Monday, March 18, 2013

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?

"Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?" (1972) is a horror / thriller with hints of the old "Hansel & Gretel" fairy tale, starring , , .

The movie takes place in the 1920s in England.  Mrs. Forrest "Auntie Roo" (played by the delightful Shelly Winters) is a local widow who lives in a giant mansion that is so ornate it almost looks like a gingerbread house.  It takes place around Christmas and each year Auntie Roo invites some of the local orphans to her home to stay a few days and enjoy parties, gifts and other Christmas fun. The children love going to her house and being spoiled for once in their lives.

Auntie Roo hides some secrets though.  Her daughter who supposedly went missing is really dead and being kept by Auntie Roo in a secret attic playroom.  She also brings in a local medium to try to contact her dead daughter.  Auntie is a very lonely person and all she wants is her daughter back.  Unfortunately for brother and sister Christopher and Katy Coombs who crash the party, Auntie takes an instant liking to Katy and wants to adopt her.  Christopher, who has a vivid imagination, thinks Auntie Roo is a witch who is trying to fatten them up to cook them like the old fairy tale.  He tries to reveal the real Auntie Roo to his sister before it is too late for both of them.

This is a really good movie.  The setting in the mansion and its estate is spectacular.  Shelly Winters portrays a variety of emotions in this movie and is a very colorful and imposing figure in this movie.  Auntie Roo is a joy to watch.

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