Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Information

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is a 1991 comedy film directed by Stephen Herek and starring Christina Applegate.

Applegate stars as a teenager whose mother leaves for a two-month summer vacation in Australia, putting all five siblings in the care of a strict tyrannical elderly babysitter. When the babysitter suddenly dies in her sleep, Applegate (as the eldest sibling) assumes the role as "head of the household" to keep the freedom of having no parents around. She fakes a resume to get a job in the fashion industry, but proves capable and lucky enough to succeed.

The film also features Joanna Cassidy, Keith Coogan, Josh Charles, Danielle Harris, John Getz, and David Duchovny. The original music score was composed by David Newman.


Sue Ellen Crandell is a 17-year-old high school graduate who, due to a lack of funds, cannot go to Europe for the summer with her friends. However, Sue Ellen remains optimistic about a summer of freedom with her siblings: stoner Kenny, tomboy Melissa, ladies man Zach, and TV fanatic Walter, while their mother travels to Australia with her boyfriend. Much to Sue Ellen's dismay, her mother hires a live-in babysitter, Mrs. Sturak, a seemingly sweet, humble old woman who assures Mrs. Crandell that she can take care of all five children. As soon as Ms. Crandell leaves, Mrs. Sturak shows her true colors as a tyrant, quickly drawing the ire of the children. However, she later dies of a heart attack. When her body is discovered by Sue Ellen, the children agree to stuff the babysitter in a trunk and drop her off at a local funeral home. They discover that the envelope given to Mrs. Sturak by their mother with their summer money is empty; she had it on her person when they delivered her to the funeral home.

With no money to pay the family's bills, Sue Ellen finds work at a fast food restaurant called Clown Dog. Despite a budding relationship with her co-worker named Bryan, she quits because of the obnoxious manager. Sue Ellen then forges a resume under the guise of a young fashion designer and applies at General Apparel West (GAW), hoping to secure a job as a receptionist. However, Rose Lindsey, a company executive, finds her resume so impressive that she offers Sue Ellen a job as an administrative assistant, much to the chagrin of Carolyn, a receptionist on Rose's floor who was initially in line for the job.

At GAW, Sue Ellen has to balance the adult responsibilities thrust upon her while still trying to enjoy herself as a teenager. The double life strains her relationship with Bryan when she discovers that he and Carolyn are brother and sister.

Sue Ellen finds herself tested when she learns that GAW is in danger of going out of business. She takes it upon herself to create a new clothing line and Rose suggests holding a fashion show to exhibit their new designs. Sue Ellen offers to host the party, convincing her siblings to help clean up the house and act as caterers. Although she manages to pull off the party, it comes to an end when Bryan unexpectedly shows up to apologize for their breakup, shortly followed by Mrs. Crandell herself, who has come home early from Australia. With her cover blown, Sue Ellen confesses the truth in front of everyone.

While apologizing to Rose after the party, Sue Ellen learns that her unique designs had saved GAW. Rose then offers the real Sue Ellen the job as her personal assistant, which she respectfully declines in favor of going to college first.

In the end, Sue Ellen and Bryan make up, but are soon interrupted by Mrs. Crandell, who inquires about Mrs. Sturak's whereabouts. As the credits roll, the scene cuts away to the cemetery, where two morticians look over a gravestone that reads "Nice Old Lady Inside, Died of Natural Causes".


The house that was used in this movie is located in Canyon Country, California.



  • "Draggin' the Line", performed by Beat Goes Bang
  • "Perfect World", performed by Alias (band)
  • "What She Don't Know", performed by Flame
  • "Keep the Faith", performed by Valentine
  • "Chains", performed by Lorraine Lewis
  • "I Only Have Eyes For You", performed by Timothy B. Schmit
  • "The Best Thing", performed by Boom Crash Opera
  • "Viva La Vogue", performed by Army of Lovers
  • "Stampede", performed by Brad Gillis
  • "Bitter", performed by Terrell
  • "Life's Rich Tapestry", performed by Modern English
  • "Children of the Fire", performed by Mike Reeves
  • "Runnin' on Luck Again", performed by Valentine
  • "Gimme Some Money", performed by Spinal Tap
  • "As Time Goes By", written by Herman Hupfield
  • "(Love Is) The Tender Trap", lyrics and music Sammy Chahn and Jimmy Van Heussen
  • "Twilight Zone Theme", written by Marius Constant


Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 31% based on reviews from 26 critics, with an average score of 4/10. The New York Post called Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead the best teen hit of 1991.


In June 2010, reports surfaced that a remake of the film, produced by The Mark Goodwin Company, is currently in the works. As of July 2013, further details are unknown.

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