About Christmas TV History

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (also known as Who Slew Auntie Roo?) is a 1971 American International B-movie with an impressive cast.  Shelley Winters plays Auntie Roo, a lonely but wealthy widow living in England.  Roo throws lavish Christmas parties for local orphans and decides she wants to kidnap Katy because of the girl’s resemblance to Roo’s long deceased daughter.  However, when Katy’s older brother Christopher discovers his sister is being held against her will in the house, he is certain that Auntie Roo is living the part of a hungry witch in a fairy tale.  Unfortunately, he discovers Auntie Roo has even darker secrets hiding in the attic.  Part suspense/thriller and part horror film, this midnight movie contains significant Christmas scenes and takes place over the extended holiday week including New Year’s Eve.

The incredible cast includes: Shelley Winters as Mrs. Forrest; Ralph Richardson as Mr. Benton; Mark Lester as Christopher; Chloe Franks as Katy; and, Judy Cornwell as Clarine.

Of course, Shelley Winters is the Academy Award-winning actress and Hollywood legend.  Christmas entertainment fans know her from 1972's The Poseidon Adventure and as the voice of Crystal in the 1976 animated TV special Frosty's Winter Wonderland and the 1979 movie Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (click here for that link).  Later in life, Winters also played the much-beloved sassy Nana Mary, Roseanne's grandmother, on the TV sitcom Roseanne.

In Whoever Slew Auntie Roo, you don’t want to miss young Mark Lester as Christopher.  Lester is better remembered for his role playing Charles Dickens' title character Oliver Twist in the movie musical Oliver! The young Katy is played by Chloe Franks, the same actress who plays young Carol in the Christmas segment of 1972’s Tales From the Crypt.  (click here for the link--I just wrote about that movie two weeks ago).  Actor Ralph Richardson who plays Mr. Benton also appears in 1972's Tales from the Crypt--he plays the Cryptkeeper in that movie.  The role of the house servant, Clarine, is played by Judy Cornwell who plays Mrs. Claus in 1985's Santa Claus: The Movie.  Cornwell is also known for her role as the sister Daisy on the British TV series Keeping Up Appearances, a staple of PBS Britcoms.

Richard Beaumont as Tiny Tim in 1970's movie musical Scrooge
And if you play close attention, you may even see the young actor Richard Beaumont playing Peter, a boy at the orphanage.  Beaumont is better remembered for his role as Tiny Tim in 1970's movie musical Scrooge with Albert Finney and Alec Guinness--yes, that Alec Guinness!  (click here for a recent post about Scrooge).

Have you seen Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? before?  Do you like Midnight Movies?  I have a factory-sealed new copy of this movie on DVD that I'd like to giveaway to one of my readers.  This DVD is a double feature and also includes the 1971 B-movie What's the Matter with Helen? starring Shelley Winters with Debbie Reynolds.  So that's two movies in this prize pack.  But I'm feeling generous so I'll include a plastic Jacob Marley doorknocker halloween/Christmas decoration.

This DVD plus...

It's 12 inches long from the top to bottom of the knocker!

You are eligible for this giveaway if you live in North America.  To Enter: comment below and tell me which of the Merry Halloween blog posts I've written about in October is your favorite.  Make sure you follow the blog through Google Friend Connect (along the right hand side of the blog ----> )  I'll pick a winner on Monday night (Oct. 24th) at 8pm (EST) using Random.org from the total number of eligible entries.  Good luck!  Merry Halloween!

***Feel free to tell your friends about this giveaway--share the giveaway announcement on Facebook (either the group page 'Christmas TV History Blog' or on the Facebook pages 'Christmas TV Companion' and 'Tis the Season TV.'  You can also retweet the announcement @TistheSeasonTV).


  1. Thanks for pointing out this movie I will need to look it up. So far you have had a few post that I have enjoyed Like the south park story. But most of all being a fan of Scrooge I was unaware of the 1970's version and will be looking that up this holiday season for sure. Have a Merry Halloween!

  2. Great post! I have wanted to see this movie for a long time. As for your posts this month, my favorite is the Black Christmas post. My favorite Halloween/Christmas horror flick!

    Good to all who enter - including me! :)

    Thanks Joanna!

  3. Both movies on this DVD were directed by Curtis Harrington, who also did 'How Awful About Alan' just prior to these two. 'Alan' and 'Helen' were both written by Henry Farrell of 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' and 'Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte' fame, with 'Auntie Roo' somewhat co-opting the Farrell formula of taking an aging Hollywood star or stars and inserting them into a horror/suspense film. Kind of a convoluted comment, but someone might find it interesting. All the films are well worth checking out. As for my fave post, I liked 'Black Christmas' as well, but no need to enter me in the contest. Let someone else who hasn't seen these fine films enjoy them.

  4. I seem to remember Auntie Roo being a lot of fun ... but my fav for this month has to be Black Christmas -- my favorite slasher movie ever.

  5. Well, my favorite post would have to be Scrooge in Hell. I love that version of the tale.
    (close second was that pumpkin post. loved the snoopy pumpkin)

  6. WE HAVE A WINNER! ***Bad Ronald***

    I'm having difficulty finding a contact email address for you, Bad Ronald, so please email me with your address so I can send you the prize. Joanna@1701press dot com. After 48 hours, if I haven't heard from you, I'll pick a new winner.

    Thanks to everyone for playing along :)