Pure Terror: Scared To Death

September 12, 2015 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

Scared To Death, the 1947 effort from director Christy Cabanne, is notable for a couple reasons. First being that it is the only color film starring Bela Lugosi. Second, Bela Lugosi has a little person sidekick in this movie who went on to play The Master half of Master Blaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  I have noticed a lot of people call themselves The Master in Sci-fi/fantasy. I have a glorious dream of putting them all together in a Sgt. Pepper’s cover mock up. None of that has anything to do with this movie. This movie is not so much a “who done it” than it is a “who’s going to do it.” Early on we see that our main character, Laura, is going to die. I thought that was unique although not terribly well done.

In this movie, Laura is psychologically tortured by her husband, her doctor, Bela Lugosi, Bela’s little person assistant, and another person we don’t meet until the last scene. There is a comic relief Police Detective trying to get his job back by solving a big murder case. There is also an Ace Reporter and his ditsy assistant that show up to ask questions and give us some back story. There are jarring cuts to Laura laying in the morgue telling us…. nothing really. They don’t last longer than five seconds and never provide information beyond ” And then this happened.” Everyone has a motivation for killing this woman or at least for having her be killed. The bulk of the movie is crewed up by the slapstick Police Detective. He doesn’t do a lot to solve the case or, heaven forbid, keep this woman from being murdered. He just bumbles around, making puns, and letting us know that he is rock stupid. There is a romantic subplot with the Police Detective and the Housemaid that chews up some more time, padding out the run time. I know I am neglecting the character names but they aren’t mention often and didn’t seem worth remembering. It’s not like any of these characters were dynamic or unique. To that end, I wonder why any post 1940 Bela Lugosi movie bothered giving his character a name. He is always playing the same character. Creepy Mad Scientist or Doctor. Why give him silly Eastern European names like Vornoff, Vornkoff, or Vornzenski. It should have been like the early Jackie Chan movies were his character name was simply Jackie. Why couldn’t all of these b-movie just be about Bela Lugosi going on adventures? Back to the movie, in the end, Laura is Scared To Death by a character that is only introduced in the last scene and has no motivation for killing her aside of increasing his street cred as an illusionist.

This movie is bad. Normally, I try to offer more constructive criticism and break down details about why a movie didn’t work but not this time. I had to watch this movie three times just to get all the information to sink in and I still am not clear as to the most of the characters names. You needed a decoder to pick out the pieces of story between the mind-numbing comic relief. Several times the camera man’s shadow is visible. I have a hard time recommending this movie to anyone. Even bad movie fans might have a hard time staying awake for this one. I’d take a big pass on this one.


Entry filed under: Horror. Tags: , , , , , .

Pure Terror: The House That Screamed Pure Terror: Bloody Pit of Horror

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