THE BLACK ROOM (1981) Reviews and overview

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‘Where the rent is blood!’

The Black Room is a 1981 American horror feature film written and co-directed by Norman Thaddeus Vane (You’re So Dead; MidnightThe Horror Star) and Elly Kenner.

The intense synth score was composed by Art Podell (Haunts) and James Ackley.


Main cast:

Stephen Knight (Necromancy 1983 reissue), Cassandra Gava (The Amityville Curse), Jimmy Stathis (Vultures; X-Ray; Dogs), Clara Perryman, Charlie Young, Geanne Frank, Christopher McDonald, Allisun Kale, Edwin Avedissian, Sheila Reid. Future Scream Queen Linnea Quigley has a minor role as a doomed babysitter.

“Larry and his wife, Robin, rent a lovely room in an old mansion nestling high in the Hollywood hills. Their landlord is Jason, a handsome, mysterious man who claims to be a photographer. His beautiful, dark-haired sister Bridgette, claims to be his model. Are they genuine? Find out when you enter The Black Room.”



“The overall result is a near-perfect counterpoint of intense eroticism and discomfiting sleaze … a staggeringly intricate daisy-chain of infidelity and voyeurism, overlain with a thick veneer of impending doom…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

The Black Room is not only one of the most underrated horror films, I would say that it is one of the most underrated films from the 1980’s. While I know the phrase “smart film” is a cliché, it is one that can be applied here.” Rupert Pupkin Speaks


“It’s character focused and slow-burn, reliant more on sustained mood and powerful suggestion than graphic splatter; more arthouse than grindhouse … The Black Room certainly doesn’t skimp on the horror side of things, with the five minute blood draining sequence being the undoubted, palm sweat-inducing highlight.”UK Horror Scene

“The film is an ultimate suburban nightmare, preying on the fears of every suburban couple. Afraid to stay in a dull marriage, yet afraid of how much things could unravel if you go out on the prowl. This is not to say it’s a puritanical film, not in any way … Instead, the film shows a man so desperate for some excitement, he isn’t even cognizant of the sinister goings on around him.” Video Store Generation


“As a genre piece, The Black Room succeeds admirably, with plenty of tension to go with its good ideas … It’s well-acted, well-written, and the careful use of Steadicam beings a dash of elegance that thankfully doesn’t degenerate into aimlessness…”  Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA
[NB. There is a whole chapter on Norman Thaddeus Vane’s films in the book].

Nightmare USA Stephen Thrower FAB Press

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Choice dialogue:

“The most beautiful thing is to be killed by someone you love.”

“The world is full of married men, baby. Without ’em I’d be starving.”

“What can I say? A bird in the hand is better than a bush in the bush. Let’s go!”

Film Facts:

This film should not to be confused with the 2016 film of the same title.

Watch whole film on YouTube

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