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Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)

A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre "Hansel and Gretel" twist.

Director:

Writers:

(original screen story) (as David Osborn), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mrs. Forrest
...
Christopher Coombs
Chloe Franks ...
Katy Coombs
...
Mr. Benton
...
...
Mr. Harrison
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Miss Henley
Pat Heywood ...
Dr. Mason
...
Clarine
...
Albie
Jackie Cowper ...
Angela Barnes (as Jacqueline Cowper)
Richard Beaumont ...
Peter Brookshire
Charlotte Sayce ...
Katharine Forrest
Marianne Stone ...
Miss Wilcox
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Storyline

This is a retelling of the old tale of Hansel and Gretel, but set in England in the 1920s. To the children and staff at the orphanage, Auntie Roo is a kindly American widow who gives them a lavish Christmas party each year in her mansion, Forrest Grange. In reality, she is a severely disturbed woman, who keeps the mummified remains of her little daughter in a nursery in the attic. One Christmas, her eye falls upon a little girl who reminds her of her daughter and she imprisons her in her attic. Nobody believes her brother, Christopher, when he tells them what has happened, so he goes to rescue her. Written by Mark

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The hand that rocks the cradle has no flesh on it! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

- Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and behavior | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 December 1972 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Gingerbread House  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Judy Cornwell's memoirs, Shelley Winters discovered that Cornwell had got good reviews in Wuthering Heights (1970) and demanded Cornwell's role was cut to the bone. See more »

Quotes

Christopher: Aunt Roo is a witch!
Katy Coombs: I don't care.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Movie Macabre: Who Slew Auntie Roo? (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Tit Willow
Written by Arthur Sullivan & W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Shelley Winters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shelley Winters is fantastic in this Great British Classic!
10 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

Probably Shelley Winters' greatest Movie - though I suspect many would disagree.

Many viewers delight in name-calling 'Aunt Roo' as 'nuts' 'crazy' 'evil' etc., but many fail to see the sad and pathetic side to this unfortunate character.

Aunt Roo (played marvellously by the wonderful Shelley Winters) is clearly traumatised by the tragic death of her only child. Left widowed in an isolated mansion to live all by herself, she is taken advantage of, and her 'damaged' mind from the trauma of her loss is cruelly and sadistically abused by her staff who pretend to be her dead daughter come back during false seances.

Many viewers ignore her staff who bleed her white. Despite showing loads of kindnesses to orphaned children, she is further still abused by two of the most ungrateful among them. Consequently, 'Aunt Roo' transforms from just being traumatised to mentally disturbed, and the tragic end to the movie ensues.

I guess this story just goes to prove how cruel society and people can be to traumatised people without trying to understand them, just because they are adults. If the roles of this film were reversed, everyone's sympathy would still lie with the children...

Shelley Winters' performance still brings tears to my eyes when she cries and yearns for her dead child, only to find out she's been made a fool of - enough to drive anyone insane!

A fabulous Movie, and a fabulous story. It's often likened to Hansel And Gretel, but I think it's far more complicated than that - poor 'Aunt Roo'!


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