Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

Movie Title: Let's Scare Jessica to Death

Year Released: 1971

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1h 29min

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Director: John D. Hancock

Writer: John D. Hancock and Lee Kalcheim

Starring: Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O'Connor, Gretchen Corbett, Alan Manson, Mariclare Costello,

Review: Upon release from an institution, Jessica (Zohra Lampert) seeks tranquility at her new secluded Connecticut home along with her husband and close friend. But Jessica's recovery doesn't quite go as planned when she begins to spiral into a sanity-shattering madness after unsettling supernatural forces surround her. Is it all in her head? Is she haunted by vengeful spirits? Or is someone trying to make her crack-up? Brace yourself for the fear and dread that come with the unthinkable act - Let's Scare Jessica to Death.

This has to be one of my top five scariest and unnerving horror flicks I have ever watched. I first saw it on TCM, late one night and I was so freaked out that I didn't sleep a wink! And with my most recent watch... I left the lights on and my eyes open all night long as I coward with the covers over my head.

The reason that I find Let's Scare Jessica to Death so frightening is Zohra Lampert fearless performance as a troubled young woman trying to trust herself, her mind, and return to the person she used to be. From the film's opening scene you get a sense that Jessica is fearful of what may happen to her if she has a relapse. We like her and want her to get better, but we soon ask ourselves, "Is she truly insane or is she the victim of inexplicable forces preying on her fragility?" Or is just the spooky looks given by actress Mariclare Costello as a mysterious drifter, Emily? You'll just have to watch and find out!

This one is more of a moody, slow burn type horror movie. No jump scares. No masked killers. Just spooky atmosphere, creepy coincidences, and spine-tingling whispers of spirits or maybe they're voices inside of Jessica's fragmented mind. The best way I can describe it is that It's a gothic, psychological horror story that will freak you out and chill you to the bone. I get creeped out just thinking about it - it really has that kind of lasting affect!

I can't recommend Let's Scare Jessica to Death enough! It's a seriously spooky scary movie that needs to be seen. It's even more terrifying if your name happens to be Jessica. After watching you be thinking, "Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don't know which is which."

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The gravestone and summary of Venture Smith that Jessica quotes and does a rubbing of in the film is, in fact, a true grave. Its location is in the Haddam, Connecticut cemetery.


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