Sometimes a movie hits right as an actor is about to get famous for a different type of role. In the fall of 1972, Richard Thomas was getting famous for playing John-Boy on The Waltons. He was a down to Earth kind of guy of good moral standing that was learning about life on Walton Mountain. The kind of nice guy that everyone want to befriend. Around the time his nice guy image dominated tv sets, a different character starring Thomas was being projected on the big screen in You’ll Like My Mother. He was not the man you wanted to encounter in a remote country setting. He was not the man that needed to be near sweetheart superstar Patty Duke (The Patty Duke and Valley of the Dolls).
Francesca (Patty Duke) makes a solitary journey from Los Angeles to the frozen wasteland of Minnesota. Why would an extremely pregnant woman do this? Because she had promised her late husband that she would contact his mother. He swore she’d like his mother before shipping off to Vietnam. Turns out that after making an epic journey in waist deep snow, mom isn’t excited to see her. Mom (The Hand’s Rosemary Murphy) informs her that she euthanize a few kitten. This is not going to be a heartwarming reunion. Even more horrifying is how mom treats her mute and learning disabled daughter (Sian Barbara Allen). She’s trained the girl to be the maid of the expansive mansion that’s isolated from the world. While Francesca wants flee the scene, there’s an incoming blizzard and she’s not exactly ready to become a pregnant popsicle. Thankfully mother is nice enough to let her stay although she’s not happy about it and locks Francesca in the bedroom.
Francesca keeps finding inconsistencies with the things mom says after being told family stories by her late husband. He never mentioned having a sister. But Francesca comes to like the sister-in-law. Among the frightening things that happen in the mansion is the discovery that she’s not the only guest. Deep in the basement lurks Richard Thomas. He’s not sweet John-Boy. Turns out he’s her husband’s evil cousin who gets his kicks raping and killing. Can poor Francesca figure out a way to escape the snow-bound mansion without losing her baby to the relative insanity around her?
You’ll Like My Mother is an amazingly tight spooky house flick. The fact that it was shot on location in Minnesota at the Glensheen Mansion adds so much. This isn’t a bunch of flats slapped up in a Hollywood soundstage. The house creaks and exposes so many dark secrets. Patty Duke is so defenseless against her horrifying mother-in-law. Murphy is a horrific mother-in-law with her attitude even before her dark secret is exposed. Richard Thomas is positively spooky as he creeps around the place. You’ll Like My Mother got a lot of play on TV in the mid-70s thanks to his performance. It probably traumatized quite few fans of The Waltons when they might have tuned in thinking it was a Waltons episode from an alternate universe. The ominous nature of the location wasn’t just hype like the house from The Amityville Horror. A few years after filming, the Glensheen Mansion became the scene of an ugly double homicide when owner Elizabeth Congdon and her nurse were found murdered. The killer was her son-in-law. So it’s a house that wanted to be more than just a fictional haunted house.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the crisp snow on a Fargo level. The audio is DTS-HD MA mono. You get a good sense of the sounds of the house. The movie is subtitled.
The Mystery of Kenny and Kathleen (55:34) lets Sian Barbara Allen and Richard Thomas talk about their roles. There’s also a slight discussion about how they dated each other around this time. She also joined him for a bit of time on The Waltons.
Photo Gallery (2:14) features productions pics proving all that snow wasn’t movie magic.
Trailer doesn’t do the film justice.
Scream Factory presents I Saw What You Did. Directed by: Lamont Johnson. Screenplay by: Jo Heims. Starring: Patty Duke, Richard Thomas, Sian Barbara Allen & Rosemary Murphy. Running Time: 92 minutes. Rated: PG. Released: May 10, 2016.
Tags: Patty Duke, Scream Factory, You'll Like My Mother