Picks and Pans Review: House of Secrets

updated 11/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Nov. 1, 9 p.m. ET)


Who comes up with these vague TV titles? House of Secrets could be about incest, or it could be about the Price Walerhouse dynasty. In fact, it's a thriller about a deadly menage consisting of Melissa Gilbert, Bruce Boxleilner and Kate Vernon. Gilbert, who has a heart condition, owns a sanatorium in New Orleans; Boxleitner, her abusive husband, is determined to turn it into a casino; Vernon, a therapist and Boxleitner's mistress (also abused), draws Gilbert into a plot to bump him off. The bumping-off is achieved with poisoned lemonade and prolonged submersion in the bathtub, but his body vanishes, after which a hysterical Gilbert races about in filmy dresses like a hankie caught in a hurricane. House of Secrets is based on Celles Qui N'Etait Plus, which was previously the source for the French thriller Diabolique. At least that film had Simone Signoret at her curviest. This version is simply stupide, especially when it veers into a supernatural ending, abetted by Cicely Tyson as a voodoo woman.

(David Hiltbrand is on vacation.)

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