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A woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse.
Recently released from a mental hospital after a nervous breakdown, Jessica is happy to be reunited with her husband Duncan. Having left his position as a bassist for the Philharmonic, Duncan has used their life savings to purchase a Connecticut farmhouse and orchard for them to begin a new life. The nonconformist couple journeys there in their hearse with their friend Woody, who has volunteered to help revive the orchard. When Jessica, an avid collector of tombstone pencil rubbings, insists that they stop at a cemetery along the way, she sees an ethereal girl standing on a nearby hill and hears voices whispering to her. Concerned that the others will believe her madness has returned, Jessica does not tell Duncan or Woody. As they pass through the town, Jessica notices that the elderly townsmen are wrapped in bandages and behave with hostility, but trying to sustain her optimism, she insists that they are just reticent about newcomers. Arriving at the one-hundred-year-old Bishop family farmhouse, Jessica and Duncan see a mysterious figure of a woman inside. Upon entering, they startle the woman, bohemian itinerant Emily, and after apologizing for scaring her, they invite her to stay the night upon learning that she has no other home. After dinner, as Emily plays the lute while Duncan accompanies her on bass, Jessica notices her husband's attraction to the striking and mysterious woman. Later, Emily invites them to hold a séance and asks for the spirits of those who have died in the house to give them a sign. Although Duncan and Woody notice nothing strange, Jessica hears moaning and bells ringing. After Jessica and Duncan retire for the evening, Woody makes a pass at Emily, who shyly demurs. The next day, Jessica notices that Emily is flirting with Duncan. While taking a swim later, Jessica sees a pale body float to the surface and touch her, causing her to scream hysterically. Duncan and Woody try to reassure her that there is nothing in the water, but Jessica realizes that they are convinced she has gone mad again. That afternoon as they search the house for antiques to sell, Jessica finds the Bishop family portrait in the attic and puts on an old wedding dress that she has also found. After packing the portrait in the hearse, a sympathetic Jessica suggests that Emily remain at the house for a while. In town, Duncan and Jessica sell the antiques to ex-New Yorker Sam Dorker, who is at first reluctant to buy the Bishop family heirlooms, believing them to be haunted. He explains that Abigail Bishop drowned in 1880 just before her wedding and locals claim that she now roams the countryside as a vampire. Fearing that the story will disturb his wife's fragile constitution, Duncan cuts the conversation short and drives Jessica home. During a walk on the farm later, Jessica finds a mole and sends Duncan to the house for a box to keep it as a pet. She then follows the ethereal girl, who has reappeared, into the woods where she finds Dorker's body at the bottom of a small waterfall, but when she returns to the site with Duncan, the body is missing. Seeing the girl again, Duncan and Jessica interrogate her, but the girl is mute and soon runs away. Over dinner that night, Jessica hears a voice that claims Duncan no longer belongs to her. Resigned to letting her husband pursue his attraction to Emily, Jessica leaves the table; however, Woody reminds Duncan that his duty is to his wife. In bed that night, when Duncan tells her that she should return to New York to see her doctor, a sobbing Jessica suggests that he leave her. Frustrated, Duncan refuses to comfort her and a quarrel ensues. Meanwhile downstairs, Emily kills the pet mole. Minutes later, as Duncan is drifting off to sleep on the living room sofa, Emily entices him to have sex with her. The next morning, Jessica is terror-stricken upon finding the bloody mole and further upset that Duncan, Woody and Emily lack any empathy. After seeing Emily kiss Duncan as he leaves for town, Jessica climbs to the attic where she finds that the Bishop family portrait has mysteriously returned. When Emily enters soon after, Jessica remarks that she bears a striking resemblance to Abigail in the photo. As a ghostly female voice continues to torment Jessica, enticing Jessica to follow her, Emily suggests they take a swim in the lake. When Emily tries to drown Jessica, Jessica scrambles to the shore, narrowly escaping death. She is then terrified to see Emily walking from the water wearing Abigail's wedding dress. After Emily tries to bite Jessica's neck, Jessica flees to the house and barricades herself in the bedroom to await Duncan's return. When Duncan fails to return by late afternoon, a desperate Jessica flags down a truck for a lift to town. Meanwhile, Woody returns to the house after a day of spraying the orchard and finds Emily, who easily seduces him, despite his suspicion that she is trouble. Upon arriving in town, Jessica notices that the elderly men all have gashes on their necks and arms and are staring at her with vacant, hungry looks. Fearing for her life, she runs into the woods and collapses from exhaustion. Duncan finds her there that night, drives her back home and guides her into bed, where Jessica sees a gash in his neck. Suddenly Emily and dozens of hungry elderly men converge on Jessica to suck her blood. Breaking loose, Jessica escapes into the orchard and tries to alert Woody of the danger, but finds he is already dead, his neck slit open by a huge gash. Jessica races to the lake ferry to escape, but the operator refuses to give her a ride. Stealing a boat, Jessica rows into the water, where Duncan's submerged body reaches up with his hand to grasp the boat. Unaware that the hand belongs to Duncan, Jessica beats the body repeatedly with a fishing gaff, until it floats to the surface dead. She then realizes it is Duncan. Turning to face the shore, Jessica sees Emily and her elderly vampire men on the shore and wonders to herself whether the ghastly incidents are real or only figments of her imagination.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||GP||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 27 Aug 1971; Los Angeles opening: 1 Sep 1971|
|Release Date:||1971||Production Date:||
purchased from ebay
|Color/B&W:||Color (DeLuxe)||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||The Jessica Company|
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Not what I expected
From the title you would think that this is the standard driving the wealthy woman mad scenario. Only the horrific events aren't being faked,...
Atmospheric & creepy
Legendary 60's cult film has three urban hippies moving into New England (read H.P. Lovecraft) country to start a farm. The locals are inbred and...