Scared To Death

572. SCARED TO DEATH (1946-USA). Color. WITH Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, Joyce COMPTON. A beautiful woman is murdered. The authorities are at a complete loss as to how she died-even though they’ve already captured her killer! Sound like the premise for a spine-tingling chiller? Well, this film is exactly the opposite. You will learn the secret of the manner in which she met her demise, but you’ll be laughing rather than screaming because the film is, ultimately, a hilariÂously awful, low-budget camp classic, It seems that her name was Laura: she was a former nightclub performer, and she had been trapped in an unhappy marriage. Her husband and sinister father-in-law, Dr. Van Ee (horror movie veteran George Zucco), had been scheming to convince her that she was insane. Onto the scene arrives a dimwitted detective, a curious reporter and, most tellingly, Leonide (who else but Bela Lugosi), the doctor’s brother. Leonide is a mysterious hypnotist, and he comes complete with a weird, mute dwarf whom he lovingly describes as “one of the little men.Ó What folÂlows is a piece of hokum that’s crammed with blackmail, deceit, revenge, betrayal, terror-and a spooky mask which keeps popping up at the oddest of times, and in the oddest of places. All of this is accompanied by the corniest of music scores. Oh, yes, the story is told in flashback by Laura as she lies dead, on a slab in the morgue awaiting her autopsy! This film is of note as Lugosi’s only color feature. 69 minutes. Horror