Thursday 21 July 2016

Lovecraft On Film:
The Shuttered Room
(David Greene, 1967)

When I instigated this blog’s on-going survey of “Lovecraftian cinema” last year, I realised of course that most of the films we’d be looking at would, at best, bear a pretty marginal relationship to the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, but with David Greene’s ‘The Shuttered Room’ – the third feature made in the 1960s to include Lovecraft’s name on the credits – that thin thread of connective tissue is stretched about as far as it will go, as we are forced to contemplate an extremely loose adaptation of a story that, in all likelihood, Lovecraft never actually wrote a word of in the first place.

To be honest, I was in two minds as to whether even include ‘The Shuttered Room’ under the “Lovecraft on Film” banner, but, given that the film seems to have been consciously planned as a Lovecraft adaptation, with the author’s name appearing prominently on the credits and advertising material, I thought it best to let it in, especially in view of the fact that it’s a pretty interesting and overlooked little film that I’m actually quite keen to write about.

To begin at the beginning then - I’m assuming that most of this blog’s readers will already be familiar with the situation vis-à-vis the posthumous “collaborations” that Lovecraft’s literary executor August Derleth began to publish in the years following his friend’s death – stories which bore the names of both authors, but, to put it bluntly, featured little if any input from the more saleable and less living of the two gentlemen. (1)

‘The Shuttered Room’ was one of the last of these ill-starred tales to see the light of day, first appearing in print in 1959, and, having re-read it with what I hope is an open mind prior to writing this review, I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t have a great deal to recommend it, even when considered solely as a Derleth story.

Framed as a quasi-sequel to both ‘The Dunwich Horror’ and ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, ‘The Shuttered Room’ sees a young scion of the Whateley family returning to Dunwich from his more cosmopolitan life in New York to settle the estate of his late grandfather, Luther (brother of good ol’ Zebulon) Whateley. Trouble of course ensues however when the young chap takes down the shutters on the abandoned mill his grandfather called home and unlocks the door to the forbidden room in which – via some traumatic childhood memories – our protagonist recalls his grandfather imprisoning his Aunt Sarah, who, as far as anyone recalls, lived and died within the confines of her room after she incurred her father’s wrath by tarrying with a male cousin, an heir of the cursed Marsh dynasty, whilst visiting kin in nearby Innsmouth. Soon of course, a hellzapoppin’, size-shifting example of froggy Cthuloid spawn (the offspring of Sarah and her Innsmouth beau) is on the loose, munching cattle and scaring hillbillies, and so on and so forth until a reassuringly fiery climax puts a stop to things.

In keeping with most of Derleth’s “mythos” tales, ‘The Shuttered Room’ is passable as a bit of good-natured Lovecraft fan fiction, but it is entirely lacking in the evocative prose, vistas of archaic antiquity or the sheer sense of weirdness that make HPL’s genuine writings so endlessly compelling, instead limiting itself to simply reshuffling various ideas from the master’s stories to no particularly worthwhile effect, whilst adding precious little of its own to the mix.

With such a wealth of legitimate Lovecraft stories to choose from, it remains a mystery to me why independent Anglo-American producer Philip Hazelton should have chosen to adapt this particularly forgettable little number for the screen in 1967. Searching for an explanation, I can only assume that either, a) Arkham House demanded more money to license a ‘proper’ Lovecraft tale, or, b) after deciding a Lovecraft film was the way to go, Hazelton misguidedly began his research with a copy of ‘The Shuttered Room & Other Tales’, and never got past the first story.(2)

Either way, the film’s choice of source material is particularly regrettable given that assigned screenwriters Nat Tanchuck and D.B. Ledrov seem to have decided to systematically remove all of the story’s supernatural / Cthulhu Mythos-related elements, thus reducing the already weak tea of Derleth’s tale to a so-thin-it-barely-even-exists “crazy sister in the attic” yarn that would scarcely suffice for an Amicus anthology segment, let alone a feature.

To be honest, it would have been difficult for even the most gifted of filmmakers to breath much life into the under-cooked script that Hazelton & co eventually settled on, but we can at least be thankful that the producer did at least proceed to hire some exceptionally talented personnel to help bring his project to the screen, making ‘The Shuttered Room’ a veritable who’s-who of under-the-radar British cinema talent from this era.

