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Who Slew Auntie Roo? Reviews

This macabre combination of black comedy and suspense thriller is set in England in the 1920s and features Winters (in a wonderfully hammy performance) as Auntie Roo, an ex-music hall singer who has become a recluse since the death of her only daughter years before. A la PSYCHO, she keeps the child's room exactly as it was when the girl was alive, rocking and singing to the cradle that holds the child's mummified remains. Every year she allows eight children from the local orphanage to spend Christmas with her, but one year ten show up, the extra two being Christopher (Lester) and his sister Katy (Franks), a pair of problem kids who snuck into the car bound for the mansion. Katy bears an uncanny resemblance to her late daughter, so Auntie Roo allows them to stay, showing the girl more affection than any of the others. Christopher becomes jealous and goes prowling around the place after hours, discovering the mummy and putting two and two together; he decides that this is really the story of "Hansel and Gretel" come to life, with Auntie Roo as a witch who wants to eat both him and his sister. This film, obviously a bid to capture the same audience that thrilled to Robert Aldrich's WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? and HUSH...HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE, walks a fine line between good and bad taste, manipulating audience expectations and loyalties gleefully and shamelessly. Director Curtis Harrington, who also helmed the gripping thriller GAMES (1967), milks the material for all its worth.