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October 14, 2014

Episode 188: Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

Special Guests: John D. Hancock, Lee Kalcheim
Guest Co-Host: Cameron Cloutier

We're looking at the 1971 film Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Directed by John D Hancock and based on a screenplay by , the film tells the tale of... you guessed it... Jessica (Zohra Lampert) a woman who's back from a time away at an asylum and spending some quiet time in the country with her husband and their friend.

Jessica is plagued with visions of a girl in white as well as a monstrous woman in their local lake. Are the unfriendly people of the country town trying to gaslight her? Is it the strange hippie girl they find living in their house? Or is it something truly supernatural?

Buy Let's Scare Jessica to Death on DVD
Learn more about John D. Hancock's Filmacres
Keep up with Mr. Hancock's new film, Swan Song
Visit the official Lee Kalcheim website
Visit Cameron Cloutier's
Support Cameron's Bird with a Broken Wing
Visit the Let's Scare Jessica to Death fan site
Listen to the Terror Transmission episode about Jessica.

Listen/Download Now:

"Let's Scare Jessica to Death" - The Vladimirs



  1. Great listen. Outstanding job with this Classic film.


  2. A personal favorite of mine. And just to let you guys know, maybe ten years ago or so there was talk of remaking this movie, but it was going to be a remake in name only. The central idea would be about a teenager named Jessica who is literally scared to death by a prank. Glad it never happened.

  3. Superb podcast! I'm glad you chose not to spoil the ending for this film. "Let's Scare Jessica to Death" was a staple of late night TV in NYC during the 70s/80s. I would start to watch it, but the pace was so slow I would change channels, seeing bits of it, never seeing the end. After listening twice to this podcast, I bought the DVD, and saw it through to the end. Definitely worth the wait! Well acted, wonderful score, locations, very representative in tone of a seventies low budget film. My one mistake was watching this film at 8:00 pm; I should have seen it at midnight or 3AM. Not because it is particularly scary, it something you see very late, with the house dark and shut down, and when it's over you just sit there for a while and really think about what you've just seen. The score composer wrote that seeing this film is like "watching an old dream". So right! Note: The actor playing Duncan (Barton Heyman) also played "El Segundo" in "Valdez is Coming". That last scene between El Segundo and Valdez (Burt Lancaster) is classic!

  4. I just wanted to chime in here and pass along my praise for an excellent podcast. I never knew about this film until a couple of years ago when Netflix recommended it right after I rented Halloween. I enjoyed it and wound up rewatching it only a month later. The score, acting, and scenery really put it over the top for me. Great interviews with John Hancock and Lee Kalcheim and an informative podcast. Well done.

  5. This first played on TV, ABC actually- in 1976 , prime time . So a LOT of people got exposed to it then.