Making his debut feature here, director David Greene would soon go on helm a series of stylish, underrated thrillers including ‘Sebastian’ (1968) and ‘I Start Counting’ (1970), whilst editor Brian Smedley-Aston could justifiably claim to be something of a ‘cult film’ legend on the basis of his subsequent work, having edited ‘Performance’ alongside Donald Cammel before collaborating with Jose Larraz on ‘Symptoms’ and ‘Vampyres’ and eventually masterminding the Brit-sleaze classic ‘Expose’ [aka ‘The House on Straw Hill’] in 1976.

My argument regarding the wealth of talent behind ‘The Shuttered Room’ is somewhat undermined by the discovery that director of photography Kenneth Hughes is not the same Ken Hughes who directed ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, but nonetheless, the second Mr Hughes does extremely good work here, and meanwhile, perhaps the most noteworthy name on the credits for some viewers will be that of composer Basil Kirchin (who also went on to score ‘The Abominable Dr Phibes’ and ‘The Mutations’). Kirchin remains one of the most fascinating experimental musicians to have emerged from mid-century Britain, his name enough to send record collectors of a certain stripe into paroxysms of excitement to this day – but more on his contributions later.

Beyond merely outlining the history of this merry band of collaborators, ‘m afraid I know next to nothing about the production circumstances of ‘The Shuttered Room’, but my guess would be that it represents one of those instances – common during the ‘60s and early ‘70s – in which financial necessity demanded a horror film, and the aforementioned creatives, presented with a pre-existing script by the producer, decided, what the hell – I mean, it’s a chance to work on a proper movie, innit?

You certainly get the feeling that no one here really had much of an affection for horror films, or indeed much interest in abiding by the conventions of the genre as they existed in the mid-1960s, and – as much as I love ‘60s horror - it is the results of this attitude that are largely responsible for actually making the film worth watching.

In this respect you could almost place ‘The Shuttered Room’ in close proximity to Michael Reeves’ ‘The Sorcerers’ (1967) and ‘Witchfinder General’ (1968), and, although it is not remotely as memorable or artistically daring as either of those films, in a more modest sense it remains noteworthy for the unusual and somewhat forward-thinking approach it takes to material that, in lesser hands, could easily have emerged a singularly tiresome gothic timewaster.

After a rather awkward and unimpressive pre-credits ‘flashback’ sequence, featuring the parents of a terrified young girl being slaughtered by a furry-clawed POV monster-cam, the credits sequence itself shifts gears considerably, as fields of light and shadow flowing across a car windshield create a gentle, semi-abstract psychedelic effect that is emphasized by the ecstatic, minimalist textures of Kirchin’s score, immediately alerting us to the fact that we are in for a rather different kind of horror movie than the blunt exploitation stylings of the preceding sequence might have led us to believe.

Like every other Lovecraft movie made to this date, the story proper begins with a couple of conspicuously urbane strangers arriving in a forbidding and remote rural locale – in this case, the topographically reimagined “Dunwich Island” - in order to investigate their familial connection to some thrice-cursed local dynasty; but what an odd couple they are, in this instance.

When I first watched ‘The Shuttered Room’ a few years back, I remember thinking that Gig Young was just about the most dislikeable leading man I’d ever seen in a picture (yes, even worse than Nick Adams in Die Monster Die!). Now however, I’m wise enough to appreciate that he was simply appallingly miscast.

A Hollywood workhouse through the ‘40s and ‘50s (mainly specialising in comedic ‘second lead’ roles), Young was more than capable of turning in some excellent, off-beat performances in later years (see for instance his ‘suave psychopath’ turns in Sam Peckinpah’s ‘..Alfredo Garcia’ and ‘The Killer Elite’), but his days as a romantic lead were clearly long behind him by the mid ‘60s.

Apparently troubled by alcoholism and severe personal problems, Young had by this point acquired a “vibe” more befitting of villains, bastards and, well, people in Sam Peckinpah films, and as such, ‘The Shuttered Room’ finds him clearly struggling to get an angle on what the hell he’s supposed to be doing in a dashing, upstanding hero role. Apparently at a loss, his chosen response to this dilemma – that of continually smirking like a prick and occasionally drifting into Bob Hope impersonations – proves less than helpful.

Even worse is that Young’s wife is played by twenty-four year old Carol Lynley (who had recently enjoyed her first major role in Preminger’s ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’ (1965)), and the thirty year age gap between the couple is painfully apparent. Whilst Lynley appears baby-faced, barely out of her teens and as fragile and conventionally ‘beautiful’ as the role of a gothic heroine demands, Young by contrast is a smug, perma-tanned middle-aged ad exec who looks as if he’d be more at home picking a fight with someone on a Miami golf course.

