Secrets in the Attic (1992)

Starring: Amy Rowse, Lindsay Jackson, Rebekah Baker

Directed by Dianne Haak

Format: VHS

Tagline: “A mysterious dollhouse comes alive when two sisters discover its startling secrets!”

“With a mom who doesn’t ‘understand’ her, and a kid sister to cramp her style, 12-year-old Amy Treloar is looking for some independence.  Spending the summer with her quirky aunt Clare seems to be just what the doctor ordered…until Amy discovers a secret attic and a magical dollhouse with a bizarre secret, turning everyone’s life upside down!  When Amy finds out her grandparents died in Aunt Clare’s house under mysterious circumstances–some thirty years ago, she starts investigating.  Amy’s convinced the dolls are trying to tell her something, but no one will believe her.  Only when her pesky sister LuAnn joins her, is Amy able to summon up the courage to go back up in the attic one more time.  Together, the sleuthing sisters decipher the dollhouse’s message, solve a 30-year old mystery and learn a valuable lesson about the importance of family.”

The Story:

This TV movie is based off of the book The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. In fifth grade, we read the book and then watched the movie. Never before have I remembered so vividly anything we watched in school (except maybe Voyage of the Mimi). It was actually scary to us youngins. The idea of these grandparents being murder and there being a haunted dollhouse in the attic. And then the grandmother’s CRY. Oh my god. I’ll post the clip after my thoughts, but holy shit it was scary. And it stuck with me ever since. A few years ago, that cry rang in my brain, and I needed to find this movie. I contacted my elementary school and asked if they still had the movie. They did. Then I didn’t watch it after I borrowed it and had to return it. So then I tried to find it on my own, and ended up buying the cheapest VHS copy of it I could…for $40. Yes, I know, it’s ridiculous to spend that much money on a VHS movie of something I saw in fifth grade. It’s cool though, my mom got it for me. Anyway, here’s what I thought.

My Thoughts:

  • Vidmark Entertainment?…more like SKIDMARK. lololololol sorry.
  • Actually, the slow-motion sequence in the beginning is GREAT. Not too slow, and works well as a flashback.
  • However, every lamp in their house is knocked over.
  • This florist is being a complete asshole to a mentally challenged girl. And I remember that sequence almost EXACTLY from fifth grade.
  • I wish Wes Craven directed this.
  • Why does Aunt Clare live in a house where all the furniture is covered in sheets?
  • That is a large dollhouse.
  • Aunt Clare was spoiled rotten at 15 if she didn’t like this dollhouse. But, you know, her grandparents also got MURDERED, so.
  • Clare ain’t got no fraaaaaaaands.
  • Pre-teen angst.
  • Amy’s mom is a bitch.
  • “Poor stupid LuAnn, she doesn’t know about diddlysquat.”
  • Everybody has stupid pants in this movie.
  • “Wait til you see what’s up in the attic.” WHAT IS IT? SECRETS?!?!?!
  • “You know, this is a great house.” Yeah, all except for the murderous past.
  • Yo, Aunt Clare’s fudge is probably dope.
  • This is the prequel to Amityville Dollhouse.
  • Serious library snooping.
  • Oh man, Amy just found out about the grandparents.
  • Clare’s BOYFRIEND got killed on the same night? Oh man 😦
  • Any back story on why Clare cooks so often?
  • Oh my god, Amy is picking up tapes for the party. Like cassette tapes. Early-90s birthdays were the best.
  • “I know how to read. I made a potholder.” Oh LuAnn. You simple, simple girl.
  • The police questioned a cleaning lady and handyman. Any more leads?
  • Aunt Clare is PISSED at Amy. And now she thinks that Amy put the dolls in the murder positions. Oh man.
  • Nothing scarier than a grandfather clock at a dutch tilt. 15 year-old looks like she’s dating a 30 year-old man.
  • Almost none of these actors did anything other than this TV movie.
  •  LuAnn is cuddling with her sock puppet.
  • Amy just said “no” to having eggrolls at her birthday party. What an idiot.
  • “She’s never been challenged.” Bad choice of words when talking about LuAnn.
  • Nobody remembers their previous emotions about an
  • Oh my god, they are not singing “The Ghost Of John” at the birthday party. Who does this?
  • The song is summoning the attic dollhouse spirits. I think.
  • LuAnn has escaped!
  • Family turmoil.
  • My favorite part is when they repeat back what JUST happened in the film, like, five minutes earlier.
  • The way the film treats a mentally challenged character is offensive. I understand that there is supposed to be “trouble” with her, but it’s unacceptable the way she’s portrayed.
  • Stop-motion murder reenactments with dolls are scary.
  • Some weird morals going on at the end, here. What the hell?
  • Parts of this were still scary. I hate myself.

The Verdict:

It’s a long, drawn out, repetitive mystery that could easily be told in 60 minutes. The acting is rough, and the storyline with the mentally challenged sister doesn’t translate well into early-90s TV. But the “scary” parts were still well worth it to see again. When you’re younger, you can easily forgive the mood swings and emotional shifts in characters, but now it’s just difficult to understand why any character is feeling the way that they do. But like, just watch this clip and you’ll understand why I needed this.


2 responses to “Secrets in the Attic (1992)

  1. Secrets in the attic i loved it i would like to buy is

  2. Audrey Gutierrez

    I use to have this VHS when i was younger until someone borrowed it and lost it.. I’ve been looking for this movie but can’t seem to find it. i really would love to have it.

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