I recently had the pleasure of attending a special screening of one of my favorite horror films at The Little Theatre in my home city of Rochester, NY. The screening was part of the Saturday Night Rewind Series, a collaboration between The Little and Fright Rags, a company based and run in Rochester that, since 2003, have been delivering kick ass horror t-shirts to horror fans all around the globe.
The screening was scheduled to start at 9:30, but in our excitement me and my Dad (who first introduced me to this film when I was 12; who first got me into horror to begin with; and whose favorite film is the Lady in White hands down) somehow read it wrong and thought it started at 8:00. Suffice it to say, me and my dad got REALLY good seats. Once the screening commenced (at 9:30), Ben Scrivens, owner of Fright Rags, did a hand count of people who hadn’t seen the film (about 75 to 80 percent of the audience). To be honest, I was somewhat surprised about this.
I always felt the Lady in White was somewhat obscure and forgotten, but part of what makes this film so special to me, my dad, and fellow Rochesterians is the fact that the film was shot primarily in and around the Rochester area. Not only that, but the writer, director, producer and scorer of the film, Frank LaLoggia, who we got to have a special Q&A with afterwards with via Skype, was born and raised in Rochester. In fact some people that he knew, or that knew him in high school, were present for the screening and got up to the mike during the Q&A to ask him questions on how he’s been doing and to reminisce about their glory days.
The film is also very slightly influenced by the Lady in White legend that every kid in Rochester has heard repeatedly, including Frank LaLoggia. According to the legend, the mournful ghost of the Lady in White haunts the ruins of what actually was an old restaurant (now coined the White Lady’s Castle) bordering on Durand Eastman Park and the shores of Lake Ontario.
Admittedly, as Frank LaLoggia pointed out, the Lady in White is a common recurring legend with slight variations that can be found all over the United States and, as I’ve found through my own research, worldwide. However, considering LaLoggia grew up here and had the legend in mind when he first started to pitch the film, (even if the story in the film bears no resemblance to the Rochester legend) it adds another layer of intimacy that you would think would warrant views by more Rochesterians.
Regardless, it made it all the more fun seeing so many people react to the film for the first time. It was like that moment where you sit down with one or two of your friends to show them your favorite film and watch what they do and listen to what they say about it as they experience it for the first time. Except in this case, you were watching your favorite film with a couple hundred people.
Then, after the screening was done, we had the Q&A with Frank LaLoggia, who is hilarious. I asked the question, “Why do you think horror inspires filmmakers and continues to inspire filmmakers?” He replied, but I was so struck by the fact that I was talking to him I can’t even begin to guess what he said. After the Q&A. my Dad and I got the chance to have the backs of our Lady in White flyers signed by Lisa Taylor who played Mary Ellen (the girl with the crush on the main character) in the film.
Hats off to The Little and Fright Rags for delivering a screening that I know neither I nor my Dad will ever forget. With that being said, if you’re in the Rochester area this this October 22nd, or 29th, The Little and Fright Rags will be continuing their Saturday Night Rewind Series. There will be a special screening of film festival darling (or should we say gross out) The Greasy Strangler on the 22nd; and John Carpenter’s classics Halloween I and II as a double feature on the 29th.
It should also be noted that the Greasy Strangler screening will also have a Q&A with the star of the film Sky Elobar. This will be followed by a debut teaser for a short film titled Pet Monkey directed by The Little Theatre’s very own Eric Maira and starring Sky Elobar, plus GIVEAWAYS and an after party that will take place at Skylark Lounge. Lastly I plan to be at all of these screenings, so if you see a clean shaven skinny guy with a pony tail and earrings dressed up in all-black and wearing beatle boots, it’s probably me… and you should feel free to come say hello!
Experience ‘Lady in White’ for Yourself
And lastly, if you want to see the aforementioned Lady in White, Shout Factory has released the film on Blue Ray with two discs: Disc 1 is the director’s cut (HD, 117 min) along with:
- Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
- Audio Commentary With Frank LaLoggia
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage With Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
- Deleted Scenes With Introduction By Frank LaLoggia
- Extended Behind-The-Scenes Footage – Production And Post-Production
- Promotional Short Film
- Theatrical Trailer & Alternate Trailer
- TV & Radio Spots
- Behind-The-Scenes Photo Montage
- Extended Photo Gallery
The second disc is the original theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut (HD, 126 mins).
And Fright Rags has released a t-shirt for the Lady in White featuring art by Abrar Ajmal.
So if you’re interested after reading this, and have been craving a good ghost story that contains more than cheap jump scares and gives a glimpse into the Finger Lakes region of New York State, I would recommend shelling out the $19.97 listed on Shout Factory’s website and picking this up for yourself. I would also recommend buying the t-shirt listed on Fright Rag’s website for $ 27.00, if you want to watch the film in spooky style. I know I’m getting both!