Lets Scare Jessica To Death

As a child of the 70's there are movies in which the whole generation shares as touchstones of pure terror.  One of them was the hallowed Don't be Afraid of the Dark.  Which used to play regularly on the late Saturday Afternoon feature flick.  Sometimes as the Friday 8pm movie.  Whenever a network needed to fill the airwaves.  I guess no one cared that it ran during prime hours for kids.  Hence a whole generation was traumatized by little demons calling for Kim Darby's Sally.  Other movies included in this shared terror were Trilogy of Terror (the voodoo doll simultaneously hilarious and terrifying), Burnt Offerings (the chauffeur, sweet gods the CHAUFFEUR!) and Night of the Living Dead.

Lets Scare Jessica To Death was also included in this group as well.  However, luckily for my childhood psyche, I missed it when it was on the air.  After scaring a generation of 70's children, it disappeared for years on end.  It was no longer aired on television, it had a small VHS release to no fanfare.  It appeared briefly on DVD but then disappeared once more.  Recently, in the past year, it surfaced on Itunes and Amazon to frighten a whole new generation of film fans.

So I decided to rent it and check out if it lived up to its hype.

Oh fates...it did...it did.

The film is very low Fi, practically no special effects.  There is just one jump scare.  Strangely, it isn't a film that you can claim terrifies in a conventional sense.  It is a monster movie without the monster.  It is a haunting without ghosts.  What the film manages to invoke in viewers is completely through subliminal visual and audio tricks.  Despite nothing really wicked being shown (until the climax), the film is a study in paranoia.  It creeps up on fans until we, like the heroine, are jumping at the slightest shadow.

All of this can work because the film has complete faith in the talent of its actors particularly Zohra Lampert.  I don't want to discuss the plot really because that would give far too much away.  Just rent it as soon as possible for a scary good time.

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