Tuesday, August 14, 2012

THE BUTTERFLY ROOM (2012) review

Butterfly Room, The (2012) (1st viewing) d. Zarantanello, Jonathan (Italy/USA)
Barbara Steele’s first horror role in three decades (not counting the 1991 Dark Shadows reboot) is reason enough for rejoicing, but the fact that the 74-year-old icon carries the creepy, physically demanding role it off with such ferocity and dedication makes it doubly pleasing. Basically a revisiting of the “hag horror” mini-wave of the 60s, Steele stars as a deranged and volatile collector of butterflies and little girls who has her eye out for yet another specimen to add to her trophy room. Writer/director Zarantello has a terrific visual eye, as evidenced by several well-constructed suspense scenes, and guides his elegant starlet to one of the finest roles of her long career, full stop. Unfortunately, he has less luck with his supporting cast which he has affectionately peopled with convention regulars such as Heather Langenkamp, Camille Keaton, P.J. Soles and Erica Leerhsen (who is just goddawful, sad to say), though the always-welcome Ray Wise knocks his scenes out of the park, especially when paired with Steele. The film itself isn’t 100% successful, but there’s no denying that the old gal’s still got it in her.


  1. Sounds like one to watch out for. Pity I'll probably have to catch it on video, though. There's nothing like seeing a horror movie with an audience to add some jolts to what might otherwise be a rote affair.

  2. Yeah, I can't see this getting a theatrical release. Steele doesn't have the mainstream appeal to justify it; only the devout horror fans are even going to know who she is. She does tear it up though.