Grande Dame Guignol Cinema

by michaelgosullivan | created - 15 Mar 2015 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

Grande Dame Guignol cinema also referred to as hagsploitation, hag horror and Psycho-biddy is a subgenre of horror/thriller movies that features a formerly-glamorous older woman who has become mentally unbalanced and terrorizes those around her. The genre officially began in 1962 with the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and lasted through its heyday of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond

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1. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

75 Metascore

A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy

Votes: 46,169 | Gross: $4.05M

2. Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Not Rated | 133 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 11,711

3. Dead Ringer (1964)

Unrated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

66 Metascore

The working-class twin sister of a callous, wealthy woman impulsively murders her out of revenge and assumes her identity. But impersonating her dead twin is more complicated and risky than she anticipated.

Director: Paul Henreid | Stars: Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Peter Lawford, Philip Carey

Votes: 4,272

4. The Nanny (1965)

Unrated | 93 min | Thriller

There's just something not quite right when Bette Davis stars as an English nanny. And is her 10-year-old charge an emotionally disturbed murderer or just an insolent brat?

Director: Seth Holt | Stars: Bette Davis, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, James Villiers

Votes: 4,854

5. The Anniversary (1968)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Three sons who work in the family construction business help their overbearing mother celebrate her anniversary to her late husband.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley, James Cossins

Votes: 2,060

6. Strait-Jacket (1964)

Approved | 93 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

After a twenty-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John

Votes: 4,465

7. Berserk (1967)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A scheming circus owner finds her authority challenged when the show is targeted by a vicious killer.

Director: Jim O'Connolly | Stars: Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough

Votes: 1,539

8. Trog (1970)

GP | 93 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A sympathetic anthropologist uses drugs and surgery to try to communicate with a primitive troglodyte who is found living in a local cave.

Director: Freddie Francis | Stars: Joan Crawford, Michael Gough, Bernard Kay, Kim Braden

Votes: 2,080

9. Lady in a Cage (1964)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A woman trapped in a home elevator is terrorized by a group of vicious hoodlums.

Director: Walter Grauman | Stars: Olivia de Havilland, James Caan, Jennifer Billingsley, Rafael Campos

Votes: 2,511 | Gross: $1.85M

10. The Witches (1966)

Not Rated | 90 min | Horror

Following a horrifying experience with the occult in Africa, a schoolteacher moves to a small English village, only to discover that black magic resides there as well.

Director: Cyril Frankel | Stars: Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, Ann Bell

Votes: 2,298

11. Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Thriller

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

Director: Silvio Narizzano | Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Maurice Kaufmann

Votes: 1,973

12. What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969)

M | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An aging widow hides a deadly secret which she will do anything to keep buried.

Directors: Lee H. Katzin, Bernard Girard | Stars: Geraldine Page, Ruth Gordon, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Fuller

Votes: 1,895

13. What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)

R | 101 min | Crime, Musical, Mystery

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.

Director: Curtis Harrington | Stars: Debbie Reynolds, Shelley Winters, Dennis Weaver, Micheál MacLiammóir

Votes: 1,505

14. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

PG-13 | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

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, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 1,297

15. The Night Walker (1964)

Passed | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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, Hayden Rorke

Votes: 1,536

16. Games (1967)

Not Rated | 100 min | Thriller

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, Don Stroud

Votes: 1,007

17. Night Watch (1973)

PG | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Ellen Wheeler, a rich woman, is recovering from a nervous breakdown with the help of her husband and a good friend. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. But does ... See full summary »

Director: Brian G. Hutton | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, Billie Whitelaw, Robert Lang

Votes: 1,075

18. Die, Mommie, Die! (2003)

R | 90 min | Comedy

54 Metascore

An ex-pop singer kills her much-hated husband to be with her young lover. Her daughter plots Electra-like revenge.

Director: Mark Rucker | Stars: Charles Busch, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Priestley, Angela Paton

Votes: 1,882

19. Mommie Dearest (1981)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.

Director: Frank Perry | Stars: Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest, Howard Da Silva

Votes: 13,310 | Gross: $19.03M

20. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Votes: 183,840

21. Persecution (1974)

PG | 95 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Young David Masters drowns his mothers cat Sheba in its milk, claiming she loves it more than he, one of many such Shebas he has killed. As a grown man, he returns home with his wife Janie ... See full synopsis »

Director: Don Chaffey | Stars: Lana Turner, Trevor Howard, Ralph Bates, Olga Georges-Picot

Votes: 209

22. The Big Cube (1969)

PG | 98 min | Thriller, Drama

A former actress clashes with her wealthy and spoiled stepdaughter over their inheritance after the death of their protector.