Whereas an actor like Vincent Price could make this kind of age-gap relationship seem natural in the context of a horror movie, Young is just a step too far, and with zero chemistry between the couple and no background offered up to justify their unlikely romance, we’re left with the unfortunate impression that he must have tricked the poor girl into marriage by some nefarious means or other, with the result that he comes across as creepy and manipulative where the script would prefer us to see him as entirely sympathetic.

As the mismatched couple arrive on the ‘island’ to check out the derelict mill property left to Lynley’s character (maiden name Whateley, of course) by her deceased grandfather, they immediately encounter the usual cocktail of glowering hostility, doom-laden warnings and mutated/mutilated villagers, all of which adds to the suspicion that Charles Beaumont’s script for 1963’s The Haunted Palace may have exerted a considerable influence upon the development of ‘The Shuttered Room’, right down to the prominence awarded to the “mutant sibling locked in attic” trope that was also introduced in Corman’s film.

Factor in a corresponding similarity to the opening of ‘Die Monster Die!’ and it’s easy to speculate that a go-to formula for “Lovecraft movies” was already beginning to crystalise by this point, as a sub-set of the existing gothic horror blueprint epitomized by AIP’s Poe films. Predictably enough of course, it is a formula that has very little in common with anything Lovecraft actually wrote, instead incorporating a weird mish-mash of stuff that filmmakers and producers decided should probably happen in a Lovecraft type story. (Regrettably, ‘The Shuttered Room’s rather more low-key approach mitigates against the possibility of a finale that sees Lynley being sacrificed to some beast in a glowing, subterranean pit, but never mind – Daniel Haller’s ‘The Dunwich Horror’ (1970) was just around the corner.)

One of ‘The Shuttered Room’s biggest assets is its shooting locations, which see the desolate plains of, uh, Kent standing in for the wilds of the New England coastline. As utilised by Greene and his crew, several different areas in the vicinity of Faversham, Dover and the Oare Marshes Nature Reserve are combined into a cohesive filmic environment that not only allows us to believe that the film was shot on an actual sparsely populated island, but also conveys a very real sense of back-end-of-nowhere isolation that a more studio-bound film could never have achieved, suggesting a landscape in which human habitation seems like an unwelcome intrusion upon some vast and inhospitable green and brown desert. (3)

The film’s ‘set in USA / shot in UK’ status adds a faintly unheimlich air to proceedings too, as a landscape that looks unmistakably British (though I couldn’t quite tell you why) is cross-bred with American-derived names, titles and cultural references, whilst actors like Charles Lloyd Pack and William Devlin try out their best growly Hollywood tough guy accents, further contributing to the sense of geographic uncertainty.

For all this though, ‘The Shuttered Room’ still achieves a ‘sense of place’ that few ‘60s horror films can match (even if we’re never 100% sure where that ‘place’ is), very much anticipating the more atavistic, born-from-the-soil approach to the genre employed by the more widely acknowledged ‘folk horror’ classics of the early ‘70s.

Speaking of which, one element I particularly enjoyed during the opening scenes of ‘The Shuttered Room’ is the authentically perilous-looking ‘one-car’ car ferry (basically a small barge plus some ropes) that transports Young & Lynley to the “island”. The surreal sight of their gleaming Cadillac precariously balanced atop the rusty barge, hesitantly steered by two pole-wielding local extras, somehow manages to perfectly encapsulate the theme of smug, urban sophistication blundering its way into wilful, rural isolationism, strongly reminding me of Sgt. Howie’s arrival by seaplane at the start of ‘The Wicker Man’.

It is accidental details such as this that allow ‘The Shuttered Room’ to capture the feeling of a marginal and poverty-stricken rural community quite well, incorporating a subtle undertone of menace (again, quite reminiscent of ‘The Wicker Man’) that renders the obligatory “turn around and go home” type parroting of the script’s suspicious yokels wholly surplus to requirements.

Apparently warming to this theme, Greene makes much of the ‘Deliverance’-esque implications of incest and mental/physical deterioration that naturally ensue within such a set-up, dropping hints that one suspects H.P. Lovecraft might well have approved of, given his unhealthy fixation with such issues (“there’s a lotta people around here named Whateley”, glowers Devlin as a surly blacksmith).

