The ABC Movies of the Week for November 24, 1973, Scream, Pretty Peggy was directed by Gordon Hessler, who was behind films as diverse as The Oblong Box, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park and Sho Kosugi’s introduction to the U.S., Pray For Death. It was written by Jimmy Sangster (who directed Hammer’s Lust for a Vampire and wrote The Curse of Frankenstein, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? and many more), so this film has a much better pedigree than you’d expect.
Peggy is a college student who wants to be an artist, so she applies for a job at the home of noted sculptor Jeffrey Elliott (Ted Bessell, TV’s That Girl) and his mother (Bette Davis!). Peggy is also one of the most annoyingly chipper heroines ever.
Let me give you some advice, in case you are a young girl and looking for a housekeeping job and find yourself in a 1970’s TV movie. If the house you’re working in has an Old Hollywood actress in it, run (refer back to my past rules of always avoiding Old Hollywood actors and actresses). And if you find out that there’s a room that you aren’t allowed to go into, don’t try and go into that room. Just get away as fast as you can.
Peggy is too dumb to do that. No, she finds all of Jeffrey’s crazy demon sculptures. And she meets George Thornton, whose daughter used to work in the house. And she runs afoul of Mrs. Bette Davis and you simply do not do that.
Turns out that Jessica, Jeffrey’s sister, is living in that room above the garage that Peggy isn’t allowed into. Again, get out. Now.
No, Peggy decides she wants to make a new friend. And what if that friend is really Jeffrey, who killed his sister and has split his personality with her inside his head? Oh Peggy. You brought this on yourself.
Scream, Pretty Peggy is a fine little slice of 70’s TV movie thrills. Any time you have Ms. Davis deigning to be in a TV movie, you’re going to get something good. But seriously, I wish these girls would wise up. There are better things to do in this world than live in a house of manaics!
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