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"Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

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"Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Old 09-26-22, 08:50 PM
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"Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge



Scared to Death (1947)




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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2022 DISCUSSION | 2022 LISTS

Last edited by Chad; 09-26-22 at 09:32 PM.
Old 10-17-22, 11:13 AM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Before we start on this in earnest:

The line "Full Natural Color" is amusing for something so highly over-colored. It does work against the style of the movie a little.

"She's decked out like she's going to a horse show" is a great line.
Old 10-17-22, 02:04 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Ensemble character mystery that is meandering with visuals not far out enough to engage but depending only on (failed) sensationalism and a frustratingly odd premise related to stage magicians told in long winded dialogue that makes waste of Bela Lugiosi who often seems to be upstaged by a midget and silly in a brimmed hat and cape. It takes a long time for everything to come to an abrupt tidy end. The potentially ripe themes of trauma, regret, jealousy, and greed just slip out at the end rather than hold any merit in the disposable plot. I do wonder if this helped influence other later films; but suspect the 'scared to death' trope originated from an earlier source.

Curious that this sham of a film was based in part on a true crime case of Alice Wynekoop but the only real similarities seem to be that a daughter-in-law was found in the basement of a (female) doctor; in that case shot in the head right after a life insurance policy was issued.
Old 10-17-22, 10:20 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

I gotta say...I loved this movie. There was some hilarious dialogue both intentional and unintentional. The acting was stilted one minute and then over the top the next. The ridiculous cut to the talking corpse every 7 minutes with a "WAHHH" sound effect in and out while the corpse would only say one sentence every time.

The cast was quite enjoyable. Bela is always a delight even though he basically just stood in corners and would pop up to proclaim each time that he was eavesdropping. Actually...did anyone else notice how often people would state they were listening outside the door? Almost every character announced they did it at least twice. haha

My favorite line was from Bill "Bull" Raymond (who I know would kill as The Cowardly Lion) when he stated, "I was upstairs...minding my own business...listening through the keyhole..."

And I have to say that even though there was not a lot of "horror" this movie would have probably spooked me out as a kid if I had seen it. The frequent floating face in the window and the mask that was given to Molly was the stuff of nightmares...especially to a kid.

Really enjoyed this one. The cast was enjoyable (also nice to see the "pull his hair out" director from Singin' In The Rain in a meaty part) and the dialogue at time quite snappy. And of course, Master of Master Blaster. Fun!

My rating: **** out of *****
Old 10-17-22, 11:22 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Well, I agree with both UndeadCow and Spiderbite.
It really is a forgettable movie and Lugosi is hammy and wasted at the same time. The backstory is heavy yet it's all treated in a light manner. This is not a great film by any means.
But on the other hand, it was a nice, cheesy break at this stage in the challenge, and I enjoyed watching it.
It was a good day seeing 4 very different films-- Salome (1922), Scared to Death (1947), Ben (1972), and Anaconda (1997). You can certainly feel the passage of time with that line-up.
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Old 10-18-22, 05:25 AM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

As much as I love Bela Lugosi and Zucco, this one was a shame. It felt like a wasted opportunity.
Old 10-18-22, 07:53 AM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Bela’s only color movie apparently and boy what color. When it started I was kind of hoping for an Autopsy Of Jane Doe vibe. Didn’t happen though. Might have livened things up.
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Old 10-18-22, 11:19 AM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
The ridiculous cut to the talking corpse every 7 minutes with a "WAHHH" sound effect in and out while the corpse would only say one sentence every time.
[WAH-AH-AH]Made me laugh every time.[/WAH-AH-AH]
Old 10-18-22, 01:00 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Yes, this was one strange movie. We kept going back to the body at the morgue, fading in and out to a theremin. The comedy just felt like a bit too much even though it started out ominously. Didn't much care for this one, but I closed out the actor checklist with Bela Lugosi.
Old 10-18-22, 01:10 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by wishbone
[WAH-AH-AH]Made me laugh every time.[/WAH-AH-AH]
Yes, I always like to recognize a Theremin in my 50s-60s horror, so it was nice to see it, but not done like this....
Old 10-18-22, 01:18 PM
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Re: "Scared to Death" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Toddarino
Bela’s only color movie apparently and boy what color.
It's funny, as I went all over the internet looking for a 'better' version, but I think all the available streaming was from the same print. I settled on the Tubi version and the later part of the film was very fuzzy. I didn't bother checking alternates at this point.

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