PICTURE MOMMY DEAD (1966) Reviews and overview

 

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‘See terror catch fire!’

Picture Mommy Dead is a 1966 horror thriller feature film produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon (Earth vs. The Spider; Necromancy; Empire of the Ants) from a screenplay by Robert Sherman.

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The movie stars Don Ameche, Martha Hyer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Susan Gordon, Maxwell Reed and Wendell Corey.

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Gene Tierney was originally announced for a lead role. Then Hedy Lamarr was signed, however, she was fired when she collapsed during filming from nervous exhaustion. She was replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Plot:

Teenager Susan (Susan Gordon) thinks her father (Don Ameche) killed her mother years ago. Released from an asylum, she is reunited with her father and a new stepmother, but suspicious ongoings threaten to push her over the edge…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The plot is heavy on the Gaslighting and is frankly nothing new; where Picture Mommy Dead earns its kudos is in the lean, muscular direction of Gordon and the surprisingly witty script of Robert Sherman, who wrote mainly for television […] the truncated running time and shorthand psychology makes for a fascinating feature.” Daily Dead

” …we should remember that folks acted like hysterical lunatics in most movies back then not just in low-budget horror flicks. Obviously everything was done here sincerely and not as a joke but it is funny– especially if you imagine the characters have no idea how insane they sound and are actually trapped in a surreally overstated melodramatic dimension they can’t escape.” Kindertrauma

“It’s creepy, it’s campy and a wonderfully colorful psychosomatic romp.” The Last Drive-In

” … typical Gordon trash, enlivened by a few crude shock effects and competent performances.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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Cast and characters:

  • Don Ameche as Edward Shelley
  • Martha Hyer as Francene Shelley
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jessica Flagmore Shelley
  • Susan Gordon as Susan Shelley
  • Maxwell Reed as Anthony Flagmore, the caretaker
  • Wendell Corey as Lawyer Clayborn
  • Signe Hasso as Sister René
  • Anna Lee as Elsie Kornwald

Choice dialogue:

“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, in your stomach and out your mouth”