Scared to Death (1947)

Article #125 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 7-19-2001
Posting date: 12-2-2001

A woman staying at a sanitarium is having strange dreams about a man in a green mask. Then, all sorts of suspicious characters begin showing up.

Nice title. Too bad it doesn’t fit. How about BORED TO TEARS? or BEFUDDLED TO DISTRACTION? Or something else that indicates more clearly what the experience of watching this movie is like? Like SUNSET BOULEVARD, this movie is narrated by a corpse; unlike that movie, the movie actually feels about as coherent as one that is being told by someone who is a corpse. And you would at least think that the corpse would be telling her own story. Instead, fully half of the movie is about comic relief Nat Pendleton and his attempt to crack the case so he can get back on the police force. (How about FLUMMOXED TO DERISION?) This wouldn’t be so bad if the movie made even a stab at telling the main story with as much clarity; however, you never really get a good idea of what’s going on, and when you’re not trying to get through the comic relief scenes, you’re treated to a dizzying array of suspicious characters coming out of nowhere and acting like they’re up to something. In the end, there doesn’t seem to be anybody at the wheel and steering the story. George Zucco is here, as well as Bela Lugosi and Angelo Rossitto, but they’re just part of the distractions. (How about BLUDGEONED TO APATHY?)

This was Bela’s only color horror movie. It’s not his worst (I have seen MURDER BY TELEVISION, after all), but it definitely had its hat in the ring.



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