6.5/10
6,233
135 user 87 critic

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 27 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:

John D. Hancock (as John Hancock)

Writers:

John D. Hancock (as Ralph Rose), Lee Kalcheim (as Norman Jonas)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Zohra Lampert ... Jessica
Barton Heyman ... Duncan
Kevin O'Connor Kevin O'Connor ... Woody
Gretchen Corbett ... The Girl
Alan Manson Alan Manson ... Sam Dorker
Mariclare Costello ... 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 »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Killed Sam Dorker? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$180,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director John Hancock got the directing job on Jaws 2 (in which he was later fired on) based on the lake scene where Jessica discovers in fright the woman in white underwater. See more »

Goofs

When Emily is playing the lute in the kitchen her strumming is different from the music and the sound is that of a guitar. See more »

Quotes

Jessica: I sit here and I can't believe that it happened. And yet I have to believe it. Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don't know which is which.
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Connections

Featured in Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues from Hell (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Teetering on the edge of sanity the horrors awaiting poor Jessica are worth watching
25 May 2013 | by Zachar_LaskewiczSee all my reviews

The lurid title could easily side-track you from what is essentially an extremely frightening exploration of a woman's descent into madness. You can read it, of course, in a material sense as the title suggests; but everything in this film has the potential to signify something else entirely, and its this ambiguity that makes this film so macabre and interesting. Everything, from the killing of the 'mole' to the conclusion where Jessica is trapped in the middle of a lake on a barely floating boat, could be signifying or at least implying something else. Classic metaphors for the human consciousness are bodies of water; being trapped in one or drowning metaphors for madness. The films ambivalent set of monsters, from a strange set of undead elderly villagers to sexually promiscuous vampires, threaten Jessica and her sanity. The fact that there is no ultimate explanation for the strange set of phenomena that take place is also demonstrative of the horrific and inexplicable quality of psychotic behaviour for those suffering from schizophrenia (for those of us that have had the misfortune to experience it) or the side-effects of drugs. This film is really worth seeing


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