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Mrs. Barbara Steele is STILL one dangerously seductive and deadly momma!
Coventry19 April 2012
As soon as it got listed in the official program of the 30th annual Belgian Festival of Fantastic Films, I've been eagerly anticipating to see "The Butterfly Room". For obvious reasons, I presume, namely the return of horror diva Barbara Steele – the legendary beautiful and hypnotizing lead actress of such Gothic horror milestones as "Black Sunday", "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "Castle of Blood". The casting of Steele is the undeniable highlight, of course, but writer/director Jonathan Zarantonello's whole incentive of making a thriller solely revolving on female protagonists is enormously respectable and, in fact, quite innovative as the horror genre still somewhat remains a masculine world where women are often degraded to inferior roles. Apart from Barbara Steele, Zarantonello managed to gather the dignified horror ladies Erica Leerhsen ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), Camille Keaton ("I Spit on your Grave"), Adrienne King ("Friday the 13th), PJ Soles ("Halloween") and Heather Langenkamp ("Nightmare on Elm Street"). To defend the honor of the male sex, there's also Ray Wise ("Twin Peaks"). I easily daresay this is the most remarkable and jaw-dropping ensemble horror cast since many years!

The plot itself also contains great thriller potential and a worthy amount of isolated moments of greatness, but sadly I have to admit that the wholesome is too often tedious and never appears to find a stable pacing. Steele is splendid as the aging but nevertheless still very stylish and fashionable Ann, a lonely woman who reverts to her hobby of collecting butterflies and exhibiting them in a sober room where only she's allowed to enter. Ann is always eager to babysit her neighbor's young daughter and she also takes obsessive custody of a girl she met at the shopping mall, because her motherly instincts remain unanswered. But Ann's caring personality also has a grim dark side that gradually comes to the surface. "The Butterfly Room" is 100% American produced, but the atmosphere feels totally European, more particularly reminiscent of those typically lurid Italian gialli and psychedelic dramas. The roots of director Zarantonello and the decades of Barbara Steele's horror experience are clearly detectable. Despite the brooding atmosphere throughout, the vast majority of the film is regrettably tame, but luckily this gets compensated with a neatly unsettling and grisly denouement. Beautiful imagery and tasteful photography complete this worthwhile effort that particularly comes recommended to admirers of strong feminine horror ladies and nostalgia.
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An American horror film with an Italian flair and a classic cast. ◆≈≈7.2/10≈≈◆
Thrill_KillZ2 July 2013
Italian Writer/Director Jonathan Zarantonello, in his first English language film, has brought together a rather intriguing cast and delivered an original horror piece that should entertain fans of both vintage & recent horror films. A substantial part of it's success is owed to the film's tight, well written script, but make no mistake, long standing horror icon Barbara Steele absolutely owned the role of Ann. While it may help some folks by reading further into the film's actual full synopsis, I found that even though going in blind was a tad confusing at first, especially if you aren't glued to the screen for every moment, it pays off later when everything clicks and falls so neatly into place. So I will do my usual, less is more outline.

Ann is an older, private, but elegant woman with a passion for butterfly collecting, who longs for the companionship like that of which she had so many years past with of her seemingly long lost daughter Dorothy. One day while out shopping, Ann is drawn into the company of a young, seductive and extremely manipulative young girl Alice(Julia Putnam). As Alice's motives become more clear, Ann realizes that their meeting was by far no accident and that Alice's deceptive tactics are not only being used on her, but a string of women. All of whom are also childless and for one reason or another, are all willing to participate in this warped type of pseudo parenting. The shock of this finding sends Ann into a spiral of madness resulting in some very lethal & callous acts to those unfortunate enough to cross her path.

