Scared to Death (1947)

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Scared to Death (1947) Poster

From a slab in the morgue, a dead young woman tells the bizarre tale of how she got there, through a maze of murder involving a hypnotist, a midget and a mysterious figure in a green mask.



  • Bela Lugosi and Gladys Blake in Scared to Death (1947)
  • Bela Lugosi in Scared to Death (1947)
  • Bela Lugosi and Molly Lamont in Scared to Death (1947)
  • Nat Pendleton in Scared to Death (1947)
  • Bela Lugosi, Nat Pendleton, and George Zucco in Scared to Death (1947)
  • Bela Lugosi in Scared to Death (1947)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

5 February 2005 | bensonmum2
| "Pardon me, Professor, but didn't I just see you outside baying at the moon?"
Most of the reviews on IMDb for Scared to Death give it a good trashing. And, while I understand it has many flaws, I didn't find it to be as bad as some of the reviews would lead one to believe. Maybe I was just in the right frame of mind or something.

The basic story: A women is slowing being driven mad. So mad in fact, that by the end of the movie she is literally scared to death (I'm not giving anything away as the fact she is dead is presented in the first minute of the movie). She is presented with numerous images and circumstances that become too much for her to bear. There are several suspects - her husband, her father-in-law, the maid, her husband's mysterious uncle, the uncle's dwarf companion, or could it be someone else? But which one of the suspects is behind it? You'll have to watch to find out.

Scared to Death stars Bela Lugosi and George Zucco. Lugosi is obviously having fun. He seems to understand just how silly some of the situations are, yet he handles each as if it were life and death. Zucco, on the other hand, acts most of the film as if he would rather be someplace else. Very aloof. The rest of the cast does a decent job with the material they are given.

This is the only time I've ever seen Lugosi in color. The film is marketed as being his only color picture, although I'm not sure that's true. The color is very nicely used throughout the movie. Very vivid.

Some of the flaws in the movie: a little stagey at times, goofy dialogue, and it may prove slow to some. The biggest annoyance, however, is the way the story is told. It's presented in a series of flashbacks from the dead woman at the morgue. It gets old real quick. But for the most part, I was able to look past these weaknesses and have a good time.

One final note. I picked up the DVD for $5 from Alpha. This is one of the better Alpha DVDs I've seen. While there are a few spots and other picture flaws here and there, overall the picture quality is good. The sound (so often bad on older films) is above average. All in all, for $5, Scared to Death is a wonderful addition to my DVD library.

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