Indeed, Greene seems to have had a yen to turn this story into more of a ‘Straw Dogs’ / ‘Deliverance’ style backwoods thriller than anything a 1967 audience would have recognised as a horror picture, and the material in this vein plays pretty well, even as the grit and menace of the urban/rural conflict narrative gels rather imperfectly with the pastoral, otherworldly impressions frequently created by the music and photography (an interesting tonal combo, for viewers with the right palette to appreciate it).

As such, one of the first things Carol & Gig encounter on Dunwich Island is your friend and mine Oliver Reed as (what else) a hulking, intimidating ne’erdowell, who proves to be the chief instigator of the film’s backwoods menace, backed up by a crew of shiftless loafers to whom he plays gang leader & all-purpose alpha male.

To be honest, I find it quite surprising that Reed was still willing to take on this kind of faintly demeaning ‘man-child’ role at this point in his career, despite having already proved his thespian chops via more challenging roles in films like ‘The Party’s Over’ (1965) and Michael Winner’s The Jokers (1967), but then, officially speaking his big break didn’t come until ‘Oliver!’ the following year, so he was still bringing home the bacon any way he could at this stage, one supposes. Still, ‘The Shuttered Room’ must have been very good for his health if nothing else – he spends most of the movie sprinting around the “island” like a maniac, when he’s not rolling around in the dirt or engaging someone in fisticuffs.

In the absence of any actual monster or horror-ish threat during the film’s first seventy minutes, Reed’s sheer physical bulk and threatening demeanor make him by default the scariest thing in ‘The Shuttered Room’, with his character emerging as a slightly goofier variant on his brooding, proto-droog gang leader from Joseph Losey’s The Damned, exhibiting an uneasy mixture of wide-eyed, childish enthusiasm and black-hearted, criminally-minded power-play. That Reed is extremely good at such a task almost goes without saying, even as the script gives him precious little to sunk his teeth into. (Given that his obligatory American accent leaves something to be desired, it’s probably just as well he opts primarily for the “physical acting” route, to be honest).

Moreso perhaps than the more obvious touchstones listed above, the bestial menace of Reed and his buddies, and the particularly harsh discomfort induced by their interaction with the urban interlopers, reminds me of nothing so much as the approach to this sort of material that became an integral part of Australian genre cinema in the 1970s and 80s, from ‘Wake in Fright’ (1971) through to ‘Fair Game’ (1986), and of course ‘Mad Max’ (1978). Certainly, the suggestion of men becoming ‘dehumanised’ when forced to survive in an isolated, ‘unnatural’ environments found in all of those films can also be strongly felt in ‘The Shuttered Room’, despite the obvious difference in the society and landscape portrayed.

(The scene in which Reed’s gang is first introduced – tearing along a dusty farm track in a beat-up truck as one of their number “dirt skis” on a plank of wood – is particularly pertinent in this regard, resembling those Australian movies stylistically as well as thematically, as Greene mixes up some wild, non-Health & Safety approved stunt-work with stylish, low angle vehicle shots and motion-blurring / focus-pulling effects.)

Should you wish to, you could probably go full circle with the exploration of this theme in ‘The Shuttered Room’, looping it right back to the horror of ‘degraded’ and ‘decadent’ rural communities that pops up with near obsessive frequency in H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction - even if Lovecraft’s assignment of the blame for these supposed problems was inevitably somewhat more reactionary than that of the implicitly liberal mid-century filmmakers who followed.

A counter-point to the bestiality of Reed and his cronies is meanwhile provided by Flora Robson, adding the obligatory “touch of class” beloved of all low budget UK productions in the role of ‘Aunt Agatha’, a character who represents one of the scriptwriters’ few attempts to actually add something new to the bare bones of Derleth’s tale, transforming the geriatric uncle who periodically turns up to beset the story’s protagonist with prophecies of doom into a far more interesting and ambiguous presence.

Aunt Agatha lives upon the upper floors of what appears to be a heavily fortified clifftop lighthouse [actually one of the two South Foreland Lighthouses in St Margaret's Bay, Dover – thanks again to Reel Streets for that one], which she shares with a fabulous-looking bird of prey (I’m unable to identify the species, but maybe any birders or ornithologists in the audience can help). Though the dialogue the script assigns to her sometimes drivels off into nonsense (a few “science vs mysticism” exchanges with Young prove particularly toe-curling), Robson – always a forceful personality - nonetheless manages to sell the character beautifully.

