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Gothic Movies: The Shuttered Room
Here’s another fine little English Gothic horror film from 1967 that is perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon. The Shuttered Room, loosely based on ideas and a story by H.P. Lovecraft, stars the ethereally beautiful Carol Lynley as Susanna, and the ever debonair Gig Young as her husband Mike Kelton, a suave, Madison Avenue advertising executive quite a few years her senior.

Susanna has just turned 21 and inherited the family estate on Dunwich Island. The "estate: turns out to be an old house and adjoining, dilapidated mill which is allegedly haunted, as Mike and Susanna learn from superstitious villagers, one of whom has the scars on his face to prove that the Devil lives in the old Whatley Mill. Along the way we meet a cast of sinister characters including veteran British actress Flora Robson as the very witchy-looking Aunt Agatha who holds court at the top of an old Norman tower, the late great Oliver Reed as a local redneck in some tight blue jeans and hell-bent for putting the moves on citified Susanna, and a mysterious creature who is chained up inside the abandoned mill and has a penchant for clawing to death any of the hapless villagers who stumble into the old mill after dark.

Though set in New England, the film was shot on location in Cornwall, England and there are plenty of exteriors showcasing the wild and rugged shorelines making it clear why so many Gothic novels past and present were placed in this setting. The plot line is a bit thin by today’s standards, but follows the classic 1960s gothic structure and has all the right pieces, plus a surprisingly effect soundtrack of wild and crazy 60s style freeform jazz.

The Shuttered Room is finally available in the US on DVD double featured with It starring Roddy McDowall.

More information and screen shots available here.

Cover of the paperback novelization available here.

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Gothic Movies: The Shuttered Room - by Monique Devereaux - 12-13-2008, 11:28 AM

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