Down 4,043 this week

What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

GP  |   |  Crime, Musical, Mystery  |  13 April 1972 (Mexico)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,070 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 31 critic

Two middle-aged women move to Hollywood, California after their sons are convicted of a notorious murder and open a dance school for children eager to tap their way to stardom.



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns a classy 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 360 titles
created 06 Apr 2012
a list of 120 titles
created 05 Nov 2012
a list of 44 titles
created 17 May 2014
a list of 37 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 33 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) on IMDb 6.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of What's the Matter with Helen?.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre "Hansel and Gretel" twist.

Director: Curtis Harrington
Stars: Shelley Winters, Mark Lester, Chloe Franks
The Vagrant (1992)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A business man buys a house, but he has a hard time trying to get of its previous tenant, a dirty bum.

Director: Chris Walas
Stars: Bill Paxton, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell
Certificate: M Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

As Aunt Alice, Ruth Gordon applies for the job of housekeeper in the Tucson, Arizona home of widow Claire Marrable in order to find out what happened to a missing widowed friend, Edna ... See full summary »

Directors: Lee H. Katzin, Bernard Girard
Stars: Geraldine Page, Ruth Gordon, Rosemary Forsyth
The Godsend (1980)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An English family of six takes in a pregnant woman who disappears shortly after giving birth. They raise the baby girl as their own, but over the years the strange deaths of their children ... See full summary »

Director: Gabrielle Beaumont
Stars: Malcolm Stoddard, Cyd Hayman, Angela Pleasence
The Outing (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

An ancient genie is released from a lamp when thieves ransack an old woman's house. They are killed and the lamp is moved to a museum to be studied. The curator's daughter is soon possessed... See full summary »

Director: Tom Daley
Stars: Deborah Winters, James Huston, Andra St. Ivanyi
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young woman is terrorized by her fiance's demented mother who blames her for her son's death.

Director: Silvio Narizzano
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A woman is haunted by recurring nightmares, which seem to be instigated by her late husband who supposedly was killed in a fire.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, Judi Meredith
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An aging, reclusive southern belle, plagued by a horrifying family secret, descends into madness after the arrival of a lost relative.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten
Games (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young couple who are into kinky "mind games" get more than they bargained for when a mysterious woman comes into their lives.

Director: Curtis Harrington
Stars: Simone Signoret, James Caan, Katharine Ross
The Nail Gun Massacre (Video 1985)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

After a young girl is gang raped by a crew of construction workers, someone starts killing off members of the group with a nail gun.

Directors: Bill Leslie, Terry Lofton
Stars: Rocky Patterson, Ron Queen, Beau Leland
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young man, Marco, working as a butcher, accidentally kills a taxi driver. His girlfriend Paula wants to go to the police so he has to kill her too. He then has to kill his brother, his ... See full summary »

Director: Eloy de la Iglesia
Stars: Vicente Parra, Emma Cohen, Eusebio Poncela
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A psychopath takes a job as a handyman at the house of a lonely widow.

Director: Harry Horner
Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Taylor Holmes


Cast overview, first billed only:
Adelle Bruckner aka Adelle Stuart
Helen Hill aka Helen Martin
Linc Palmer
Micheál MacLiammóir ...
Hamilton Starr (as Micheal Mac Liammóir)
Sister Alma
Helene Winston ...
Mrs. Greenbaum
Peggy Rea ...
Mrs. Schultz
Logan Ramsey ...
Detective Sgt. West
Paulle Clark ...
Mrs. Plumb
Mrs. Barker
Molly Dodd ...
Mrs. Rigg
Samee Lee Jones ...
Winona Palmer (as Sammee Lee Jones)
Robbi Morgan ...
Rosalie Greenbaum
The Tramp
Swen Swenson ...
The Gigolo


Set in the 30s, Helen and Adelle are two women whose sons commit a gruesome murder. After their conviction, they move to Hollywood change their names and open a dance school for girls. Adelle is looking for a good life and when one of the parents of her students who is wealthy takes a liking to her she thinks she's got it made. Helen thinks that someone who blames them for what their sons did is stalking them. But Adelle thinks it's all in her mind. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heart pounding terror! See more »


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 April 1972 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Best of Friends  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When friend/director Curtis Harrington offered her the part, Shelley Winters took the lead role in the film without even reading the script. See more »


After slapping Helen, Adelle holds her with only her right arm. Cut to closeup and Adelle's left hand is cradling Helen's head. See more »


Sister Alma: I offered you my blessing, but you refused it. Now move along.
See more »


Oh, You Nasty Man
Written by Ray Henderson, Jack Yellen & Irving Caesar
Performed by Robbi Morgan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It wasn't as campy in 1971
7 April 2002 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

It was interesting to see the comments preceding my entry. I saw this movie when it first came out when I was 11 years old and it was really frightening at the time. The gruesome murders that the sons committed combined with the gory flashbacks and the maniacal ending burned images in my mind that lasted for years later.

I couldn't appreciate or recognize any of the factors that may make it considered camp now. All I can say is that getting that last shot of Debbie Reynolds out of my head while trying to fall asleep took a long, long time.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What about Hamilton Starr? FranLovesBetteD
Shelley Winters on Piano ajh_pants
song in this film HB-9
Film is campy fun but the DVD transfer is awful. takemehome
Helen was related to Baby Jane and Charlotte beamsamuel1
Opinions anyone...? craigoprego
Discuss What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: