PICTURE MOMMY DEAD (1966) Reviews and overview

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‘See terror catch fire!’

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


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


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.


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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“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







Cast and characters:

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

Choice dialogue:

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


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