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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shuttered Room
One of my favorite Saturday afternoon horror movies from when I was a kid. "The Shuttered Room" is a great piece of 60's gothic horror, complete with a family curse, an old millhouse, and even some bad Karate fights. Oliver Reed stands out as the crazed juvenile who lusts after Carol Lynley. He has an inner rage that can only be tamed by spooky Aunt Agatha played with...
Published on December 31, 2008 by Dave

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A moody little horror film from the sixties
This is one of those classic British horrors from my childhood that used to scare the pants off me. And now it's finally here on DVD. The story revolves around Susannah (Carol Lynley), who lived as a child on an isolated New England island with her parents in a grain mill. Something else lived there too, in a locked room... something angry and vicious. When Susannah's...
Published on December 10, 2008 by Bobby K


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shuttered Room, December 31, 2008
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
One of my favorite Saturday afternoon horror movies from when I was a kid. "The Shuttered Room" is a great piece of 60's gothic horror, complete with a family curse, an old millhouse, and even some bad Karate fights. Oliver Reed stands out as the crazed juvenile who lusts after Carol Lynley. He has an inner rage that can only be tamed by spooky Aunt Agatha played with great passion by Flora Roberts (The Innocents). One thing that I didn't remember was the great jazzy score by Basil Kirchin. Maybe now that this film has been released on DVD, he will get the recognition he deserves as this is one of the best film scores I've heard.
Only disappointment is the lack of extras on the DVD. Maybe WB will release an updated version of this in the near future.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A moody little horror film from the sixties, December 10, 2008
By 
Bobby K (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
This is one of those classic British horrors from my childhood that used to scare the pants off me. And now it's finally here on DVD. The story revolves around Susannah (Carol Lynley), who lived as a child on an isolated New England island with her parents in a grain mill. Something else lived there too, in a locked room... something angry and vicious. When Susannah's parents die, she is sent to be raised in New York. Once she is 21, she and her new and much older husband (Gig Young) revisit the island to reclaim the old mill. On the island they encounter a mysterious, superstitious Aunt, a gang of threatening thugs and a murderous "something" still living in the old mill.

This DVD has an ok picture quality, but there is some dirt in the print and the colors seem kind of dull. It doesn't look like Warner took the time to clean up the print. I have to say I was pretty nervous when the 7 Arts logo came up and it looked like the image was taken from a jumpy film projector, but that soon passes once the film starts. The film does have the original prolog before the titles with the "You left the door unlocked again!" scene, which many rebroadcasts of the film seem to cut.

There are no extras on the DVD (which also features the Roddy McDowell film "It!" about a stone golem on the rampage) You get the ability to see subtitles but there are no chapter selection stops and no commentaries. Nor do you get any trailers. Very bare bones, but it's a welcome addition for anyone wanting to revisit this moody film.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The People Have Spoken-!, November 16, 2010
By 
K. Laurey (Clark Mills, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
Lots of fun reading the reviews of "Shuttered Room" and "It"--and they're pretty dead-on. This is a great disc to watch on a dark, rainy afternoon. While it hasn't landed anywhere near the top of anyone's Thriller Movie list, "Shuttered Room" manages to keep up the tension level going throughout. The jazz background score, 'over-30' actors (excepting the luscious Ms Lynley),and attention to the building of suspense will seem odd to many of today's younger viewers who equate "thriller movie" with "bloodsoaked slaughter of teenagers and other horny people." "Shuttered Room" has its moments of erotica and violence, but it gets the message across without slamming you over the head with an ax. Gig Young is interestingly cast--a talented, Oscar-winning actor who no doubt lended some credibility to the proceedings. Carol Lynley's moody, unusual beauty set her apart from the laquered, cookie-cutter glamor girls of the Sixties and she's convincing as a troubled spirit. But it's hard to tell whether Oliver Reed or Flora Robson is the bigger scene-stealer. They both dive into it head first, and do a bang-up job. Nifty little thriller you won't find boring. Terrific scenery and photography. "It", as has been duly noted by reviewers, is that rare film that completely fails to frighten anybody, although better put together than other films you love to make fun of---must be that British thing. You can get away with anything if you have a classy accent. Roddy McDowell was made for things like this, and he chews the scenery with glee and abandon. The "stone" golem is as scary as a rag doll and less believable. (Moving stone shouldn't wrinkle.) Still, it's worth a watch with a big bowl of popcorn and a blanket on a dark night.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile double feature of 60's horror, August 11, 2010
By 
Wuchak (Eastern USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
THE SHUTTERED ROOM (Also known as BLOOD ISLAND), 1967

THE PLOT: A well-to-do man and his young wife (Gig Young and Carol Lynley) visit an island off the coast of New England, which was the childhood home of the wife. They are hassled by lunatic ruffians and learn that her now-dilapidated family estate is haunted or cursed. Although warned to leave by all the locals they decide to stick around. Havok ensues.

