commentary by LaLoggia.