The Spiral Staircase
Robert Siodmak, USA, 1946o
On a stormy night, the mute servant to an ailing matriarch is stalked by a serial killer.
In a small American town at the turn of the century, a serial killer targets handicapped women. For one stormy night, the noose of fear tightens around a mute maid in a labyrinthine Victorian upper-class mansion, among whose residents and visitors could be the killer. - Exiled German Robert Siodmak drew on the formal repertoire of film noir and his experience as a suspense specialist at Universal to transform this repertory material into a masterful nocturnal horror piece about the fear of the unseen and unspeakable: The deeper the night, the more sinister the appearances of the vain, grobian and wimpy men in this shadowy realm, but comfortingly down-to-earth refuges are provided in the attic by Ethel Barrymore as the bedridden overmother of the clan and downstairs by Elsa Lanchester as the bear-biting cook.Andreas Furler