lady-in-white

Legal Bid Fails to Rebury Remains of 2,500-year-old Tattooed Ice Princess

An appeal will be launched after a court this week rejected a demand by the leader of the Teles ethnic group in the Altai Mountains to order the reburial of the world famous tattooed mummy of Princess Ukok, also known as the Ice Maiden. The Teles leader says that they will not stop fighting for her reburial. However, researchers and the National Museum are against the idea – citing advances in information from the mummy and asserting that it will be kept safe at the museum. 

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Family on holiday at Felixstowe 1911 by Paul Clarke

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Halloween is looming, folks. Sure, the big day may technically be October 31st, but for us creatures of the night Halloween is a bit more fluid. For me, the fun begins in September, which marks day one of a two month love affair with all things spooky that, by its end on November 1st, leaves me burned out on horror films for a good month or so… and then it’s time to fire up some killer Santa Claus movies! There’s an art form - or perhaps it’s more of a science - to getting the most out of Halloween, and it involves choosing your movies wisely. One doesn’t lead in with a heavy hitter like Trick r Treat or Halloween. You dip your toes in first with something to set the mood and then build up to the main event movies over time. Earlier today I watched one of the ultimate Halloween mood set films: Lady In White (1988).

If you’ve never heard of this film I couldn’t blame you. Lady In White has languished in obscurity since the day it flopped at the box office. On the other hand, it was something of a critical success - and that makes sense because it’s a hell of a movie. Lady In White is the story of Frankie Scarlatti, who on Halloween Night 1962 finds himself trapped in a small coat room in his school thanks to a mean-spirited prank. There he sees something unbelievable: the spectral silhouette of a ghostly girl about his age being murdered and then lifelessly carried away by an invisible force. As if this isn’t traumatic enough, the whole thing appears to be some sort of warning from beyond the grave. Seconds later a madman bursts into the room and attempts to kill Frankie, who survives thanks to a little help from the young ghoul he’d spotted earlier. From there, Frankie attempts to unravel the mysteries of just who both his would-be killer and the phantom girl were. The set up is a little elaborate on paper, sure, but it plays perfectly within the film itself, setting the stage for a hybrid ghost/whodunit film with MORE than its fair share of spookiness.

“Hybrid” is definitely the right term for Lady In White. It isn’t your typical horror movie. It’s definitely scary, don’t get me wrong: the film has a sort of quiet unease that builds steadily as it progresses, punctuated by some majorly intense moments featuring the titular “lady” to create a pretty eerie experience. But there’s more to it than just straight up horror, and that’s what I love most about it. It’s the story of a kid, and I suspect it was meant to be a story for kids, even though it deals with some very heavy stuff in places. In between the scares it has a sort of childlike naivete, with lots of humor and charm to lighten things up and keep the movie’s inner darkness at bay. It’s almost like a marriage between one of the more family friendly Spielberg films and an old school ghost movie that pulls no punches. It’s a strange blend, I won’t deny it, but it works, creating a horror movie that’s also exciting, funny, and full of heart. At times it goes a bit astray, and there’s a particularly tragic subplot the movie could’ve done without, but on the whole Lady In White is just fantastic.

If you’re not quite feeling the spirit of Halloween in your bones yet, find Lady In White and give it a go. Its unique atmosphere and VERY ‘80s digital effects feel so appropriate for the season, and the first half of the film is set on one of the most beautiful, fully-realized cinematic Halloweens I’ve ever seen. It’s got precisely the right vibe to start the season off. I can already tell it’s gonna become a Halloween tradition for me.