Scared to Death (1947)



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Movie Info

Completed several years before its 1947 release, Scared to Death is historically important as Bela Lugosi's only color film (outside of his brief unbilled appearance in 1931's Fifty Million Frenchmen, which today exists only in black & white). Other than that, it's a dreary story of how a beautiful but treacherous young woman (Molly Lamont) literally dies of fright. Anticipating Sunset Boulevard by at least five years, the film is narrated by the deceased "heroine", meaning that suspense and surprise are hardly considerations here. It's a toss-up as to who's funnier: the film's official comedy relief, dumb detective Nat Pendleton and dumber blonde Joyce Compton, or the "odd couple" team of the caped-and-cloaked Bela Lugosi and his dress-alike dwarf companion Angelo Rossitto. For the record, Lugosi plays a sinister hypnotist named Leonide, yet another of his myriad of "red herring" roles in the 1940s.

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Bela Lugosi
as Prof. Leonide
Douglas Fowley
as Terry Lee
Joyce Compton
as Jane Cornell
George Zucco
as Dr. Josef Van Ee
Roland Varno
as Ward Van Ee
Molly Lamont
as Laura Van Ee
Gladys Blake
as Lilybeth
Stanley Andrews
as Autopsy Surgeon
Stanley Price
as Autopsy Surgeon
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Critic Reviews for Scared to Death

All Critics (8)

Claustrophobic, eccentric, and at times downright incoherent, this film is oddly compelling in a warped sort of way.

Oct 19, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Keeping fang firmly in cheek, there's much to be savoured in this old dark house style mystery.

Oct 19, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It's practically outsider art, made by an unusually incompetent outsider.

Jun 20, 2015 | Rating: 2/10 | Full Review…

A pale affair, made tolerable by Bela Lugosi's droll one-liners.

Nov 11, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/5

Turns out to be more comic than gothic.

Jan 2, 2008 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

It is hard to believe -- even within the weird world of poverty row -- that this movie got this way by accident. It may just be that the film was meant to be an aburdist joke.

Aug 7, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Scared to Death


Pre-Sunset Blvd., a dead woman tells the tale of her death, which is an interesting tale when it's not being interrupted by cutting back to the dead woman's face for no reason.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Scared to Death Quotes

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