THE HAUNTING OF JULIA
From the gauzy photography and the piano score insistently tinkling away in the background, Full Circle has all the hallmarks of a made-for-tv ghost story. Everything that happens is very elliptical it could be a much vaguer Val Lewton film with its Is it real or is she going mad? games as to whether the ghosts are actual or figments of Mia Farrows imagination. The visual symbolism the dead daughter, the parent thinking they keep seeing her running about still alive, the dead child being mistaken for a murderer, the psychics, the recurrent events remind a good deal of Nicolas Roegs much superior Dont Look Now (1973).
Most of the time, director Richard Loncraines attempts to be so subtle are so vague and abstruse that the films horrors disappear into obscurity Julias reasons for believing there is a ghost in the house are never particularly clearly developed, for instance. Both Mia Farrows neurotic performance and the forced giggling-about-nothing of the scenes between her and Tom Conti make Full Circle seem a film that is as remote and distant from us as its heroine is from the world. There is the oddly effective moment like the eerie seance, which comes tensely underlined by the score and a jokey realism. The ending holds a precision chill the lovely shot with Mia Farrow accepting Samantha Gates into her arms, then an ominous metallic snick coming as the camera passes behind her armchair to emerge on the other side to show Farrow dead, bleeding from a wound at her neck. Peter Straubs equally cryptic book has been changed so the film can kill off most of the supporting characters at regular intervals in so doing, for all the films would-be pretension towards psychological subtlety, it remains only a traditional horror film.
The only other Peter Straub novel adapted to the screen so far has been Ghost Story (1981). Straubs Stephen King collaboration The Talisman has been often mentioned as an film or tv mini-series adaptation ever since its original publication.
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