2009-04-17 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

The Haunting In Connecticut' - Creep Show Dog

One of the most horrifying images in movie history is the surgically severed eyeball in the 1929 Luis Buñuel/ Salvador Dali surreal short, "An Andalusian Dog." When we see the cutting of corpses' eyelids in "The Haunting in Connecticut," it looks like we're heading down the same shocking creepshow road.

Directed by Peter Cornwell from an Adam Simon/Tim Metcalfe script, "Haunting" is scariest when showing what appears to be aging sepia toned photos of 19th century corpses. They're shown throughout the film, so we know that the story is based on fact…creepy fact.

Once upon a time, an evil mortician practiced necromancy at his mortuary in Connecticut. He used and abused a spiritually sensitive teenage boy as the funeral home's resident medium. The clipping of corpse eyelids was part of the routine for reviving the spirits of the dead.

In 1987, a couple rented the place because it was near a hospital where their cancer-ridden son was undergoing out-patient treatment. Because the youth was on the verge of death, he could see dead people. And the place was loaded with them.

The film features the soothing-voiced Virginia Madsen ("Sideways," and "Prairie Home Companion," where she played soothing-voiced Death) as Sara Campbell, who tells her story of bringing sick son Matt (Kyle Gallner) to the haunted Connecticut home. With them are her recovering alcoholic husband (Martin Donovan), young daughter and baby sitter.

The true story is a setup to resurrect not only the dead, but commercially viable memories of "The Shining," "Poltergeist," "The Exorcist," "The Amityville Horror," "The Sixth Sense," "Psycho," and other popular shockers with screeching violins and music stings.

Yes, I did jump in my seat a few times, but never shook the feeling that I was watching a cut-rate reenactment on the History Channel. "The Haunting in Connecticut" may not be andalusian, but it is a dog.

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