Even though I hadn't seen this one since I was a kid, until I bought the dvd, certain scenes were effectively burned into my memory, like the wacko gang gravel-surfing and the surfer thrust into the barbed-wire fence, the old crone eerily rocking on her perch and the spooky POV shots of the unseen presence in the old mill spying on what's happening below.

Oliver Reed is very effective as the head ruffian likely because he was a drunken brawler in real life. He has that captivating aura like Brando, but with a more sinister bent.

Carol Lynley (from 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure") was in her mid-20's at the time and she's breath-taking. It's strange that she's married to Gig Young in the story since he was in his early 50s, but it happens.

The film features a cool jazzy score.

The story takes place on an island off the Coast of New England but it was shot at Hardingham, Norfolk, England. Although this is a fine location you can tell it's not a New England isle. Why didn't they simply have the story take place in England?

Some complain about the revelation of the unseen presence at the end, but it worked for me. In fact, I found it surprising. I also found it realistic. Real life is creepier than fantasy. That's all I can say without spoiling it.

BOTTOM LINE: Although it may be kind of boring to younger modern viewers, "The Shuttered Room" works well because it effectively creates an eerie mood, has striking characters played by great actors, and has a handful of memorable scenes that burn into your psyche. It's a horror film not in the sense that it's uber-scary, but rather creepy, weird and disturbing.

RUNTIME: 99 minutes

GRADE: A-

===============================================================================================

IT!, 1967

THE PLOT: A London museum acquires a Golem, an indestructable Hebrew statue originally created to protect the community. The assistant curator (Roddy McDowall) discovers how to control the thing but uses it for selfish, destructive purposes. You know what they say: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I've seen a few illustrations of Golems over the years where it looks very block-like (see Wikipedia), but none look like the Golem depicted in this film. Here it's pretty hideous and not block-like at all.

I couldn't help thinking of "The Terminator" while watching, but "It!" isn't nearly as successful in giving the impression of an unstoppable force, which is likely due to budget constraints and lack of imagination.

Jill Haworth is easy on the eyes, albeit nothing exceptional, and the rest of the main cast are good.

BOTTOM LINE: The build-up is well-done and interesting but the filmmakers badly fumble the ball in the final act (it's not even remotely believable that this slow, cumbersome statue could hold off a platoon, let alone an entire battalion. Why don't they just storm around the stone creature since they ridiculously outnumber it?). Still, "It!" is worthwhile for a number of reasons, especially if you like Hammer films since it has a strong Hammer-esque vibe.

RUNTIME: 96 minutes

GRADE: C+
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue!!!, October 31, 2008
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
I have waited years upon years to see a re-release of It. Roddy McDowell was great in this film. Only recently was a able to see The Shuttered Room on Turner Classic Movies. It is another forgotten magnificent piece of film. Oliver Reed has a excellent roll as a heavy. Elements of the plot resemble Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" which I believe predate this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric Double Bill Makes For Fascinating Viewing., December 8, 2009
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
As I continue working my way through several old style horror films of the 1950s and 60s, I just have to weigh in on this double feature which I found to be among the best of the many retro horror twofers that are out there on the market. I somehow managed to miss both of these on their initial releases and never saw them on TV so they were brand new to me. Most of the previous reviews focus on THE SHUTTERED ROOM which got far more exposure and certainly boasts the stronger cast as well as the H.P. Lovecraft name (even though August Derleth wrote most of it). Very little Lovecraft/Derleth is left and what you essentially have is a tense little thriller that seems like a dry run for STRAW DOGS (1971) without all the ultra-violence. The real stars of the movie are not the performers (although Oliver Reed and Flora Robson know what to do with the material) but rather Ken Hodges striking cinematography and Basil Kirchin's modern jazz score which combine to make the picture a tense viewing experience until the ending which is singularly disappointing. The Norfolk (U.K.) locations, especially the abandoned lighthouse and old mill, are also very effective.

