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Penny Dreadful (2005)

 -  Short | Horror | Thriller  -  26 June 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 490 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 10 critic

Jessica and David Clausen are an upstart couple who come face to face with the Supernatural after inheriting a beautiful townhouse in New York City's West Village District.



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Title: Penny Dreadful (2005)

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Credited cast:
Jessica Clausen (as Emily Vacchiano)
David Clausen
Trudie Tredwell
Peter DuPre ...
Gary Stender
Jodi Kelly ...
Donald Acquin
John Thompson ...
Trevor Acquin
Leo Geter ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eddy Trotter ...


An upstart couple from New Jersey inherit a beautiful $7 million townhouse in NYC's West Village District. Forced to sell the place because of taxes, they move in for a few months to make some renovations. But Jessica begins experiencing strange occurrences in the house: noises from downstairs, a blonde child in a red sweater looking at her from the front window, strange telephone calls in the middle of the night. Instead of being scared off, she embraces it. It's exciting living in a haunted house. Jessica figures out that what she's experienced is an event from the past. Is the house trying to tell her something? Does it hold a terrible secret? She enlists the aid of an eccentric psychic in hopes of solving the mystery. But the psychic insists the house is not haunted. Is Jessica losing her mind? All is revealed on Halloween night, when Jessica, alone in the house, wakes up in a pool of blood that is not her own.... Written by E Media Wire

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Let's Scare Jessica to Death See more »


Short | Horror | Thriller




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Release Date:

26 June 2007 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Audience Award winner of Screamfest, Hollywood 2005. See more »


Jessica's shoes change from shot to shot in the opening titles sequence as she walks through the Village. See more »


Jessica Clausen: I've seen a man with a gun and a blond child, a little boy.
Trudie Tredwell: Oh, those Children! Mischevious little devils. Especially when they're dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Brad Norton 1956-2005 See more »


Features The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1968) See more »


Silent Night
Written by Joseph Mohr, John Freeman Young (as John Young) and Franz Gruber (as Franz X. Gruber)
Performed by Greenwich Village Children's Choir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

DVD Review
24 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Bryan Norton's Penny Dreadful (not to be confused with the Richard Brandes/After Dark Horror Fest film of the same name) is an atmospheric ghost story that doesn't reinvent the wheel but which skillfully builds through solid pacing and slick camera-work. The film follows a young couple, Jessica and David Clausen (Emily Vacchiano and Sebastian Lacause), who have moved from New Jersey into Manhattan where they take up residence in the townhouse that they've inherited in the West Village courtesy of Jessica's late aunt. The house needs a bit of work and the state is going to hit them with an inheritance tax - as such, they can't afford to keep it and so they decide to live in while they fix it up to sell.

Not long after they've moved in, however, Jessica starts hearing and seeing strange things in the night, most disturbingly, a spectral man with a shotgun roaming the hallway. She also hears things coming from downstairs and sees a small blonde boy appear in the front window. Jessica, understandably enough, begins to think that the house is haunted.

Rather than flee the home, she decides to try and figure out what they ghosts want. In order to get to the root of this she enlists the aid of an elderly woman skilled in communicating with ghosts (Betsy Palmer), but the woman swears up and down that there are no ghosts in the house at all. Jessica starts to wonder if she's losing it, until one night on Halloween, it all hits the fan...

Penny Dreadful has an ending that really pays off and makes you want to watch it all over again. Be sure to stick around through the end credits for a little extra clarification on the twist. Adding to the film is the slick cinematography and careful lighting. Norton's film is a good looking one, and a carefully shot one. The subtle camera work lets the shadows creep in and rather than bombard us with visuals of the supernatural early on, the story lets us move along with Jessica as she investigates - we never know more than she does. Performance wise things shape up fairly well with the two leads doing a fine job and with good work all around from the supporting cast.

The first extra is a commentary track courtesy of Bryan Norton and a moderator. Norton talks about the historical importance of the location shooting (Fulci fans may be impressed!) before going on to talk about problems that he ran in with his original DP. Norton covers casting and cinematography and explains how and why certain scenes were handled. Norton, a film teacher, talks about utilizing as many horror movie fans and friends into his crew as possible, as he feels it helps to use people who do not have contempt for the genre. It's an informative and well paced track that provides a detailed look at the creation of this short film. Up next is a featurette entitled Building The Bad House (11:10) begins by explaining what a penny dreadful is before taking us behind the scenes of the production while it was shooting. We see some storyboards and get some thoughts from the cast and crew members on how they feel about the project. Betsy Palmer shows up and dances an odd dance for the camera before sitting down for an interview. We see some of the green screen shots being set up and we see some of the effects work being created.

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