CURTIS HARRINGTON WEEK: Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: I love movies that pose a question in the title. We tried to answer why this movie is so good on May 2, 2020 and have brought it back for this week of Harrington films.

Following What’s the Matter with Helen?, Curtis Harrington directed this psycho-biddy film where Mrs. Rosie Forrest (Shelley Winters), the Aunty Roo of the title, is known by the children of a local orphanage as a kindly old lady who throws a huge Christmas party every single year for them. The truth is that she’s obsessed with her dead daughter Katharine, whose mummified body lies in state in her attic so Aunty Roo can sing lullabies to her every night.

Mark Lester and Chloe Franks from The House That Dripped Blood play Christopher and Katy Coombs. two orphans who find themselves in Roo’s clutches. She thinks that Katy might be her daughter and things just get weirder and more like Hansel and Gretel from there on.

Ralph Richardson is in this as Mr. Benton, a fake psychic trying to help Aunty Roo connect to the spirit of her long-departed daughter.

The early 70’s are filled with what I call enjoyable junk. This would be one of those films, with Winters practically devouring the scenery. It makes a great double bill with the aforementioned What’s the Matter with Helen?, which is the superior of the two films.

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