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Scared to Death (1981) Review

Scared to Death is a 1981 American horror film directed by William Asher and starring Christopher George, Lindsay Bloom, and Belinda Montgomery. The film was written by George Gier and released by Universal Pictures.

The film tells the story of a young woman named Karen (played by Bloom) who is terrorized by a masked killer. The killer, who is never seen without his mask, seems to be able to teleport from one place to another, and has a strange fixation on Karen.

The film is notable for its use of special effects, which were used to create the illusion of the killer teleportating. The film was also notable for its use of suspense, and for its gore.

Yep, you got it. C-Grade alien sci fi horror, helped along by a passable cast and some wise directorial decisions. Wise decisions I hear you say? Yep. They set most of the scenes that involved special effects in the dark, and used some shaky camera techniques. It stops you from instantly noticing how cheap it all looks. That really was a wise decision. The effects aren’t without charm though, in that rubber suited, glow in the dark eyes B-Movie kind of way. The creature made me think of old Doctor Who eps, but sadly John Pertwee didn’t hop to the rescue.

Am I making this sound bad? Well, it is bad, only bad in quite a good and fun way. The plot it generic and repetitive, the effects are done on the cheap, but it is quite enjoyable to watch. It has that guilty charm to it. You know you shouldn’t be enjoying it, it’s corny as heck, but it has that B-Movie or seventies sci fi made for late night TV feel to it that just forces you to at least try and make the most of the ride. And there’s big hair, roller skaters, hairy chests and kipper ties!

Cheesy, corny, cliched carp that remains charmingly enjoyable and worth a look on a quiet night if you want to recapture that heyday of cheapo sci fi when it seemed everyone was rushing to leap on the Alien bandwagon. It’s slow and cheap, but does succeed in being fairly creepy at times and somewhat fun to watch.

Scared to Death was not a critical success, but it did find a cult following among horror fans. The film has been described as a “slasher” film, and is considered to be one of the earliest examples of the genre.


In Scared to Death, a young woman named Karen is terrorized by a series of phone calls from an unknown caller. The caller seems to know everything about her, including her address and phone number. Karen’s boyfriend, Mike, tries to help her track down the caller, but to no avail. The calls continue and the caller becomes more and more threatening. One night, while Karen is home alone, the caller finally reveals himself. He tells her that he is going to kill her. Karen tries to run, but the caller catches her and strangles her to death.

Movie Details

Director: William Malone
Writers: William Malone, Robert Short
Actors: John Stinson, Diana Davidson, Jonathan David Moses, Toni Jannotta
AKA: Scared to Death: Syngenor, The Aberdeen Experiment
Release Year: 1981