LET’S SCARE UNCLE T TO DEATH.
In the summer of 1971, the whack-job horror movie titled Let’s Scare Jessica To Death was released.
Forty-eight years later, a whack-job manimal named Uncle T paid a visit to Old Saybrook, Connecticut to visit the terrifying house seen in the movie!
But first, a little plot explanation for people who maybe aren’t familiar with the film:
Jessica has been released from a mental institution and her husband Duncan thinks it’s a good idea to take her to the quiet and peaceful country. Duncan, Jessica and their friend Woody head upstate with plans to shack up in a farmhouse that one of them recently purchased. Jessica begins hearing voices and seeing a mysterious girl around the property. This leads to a series of oddball events throughout the movie which involves Jessica either suffering from a mental state of daytime hallucinations or the reality that the group have landed in a small town of actual vampires.
The bizarre nature of this movie is thanks to the spooky atmosphere and slow-burn dreaminess. There’s something about daytime horror films and the off-beat mood that keeps you immersed in a different sense than nighttime horror. It’s always struck a nerve with me. Rarely do filmmakers pull it off effectively, but prime examples can also be found in Jaws, Cujo, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Creepshow 2’s “The Raft”. Jessica is played by Zorah Lampert and her performance is also a huge reason why the film is so strangely intriguing. Her dialogue, facial expressions and frolicking around will have you asking if this “actress” could possibly be a real escape mental patient. It’s also one of those movies with weird 1970’s realistic-looking small town folk that you’d never want to run into if your car broke down.
OK, back to TNUC’s excursion…
From reports from the internet, I knew the old farmhouse was off a turnpike but shrouded with trees and overgrown vegetation. The only thing else to do was keep that foggy shot from the movie in mind.
THERE IT WAS. IT HAD TO BE THE PLACE. I crept up the driveway, neglecting the “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signage because that’s the sort of curious asshole your Uncle T is.
There she was, all decrepit and rotted and glorious as could be.
The exterior has this yellowish-grey crust that most horror movies dream of recreating. The windows are mostly boarded up, shielding any creatures or hippie cannibal cult members that are attempting to make this place a home. Can you imagine what the BASEMENT looks like?
I’m such a sucker for eerie locations like this. Abandoned structures dying a slow death, only effected by the elements. What’s the history of the house? When was it built? Why hasn’t it been bulldozed? All I can tell you is that forty-eight years following the release of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, the house is exactly what a horror movie house should look like.
Clearest shot of the house in 1971.
Apparently a couple of the cemeteries seen in the movie are in the neighboring towns as well, but I’ll save those for next time.
Big thanks to JW Ocker over at OTIS for the much needed location info and scaring Uncle T to death!