The Mad Room

If you think your family is dysfunctional, let Ellen Hardy offer some perspective: Did your brother and sister kill your parents? Were they sent to a mental institution over 10 years ago and recently released into your care? Have they started killing again?

The Mad Room, a 1969 remake of Ladies in Retirement, stars Stella Stevens as Ellen Hardy, fiancée to the wealthy Sam Adler and live-in secretary to Sam’s widowed step-mother, Mrs. Armstrong (played by Shelley Winters). Mrs. Armstrong, convinced that Ellen is out for Sam’s money, searches for any reason why the pair should not wed; two pretty-darn-good reasons appear in the form of Mandy and George, Ellen’s younger, murderous siblings.

Of course, Ellen makes no mention of their murderous past, instead telling Mrs. Armstrong that they lived with their uncle, now deceased. But her lie can only last so long, and shatters completely when Mandy requests a “mad room.”

What exactly is a mad room? It’s a place where George and Mandy can let off steam, a place where they can feel safe, calm, and confident… So what’s the mutilated body doing there?

Certainly, some belief needs to be suspended when watching The Mad Room – seriously, why did Ellen let her siblings move in with her??? – but if you can do that, you’re in for a treat. The movie was quirky, full of talented stars playing some surprisingly creepy characters. Not to mention the twist ending, the romantic side plots, and the dark humor that pervades every scene.

Is the twist expected? Yes, very. But does that take away from the viewing experience? Not at all! The Mad Room is twisted enough even without the ending, and you’d be mad not to give it a shot.


And Now For Something Completely Different

All the Literatease have been wonderfully pleased with your views and responses. After this first week of reviews we’ve come to some conclusions:

1) Rating a read in cups of tea is just too twee for words. So we’re going to stop doing that.

2) Having a week-long theme of reads is strictly unnecessary. We were working on “revenge” the first time around, but there was nothing really connecting those posts. So we’re going to review books and other media as we stumble on them. Movies are up next week, then back to novels and so on, so there will be some semblance of order–just less jack-booted.

So thank you for your patience as we rumble along!

Until next time,


An Introduction

Welcome to Literatease, a review blog of (moderately) epic proportions. We say moderately because we’re not really going anywhere, unless you count the library, the tea shop, your occasional record store, and, okay, maybe we are a little more epic than we thought.

We’re happy to bring our reading and raving to a screen near you, and will hopefully be adhering to a steady Monday, Wednesday, Friday post rotation. I tend to have distracted giggling fits and put things on my head when people try to introduce me to the concept of structure, and Marisa gets distracted when I put things on my head, so Eleanor’s planning finesse is our collective best bet.

We thought it would be appropriate to start off with the ever so lighthearted theme of revenge.

Marisa will be reviewing Red by Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum).

Eleanor will be reviewing Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley.

Hillary will be reviewing A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield.




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