As the doddering yet intimidating matriarch of this sinister, marginalized community, mixing grand gestures of home-spun, quasi-pagan philosophy with razor-sharp practicality and psychological judgment, Aunt Agatha puts me in mind of an early draft for – yes, you guessed it - Lord Summerisle in ‘The Wicker Man’, whilst the sight of her at one point striding determinedly across the heath with her falconer’s gauntlet and black cloak almost takes us back to the kind of eccentric supporting characters who populated Powell & Pressburger’s rural fantasias.

Though her screen time is limited and her character’s background and motivations never satisfactorily fleshed out, Robson’s very presence makes ‘The Shuttered Room’ a more interesting and memorable viewing experience than it might otherwise have been, earning her cheque for a few days filming with aplomb.

As has already been mentioned, another great boon for ‘The Shuttered Room’ is Basil Kirchin’s exceptional score. A wide-ranging and expansive soundtrack that rarely repeats itself, Kirchin’s cues here are full of extraordinary sounds and textural juxtapositions that, like Greene’s direction, make little concession to the expectations of the horror genre circa 1967. In fact, the music here is so distinctive that it often seems to be almost telling its own story in parallel to the one being played out through the visuals, and at some points it’s a tough call as to which is the most compelling.

From the pungent, tripped out Terry Riley-esque vibes conjured during the film’s dreamy credits sequence (reeds and tape loops maybe..?), Kirchin brings in a timbrous, British folk sort of feel to accompany the couple’s arrive on Dunwich Island, with fiddle, stand-up bass and an eerie, high-pitched drone gradually giving way to more conventionally cinematic cool jazz passages and big band crescendos as the plot develops, occasionally descending into politely cacophonous improv discord during action sequences, whilst always in the background are odd, hesitant snatches of lithe, psyche-folk melody that seems to pre-empt some of Paul Giovanni’s cues for ‘The Wicker Man’ (that comparison yet again), leaving lost slivers of Pentangle-ish unease cascading across the Kentish coastline in a generally quite enchanting manner.

As you may have gathered on the basis of such hyperbole, I think Kirchin’s score here is absolutely superb – it adds hugely to the film, and in the rare event that a representative of some crate-digging record label might be reading, I would certainly love the opportunity to own it on disc. (4)

Matching their composer for open-mindedness meanwhile, Greene and DP Hughes experiment with a variety of inventive techniques in ‘The Shuttered Room’, demonstrating an particular skill for incorporating landscapes and natural features into the texture of the film, utilising compositions that make full use of the widescreen shooting ratio (an obvious technical point perhaps, but one that still stymied a surprising number of directors in the ‘60s, particularly in the horror field).

Weird-looking wide angle / fish eye effects are used to represent POV of the attic-dwelling sister (when she finally makes an appearance), and somehow this works far more effectively than such a hackneyed devices really should, adding at least some degree of horror-ish tension to a film that is otherwise entirely lacking in such, whilst good ol’ shaky handheld work, disorientating cross-cutting, extreme low angles and soft focus pastoral dreaminess are all much in evidence elsewhere.

Aided by feverish, free-form jams from Kirchin, the sequence in which Lynley flees from Reed across a plateau of stony rock pools proves a particular filmmaking tour de force, as Greene cross-cuts between footage of Reed molesting a local girl as his leering gang look on and Lynley inexplicably ignoring their antics as she strolls along the rocks, upping the tempo as Reed notices her and gives chase, switching restlessly between close ups and clifftop long shots before slamming on the breaks and using extended shot transitions to super-impose faces and landscapes, giving the chase an unaccountably delirious feeling and temporarily wrenching us out of the narrative with an outburst of ‘pure cinema’ that, given the soporific nature of the scripting, proves extremely pleasing.

As vague and ineffectual as ‘The Shuttered Room’s storytelling may be, Greene and his on-set collaborators clearly put their all into rising above it and the trying to deliver worthwhile footage, and in purely atmospheric terms they absolutely nail it, more often than not.

Far more subtle and naturalistic than the set-bound bombast of most ‘60s gothics, this plays like a more modern – more grown up? – kind of horror film, in which the ‘spookiness’ (such as it is) creeps up slowly, lurking behind and in between the words and actions of the human beings on-screen, hinting ever so gently at something intangible, just out of sight.

That that ‘something’ never really amounts to anything is obviously a disappointment, but all the same, ‘The Shuttered Room’ in some ways directly anticipates the kind of counter-cultural sensibility that would begin to creep into commercial cinema (and horror in particular) within a few years of this film’s release, with Greene’s direction incorporating an almost meditative aspect that encourages the viewer’s eye to drift across minor details within the frame - light, reflections, foliage, textures of wood and rock – whilst the story, thoroughly outgunned, falls into the background.

