Scared to Death

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Scared to Death (1947) is a horror film directed by Christy Cabanne and starring Béla Lugosi. It was filmed in Cinecolor, is one of only three color pictures Lugosi made, and the only one he starred in. The film is notable for its narration by a dead woman — she describes the events leading up to her death.



Scared to Death opens with the disclosure by morgue examiners that a beautiful woman has literally died of fright. The plot reveals how she reached the fatal stage of terror.

The woman is married to the son of a doctor, the proprietor of a private sanatorium, where she is under unwilling treatment. Both the son and the doctor indicate they want the marriage dissolved. Arriving at the scene is a mysterious personage identified as the doctor's brother who formerly was a stage magician in Europe. He is accompanied by a threatening dwarf.

After it is apparent that the wife is terrified of the foreigners, it is disclosed that she is the former wife and partner of a Paris dancer known as René, who had been shot by the Nazis. Attempts to draw a confession that she had betrayed her dancer husband and had collaborated with the Nazis led to the use of a device employing a death mask of the dead patriot, which literally frightens her to death.

Although the young newspaperman hero and his sweetheart guess the answer to the story, they allow the diagnosis "scared to death" to stand.



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