Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Jessica" More Shock than Plot

Cleveland Press October 2, 1971

"Let's Scare Jessica to Death" is another tale of supernatural horror of which we have had many lately, ever since "Rosemary's Baby."

"Jessica" has moments of terror and a bloody finale but it is mostly after-the-fact shock rather than well plotted and built-up suspense.

Jessica (Zohra Lampert) has recently been released from the hospital after a nervous breakdown. Her husband (Barton Heyman) has decided to move her from New York City and its tensions. Accompanied by a friend (Kevin O'Connor) they go to Connecticut where they have invested all their money in a farm.

The trio drive around in a hearse and Jessica's favorite pasttime is making rubbings of cemetery headstones. When they arrive at the house they find that a strange girl (Mariclare Costello) is occupying the place thinking it is abandoned. She plans to move on but they invite her to stay.

All through this Jessica keeps seeing a beckoning figure of a girl, or maybe more than one. The townspeople are hostile and a nearby antique dealer tells Jessica and her husband that the house is haunted, that a girl who supposedly died there is believed by some to still be around as a vampire.

Before it is over there are attempts on Jessica's life and a few murders with matters never clear whether the events are really happening or are only in the mind of Jessica.

Miss Lampert is an actress given to nervous mannerisms and hyperactivity. Most of the time these are right for the role; sometimes they are not in keeping with a particular scene. Regardless, she is the best performer in the lot.