Despite this being an American production, Zarantonello manages to effectively put that familiar Italian Giallo feel into the film. The atmosphere was very creepy and the film possessed that 60's kind of look & feel to it, with cinematography that was reminiscent of the horror films of old. As a bonus for horror buff's, there was no shortage of cameo's from the likes of Erica Leerhsen(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Heather Langenkamp(Nightmare on Elm Street), Adrienne King(Friday the 13th), Camille Keaton (I Spit on your Grave), PJ Soles(Halloween). You won't find a better psychotic & violent portrayal by a women that, can you believe, is seventy-five years old. I recommend taking this old Buick for a ride if you happen to have an urge for something creepy or looking for a good late night horror flick(which in my case is every night).
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Worth it for Steele... and all the other "scream queens" in it
jadavix18 November 2019
"The Butterfly Room" is a curiosity for the extraordinary casting it features of actresses from famous horror movies. There's Heather Langenkamp, from "Nightmare of Elm St", Adrienne King from "Friday the 13th", P.J. Soles from "Halloween", Camille Keaton from "I Spit on Your Grave". But of course, the real star of the show is Barbara Steele, who is famous for her roles in gothic horror films such as Mario Bava's "Black Sunday".

Other than that, it doesn't have much going for it. The story is undercut by liberal flashbacks that don't really add a whole lot, and a plot that is pretty badly told besides.

I kept watching basically for Steele's performance. Here, in her mid-seventies, she is still a magnetic performer.
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Pinning People Down
Pairic6 April 2022
The Butterfly Room: Ann, a nasty anti-social who has an obsession with pinning butterflies decides to move on to larger prey. A line of dark humour runs through the film leavening the worse moments as she sprays people with acid and kicks ladders from under them. But there are still quite a few disturbing scenes and this is not a film for the squeamish. Various people who cross her come to a gruesome end. Confusing at times as there are flashbacks within flashbacks but the disjointed timeline adds to the tension. Barbara Steele is great as the irritable Ann with Julia Putnam as Alice a grifter schoolgirl. A couple of interesting plot twists will make you reconsider parts of the jumbled narrative. Directed and Co-Written by Jonathan Zarantonello, based on Zarantonello's short filml Alice dalle 4 alle 5 (Alice from 4 to 5). 7/10.

Showing again on Friday 8th April at 10.50 PM on the Horror Channel.
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Just awful
bazookamouth-221-8980975 January 2022
I gave this a one score as I didnt complete the movie. I saw about about half. Its just horrible. The film , the lead old lady is ridiculous. Just a dire, miserable , horrible movie.
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SamJamie28 May 2020
Ann, a reclusive elegant lady with an obsession for butterflies, is befriended by the eerily beautiful young Alice. Lured into Alice's twisted world, Ann soon discovers that Alice has other strange friends.

This may be one of the worst horror films I've ever seen. And believe me, I've seen a lot. But "the Butterfly Room" has very, very little redeeming qualities as a whole. The "plot" of the film is pointless and severely underdeveloped along with the lead character. Every performance in this film is laughably bad, especially the children in the movie and the parents in the film react like no human ever would to this old lady. It's a boring and pointless waste of time. Two stars for horror legends, Heather Langenkamp & Adrienne King, otherwise, Avoid!
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fly, fly away
abcvision26 August 2014
Butterflies are so delicate, yet so strong to endure their long migrations around the world. In the Butterfly Room, the story hinges on Ann (Barbara Steele) who is a strong, elegant, reclusive and centers her life around her butterfly collection. She captures and mounts them in her "butterfly room". During her days, she has flashbacks to her daughter and all the while she befriends a little girl to fill her empty nest syndrome. The Butterfly Room is a spooky tale where all is not what it seems. This psychological thriller keeps you glued to a shifting dynamics of this gentile collector. It is sure to make you think twice the next time you see a flawless butterfly.
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What a great, little surprise---
jswindter0128 February 2015
I'm thrilled that I just happened upon this brilliant gem of a horror/thriller! Scrolling through YouTube looking for what new horror films would be coming out this year, and I just happened upon this movie's trailer. Being a very much hard core horror/thriller movie fan I was shocked that this movie's title has never crossed my path until today!

Along with it being a very real piece of actual entertainment(which sadly these days is very hard to come by), it also had such an array of horror movie icons that made appearances throughout. Some of them being, Erica Leerhsen(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Heather Langenkamp(Nightmare on Elm Street), Adrienne King(Friday the 13th), Camille Keaton (I Spit on your Grave), PJ Soles(Halloween)...and I must quote one of the other reviewers opinion in my saying that I wholeheartedly agree that you just won't find a better psychotic & violent portrayal by a women that, can you believe, is seventy-five years old, in my speaking of the great Barbara Steele.

