27 May 2024
Picture Mommy Dead (1966)
85 min.
Directed by Bert I. Gordon.
With Don Ameche, Martha Hyer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Susan Gordon, Maxwell Reed, Wendell Corey, Signe Hasso, Anna Lee.
A tepid entry in the popular grand guignol cycle of the 1960s.

When wealthy socialite Jessica Shelley (Gabor) dies in a mysterious and fiery blaze, her teenage daughter Susan (Gordon) is understandably devastated.

Spending the next three years in a rehabilitation center, Susan emerges ready to resume her life anew.

But her greedy new stepmother Francene (Hyer), and her crafty cousin Anthony (Reed) seem intent on forcing Susan to relive the nightmares of her past, the gruesome details of her mother's death.

Their scheme is simple enough: they want to drive Susan mad and get their hands on the Shelley fortune.

But can they succeed without first uncovering the horrible truth behind Jessica's untimely death?

Picture Mommy Dead is certainly not as fun as director Gordon's other, better known efforts - namely Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977).

Indeed, Picture Mommy has a doomed shapelessness: there's a lack of enthusiasm from lead Ameche, and Hyer is so bland as the main villainess she never really registers.

And for all you Zsa Zsa queens out there, be forewarned: her part is oh-so-small, and consists merely of a handful of momentary flashbacks intended to move the plot along.

It doesn't work.

Also known as Color Mommy Dead.

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