While THE SHUTTERED ROOM is clearly the better movie, I enjoyed IT a lot more because, as one U.K. website said, the film is absolutely "barking mad". What starts off as a deliberate PSYCHO ripoff evolves into a kooky film experience with Roddy MacDowell playing the script for all the dark humor he can get out of it. His Arthur Pimm is such a polite madman that he becomes a parody of every proper upright Englishman. He is actually fun to watch even more so after he really starts to lose it. Grafting PSYCHO onto THE GOLEM story deserves credit for chutzpah if nothing else. As for the statue itself, the real Golem was made out of clay not stone, was far from indestructible, and didn't resemble a petrified tree with a conehead. Details. IT was originally made back to back with a creepy Dana Andrews vehicle about resurrecting Nazis called THE FROZEN DEAD which was made for an outfit called Gold Star Productions. It has yet to make it to DVD. Both were written and directed by Herbert J. Leder and would have made an ideal double feature. THE SHUTTERED ROOM could have been coupled with another WB/Seven Arts feature THE ANNIVERSARY with Bette Davis or just released on its own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun '67 British horror double feature worth it for blondes, Roddy McDowell, and weird jazz, October 8, 2010
By 
Muzzlehatch (the walls of Gormenghast) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
** Some SPOILERS though both films are pretty obvious... **

Neither of these two low-budget offerings is going to set the world on fire, but both are fun for different reasons, and the aficionado of 60s horror or British cinema shouldn't hesitate to give them a look. We'll start with the weaker of the two, in my opinion -

IT! - directed by Herbet J. Leder, 1967
Roddy McDowell is Arthur Pimm, a seemingly meek, minimally talented assistant curator to a second-tier British museum, who after a fire at a museum warehouse suddenly finds himself privy to the secret of ultimate power - the secret to controlling a golem! And what does he want to use that ultimate power for? Why, to impress his hot blonde mod coworker Ellen (Jill Haworth), of course. Standing in his way are first the new, hard-nosed curator (easily dispensed with), Ellen's new boyfriend, American museum representative Jim Perkins (Paul Maxwell) and the cops.

This is a pretty silly and very cheap horror-comedy that was probably supposed to be frightening but ends up as mostly humorous due both to the cheap effects and increasingly scattered narrative, and to McDowell's natural comic presence. Perhaps the producers made a mistake - assuming they wanted the film taken seriously at all - by showing a rather crazy secret that Mr. Pimm keeps, very early on, which undercuts any real power or believability he has as a potential criminal mastermind. Or perhaps it's in the very poor FX and minimal "scare" scenes, which very much belie the notion at the end of the film that the golem is such a threat that the British military has to bring forth the Ultimate Weapon to use against it. Jeez, it brings down one bridge and they're willing to wipe out a square mile of landscape on it?

Not really "good" but worth seeing for McDowell's fine mad-comic performance (which deserves a better film), Haworth's extreme cuteness, and the rather cool-looking monster (which actually looks much better when immobile).

Now on to THE SHUTTERED ROOM (directed by David Greene, 1967)
This Warner Brothers/Seven Arts production happens to be just the third film to bear the name of H.P. Lovecraft as an inspiration; in this case, the film is based on a story that was actually written almost wholly by August Derleth, from skimpy notes by the genius from Providence, who died a month before one of the stars of this film (Oliver Reed) was born (in 1937) and five years before leading lady Carole Lynley. I haven't read the story, but I have no doubt that this film has as little to do with whatever conception for the story that Lovecraft may have had as nearly all other "adaptations" of his work - which is to say, next to nothing. Just to get that out of the way first; if you're a Lovecraft fan, don't watch this film for that reason.

This is, though, a more interesting and on the whole more successful horror film, on it's own terms, than I expected it to be, given that it has a fairly poor reputation. The principal cast, in addition to the beautiful Ms. Lynley, and Reed - playing the typical dangerous, charming brute that he did so well as a young actor - includes Gig Young as Lynley's much older husband and Flora Robson as "Aunt Agatha". Susannah Whately (Lynley) and husband Mike Kelton (Young) drive to visit a remote island where Susannah was born and lived until tragedy took the lives of her parents. Now coming into her inheritance, she wants to reclaim the old millhouse where she was born and use it as a summer home. But miscreant Ethan (Reed), a distant cousin, has different ideas - and Aunt Agatha knows the terrible secret beyond what actually happened to Susannah's parents on that terrible night, almost 20 years earlier...