Seriously wish that this little gem of a horror would have received more recognition, as it so deserved. I just wish I'd known of it long before now!
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scream queen parade
killercharm1 February 2022
A strange lady keeps butterflies mounted in a special room. She has an unhealthy interest in the children around her and is a Karen to the nth degree. She manages to get her hands on the little girls, except one little girl seems to have her hands on the butterfly lady. This is an ok story in an ok movie.
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an enjoyable find
thewalkingpuns4 April 2022
This film was creepy and eerie, wondering what ann really had in her butterfly room. The butterflies were nice to. The acting may have been a bit lackluster in some parts but really all the cast did a fine job. With special apparences by both heather landencamp, nancy from nightmare on elm street and. Adreienne king, alice from friday the 13th. Ann herself, ray wise and the actresses playing alice and. Julia were both pretty good to. Altogehter a nice find of a film that was pretty creepy and twisted.
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A Girl, An Obsession and The Butterflies
DeadeGuard9827 May 2020
😱 First Impressions: From the synopsis I thought it'd play out from the victim's perspective when she befriends the old lady for the first time. I was genuinely surprised that Ann instead was the main star.

Pros: 😋 Actress who plays Ann is very brilliant- she immediately exudes all the characteristics that make her character to be 'off' the moment we see her. It does not wear off until the credits roll...

😋 The story is well written and I could feel immense sympathy for the main character / antagonist. Who is mentally unstable yet emotionally (and financially) manipulated by the girls that ironically she eventually preys on.

😋 There are some very unusual kills in the movie. A constant air of creepiness and threat that never unsettles because you know never know what might happen next.

Cons: 😪 I had some reservations about the way the movie jumps back and forth between the past and present. Sometimes it does so without indication (which is great) but others it blatantlys uses a 'rewind' effect which just spells it out for the audience.

😪 The plot while quite original- I could actually see coming; a whole hour away when it came to the fate of the first girl. Yes, it's still shocking when it is eventually revealed but I thought it could have been handled better.

😪 The child actors and actresses sometime just ruin the scenes. That's not to say they don't shine either! They have their moments especially the actress who plays Alice who is probably the oldest among the children so it's understandable. Nothing too distracting though~

😇Verdict😈 I thoroughly enjoyed the unnerving and at the same time melancholic story of Ann. The pride and effort she takes in maintaining her collection is frightening. The only issue I had were some qualms about the direction and creative decisions. Overall, a solid thriller with a memorably developed antagonist who just for all we know needed some therapy and pills. It's so sad.
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Stylish with a To-Die-For Cast. Compliments End There.
josephbrando10 September 2013
Although this movie has a to-die-for cast including Barbara Steele (Black Sunday), Adrienne King (Friday The 13th), Heather Lagenkamp (Nightmare On Elm Street), Camille Keaton (I Spit On Your Grave), P.J. Soles (Halloween), Erica Leerhsen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) AND is shot with a very stylish flair - the story is just not there to hold up its end of the deal.

When a little girl who uses lonely older women as ATM machines tries to make Ann (Steele) her next victim, the tables get turned. And the secret lies inside the Butterfly Room. The premise is interesting enough but unfortunately the movie is just not very engrossing. Steele is as great as she always was, captivating and consuming. She deserves to be popping up in lots more, and lots better, horror flicks.

Horror aficionados will still want the check this out for the cool cast and the updated Bava/Giallo-ish style. Just don't expect too much!
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A surprisingly good but flawed thriller.
mjjmolina23 August 2019
I had no idea what to expect with this movie. An insane and homicidal woman pays a teenaged girl so she can pretend she is her mother. Well, I'll give it credit for a storyline I've never seen before. The cast really shines well here, by the way. I can't say I'm a good judge of acting, but I can say that I was held captive by the principal actors performance. The movie lost a few marks at the end though. Mostly for some character actions and sequences that didn't exactly make sense, but overall it was still an enjoyable movie.
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Captivation movie with amazing cast!!
greilly213 August 2014
I was walking by a small cinema in NY and stumbled upon the Butterfly Room and am glad I did.

Barbara Steele steals the show as the lead actress; excellent cast overall (with extensive horror film history). The movie leaves the audience in suspense with every creepy twist and turn. The Butterfly Room movie keeps you on the edge of your seat as the plot slowly unravels.

Top notch cinematography.

Warning: This movie may cause nightmares!

