Friday, September 21, 2007

LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH



I remember this movie being on TV alot when I was a kid. I also remember being afraid to watch it cause it sounded so damn spooky. Well, I'm all grown up now and it was time to face my fears. So, I got up the nerve and rented it.

Yawn...Wow - what a boring horror film. It might as well be called LET'S BORE THE GOYA BEAN LADY TO DEATH because that's a more accurate description of what JESSICA is. Not a terrible film - just a quiet one.

John D. Hancock (not the guy who signed the Declaration of Indepence or started the insurance company) directed this 1971 snoozefest. The plot revolves around Jessica (played by Zohra Lampert, bean-pusher extraordinaire), a looney woman who was recently released from a nuthouse. Desiring a fresh start, she moves from the big city to an abandoned creepy old New England farmhouse with her nerdy husband Duncan and his hunky friend Woody. Once they arrive they discover an attractive guitar-playing young hippie chick squatting in their new home. Jessica invites Emily to stay for the night, hoping that her and Woody will pair off. Unfortunately it seems Emily would rather pair off with Duncan.

Nevertheless, Jessica decides to invite Emily to LIVE with them all on the farm!!! What the fuck? Then Jessica finds an old photo from the 1880s in the attic - and Emily is in the photo!!! Is she a ghost? A vampire? Or is Jessica just crazy? We then learn that the woman in photo lived in the house and drowned on her wedding day. When Jessica and Duncan go into town to try to sell some of the crap they find attic, they discover that all the menfolk are weird and have patches on their necks and arms. Hmmm...

Well, you'd think this would be enough for Jessica and company to high tail it back to the city, but no - they stay and things continue to get strange. Especially after a mysterious little girl leads Jessica to a dead body. I'm not gonna spoil the plot any further, becuase I really think this film is worth seeing. Just NOT when you are already sleepy!



JESSICA is not really a *bad* movie, but I just wish it were better - and scarier. I know we've been desensitized by modern horror films, but JESSICA sometimes made me feel like I weas watching a really long Maxwell House International Coffee commercial. Maybe the misleading title is why I expected to actually be SCARED TO DEATH, not driven to distraction.

The simple musical score is effective and Lampert is quite charming in her natural awkwardness. The style of the movie invokes the far superior ROSEMARY'S BABY, so if you're a fan of quiet, creppy films with very little action - check this one out. I'll give it 7 out of 10 "Huhs?".

There's actually a very well-done fan site here.

4 comments:

Mike said...

This movie sounds familiar.. I think I saw it once late at night with my Dad while I was trying to stay awake. However, I dont really remember it well at all. Wich means I must have fell asleep.

Derek said...

Now JESSICA I like a lot...saw it at the drive-in when
I was a kid...it's dated, but Zora makes it work...I'm
a big Zora fan...:)

james said...

I smell a re-make!

I remember being terrified of this film as a kid, but have never seen
it all the way through.

Lynne said...

This movie is actually very creepy and doesn't need to rely on excessive gore and sex to keep your interest like most of the horror films made post 1980. I originally saw this on late night TV in 1978 and it is still one of my favorites to this day.