Turn Back the Clock

Horror / Drama

Audrey Rose

Written By: Frank De Felitta

Published By: Warner Books

Distributed By: United Artists

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I know what youíre thinking - who or what is Audrey Rose?  Audrey Rose is the name of a novel published by Frank De Felitta in 1975 and the subsequent 1977 film based on the novel.  As a young child (what were my parents thinking?) I was allowed to watch this movie and, although many people have never heard of it, it has stuck with me after all these years.

            Ivy Templeton (Susan Swift) is a happy eleven-year-old girl living with her parents Janice and Bill (Marsha Mason and John Beck) in New York.  Things are going well for the Templetons until one day, they notice a stranger showing some interest in them.  Approaching him, the Templetons learn that his name is Elliot Hoover (Anthony Hopkins).  Elliotís daughter Audrey Rose and his wife were killed in a fiery car accident and Elliot seems to believe that Ivy is the reincarnation of his daughter, who died two minutes before Ivy was born. 

            Of course, the parents dismiss this claim, but unfortunately, Ivy has heard Elliotís claims and something strange has begun to take place.  Ivy begins to have nightmares in which she is burning inside of a car.  Burn marks appear on her hands.  Even worse - it seems that the only person who can calm Ivy down during these instances is Elliot Hoover. 

            Elliot takes Ivy to his apartment and is arrested for abducting the girl.  During the trial, we learn that Elliot traveled to India after Audrey Roseís death and became a devout believer in Hinduism and reincarnation.  In an effort to prove that Elliot is misguided in his belief that Ivy is Audrey Rose, the family lawyer has Ivy hypnotized.  Unfortunately, during the hypnosis it is revealed that Ivy is in fact the reincarnated Audrey Rose and before they can stop it from happening, Ivy relives the fatal crash suffered by her formal self and dies from the trauma.

            Now, this may not sound all that spooky to you, but to a young kid who never though about reincarnation before, Audrey Rose was one spooky movie.  The lighting and cinematography of the film didnít help matters.  Much of the movie was dark and the scenes in which young Ivy relives the horrific death of Audrey Rose were terrifying.  Anthony Hopkins is excellent as Elliot, a distraught young father seeking to reconnect with his dead daughter.  Marsha Mason is perfectly believable as Janice Templeton, a woman who agonizes over the suffering of her daughter at something she doesnít quite comprehend.  Handsome as he is, you just want to smack John Beck sometimes for putting his daughter through that final hypnosis.  And Susan Swift - she simply wows the audience with her terrified wailing and screaming, going from a happy-go-lucky girl one minute to a tortured and suffering child another. 

            This movie so stuck in my mind, that I eventually read the book and found it to be just as spooky as the film, much more descriptive and that much more frightening during Ivyís episodes.  Audrey Rose is a tale of a possession of sorts, not demonic possession as in The Exorcist of course, but possession nonetheless.  Ivy doesnít understand her nightmares, doesnít understand why she is drawn to fire.  This is Audrey Rose attempting to retake her life, living through Ivy and Ivy is simply struggling to stay alive as her own person.  The whole idea is disturbing, even more so when you realize that the novel was loosely based on a true story.

            Watching clips of the film after all these years still freaks me out, the screams of Ivy/Audrey Rose still sending chills up and down my spine.  Fans of films like The Exorcist, The Omen and The Reincarnation of Peter Proud will enjoy this movie immensely.  However, I believe any classic horror film fan will find much to enjoy in the movie Audrey Rose, a forgotten classic that scared the heck out of me as a kid.


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