a list that is trying to contain every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the…
Let's Scare Jessica to Death
Nightmare or sanity... which is which?
Newly released from a mental ward, Jessica hopes to return to life the way it was before her nervous breakdown. But when Jessica moves to a country house with her husband and a close friend, she finds a mysterious girl living in there who may or may not be a vampire. Jessica's terror and paranoia resurface as evil forces surround her, making her wonder: Are the visions real or is she slipping back into madness?
Part 9 of Hoop-Tober
"Nightmares or dreams? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which."
“Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” said absolutely no one ever.
Instead, it should be, “Let’s Take a Bite out of Jessica’s Day”. Now that’s an appropriate title.
Let’s Take a Bite out of Jessica’s Day is an odd little movie. From the get-go, the atmosphere and creepy mood come out of nowhere like the train in Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat and, to be honest, I was close to running out of my room because I thought the atmosphere and mood were coming right towards me.
Zohra Lampert stars as the titular character, Jessica. Jessica just got…
Fascinating atmospheric horror that feels so ahead of it's time. Ahead of most horror films made in America at the time, very much in the vein euro gothic horror. The closest i could think in terms of mood and framing will be Mario Bava. It's an effective slowburn horror tale that plays tricks with the audience, in a clever way. Never showing any contempt for the viewer. It's one of those few movies that truly feels that it fell from another dimension. Deserves a criterion BR pronto.
John Hancock’s debut feature is a film with a very misleading title that makes it sound like it will be another Diabolique rip-off. Thankfully the film bucks expectation and delivers a disquieting and surprisingly effective psychological horror.
The eponymous Jessica is a young married woman recently released from a sanitorium. Along with her husband and family friend she moves to a secluded Connecticut farm house to begin a new life but discovers the troubling visions and voices continue to plague her in her new, possibly haunted, home. Based on an urban legend, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, mixes familiar supernatural elements (vampires, ghosts etc.) with the fragile sanity of its protagonist.
Despite the genuine lack of chills or scares, Hancock…
No foolin' - this features one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard. Hopefully some nerd has put it up for download somewhere because I intend to listen to it a LOT in the coming weeks.
I'm fascinated by horror movies from this era; the time between NOTLD and Last House/Texas Chainsaw when the genre was clearly on the cusp of massive change but hadn't quite gotten there yet. Movies like this or Messiah Of Evil have a surrealism that seems unique to the period - though I did wonder if Donny C watched this before making Phantasm because I saw a few parallels in terms of tone and blah blah blah.
Anyway whatever, this movie is fucking amazing and that ending is so great. I am PUMPED to listen to the Projection Booth episode on this on my way to work tomorrow.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The October Ordeal 2012 day #31a: Let's Scare Jessica to Death
Before Last House on the Left, Black Christmas, Halloween and Texas Chain Saw Massacre, there is Let's Scare Jessica to Death, perhaps the first seminal North American independent horror film. Synthesizing Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Living Dead, John Hancock's adult, "real folks" first feature matches style and thematic focus in a way that predates the classic genre films of the 1970s. While he had yet to make his masterpieces by 1971, Jean Rollin feels present, even if the filmmakers only accidentally craft a film indebted to his work.
Discharged from a psychiatric hospital for undisclosed symptoms, Jessica is taken by her aloof, insensible husband and a nearly…
The fact that this an obviously low budget, debut feature may explain why it at times feels so slight, but nevertheless; this very quality ends up working in the movie's favor, especially once Jessica's mind begins collapsing in on itself. The aesthetic is simple but pleasurable, and the film is really more of a drama with heavy tones of psychological distress than a straight horror outing at the end of the day. It's a slow burn for sure, but the game cast and tense direction more than make up for it. Things appear to be so normal at times that when the shit hits the fan and the voices inside Jessica's head make their triumphant return, the audience identifies immediately…
The film to which It Follows owes its soundtrack.
Not by making her watch this you wont. Unless she is afraid of apples, old men or 70's plinky plony soundtracks.
There isn't much to the first hour of Let's Scare Jessica to Death, but it makes great use of the raw, low-budget cinema verite style that I find so effective in the counterculture movies of its era. Lampert is extremely engaging as Jessica, awkwardly childlike and free-spirited but also wary of the cracks in her mental foundation. Although she can be a little annoying at times, her performance and personality make the movie work, and her lack of confidence in her own sanity permeates everything. When events ramp-up toward the climax, the good work done by the actors — and the skilfully laid-back but troubled tone set by director John D. Hancock — pay-off by elevating some potentially silly low-rent scares with an impactful genuineness.
A woman is maybe crazy, or maybe there's a vampire. It's less exciting than it sounds. This is a slow, quiet psych drama with no scares, that would probably fare better were it not billed as horror. The only saving grace is its slightly weird 70's aesthetic, but it's not enough for this film that simply doesn't do very much. Not awful but kind of a non-starter.
Part of Horror-Thon 2015
I think I liked this movie. I can't tell. I had trouble concentrating on it. The lead performance is unbelievably bad which was a little distracting, but it certainly is unlike any horror film of that era. I don't know! Leave me alone!
70s movies are just scarier than others. Made in any other decade, this would've been yawnsome
A strange film which spooked me and bored me at the same time.
I love the way certain movies from this period look all gauzy and hazy but also feel like industrial films or cigarette commercials. (See also: early Romero, Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
film #18 of my hoop-tober 2.0 challenge
"dreams or nightmares, madness or sanity? i don't know which is which"
a slow-burning genre-bender. the actors are unknowns and their acting is unadorned and naturalistic, which adds to its charm. i was surprised at how seamlessly the film transitioned between its eerie and uneasy horror film moments into a tender family drama without the latter ever feeling like a tacked-on backstory to fill the run-time. an interesting watch, if ultimately a bit underwhelming
We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…
I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…