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* Afraid of the Dark (1992) A young boy comes to fear that his blind mother may become the next victim of a serial killer in this complex psychological thriller. Unfolding at first as a traditional suspense tale, the film follows the terrified boy's attempts to determine the killer's identity, a task his policeman father has failed to achieve. Things take a more provocative and puzzling turn when the boy's penchant for fantasy is revealed, forcing the audience to question whether what has been shown has been real or merely a product of the boy's imagination. As a result, much of the anxiety in Afraid of the Dark emerges not from the violent shocks, but from the uncertain reality and the tantalizing, disturbing hints of the child's psychology. This purposeful ambiguity may strike some viewers as confusing and alienating, despite the film's assured performances and striking imagery. * Alone in the Dark (1982) This is a very enjoyable tongue-in-cheek horror film about some homicidal maniacs who break out of an asylum and terrorize a psychiatrist's family on a dark and stormy night. Martin Landau and Jack Palance are particularly funny, but there are some genuine scares as well. One scene, in which a frightened woman is menaced on her bed by a maniac thrusting a butcher-knife up through the mattress, is a clever send-up that will nevertheless linger in the memory. The coda, in which the crazy Palance has a bizarre encounter with a spaced-out punk chick in a nightclub, is a real gem. * Relentless 3 (1993) William Forsythe plays a serial killer who mails assorted body parts (from his unlucky female victims) to the police. As if this isn't enough, he then goes after Detective Dietz's (Leo Rossi) lady friend. This killer really is, relentless. * Relentless 4 (1994) Leo Rossi is at it again as maverick Sam Dietz, a detective on the trail of a serial killer. He is aided in his quest by his partner and a psychiatrist, both of whom, naturally, are women of the nubile variety.

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ID4032 Alone in the Dark/Afraid of the Dark/Relentless 3/Relentless 4 DVD (1982-`884/Martin Landau/Jack Palance) $14.99