Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Eerie, well acted thriller

Slow build and a bit of an abrupt ending

 

 

Movie Info

Movie Name: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): August 6, 1971

MPAA Rating: PG

 

let's-scare-jessica-to-death-jessica

Maybe an isolated farm house in the country isn't the best place to recover from mental problems

Jessica’s just been released from a hospital and her husband and friend decide that leaving the city for the countryside might be what Jessica (Zohra Lampert) needs.  A new house on in a New England island community however starts to bring back Jessica’s fears that she’s crazy.  When a strange girl is found living in the house, Jessica starts to wonder if it is everyone else who is crazy.

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is one of those movies that just has a creepy feel to it.  The horror is very low key and the movie is more suspenseful than anything.  The vampire aspect of the film is originally played and not really focused on as much as the idea of an invader.  There is a sense of dread hanging over the picture and if Jessica is crazy is just part of that fear.

let's-scare-jessica-to-death-swimming

Jessica, swimming can be fun if you're dead…oops, did I say dead? I meant hot…slip of the tongue.

Zorha Lampert does a nice job as Jessica herself.  The movie teeters between Jessica being crazy, and Jessica really entering a strange world that’s been invaded by the succubus like girl (Mariclare Costello).  It would have been easy to cast someone more traditionally attractive, but Zorha has a more wholesome real feel to her.  She seems to bring an interesting sense of direction and class to the role, and it is kind of a shame that she didn’t do more leading roles.

The movie has one of those ’70s feels that can’t be recreated no matter how much modern directors try.  It isn’t necessary a grindhouse and feels a bit classier.  The director John D. Hancock (who also directed Bang the Drum Slowly) through the visuals and style of the movie does a great job building the suspense.  It would have been nice to have some more time past Jessica’s “breaking point” with all the build-up, but the movie ends with a great eerie scene.

let's-scare-jessica-to-death-boat
Dammit…I should have brought a fishing pole

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is one of those movies that gained a cult standing and often was a late night staple.  It is worth seeking out and can often be found online if nothing else.  It is a fun atmospheric movie and despite a ridiculous title that is kind of demeaning to the movie, is kind of classy despite its budget.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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