While scrolling through the YouTubes to find some cult horror films, I came across this little gem. Apparently it was a made for TV movie so don’t expect a lot of gore or foul language or, as it turns out, originality. But the title alone… How could I NOT review this? Huh? Amitrite? Hello, McFly?
(cool logo over there on the left, eh?)
Scream, Pretty Peggy is the story a reclusive family, The Elliots. Mom and son live in a giant mansion up in the hills but as mom is getting on in age (the glorious Bette Davis), Jeffrey puts an ad in the paper for a house keeper. Peggy, fresh-faced and enthusiastic college co-ed, signs up for the job. Not only will she handle house duties but she’ll have to take care of mom, too, especially after the old gal falls and tears a ligament in her leg while sneaking her secret booze stash from the bookcase.
Oh, did we forget to mention amidst all our subterfuge and subject changing, that Jeffrey’s crazy, prone to violent outbursts sister, Jennifer, is flitting about the place so just steer clear of her and you’ll be fine, mmkay?
Unfortunately for Peggy, it seems she wasn’t the first house keeper here. Another girl, Agnes Thornton, went missing a few weeks ago. Now her father is now snooping around the Elliot estate, asking questions, and going places he doesn’t belong all in the hopes of finding his little girl. Or at least discovering what happened to her. So while Peggy is stuck in the middle of this mystery, people are dying or disappearing.
Will she be able to solve the many riddles surrounding her or will she become a victim, too?
This wasn’t a great film. I don’t anticipate anyone rushing out to find it so I feel spoiling some details and the ‘plot twist’ will not be that big of a deal. Especially when it’s not very original.
This is also my column and my review so fuck off if you don’t like it.
(damn, tequila makes me an angry little monkey – but I warned you about that in the first column so, really, it’s on you if you’re still here taking my abuse)
The majority of the film was all right. It was a respectable mystery for a tv movie in 1973. The acting was better than a lot of shit I have to watch for other reviews, that’s for sure. True, Bette Davis is a bit of an over-actor at times but that’s why we love her. She’s earned it, as far as I’m concerned, so you just walk around in your flowy house dress and your pancake makeup, sweetie! Ted Bessel was great as Jeffrey. Very low-key character, relatable, approachable guy. I would have been friends with him in real life for sure, even if he was a sculptor. You know those artist types…
Peggy is a little bit of a problem for me. She’s WAAAAAY too fucking perky, eager beaver, idealistic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as it were. She was rather irritating right off the bat. The actress, Sian Barbara Allen, was nominated early in her career for best new actress and I can see why. She becomes Peggy in every fiber of her being. I’m just saying the character of Peggy is annoying as fuck.
The pacing was great. We see the previous housekeeper, Agnes (Tovah Feldshuh – Walking Dead fans know who this is), murdered within the first five minutes! Again, no blood and gore but it’s not needed. Agnes is scared shitless and just wants out. Too bad she can’t unlock a car door. From there, the movie flies by. I never felt bored or like the story was taking too long to develop. The whole film is only an hour and ten minutes so they don’t have a lot of time to fiddly fart around.
The story was decent enough. Mysterious family up on the hill; mom keeps warning Peggy away; who is this crazy coo-coo pants sister that lives above the garage; what happened to the first housekeeper (the audience knows but Peggy is completely out of the loop).
My issue is with the “twist” such as it is. The writers are totally cashing in on the success of 1960’s Psycho. Maybe they thought enough time had passed so it wouldn’t seem too similar. NOT. Here’s the deal: Jeffrey was jealous that his sister, Jennifer, was leaving to go get married. So he murdered her and his personality split in two to cope with his actions. He became half Jeffrey and half Jennifer. Whenever he felt he was getting close to another woman, the Jennifer half took over and killed.
Sound familiar at all, folks? Just replace sister with mother and you’ve got Norman Bates. Yeah, I pretty much had this figured out about 15 minutes in. LAAAAAME.
Other than the lazy plot twist, and some nitpicky elements here and there, it was a decent film. I was entertained and had fun watching it.
2.5 Drunken Monkeys (out of 5)