61 Days of Halloween: The Other


Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment, I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

The Other (1972)

Some films are worth the digging they require to find on DVD. This film was found while sifting through the “for sale” options at TLA. It was one I had seen on VHS way back when and was unaware that it was now available on DVD.

The film is the 1972 film adaptation of the Thomas Tryon novel The Other. The first thing this film did right was that they had the novelist adapt the screenplay. Quite often you want someone as familiar with the material as possible to transition it to the screen. The second good thing they did was to get Robert Mulligan at the helm as director. He is the man behind such greats as Fear Strikes Out and To Kill a Mockingbird. This man handles the story with a deftness and sophistication that few in the genre could.

The film tells the tale of twin brothers Niles and Holland (played by Chris and Martin Udvarnoky) and the deadly secret they share. The Other is also a film that has not one but multiple twists well before The Sixth Sense made it the thing to do in horror and/or suspense for a time. These twists are set up in at least 16 instances where the truth, as we know it, is reaffirmed, only to be flipped on its head later.

Another major strength of the film is the character of Ada, the boys’ grandmother, played by Uta Hagen. Uta Hagen’s works on the craft of acting are some of the most insightful and respected in the field, and this film shows you why. Ada is the only one who holds a special bond with the boys, tries to help them and understands their special ability, which they refer to as “The Game.”

The Other is a film that is full of genuine shocks. It is the kind of film in which no character is safe from the threat that presents itself and that makes for the most realistic, palpable and enjoyable type of suspense film, one in which anything and everything can and will happen.

This may be a film that time forgot, but it is certainly a hidden gem which deserves to be unearthed.



Prior to my ever having started the 61 Days of Halloween theme and I believe after my previous posting of this review, Christopher Udvarnoky died at the unjustly young age of 49. May he rest in peace.