HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Outrage
Syndicate Sadists
Lego Batman Movie, The
Stockholm My Love
Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.
Moulin Rouge
Morgan
Deathstalker
Harmonium
Alice
Pop Pirates
Sully
Tsunambee
Aftermath
Satan's Blood
John Wick: Chapter 2
Death in the Garden
Autopsy of Jane Doe, The
Tatie Danielle
Toni Erdmann
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley
Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith
Ironmaster
Interplanetary Surplus Male and Amazon Women of Outer Space, The
Disorderlies
Vision, The
Tall Guy, The
Stunt Squad
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
In the Doghouse
   
 
Newest Articles
The Italian Jobs: Eurocrime! on DVD
And Then? 6 Hollywood Films That Should Have Had Sequels But Didn't
Approaching Menace: The Frighteners on DVD
Oz Factor: Strange Australia on the Cusp of the 80s
Dynamic Dozen: 80s Action in 12 Movies Part 2
Dynamic Dozen: 80s Action in 12 Movies Part 1
Manor On Movies: The Unguarded Moment (1956)
Manor On Movies: Curse Of The Dead (1961)
Q & A with San Francisco Silent Film Festival artistic director Anita Monga
Put Your Bigfoot In It: Bigfoot on Film
   
 
  Let's Scare Jessica to Death Just Because You're Paranoid...Buy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: John Hancock
Stars: Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O'Connor, Gretchen Corbett, Alan Manson, Mariclare Costello
Genre: Horror, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Journeying in their hearse, Jessica (Zohra Lampert), her husband and their friend head off for a new life in the country, but Jessica, who has a history of mental illness, starts to believe the area is haunted when stopping briefly at a graveyard she catches siight of a young woman - but was she there at all? Their new neighbours don't seem particularly friendly in this small community and although she is delighted with the house they are to settle in, Jessica grows suspicious of the young woman who has joined them there... yet is she simply allowing her psychosis to return?

Co-written by the director John Hancock with Lee Kalcheim, this is an eerie, low budget paranoia-fest with an irresistable title. After looking to carch the viewer off guard with Emily's entrance (the young woman - Mariclare Costello), prospects for entertainment don't look too promising when she produces a guitar and commences a singsong. But don't be fooled as soon a standard "is she going mad or not?" plotline has escalated into a weird, unsettling nightmare for which there is little explanation, especially as the menacing folk of the nearby town seem to be involved with whatever might be going on.

The simple reason for Jessica's suspicion over Emily could be the fact that her husband gets along with her so well, and jealousy the cause, but once the newcomer suggests a late night seance alarm bells should be ringing. Although they don't seem to get through to anyone (or anything), unless you count the whispered voices that we assume to be part of Jessica's thoughts, this occurence acts as a kind of trigger for whatever happens. From then on, even something as innocent as a swim in the nearby lake can take on a terrifying sense of dread for our heroine.

What makes this situation especially cruel is that Jessica is doing her best to be "normal" in a world that is twisting out of shape, so the more she tries to be friendly and accomodating - she remains a sympathetic character through her sheer vulnerability - the more this is thrown back in her face, and she can't for the life of her work out why. It might be something to do with the previous tenants of the house, who disappeared in strange circumstances, and as is noted, if you look closely at an old photograph the daughter of those tenants bears a resemblance to Emily.

In tone, the whole thing comes across as sort of a horror cross between Easy Rider and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with the ageing hippy-ish leads looking for a countryside idyll and finding a hostile community and a malevolent, supernatural force, unless it really is all in Jessica's mind. The atmosphere of trespassing in a domain that ambiguously either wants you gone or wants to possess your soul for its own ends is one that is hard to shake here. While the other actors go throught the motions adequately, the compelling Lampert gives a delicate perfromance, which makes the panicky climax all the more haunting, notably as it is left open as to what precisely was going on. Listen out for the carefully put together soundtrack, too, which includes music by Orville Stoeber.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 9097 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Hancock  (1939 - )

Born in Kansas City, Hancock worked as a theatre director throughout the 60s before receiving an Oscar nomination in 1970 for his short film Sticky My Fingers... Fleet My Feet. His feature debut, Let's Scare Jessica To Death, was an effective slice of horror, while subsequent films, such as Bang the Drum Slowly (featuring a young Robert De Niro) and Weeds were sensitively made dramas.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Bernard Cribbins
Tom Cruise
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Rachel Franke
  Desbris M
Stately Wayne Manor
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: