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Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)

PG-13 | | Horror, Thriller | 17 March 1972 (USA)
A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre "Hansel and Gretel" twist.


Curtis Harrington


David D. Osborn (original screen story) (as David Osborn), Robert Blees (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Shelley Winters ... Mrs. Forrest
Mark Lester ... Christopher Coombs
Chloe Franks ... Katy Coombs
Ralph Richardson ... Mr. Benton
Lionel Jeffries ... Inspector Ralph Willoughby
Hugh Griffith ... Mr. Harrison
Rosalie Crutchley ... Miss Henley
Pat Heywood Pat Heywood ... Dr. Mason
Judy Cornwell ... Clarine
Michael Gothard ... Albie
Jackie Cowper Jackie Cowper ... Angela Barnes (as Jacqueline Cowper)
Richard Beaumont ... Peter Brookshire
Charlotte Sayce Charlotte Sayce ... Katharine Forrest
Marianne Stone ... Miss Wilcox


A retelling of the old tale of Hansel and Gretel, but set in 1920's England. 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's a severely disturbed woman, who keeps the mummified remains of her little daughter in a nursery in the attic. One Christmas, her eye fall 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's happened, so he goes to rescue her. Written by Mark

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Did You Know?


The cast includes two Oscar winners (Shelley Winters and Hugh Griffith) and one Oscar nominee (Ralph Richardson). See more »


Mr. Benton: Good afternoon, young man. I - I wish to see... Albie.
Christopher: Get the police! She's keeping us prisoner! She wants to cook us - and eat us!
See more »


Featured in Cinemacabre TV Trailers (1993) See more »


Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
Performed by Shelley Winters
See more »

User Reviews

a cleverly subverted fairytale
16 January 2005 | by ThrownMuseSee all my reviews

From the opening scene, it is obvious that Rosie Forrest (aka Auntie Roo) is completely insane. She lives alone in a magnificent mansion in 1920s England and will never get over the death of her young daughter. In an attempt to fill this void, Auntie Roo has an annual Christmas party for a few of the best behaved children from the local orphanage. This year, a misbehaving brother and sister stowaway in the trunk of the car and join the party. Auntie Roo starts to believe the girl is her daughter, while the boy is convinced Auntie Roo is a witch. Mayhem ensues.

This is a clever, creepy, and amusing subversion of the "Hansel and Gretel" fairytale that puts forth the notion that the wicked witch might not be inherently evil or even malintentioned--just severely insane! Some of the scares are cheesy, a few of the child actors are awful (the lead girl looks and acts like she was sniffing glue during the entire production!), and it is a bit disconcerting to sit through yet another movie where Shelley Winters sings and dances like a freak. But overall, this is an underrated sick little fairytale. My Rating: 7/10

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Release Date:

17 March 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gingerbread House See more »

Filming Locations:

Middlesex, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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