Afraid of the Dark (1991)

UK, France, USA (“An Anglo-French Co-Production”), 1991
91m, 35mm film
Dolby Stereo, English

A British/French/American borderline horror film directed by Mark Peploe.

Plot Summary

11-year-old Lucas is the son of a police officer, Frank, and a blind mother, Miriam. Lucas becomes increasingly concerned for the safety of his mother’s friend, Rose, also blind, who he believes will be the next victim of a serial killer stalking the sightless residents of West London. He also comes to suspect local photographer Tony Dalton of perpetrating the crimes, as well as the locksmith and window cleaner. Lucas attacks Tony, blinding him with a knitting needle – then his daydreams are interrupted and it’s back to reality. In this world, it is Lucas who is slowly losing his sight; Tony is an affable young man marrying Lucas’s half-sister Rose; his father is a florist, not a policeman; and his mother is heavily pregnant with their second child. Lucas is clearly a very unwell young man who abducts his new-born baby sister and runs off to the woods with her, planning to blind her with a knitting needle…


Directed by: Mark Peploe
© 1991 Telescope Films, Les Films Ariane, Cine Cinq, New Line
Telescope Films – Les Films Ariane present a Telescope Films – Les Films Ariane and Cine Cinq co-production in association with Sovereign Pictures
Executive Producers: Jean Nachbaur, Sylvaine Sainderichin, Laura Parker
Produced by: Simon Bosanquet
Screenplay by: Mark Peploe and Frederick Seidel
Director of Photography: Bruno De Keyzer
Editor: Scott Thomas
Music: Richard Hartley
Sound Mixer: Robin O’Donoghue
Costume Designer: Louise Stjernsward
Make-Up Supervisor: Tommie Manderson
Chief Hairdresser: Joan Carpenter
Special Effects Supervisor: John Markwell
Production Designer: Caroline Amies

James Fox (Frank)
Fanny Ardant (Miriam)
Paul McGann (Tony)
Clare Holman (Rose)
Robert Stephens (Dan Burns)
Susan Woolridge (Lucy Trent)
David Thewlis (locksmith/Tom Miller)
Struan Rodger (window cleaner)
Rosalind Knight (Edith)
Jeremy Flynn (Jim Gilbert)
Ben Keyworth as Lucas
Niven Boyd (ice-cream man)
Frederick Treves (eye surgeon)
Sheila Burrell (Meg)
Hilary Mason (basement woman)
Frances Cuka (Mrs Dalton)
Laurence Harrington (neighbour)
Cassie Stuart (woman neighbour)
Jean Serret (Bob)
Gwyneth Strong (blind mother with baby)
Catriona MacColl (blind woman/wedding friend)

Alternative Titles

Angst vor der Dunkelheit – German title
Double vue – French title
Occhi nel buio – Italian title
Pimeän pelko – Finnish title
Solo en la oscuridad – Spanish title


Cinema 27 February 1992 – review (by Philipp Berens)
The Dark Side October 1992 pp.31-32 – review
Film Francais 27 December 1991 p.18 – review
The Hollywood Reporter 25 September 1990 p.67 – credits
The Hollywood Reporter 24 July 1992 pp.14, 16 – review
In Camera Winter 1990/1991 p.5 – credits, note
Interview August 1992 p.25 – interview
Positif February 1992 pp.41-42 – review
Première February 1992 p.26 – review (by Monique Neubourg)
Premiere August 1992 pp.47, 49 – review
Screen International 8 September 1990 p.23 – credits
Sight & Sound April 1992 pp.42-43 – credits, review
Sight & Sound October 1992 p.66 – note
Studio January 1992 p.23 – review (by Jean-Pierre Lavoignat)
Variety 25 November 1991 pp.40-41 – credits, review

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror (2nd edition) pp.468-469 – credits, review
Elliott’s Guide to Home Entertainment (4th Edition) p.9 – credits, review
English Gothic: Classic Horror Cinema 1897-2015 by Jonathan Rigby p.284
Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.5 – credits
Psychotronic Video Guide p.7 – credits, review
Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cettl pp.34-35 – credits, syopsis, review