Overall this is a pretty well done spooky "what's-the-ancient-secret-and-will-it-kill-again" story, with beautifully atmospheric, mostly sunny photography of the lonely beaches and isolated locations that make up a typical lost-in-time New England town in the imagination of Lovecraft - they got that right, even if the film was shot in England. The millhouse is fairly impressive, and even better is the castle-like lighthouse at the top of a cliff where Agatha lives, staring out over her memories. The major problem is that the ending is awfully obvious and cliched, and just plain stupid, but the performances and eerie feeling of the thing do work pretty well, up to a point. There's also something just slightly Lovecraftian about the sinister people in the tiny little village by the ferry landing - one gets the impression that they're all cousins and brothers and sisters, all the same little clan that have lived on this one little island for centuries, growing more and more decadent and debased all the time.

The REAL reason to watch the movie, though, is to listen to it. The music is by Basil Kirchin, a name I hadn't heard before, and it's absolutely amazing. Though the music ranges through several genres and moods, most of it is in avant-garde jazz mode, somewhere along the lines from hard bop to free jazz, with soaring sax solos, creepy bass solos, and weird dissonant clusters here and there that at times seem to belong to a different - and perhaps better - movie. Well, you take what you can get - and this music is worth getting. Maybe if the film doesn't sound all that enticing you should just see if you can find the soundtrack somewhere. In any case, it easily bumps the film up a notch or two, and makes it at least recommendable as an interesting oddity in 60s British horror, pretty far from most of the typical Hammer stuff.

DVD NOTE: both films are decent widescreen transfers with more than acceptable color and sound; no extras apart from optional English subtitles.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reed and McDowall: Suitable Cases For Treatment, April 13, 2009
By 
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
It's worrying to think that there must be some mad, straddling genius squirreling deep in the vaults of WB who has the sheer premeditated temerity to put these two extraordinary films together on one disc....

'The Shuttered Room' is a nasty thriller exploiting psychiatric disorder: If you have loony murderous relatives, don't bother with doctors - chain 'em up in a disused mill and get Oliver Reed to be the care-taker! When an unexpected sibling and her husband (Carol Lynley and Gig Young) turn up and - surprise, surprise, much unpleasantness sets in motion - sit in a draughty tower and watch Reed roaring in a field.

Dame Flora Robson plays the aunt of the mother-of-all dysfunctional families, and how she got roped in to this insanity is anyone's guess. And as for Reed...you've never seen a performance like it in your life. He plays the same kind of thug he did in Joseph Losey's 'These Are The Damned' only with a laughingly hokey American accent: "I like the taste of your wife's ears.." he drawls at Young, "what d'you think about that, huh?"
Young thinks he should knock him into the sea off a pier - and does just that.

'The Shuttered Room' is a bad day-dream and not quite the sum of its parts (it has a superb score by jazz legend Basil Kirchin and is based on a Lovecraft short), but it's engaging in a brute-force way, savage, and never ever boring.

'It' is a stranger film again. Roddy McDowall plays Pimm, a lowly museum curator consistently passed for promotion and shunned romantically by delicious Jill Howarth - but who discovers that a Golem statue the museum has just taken delivery of is actually alive and takes control of it.
Howarth has formed a relationship with smug American (is there any other kind !?) Paul Maxwell, and mad as a wart-hog McDowall uses the Golem to kidnap her; steal his long-dead mothers corpse (and a hearse!) from a funeral parlour and head off to a country cemetery - Sexton: Miss Swanson (!!).

On realising the Golem is impervious to bullets and bazooka shells, the resourceful but completely hat-stand British Army decide to nuke it! Maxwell is then involved in some no-thrills-at-all motorcycle action to save juicy Jill, but what of McDowall and the Golem..

Now, I've seen some bonkers movies in my time, and 'It' is right up there with the best of 'em. McDowall is loco, camp and megalomaniacal all at the same time. The Golem is about as scary as sild, and the whole bizarre concoction is brewed with no cinematic nous or dramatic charge whatsoever.

