Saturday, October 18, 2008

LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH

While I wait for my laptop to get repaired, here's another classic spooky movie review for y'all. Enjoy! I remember this movie being on TV a lot 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 evokes the far superior ROSEMARY'S BABY, so if you're a fan of quiet, creepy 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.

2 comments:

Writer said...

Yeah. I, too, was amazed at how boring this movie was. Most horror/b-movie movies that I've seen from the 60s and 70s at least seemed interested in telling their story. The movie seemed just as bored with itself as I was.

doug said...

This is one horror film from the 70s that needs to be remade. The story could be so much more effective if done the right way.