Jan 072020
 

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is certainly an odd title and really doesn’t factor into the plot, which was a tad uneven at times, but I still found the film, which I discovered has a cult following to be entertaining enough thanks to a charismatic cast.

 

 

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
(1971)

Genre(s): Horror, Supernatural
Shout Factory | NR – 89 min. – $29.99 | January 28, 2020

Date Published: 01/07/2020 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: John Hancock
Writer(s): Norman Jonas and Ralph Rose (written by)
Cast: Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O’Connor, Gretchen Corbett, Alan Manson, Mariclare Costello


DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurette, Interviews, Gallery, TV Spot, Radio Spot, Trailer
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1


Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 40.40 GB
Total Bitrate: 41.03 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.25/5


Plot Synopsis: Released from an institution after suffering a nervous breakdown, Jessica (ZOHRA LAMPERT) seeks the tranquility of a secluded home in Connecticut to help make her recovery complete. But instead of a restful recuperation with her husband (BARTON HEYMAN) and close friend (KEVIN O’CONNOR) in the New England countryside, Jessica soon finds herself falling into a swirling vortex of madness And an even more unsettling discovery is that the entire region seems to be under the influence of a mysterious woman (MARICLARE COSTELLO) who has been living in the supposedly empty house. Jessica’s fear and dread only intensify when she discovers that an “undead” girl, tragically drowned long ago, on her wedding day. Is she back to take vengeance?

Quick Hit Review: First off, the title Let’s Scare Jessica to Death doesn’t make a whole lot of sense once you see the movie, it’s a unique title but doesn’t really connect with the plot. With that said, I found the movie pretty engaging even though it is a bit uneven introducing a vampire element that’s never fully realized (or utilized) until the end and even then, you do get one of my pet peeves with these supernatural horror films where the villain seems to toy with his/her victims rather than swiftly turning (or killing) them (The Conjuring universe movies do this as well).

I will say, even though it is a somewhat of a muddled plot, the setting had a great eerie vibe (but not to the point of being in-your-face) and even some unsettling scenes, to go along with a great performance from Zohra Lampert as the titular Jessica, and Mariclare Costello had her fair share of noteworthy moments, having the right amount of seductive mystery yet still a grounded appeal.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5


Audio Commentary — Director John Hancock and Producer Bill Badalato sit down for a new track, looking back on making the movie, telling stories from the farm.

Interviews:

  • Art Saved My Life (16:25) — Composer Orville Stoeber
  • Scare Tactics: Reflections on a Seventies Horror Classic (23:44) — Film Historian Kim Newman

Both of these newly recorded interviews provide some insights into the movie, with Stoeber going into detail on composing the music while Newman gets into some the historical elements.

She Walks These Hills: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death Locations Then and Now (6:49) — This is a host-less video showing scenes from the film followed by the location circa 2019.

Promotional Material:

  • Theatrical Trailer (2:58)
  • TV Spot (0:55)
  • Radio Spot (1:03)
  • Still Gallery (4:39)

 


VIDEO – 4.75/5


Shout Factory releases Let’s Scare Jessica to Death onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a 1080p high-definition transfer, likely provided by Paramount. Although this probably didn’t undergo some sort of restoration, I still found the picture quality to be rather impressive with sharp and well defined detail, especially on the close-up shots, and colors appear to be on par for both the setting and timeframe, meaning it’s not terribly vibrant and instead wasn’t artificially boosted for the HD transfer. I didn’t notice any major instances of dust marks or specs so all in all a pretty clean picture.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


The movie includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono track and honestly was quite surprised at how strong, yet also not overly loud but even keeled, track providing both clear dialogue but also some impressive depth at key moments. As singular lossless tracks go, this is one of the better ones I’ve come across.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is certainly an odd title and really doesn’t factor into the plot, which was a tad uneven at times, but I still found the film, which I discovered has a cult following (including Stephen King) to be entertaining enough thanks to a charismatic cast, most notably Zohra Lampert. This Blu-ray release from Shout Factory does offer excellent video and audio transfers and a solid selection of bonus features.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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