Grab your friends and some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the ride in this one of a kind thriller! Highly suggested!
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Classic Steele, scary premise, very flawed
mrosesteed23 February 2019
Although The Butterfly Room addresses the real life horrors of child abuse, obsession, murder, and deceit, it suffers from an awkward script and an overt artistic style characterized by modified color schemes, reverse editing, flashbacks, and a generic synth/rock soundtrack, which is less effective than it is distracting. With these strucutral flaws, the film is forced to lean much too heavily on its distrubing premise, the simultaneously beautiful and macabre practice of insect preservation, and the strength of Barbara Steele's performance as the psychotic Ann.
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Great movie with an amazing cast
sara-969-7954447 April 2014
A gripping, entertaining thriller, one of the best I have ever seen. Twists and turns at every opportunity, all directed beautifully by Zarantonello. Barbara Steele looks amazing and is very much still a great star. I have recommended this movie to my friends and family and look forward to seeing it in theaters this weekend in LA and attending the Q&A with the director and the cast Friday and Saturday. I see a lot of movies and this was an outstanding movie that will be remembered for many years to come. Shot with a classic style in LA it represents a very morbid and innovative story about a mother who couldn't let go. Narrated through a series of flashbacks the contrast between the story and the visuals is striking.
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Surprised it could hold my attention
nurpin13 September 2020
This was a bit of a strange movie but it kept me watching. A lady obsessed with butterfly collecting is befriended by a strange young girl. You continue watching to find out what the heck is going on with this girl, and through flashbacks what happened to the butterfly lady's daughter. It's odd but I couldn't stop watching, even though by the end I thought the plot wasn't great, and the story was really odd.

Not a lot of horror or gore, odd choices by odd characters, but overall it held my attention and wasn't totally horrible. There are better choices for horror movies out there but if there's nothing else to watch, it is something.
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Very disappointing!
Icons197625 August 2012
I actually feel almost pretty much like the last reviewer, with the peculiar exception, that, after saying himself that the movie was tedious and very tiresome, only to end up talking mainly about the great cult cast, he does then give to this film a much higher rating than mine! Well, i don't know: i was looking forward myself to see this one, but was disappointed throughout! Yes, the visionary images and a classy, stylized cinematography,do help the ladies to come across pretty incisive, but that, does not make a good movie! Not even close! I am myself a huge nostalgic of the Giallo's and all Euro, but, mostly Italian greater films from the glorious 1960's, 1970's and 1980's! But we are only feeling an awareness of a telephoned script, often calling for a sense of discomfort, mainly over the contrived plot, re-arranged poor dialog, and a pretty damn unimaginative direction! Besides lacking climax, the movie lacks also any insightful resources, or groundbreaking twist's! Was expecting a luminous, enigmatic experience, or even a darker, lurid one, but, let me tell you, and i am sorry to have to say this,however, i often found myself thinking about other stuff, i had to do, or personal memories.. during the 82 minutes that felt more like 180! Not good, uh? No, especially for a film, that promises to be a thriller and it is instead only a very "mental trip", with no real heartfelt moments! Forgive me, i wish i could have just said something a lot more positive, but, here we are again, in front of those projects, wanting so badly to remind you of the fabulous classic Giallo's of the past, or even of the Horrors, who were then truly a fist in the stomach, instead, all you got here, is an inspired, and, truly never surprising product, featuring a great cast of females, all ex great B Horrors stars, who are so seriously left without much mystery to work with or suggestions. And, by the way, let me tell you, that, if at least, the ladies casting seem appropriate and a very appreciated effort to remember how much underused talent there is, forgotten for no reason, at the contrary, the casting of the men is truly terrible! Even some of the smaller roles, for God's sake! Just completely uninteresting, miscast guys, who don't have any ability to project dramatic tension and certainly incapable of some enigmatic quality! While, Mr. Zarantonello's interest, in this shabby effort, shows only an obvious interest for the ladies, which is, again, a greater intent,indeed, by using, on the opposite side, just some rather anti climatic, down dreary, simply very dull male actors, not even a real face, at once, or, at least, some glance of mystery, or of a more masculine anger, this movie does, ultimately, not even help those stars to shine a little more, but, actually, in some sort of very bizarre way, it makes them all feel like they were all too over the top, in order to be watchable! Again,if very professionally created, and crafted,while, certainly greatly lit images are often on display, it is pretty painfully clear that takes a lot more, to make a decent thriller, delivering some kind of a grip of sort, worth watching! And, if there's a nostalgic feeling for the reminiscences of the old Euro genre filmmaking, at its very ending, this movie leaves you only with the desire to go back home, just to enter one of the favorite DVD's of your private collection, to be able to truly enjoy those old movies, where those same ladies used to appear in, so gloriously! Those were truly a work of genius, for the most part, and, in fact they still bewitch us,making us discuss, and dream on, but, i am afraid, and, truly sorry to bring the bad news, i don't think you'll be talking for very long, if any at all, about this latter one! Next!
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Pretty lackluster horror with interested cast
leesimon-2635725 February 2021
One of the things i like most about this low-budget horror is the soundtrack. There were very interested choices for sound, unlike the regular horror trope of using screeching strings. The movie itself is pretty goofy. All of the characters are exaggerated; the precocious child, the irresponsible mother, the evil old maid, the useless handyman, etc... The flashbacks are quite lame. The backstories in general are stupid. Everyone is melodramatic. The dialogue is quite bad, and people's interactions are generally not credible. Production values are ok, and there are a few nice kills. It was shot with a weird blue tint, which I happened to like, but might be off putting to some. It was kind of nice seeing a movie with a 90% female cast being equally evil, good, helpful, and murderous. So, #feminism, I guess? I won't see this again. Maybe see it once, as it's not completely terrible.
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Fake User Reviews?
dingalingalong1 January 2022
There is nothing good about the production, acting, storyline or acting in this made for TV rubbish.

