Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? Film Details
Overview: A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre “Hansel and Gretel” twist.
Tagline: She’s Taking A STAB At Motherhood!
Review: Rosie Forrest(Shelley Winters), as the film presents in the opening singing to her daughter who is a rotted corpse, is pretty mad you could say. The mansion she lives in was obviously constructed at her late magician husband’s command since the daughter’s room is so well hidden within secret passageways, if(..and when)the police were to search for someone(or two, to be precise)it’s nearly impossible unless you know the right button to push and the specific door to enter. We are presented with two orphans, Christopher and Katy(Mark Lester and Chloe Franks)notorious for their constant attempts at running away and misbehaving(they give their “den-mother” the silent treatment out of protest for having to return to the orphanage). 10 children, the kindest of the orphanage, are selected to spend Christmas with Rosie, and Christopher & Katy are NOT on that list. Yet, they take it upon themselves to hide in the luggage cart of the carriage anyway and are invited into the bosom of Rosie. Rosie often sees a corrupt con-artist, Mr. Benton(Ralph Richardson)who pretends to be a medium who can contact her late daughter Katherine. A child’s voice claiming to be Katherine is actually the maid conspiring with the butler scamming cash from Rosie when Benton separates their cut. Albie(Michael Gothard)presents himself quite the loyal butler attending to Rosie’s every need until that right moment when he can get a big payday through some sort of blackmail. Albie knows Rosie is bonkers and buys his time. That time may’ve arrived in the luggage cart for Christopher believes Rosie is a witch and that he and Katy are to be stuffed in an oven and eaten when she’s gets a chance(Christopher compares their situation to the dark fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel..an aspect the film tries in every way to exploit throughout even using Christopher’s narration parlaying excerpts from the story). What does happen is that Rosie sees Katherine in Katy and really wishes for her to stay..without Christopher who becomes Rosie’s arch nemesis. Both scheme against one another as Christopher finds the room where the dead daughter is locked away and sees Rosie singing to her. The final thirty or so minutes is Christopher trying to rescue Katy(..and himself)from the clutches of Rosie who keeps the entire house locked away. Katy is kept locked away in Katherine’s old room while Rosie forces Christopher to assist her in everyday chores once Albie and the maid exit the premises with a nice fat check through blackmail(Albie threatens to expose Katy’s whereabouts when Rosie informs the orphanage that she must’ve disappeared). The ending is quite twisted..if you have an understanding of the dark fairy tale mentioned throughout, then you might have an inkling what I’m talking about. I’ll be honest, this is really a sick little number. It exploits a mentally woman for comedy using the death of a daughter as the catalyst. It also is quite disturbing as a misunderstanding through the paranoid mind of a boy leads to a horrible tragedy. Even more so twisted is that Christopher understands where Rosie keeps her expensive jewelry and steals it, burying them in a hole within this teddy bear Katy insists on getting(it was Katherine’s). If you want me to tell the truth the boy protagonist isn’t the kindest, most pleasant kid in the world..anything but. He’s just a smaller version of Albie. But, poor Rosie is used by everyone in the film. Everyone preys on her mental weaknesses. The really crazy part is this film plays Rosie’s madness for snickers. I think this film works best for those with a macabre sense of humor. Not for all tastes, that’s for sure.
Duration: 91 min
Genre: Horror, Thriller
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