28 user 17 critic

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | 12 September 1969 (Italy)
Teenaged Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she's been confined after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her glamorous socialite mother. Her father has a new wife, who ... See full summary »


Bert I. Gordon


Robert Sherman (screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Don Ameche ... Edward Shelley
Martha Hyer ... Francene Shelley
Susan Gordon ... Susan Shelley
Zsa Zsa Gabor ... Jessica Flagmore Shelley
Maxwell Reed ... Anthony Flagmore
Wendell Corey ... Lawyer Clayborn
Signe Hasso ... Sister René
Anna Lee ... Elsie Kornwald
Steffi Henderson Steffi Henderson ... 3rd Woman at Estate Sale
Kelly Corcoran Kelly Corcoran ... Little Boy at Estate Sale
Paulle Clark Paulle Clark ... 1st Woman at Estate Sale
Marlene Tracy Marlene Tracy ... 2nd Woman at Estate Sale


Teenaged Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she's been confined after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her glamorous socialite mother. Her father has a new wife, who has only married him for the money left to him by Zsa Zsa. Susan is still haunted by her mother's memory, and her stepmother is conspiring with her lover, Maxwell Reed, to trick the troubled girl to lead them to Zsa Zsa's missing diamond necklace. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


El terror vivido! Por ojos Inocentes! (Mexico lobby card). See more »


Horror | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Filmed in April 1966. See more »


Francene Shelley: A killer, isn't she.
Anthony Flagmore: We are all killers, one way or the other, I suppose.
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Referenced in Timesweep (1987) See more »


The Hearse Song
Performed by Susan Gordon
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User Reviews

"The Past is Like a Tiger, and No Matter How You Pet It or Pretend That It's Tame One Day It Will Turn..."
15 October 2016 | by richardchattenSee all my reviews

If I'd missed the start and hadn't caught the director credit, I would have taken this for the work of William Castle rather than sci-fi and horror specialist Bert I. Gordon briefly venturing into 'Psycho'/'Baby Jane' territory. The production values are in fact rather more impressive than one would have got with Castle. Greystone, the Beverly Hills mansion in which most of the action takes place is well served by Ellsworth Fredericks's elegant photography, which gives the film the feeling of an Italian 'giallo' (complete with spooky close-ups of dolls, portraits and various childhood relics) produced as a glossy sixties TV movie. Unfortunately, shorn of Castle's gimmicks Gordon's direction manages to be even more pedestrian than Castle's would have been; and fails utterly to energise a talky script in which things are constantly spelled out through dialogue rather than conveyed visually.

In an interesting cast of has-beens, Ameche is wasted as the heroine's weak and corrupt father; but as the ghastly stepmom - who having already maxed out hubby's nest egg is now making absolutely no secret of her desire to have her stepdaughter committed so she can gets her mitts on HER inheritance too - Martha Hyer rises to the challenge of convincingly playing a wife even more high maintenance than her predecessor Zsa Zsa Gabor must doubtless have been. (If she hadn't been busy at the time making 'Green Acres', it would have been interesting to see Zsa Zsa and her sister Eva in the role played by the not dissimilar Hyer squaring up against each other in the same movie.) Signe Hasso pops up ominously in a nun's habit, Wendell Corey is obviously drunk (he died from cirrhosis of the liver two years later) but enjoyably intimidating as the family lawyer; as is Maxwell Reed, who does justice to some wonderfully fruity dialogue as a male Miss Danvers. Anna Lee's role as a family friend promises to be nicely bitchy too, but she unfortunately disappears almost as soon as she appears.

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Release Date:

12 September 1969 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Picture Mommy Dead See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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