Forgotten Horror Movie Is A Chilling Ghost Story Based On Popular Urban Legend, Stream Immediately

By Brian Myers | Published

The 1988 film Lady in White is difficult to categorize into one genre. It’s a brilliant combination of a supernatural thriller and a murder mystery, with a little family drama thrown in for good measure. The modern retelling of an old urban legend was brought before audiences that at the time were unappreciative but has since grown to become a cult classic. It’s been notoriously difficult to find streaming at times, but now Tubi has made it available for free viewing.

Frankie Sees Ghosts

Lady in White follows Frankie Scarlatti, a nine-year-old boy who lives with his widower father, his elderly grandparents, and his older brother Geno. Frankie falls prey to a Halloween prank that sees him locked in a cloakroom at the school. After falling asleep, he is awakened by the ghost of a young girl whose murder is reenacted in front of his eyes.

After that scare, Frankie immediately gets another one. Someone breaks into the cloakroom and begins digging through the furnace register. When this person sees Frankie, he attacks and nearly kills him. After Frankie is rescued and revived, he discovers that he might be the only survivor of a serial killer who has targeted young children in the area over the past decade.

An Older Frankie Narrates This Ghost Story

Lady in White becomes a murder mystery as Frankie and Geno try to discover the killer. Frankie is personally motivated by the ghost of the young girl he first saw in the cloakroom that begins to appear to him when he is alone regularly.

The movie is storytelling at its finest. The first-person narrative from Frankie as an adult carries the story throughout, rarely deviating from the main character’s perspective. Frankie’s point of view in the film is a mix of what he is feeling as a nine-year-old boy and his retrospective as an adult.

The Ghostly Effects Make For A Creepy Experience

The film succeeds in chilling audiences with the narration, but the visuals on the screen elevate fear to new levels, often at unexpected times during Lady in White‘s 113-minute run time. One child is oblivious when a specter is gliding down a stairwell behind him in silence, a ghostly figure is seen peering in young Frankie’s window as he sleeps, the reenactment of the murder played out by the spirits. . .these serve as only a few examples of how director Frank LaLoggia is able to translate terror from the script to the screen without the aid of dialogue, gore, or over-the-top special effects.

The Cast

Lady in White is also elevated by the acting of Lucas Haas, a child actor whose screen credits were minimal before being cast as Frankie Scarlatti. Alex Rocco (The Godfather) steps away from his typical roles as a film heavy to play a believable loving father, and Len Cariou’s portrayal of a seemingly normal and caring family friend (who is harboring a horrific secret), is one of the most overlooked acting jobs of the decade.

It’s also worth mentioning that most of us who saw Lady in White in the 1980s were only familiar with the film’s co-star Katherine Helmond from her portrayal as the sassy Mona in Who’s the Boss and the ditzy Jessica Tate on the comedy series Soap. Lady in White was a great opportunity for Helmond’s dramatic acting to shine through, and her performance is a perfect 10/10.

Lady In White Is A Popular Urban Legend


LaLoggia pulled triple duty with Lady in White, not only directing the film but also serving as a producer and screenwriter. For inspiration, LaLoggia used the old folk tale of a ghostly woman who is searching for her lost child. Versions of the “Lady in White” urban legend are prominent in different parts of the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and numerous locations across the European continent.

The film gets high marks for how LaLoggia is able to spin an old tale into a modern nightmare and use good old-fashioned storytelling and excellent direction to instill fear in audiences.

Lady in White can be streamed for free on Tubi.