A 90s Cult Classic Movie Is Blowing Up On Streaming 

The 1991 dark comedy Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is tearing up the streaming charts on Hulu.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

One of the best films from the 90s is blowing up on streaming, and you might be surprised by which one it is. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead starring Christina Applegate, is currently ranked #2 on Hulu.

Like many cult classics, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out in 1991, but over the last three decades, it has built up a large cult following. The film follows Christina Applegate as Swell, the 17-year-old older sibling of four rambunctious children who are left alone with a geriatric babysitter after their mother takes off for a two-month vacation to Australia. When the babysitter dies, Swell must assume the role of head of the house and figure out how to be an adult.

The coming-of-age black comedy was written by Neal Landau and Tara Ison. It was directed by Stephen Herek, who is most known for directing another bizarre 20th-century classic, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which came out in 1989. Alongside Christina Applegate, the film stars Keith Coogan, Robert Hy Gorman, Christopher Pettiet, and Danielle Harris as Swell’s younger siblings.

Joanna Cassidy plays Rose Lindsey, Swell’s boss at the fashion firm she forges her way into, and Josh Charles plays her main love interest.

When the film was released, it grossed a total of $25.1 million and was made with a $10 million budget. This meant that the film was not a total flop, but it wasn’t a box-office success either. 

As far as critics at the time were concerned, the movie was a complete failure. Many reviewers compared it unfavorably to Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin, which had come out the previous year and was a huge success. Critics claimed Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead was trying to copy what Home Alone had done by portraying wild children as heroes, but did so unsuccessfully.

Peter Travers of The Rolling Stone went as far as to call the movie “the film equivalent of processed cheese.”

christina applegate

Though the film was not Christina Applegate’s most successful, it has gone down in movie history as one of the most prominent in her career. Despite the lackluster financial success and the critical condemnation, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead developed a cult following in the 90s through VHS rentals and endless HBO airings. Now that the film is streaming on Hulu, it seems that people are feeling the nostalgia and a film that was once a critical failure is now at the top of the charts. 

Christina Applegate grew up as a child in Hollywood and started appearing on screen at three months old. She first gained recognition for her role as Kelly Bundy in Married…With Children. The critically acclaimed actress has won four Emmys and a Tony award, but Applegate has said that when people come up to her on the street, they say, “Of all the things you’ve done, Don’t Tell Mom is my favorite.”

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead is just one example of a film that wasn’t appreciated enough at the time of its release but is now getting a second life through streaming services like Hulu.