You may be wondering, then, how this disc gets the 5 hallowed big ones. Well, Ollie Reed's bull-like performance, intensified by his continual racing about bellowing, is a treat in itself. As is the barking spectacle of the Royal Artillery nuking Roddy McDowall - so as some-one with an unrepentant and insatiable thirst for schlock, I'm left with little option:
You won't see a more satisfying couple of complete cults anywhere individually - but together...

The guy in the dusty WB dungeon who paired these two is evidently a
'special' person, and either needs immediate promotion to the upper echelons or fitted for a straight-jacket!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile double feature of 60's horror, August 12, 2010
By 
Wuchak (Eastern USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shuttered Room & It (DVD)
THE SHUTTERED ROOM (Also known as BLOOD ISLAND), 1967

THE PLOT: A well-to-do man and his young wife (Gig Young and Carol Lynley) visit an island off the coast of New England, which was the childhood home of the wife. They are hassled by lunatic ruffians and learn that her now-dilapidated family estate is haunted or cursed. Although warned to leave by all the locals they decide to stick around. Havok ensues.

Even though I hadn't seen this one since I was a kid, until I bought the dvd, certain scenes were effectively burned into my memory, like the wacko gang gravel-surfing and the surfer thrust into the barbed-wire fence, the old crone eerily rocking on her perch and the spooky POV shots of the unseen presence in the old mill spying on what's happening below.

Oliver Reed is very effective as the head ruffian likely because he was a drunken brawler in real life. He has that captivating aura like Brando, but with a more sinister bent.

Carol Lynley (from 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure") was in her mid-20's at the time and she's breath-taking. It's strange that she's married to Gig Young in the story since he was in his early 50s, but it happens.

The film features a cool jazzy score.

The story takes place on an island off the Coast of New England but it was shot at Hardingham, Norfolk, England. Although this is a fine location you can tell it's not a New England isle. Why didn't they simply have the story take place in England?

Some complain about the revelation of the unseen presence at the end, but it worked for me. In fact, I found it surprising. I also found it realistic. Real life is creepier than fantasy. That's all I can say without spoiling it.

BOTTOM LINE: Although it may be kind of boring to younger modern viewers, "The Shuttered Room" works well because it effectively creates an eerie mood, has striking characters played by great actors, and has a handful of memorable scenes that burn into your psyche. It's a horror film not in the sense that it's uber-scary, but rather creepy, weird and disturbing.

RUNTIME: 99 minutes

GRADE: A-

===============================================================================================

IT!, 1967

THE PLOT: A London museum acquires a Golem, an indestructable Hebrew statue originally created to protect the community. The assistant curator (Roddy McDowall) discovers how to control the thing but uses it for selfish, destructive purposes. You know what they say: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I've seen a few illustrations of Golems over the years where it looks very block-like (see Wikipedia), but none look like the Golem depicted in this film. Here it's pretty hideous and not block-like at all.

I couldn't help thinking of "The Terminator" while watching, but "It!" isn't nearly as successful in giving the impression of an unstoppable force, which is likely due to budget constraints and lack of imagination.

Jill Haworth is easy on the eyes, albeit nothing exceptional, and the rest of the main cast are good.

BOTTOM LINE: The build-up is well-done and interesting but the filmmakers badly fumble the ball in the final act (it's not even remotely believable that this slow, cumbersome statue could hold off a platoon, let alone an entire battalion. Why don't they just storm around the stone creature since they ridiculously outnumber it?). Still, "It!" is worthwhile for a number of reasons, especially if you like Hammer films since it has a strong Hammer-esque vibe.

RUNTIME: 96 minutes

GRADE: C+
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well acted Gothic Thriller, October 4, 2009
By 
MountainTwilightBooks (Twin Peaks, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) (DVD)
I feel nostalgic about certain old movies. This, along with Daughter of the Mind starring Ray Milland, is one of my sentimental favorites.
Carol Lynley is feminine and achingly fragile--Oliver Reed is chasing her down wth hillbilly lust, to no avail. There are real gothic touches here, and atmosphere. Baby boomers will probably love it. The atmosphere of the old house with the mill looks genuinely disturbing without being in the cheap "slasher" category. If you liked the Haunting of Hill House (the 1960's version) this movie might be for you!
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It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature)
It! / The Shuttered Room (Horror Double Feature) by Herbert J. Leder (DVD - 2008)
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