‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ is disturbing beyond just Munchausen’s


NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Build Presents Erin Lee Car discussing her new film ‘Mommy Dead And Dearest’ at Build Studio on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)

HBO’s newest documentary ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ tells the murderous tale of Dee Dee Blanchard.

First things first, Munchausen by proxy is a terrifying subject. This is the center of where the story lies in Mommy Dead and Dearest, a documentary that sounds like it’s ready for a Lifetime slot, but really made its debut on HBO earlier this week.

It follows the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who grew up thinking she had all kinds of diseases and ailments including, but not limited to, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and a heart condition. She felt this way because her mom, Dee Dee Blanchard, told her it was so. As a kid, how would Gypsy know any better?

While this should be the most disturbing part of the documentary, it’s not. There are multiple factors that add to the strangeness of this true crime story. The one that stuck out the most was Gypsy’s boyfriend, Nicholas, who initiated the gory attack on Dee Dee.

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His and Gypsy’s relationship began on dark note. Although they met on a Christian dating site, their flirtation turned into talk of BDSM and role play, not at all what one would expect from what seemed to be a sheltered and fragile girl.

Gypsy also relays something in her interview about rape, in such a casual way, that I wonder if she is naive, ignorant, or suffering from deep trauma and doesn’t realize the awfulness of what she’s saying.

Also, both she and her dad are calm in their individual interviews, smiling as they recall memories. Finally, the song played during the closing credits is a loud burst of upbeat music that is startling. Perhaps this was all a tactic of director Erin Lee Carr. Maybe she introduced these more “chipper” parts to offset the grim horror of a heinous crime and what led up to it. Whether it was on purpose or not, it definitely turned the disturbing factor up a few notches.

Mommy Dead and Dearest is a true crime documentary now airing on HBO.