Director: Tito Davison | Stars: Lana Turner, George Chakiris, Richard Egan, Dan O'Herlihy

Votes: 527

23. Notes on a Scandal (2006)

R | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.

Director: Richard Eyre | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Andrew Simpson, Tom Georgeson

Votes: 71,807 | Gross: $17.51M

24. Death at Love House (1976 TV Movie)

Unrated | 74 min | Horror, Mystery

Donna and Joel Gregory are researching a book about long dead Hollywood goddess Lorna Love. They are staying at Lorna's estate while interviewing old "friends" of Lorna. Joel, whose father ... See full summary »

Director: E.W. Swackhamer | Stars: Robert Wagner, Kate Jackson, Sylvia Sidney, Marianna Hill

Votes: 284

25. The Sentinel (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

A young woman moves into an apartment in a building which houses a sinister evil.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Cristina Raines, Ava Gardner, Chris Sarandon, Martin Balsam

Votes: 8,339

26. The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13 | 104 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

47 Metascore

A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.

Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Kate Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Gena Rowlands

Votes: 101,143 | Gross: $47.81M

27. Flowers in the Attic (1987)

PG-13 | 93 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

25 Metascore

Children are hidden away in the attic by their conspiring mother and grandmother.

Director: Jeffrey Bloom | Stars: Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, Jeb Stuart Adams

Votes: 8,757 | Gross: $15.15M

28. Flowers in the Attic (2014 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 86 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

After the sudden death of their father, four children face cruel treatment from their ruthless grandmother.

Director: Deborah Chow | Stars: Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye

Votes: 8,382

29. Petals on the Wind (2014 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

A decade after Cathy, Christopher, and Carrie escaped from their grandparents' attic at Foxworth Hall, Petals on the Wind continues to follow the twisted plight of the family as they ... See full summary »

Director: Karen Moncrieff | Stars: Heather Graham, Rose McIver, Wyatt Nash, Bailey De Young

Votes: 3,913

30. Seeds of Yesterday (2015 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 86 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

The Sheffield family deals with home truths as their middle child inherits the Foxworth mansion with the family's ghosts ever-looming. The curse lives on and more tragedies are in store.

Director: Shawn Ku | Stars: Rachael Carpani, James Maslow, Jason Lewis, Anthony Konechny

Votes: 1,496

31. If There Be Thorns (2015 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 100 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Living together with their loving and happy new family, Christopher and Cathy's past come to haunt them. Their mother Corrine moves in next door.

Director: Nancy Savoca | Stars: Heather Graham, Rachael Carpani, Jason Lewis, Mason Cook

Votes: 1,814

32. I Saw What You Did (1965)

Approved | 82 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Teenagers Libby and Kit innocently spend an evening making random prank calls. These calls lead to murderous consequences.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Joan Crawford, John Ireland, Leif Erickson, Sara Lane

Votes: 2,390

33. Eye of the Cat (1969)

M/PG | 102 min | Horror

A man and his girlfriend plan to rob the mansion of the man's eccentric but wealthy aunt. However, the aunt keeps dozens of cats in her home, and the man is deathly afraid of cats.

Director: David Lowell Rich | Stars: Michael Sarrazin, Gayle Hunnicutt, Eleanor Parker, Tim Henry

Votes: 600

34. Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 74 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A sculptor hires young college girls to take care of his elderly mother and his supposedly insane sister, both of whom live in the old family mansion with him.

Director: Gordon Hessler | Stars: Ted Bessell, Bette Davis, Sian Barbara Allen, Charles Drake

Votes: 709

35. The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978– )

300 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A young couple moves to a quiet New England village, only to soon find themselves mixed up in mysterious rituals.

Stars: Bette Davis, David Ackroyd, Rosanna Arquette, Rene Auberjonois

Votes: 985

36. Picture Mommy Dead (1966)

Unrated | 82 min | Horror, Thriller

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 »

Director: Bert I. Gordon | Stars: Don Ameche, Martha Hyer, Susan Gordon, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Votes: 439

37. Savage Intruder (1970)

R | 100 min | Horror, Thriller

An aging actress whose career ended in the '30s lives in her decaying mansion with a retinue of bizarre people, including a personal assistant who keeps an arsenal of weapons.

Director: Donald Wolfe | Stars: Miriam Hopkins, David Garfield, Gale Sondergaard, Virginia Wing

Votes: 126



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