45 user 9 critic

Penny Dreadful (2005)

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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Credited cast:
Jessica Clausen (as Emily Vacchiano)
Peter DuPre ...
Gary Stender
Donald Acquin
John Thompson ...
Trevor Acquin
Leo Geter ...
Barry Simms
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 »


Horror | Thriller






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?


Lesleh Donaldson was originally slated to play a large part but was replaced with Tina Krause due to scheduling conflicts. See more »


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


David Clausen: [watching Trudie as she grabs her coat] She looks like she should counting ballots in Flordia.
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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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

DVD review 'Penny Dreadful"
2 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When it comes down to reviewing a film you've got sit down and look at more than a few things. Were all the characters developed thoroughly, was the story interesting – original, the logic of the film and its situations, etc. In a regular 90 minute film, it's hard to get all of this in and get it right on the money. In a short film, it's much worse. Instead of a full hour and a half or more, you now have less than an hour to put all of these elements – or at least a few of them – and still have everything turn out to well. Upon sitting down to review Penny Dreadful I knew five things, one this was a short film, two it had a lot of rave reviews from festivals and online sites alike, three it was a ghost story, four there was another film out there sharing the same title and five; it had Betsy Palmer in it. Other than that, my mind was pretty much a clean slate. The film starts off with our main character Jessica, along with her husband, has just inherited a house her aunt left them in her estate. Due to some taxing law in the state of New York they cannot keep the house and have to sell it but decide to live there while waiting for it to come off the market. While in the house Jessica starts to see apparitions of the paranormal kind and immediately decides the home is haunted. Dismissing the spirit of that of just a playful child Jessica soon begins to unravel a mystery of dire consequences leading to the story's shocking conclusion. I was surprised after watching this one. I heard many mixed things about it and most that were going in the film's favor say it worked as a short. Me, I think it needed a lot more fleshing out. The story was more than interesting, the characters were likable and the acting was above average. This film just screamed to be longer but only clocked in at under a half an hour. I liked the film for what it was but could see a lot more being done with it. The entire film felt too rushed and Betsy Palmer's character was underused. All of the film's characters seemed like there were underused. Everyone could've been built on more as well as the film's story. But I have to commemorate the filmmakers for doing their best on the short film as the final product is no schlep of a film, it's actually rather good. One would not complain a short film was too short if they didn't like what they saw and wanted to see more. I'm sure you have figured that out on your own though there haven't you? Yeah, you smart ass. Anyways, the film works in the areas it's supposed to. It manages to hold onto the viewer and keep a firm icy grasp within its short running time. I could imagine this happening even if the film was longer because as I said, in its short run – it is a very well done, creepy little film. My only real complaint, aside from it being too short, was the lack of use of Betsy Palmer's character. She's only in the film for a better time of 5 minutes or so then is quickly rushed off screen while everyone else continues on. Not that anyone else in the film was bad; I just felt that Betsy's character could have been used more in the story. One of the major things I have to point out in this film was the way it was shot. It looks so much like an old school Canadian horror film from back in the 70's its amazing. From what I understand this is what the director of the film was going for and I must address that they pulled that off and with flying colors to boot. The film builds up a lot of suspense in its shots of the long dark hallways, in the empty rooms as Jessica explores the house after hearing strange noises for the first time. All of it fits together very nicely and works well. Penny Dreadful is no classic film by any means, but it never tries to be. All it ever tries to do is be a smart and original ghost story with one hell of a twist which it pulls off wonderfully. Director Bryan Norton is now a well known horror fan who manages to incorporate several of horror's biggest franchise stars, hey where else can you see the original Mrs. Voorhees in the same film as the first man to play her grown son? That's what I thought.

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