First Glimpse: The Butterfly Room

Directed by Jonathan Zarantonello

Release Date: TBD

Despite already being release to several film festivals and a cast that contains a who’s who of the old guard of horror films, Jonathan Zarantonello’s The Butterfly Room has yet to be given a release date for theaters, or even video on demand. And the film went into production in 2010! It’s a shame to see a film like this languish in the ether. Why? Even if it’s not that great (and the trailer is actually very intriguing) it’s worth a watch just to see the cast. Zarantonello has managed to unify classic scream queens from horror’s glory days (Camille Keaton from I Spit on Your Grave, Erica Leerhsen from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Heather Langenkamp from A Nightmare on Elm Street, PJ Soles from Halloween, Barbara Steele from Black Sunday, and Adrienne King from Friday the 13th) into an innovative female driven cast. Throw in Ray Wise and cameo from James Karen, and horror fans are sold without even asking about the plot.

Grande dame Barbara Steele plays Ann, a peculiar older woman who befriends Julie, a young girl being raised by a single mother (Leerhsen). As the relationship between Ann and Julie grows, so do suspicions about Ann’s interest in Julie, her supposedly dead daughter, and most of all, what she keeps locked away inside her “Butterfly Room.” Yes, the trailer shows us the acting looks like it can be a little dodgy. After all, the scream queens weren’t exactly hired for the caliber of their work. The beautiful Steele has aged into a striking villainess and looks like she can lead the film; hopefully any amateurish acting from the ensemble cast can be offset by an intriguing plot, as the trailer has the feel of a slow, old European horror film. The role of women in horror is something that has been long and hotly debated. I won’t dredge it up here, but The Butterfly Room seems to be addressing some of the issues without sacrificing itself up as a martyr for the cause. That is to say, the dark plot isn’t lost despite dealing in themes such as the interpersonal relationships between women and motherhood (and doesn’t that sound dry and boring?) A good storyteller leaves you feeling entertained despite the lessons you’ve learned, and The Butterfly Room doesn’t seem to stray from its origin as a psychological horror story.


By Kiki McGraw

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