Above all other descriptors, LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH is deeply atmospheric, and that’s in no small part to the choices in location — they are every bit as New-England-idyllic as they are menacing. That was the area of focus for this collaboration with John Campopiano, which we finished and contributed to Dread Central in August 2016.
We separately interviewed director John Hancock and producer Bill Badalato, and made a springtime visit to southern Connecticut to see the filming locations in the flesh. (John went on to produce an extra for Scream Factory’s 2020 Blu-ray release of the film which was focused on — what else? — the locations)!
Large, old Victorian houses have been woven into the American horror lexicon as inherently spooky in everything from THE ADDAMS FAMILY and 1986’s HOUSE to Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. “That scary house exterior was a real find,” Hancock said. “I’d hate to see the movie without it.”
The Victorian-style “old Bishop House,” with its distinctive tower, is one of the more consistently striking visuals in the film, mostly framed in long shots against an overcast sky at dusk or bathed in a dreary fog. Originally built in the 19th century, it still stands to the present day. “Given the period houses, beautiful foliage, and picturesque country lanes, the Old Saybrook area is ideal for filmmaking, especially the horror genre,” Badalato added.Hunting and Haunting: The Locations in Let’s Scare Jessica to Death – 45 Years Later