Scared Stiff is the 1953 remake of the 1940 Bob Hope-Paulette Goddard vehicle The Ghost Breakers, reupholstered for the talents of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. While Martin handles the straight plot scenes, just as Hope did in the earlier film, the Hope-like wisecracks are fairly evenly divided between Martin and Lewis. Lewis is for the most part relegated to the secondary role played by black comedian Willie Best in Ghost Breakers, with a few opportunities for his manic specialties: his personal highlight is an imitation of Carmen Miranda (who also appears in the flesh). The plot is the same as before: an American heiress (Lizabeth Scott) is warned to stay away from the forbidding Cuban mansion that she's inherited. Disregarding these threats, the girl heads to Cuba, along with Martin and Lewis, who are on the lam from various antagonists (Dean has been falsely accused of murder, while Lewis has run afoul of gangsters). Once they've reached Scott's mansion, Martin and Lewis are confronted by all manner of terrors: a ghost, a zombie, a mysterious assailant (who turns out to be the least likely suspect). It turns out that the mansion is built over a huge cache of hidden gold, which is why the bad guy is so anxious to make Scott and the boys skedaddle. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby make gag appearances toward the end of Scared Stiff; returning the favor, Martin and Lewis would show up unbilled in the Hope-Crosby opus Road to Bali (1953).
by Hal Erickson synopsis