Scream, Pretty Peggy

Scream, Pretty Peggy is a 1973 American made-for-television horror film directed by Gordon Hessler and starring Bette Davis, Ted Bessell, and Sian Barbara Allen. Its plot follows a young college student who is given a job by a sculptor housekeeping at a mysterious mansion where his sister and their elderly mother reside. It was broadcast as the ABC Suspense Movie on November 24, 1973.

Scream, Pretty Peggy
  • Drama
  • horror
  • crime[1]
Written byJimmy Sangster
Arthur Hoffe
Directed byGordon Hessler
Music byBob Prince
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Lou Morheim
CinematographyLeonard J. South
Editor(s)Larry Strong
Running time74 minutes
Production company(s)Universal Television
DistributorNBC Universal Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Original releaseNovember 24, 1973 (1973-11-24)

The film was shot on location at the old Noah Dietrich estate above the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California.[2][3]


Peggy is a college student and aspiring artist who works as a housekeeper in the mansion of mysterious recluse Mrs. Elliott and her oddball sculptor son Jeffrey. She becomes suspicious when George Thornton comes to the house looking for his missing daughter, who once worked in the position she now holds, and even more so when she learns Jeffrey's sister, whom she was led to believe was on an extended European vacation, actually is mentally deranged and living in the apartment above the garage. Undaunted by warnings from her employer, Peggy is determined to befriend the girl, a decision that leads to a lot of mysterious doings and a Psycho-inspired climax.


Critical response

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times deemed the film a "routine shocker," noting that "writers Jimmy Sangster and Arthur Hoffe have come up with such silly, trite dialog and situations that it's too bad that director Gordon Hessler...  didn't play their script for laughs."[2] Film writer Jerry Roberts notes in Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors that the film is "a patchwork artifact of what filmmakers in the movie-of-the-week era considered the ingredients for concocting a Psycho-like thriller."[4]


  1. "Scream Pretty Peggy". British Film Institute. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  2. Thomas, Kevin (November 24, 1973). "'Scream, Pretty Peggy' a Routine Shocker". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. 31 via
  3. Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, with a running commentary by Bette Davis, Hawthorn Books, 1974, pg. 336 (ISBN 0-8015-5184-6)
  4. Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-810-86378-1.

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