Making his feature debut after a long apprenticeship in TV, the director certainly seems to be having a ball with the opportunity to prove his chops on 35mm, and indeed his style is so accomplished that you could almost use ‘The Shuttered Room’ as a classroom case study in how sound and visuals can be used to overcome the constraints of mediocre subject matter. But unfortunately, at the end of the day there’s just no getting around that mediocrity. The vacuum at the centre of the film’s narrative remains so vast that no amount of behind the camera talent could have succeeded in turning the finished product into an unqualified success.

For all that I’ve rhapsodized over its finer points above, ‘The Shuttered Room’ was, is and probably always shall be a film that will leave the vast majority of viewers cold on first viewing. For horror fans, it’s an “Is that it!?” let-down, whilst for cinephiles and UK cinema aficionados, it’s a pretty but entirely aimless ramble through the countryside, prevented from developing into anything more interesting by its corny pandering to tired genre cliché. Any kind of more mainstream audience meanwhile, lacking such patience, will be liable to simply write it off as total bore, and it is hard to imagine that they would have felt much different on the issue in 1967. (I’m not sure how widely it played in the USA, but drive-in fodder this most assuredly ain’t.).

Probably the only thing that has helped keep ‘The Shuttered Room’ in circulation during the 21st century is its nominal status as a Lovecraft adaptation, and, needless to say, anyone approaching the film purely from that angle is liable to be especially disappointed by its total lack to connection to anything Lovecraft actually wrote, beyond the reuse of a few proper nouns.

As such, Greene’s film is liable to remain a footnote at best, whether in the annals of horror, Lovecraftiana or UK cinema, whilst its stilted narrative, disastrously miscast leading roles and total failure to figure out what the hell it’s all about before the credits roll reduce it, at worst, to a complete waste of time – one hundred minutes of under-cooked bru-ha-ha leading up to nothing more significant a thoroughly dreary “crazy sister in the attic” revelation that any conscious viewer will have copped to from the opening reel.

If ‘The Shuttered Room’ must ultimately be filed as a waste of time though, the combined forces of Greene, Kirchin, Hughes, Reed, Robson and the other eminently talented individuals involved in its production at least serve to render it a highly edifying waste of time, for those viewers with the right temperament to appreciate the more subtle virtues that lie just below its surface. Approach it in the right state of mind, and, as I hope I have demonstrated above, it is a tarnished gem that’s well worth the investment of a quiet evening.

As a closing testament to ‘The Shuttered Room’s unique status within the canon of ‘60s horror, let’s simply consider the fact that almost every other film I’ve compared it to in the text of this review was made later, and see where that leaves any modest claims Greene & co might make toward originality and influence.



(1) For further info on the nature of Derleth’s “collaborations” with Lovecraft, see the summary provided here within the H.P. Lovecraft online archive here.

(2) A little known figure who seems to have been operating on a similar Transatlantic basis to producers like Herman Cohen and Michael Gordon during the 1960s, Philip Hazelton’s other ventures included ‘Psyche 59’ (1959) and a German co-production named ‘Eye of the Cat’ (1969), before he relocated to the USA in the ‘70s to work on a string of (one assumes) slightly more successful Fred Williamson vehicles, including ‘Hammer’ (1972), ‘That Man Bolt’ (1973) and ‘Bucktown’ (1975). (Incidentally, I believe this must be the only article of any kind ever published which mentions August Derleth and Fred Williamson in close proximity, although I’d love to be proved wrong on that.)

(3) Anyone wishing to find out more about the locations used in ‘The Shuttered Room’ should head straight for this fantastically informative photo gallery on the Reel Streets website, whose compilers I would like to thank hugely for their help in instantly erasing the geographical uncertainty that previously afflicted me whilst watching this film.

(4) To be honest, I’m not sure whether or not the Kirchin tracks used in ‘The Shuttered Room’ have ever been issued in any form, but any soundtrack aficionados or night-haunting bootleggers who can point me in right direction will find themselves richly rewarded.


Elliot James said...

I haven't seen the film in years. Like The Dunwich Horror and Die Monster Die, Shuttered wasn't geared for restless kids or teens. I'm going to screen it again after reading your article. (The car is a 1966 Ford Thunderbird, not a Caddie.)

Ben said...

Whoops - thanks for the correction, Elliot. As you can tell, automobiles aren't really my strong point.

I hope you enjoy revisitng the film.