Every now and then you run across an old horror movie that turns out to be a forgotten gem. "The Shuttered Room" is just such a film. Released in the late '60s, it never saw a DVD release until 2008 when it came out as a double feature with "It!", starring Roddy McDowell. The film is set in the U.S., but was apparently set in Britain with the most part British cast, struggling to delivering their lines like Yanks.
Based on an H.P. Lovecraft tale and starring a young Oliver Reed, in his prime as an actor, you would think "The Shuttered Room" would have gotten more attention over the years, but it hasn't for some reason. Maybe it wasn't gory enough for a VHS release in the '80s. It's a fine film all the same.
The film opens with a young girl being menaced by a strange creature in the night, before the thing is beaten back by her father. Cut to the present day, where the girl is now gorgeous adult Judith Arthy, married to dashing American stud Gig Young.
The two are heading back to her hometown so she can battle her personal demons -- mainly memories of life in a dysfunctional home where she was menaced by an apparent monster at night. They're greeted by a bunch of locals led by horny gang leader Oliver Reed. To add to the tension, Reed's character becomes enraged when he learns that Judith is in actuality set to inherit the town's mill -- not him, as an elder stateswoman (Flora Robson) who hangs out gazing from the local lighthouse had previously told him.
It becomes clear during the couple's visit to the old building they're set to inherit that something evil lurks in the attic -- although we never get quite a good view what it is. Things get more sinister when Arthy is nearly raped by a gang. In addition, the couple has been warned to stay away from the old family home -- as something evil lurks within its walls. Things get even more serious when the nutty and somewhat sexy village girl is attacked by the "thing in the attic" after stealing and obsessing over some big city stockings.
Artfully directed, gorgeously photographed, and well acted "The Shuttered Room" finishes with a pretty predictable ending. But the journey there is quite enjoyable. Any fan of sixties or seventies horror should pick up "The Shuttered Room."