There is a certain element of horror - more hammer house style than anything.

It just seemed to me that the recent reviews, and hence the recommendation of this title, could be fake which does Imdb no credit at all.
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A shame really...
emilgrims21 May 2018
Ok so I really didn't have high hopes for this movie to begin with but thought that it would maybe actually surprise me. But you guessed it it didn't. You knew how everything went down from the start, no surprises and it was just very boring. I felt myself thinking about something entirely different and almost dozing off. The idea with the butterflies etc etc was good in a sense and could have worked out but it fell flat. At least to me. Also none of the characters were likeable. I felt like everyone was a bit off? I don't know they just came out very unnatural to me. So my conclusion for this movie is that it was rather boring and I felt like I wasted my time if I have to be completely honest. Obviously a lot of people disagree with me here since most reviews are positive. So if you're into movies with so-so plot and love to hear random rock music in almost every god damn scene and unrealistic conversation go a head, knock yourself out.
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Just awful !
deeemmtee25 May 2022
Bad acting, bad writing, dull and silly. One of the worst films I've seen in a long time. Yes, I know there were a lot of famous (old) actors in it, but that counts for little when the plot, writing and execution are dreadful.
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Very dark and intriguing
robcallawayvfr26 July 2022
I am a Barbara Steele fan so maybe I'm biased but I think the low ratings for this movie are unfair, it's actually quite an interesting movie.

The sight of all these famous actors from the horror genre in one movie is one to behold.

The story is devilishly dark and even humorous in a very dark way. Barbara Steeles' character is unhinged, malicious and without any redeeming features but it doesn't make you hate her just more curious of motives.

Others mention the child actors bad acting but I don't agree, they do an excellent job.

The cut and shuffle editing style does confuse the story but it gets there in the end.

Overall a quirky, watchable horror flick that kept my interest.
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It was good to see Heather Langenkamp working again....
KEmerton19927 August 2015
...and that's it. Heather Langenkamp is still a fantastic actress and I hope this is a comeback role for her. I just hope that her upcoming films aren't as horrible as this one. In a word, it was boring. The plot was confusing and hard to follow. It kept going back and forth from the past, even before that, and the future. It was like three short films with similar plots being spliced up and played over each other. The only other reason I wanted to see this was because of P.J. Soles (one of my favorite 80s actresses), and she only had about ten seconds (if that). It was a complete waste of time and I wish I'd had better luck with this pick.
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kikatsura1 February 2018
The plot was terrible, the acting was atrocious, and the flashback were ridiculous. Everybody was so over-the-top and read the script in a school play voice and was delivered with very unconvincing emotions.
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