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Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 6 August 1971 (USA)
A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.

Director:

(as John Hancock)

Writers:

(as Ralph Rose), (as Norman Jonas)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Duncan
Kevin O'Connor ...
Woody
Gretchen Corbett ...
The Girl
Alan Manson ...
Sam Dorker
...
Emily
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Storyline

After a stint in a psychiatric facility Jessica, her husband and a friend move to remote farm they have recently purchased. There they find a young woman by the name of Emily living in the house and they invite her to stay. When Jessica goes for a swim in the lake, she sees a body just below the water's surface. When they go into the village to sell some old furniture, they learn that a woman by the name of Abigail Bishop drowned in the lake and her body was never found. Local folklore has that Abigail is now a vampire roaming the countryside. A mute blond girl leads her to the body of a dead man but the body is not there when Jessica goes for help. Jessica and those around begin to wonder if she is losing her mind. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Leave your insanity at the door. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for terror/violence and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 August 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What Killed Sam Dorker?  »

Box Office

Budget:

$180,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barton Heyman later appeared in The Exorcist (1973) and Zohra Lampert in The Exorcist III (1990). See more »

Goofs

The old man's voice when Duncan asks him where there is an antique shop nearby doesn't match his mouth. See more »

Quotes

Emily: [Emily and Duncan have just finished playing a song together] Wow, terrific! He's really something! I mean, really.
Jessica: He's an important man. He was with the Philharmonic.
Emily: Are you going to try to find someplace around here to play?
Woody: No, he's gonna farm. Raise apples, have a garden... get back to nature. He's a nut.
Jessica: *I'm* the nut.
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User Reviews

 
"Dreams or nightmares, madness or sanity..." it's amazing
16 June 2001 | by (northeastern PA) – See all my reviews

Unjustly neglected, Let's Scare Jessica to Death ranks with The Haunting (1963) as a classic of understated horror. Everything about it is brilliantly eerie--from the tombstone etchings to the hostile townsfolk to the whispering voices in Jessica's head. From beginning to end, there is a distinct impression that beneath this picturesque rural setting something is very wrong...and this sense builds slowly and lyrically, leading up to a breathtaking shock-twist climax. And still, as in The Haunting, we're left with the question, "Was it real?"

Benefiting from a well-utilized low budget and beautiful color photography, this is one of the most subtly scary motion pictures you'll ever find. The characters are well-rounded and brought to life by a team of talented character actors. Zohra Lampert positively glows as the sweet, delicate Jessica; she is superbly expressive and keeps you firmly at her side all the way. Her performance should be studied as a casebook example of how to play a fragile, sympathetic character. And this rich, highly imaginative Gothic chiller is essential viewing for fans of intelligent terror.


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