Rent goes up, occupancy goes down

the landlady 1997 talia shire

THE LANDLADY

2.5 Stars  1997/15/92m

“Evil doesn’t knock. It has a key.”

Director: Rob Malenfant / Writers: Brent Thompson, George Saunders, Frank Rehwaldt / Cast: Talia Shire, Jack Coleman, Bruce Weitz, Dee Freeman, Susie Singer, Melissa Behr, Bette Ford, Courtney Gains, Nathan Legrand, Clement Von Franckenstein.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “You can’t even be quiet when you’re dead.”


“Adrian!” Mrs Rocky plays the downtrodden puritan housewife who gets away with poisoning her unfaithful husband, and then moves to the Los Angeles apartment complex she inherited from her late aunt. Here, she takes an obsessive Stepfather-like fancy to her neighbour Patrick (Coleman, later that annoying glasses guy in Heroes), and goes about getting rid of the tenants and acquaintances who prevent their romance from blooming.

Highlights include a scene where she forces Patrick’s girlfriend to answer a questionnaire about him at gunpoint, and her frequent amiable chats with herself.

The remaining tenants begin to suspect that something ain’t quite right with their new landlady and the whole thing collapses into a Misery drawn tied-to-a-bed finale before an unlikely heroine emerges to save Patrick’s bacon.

As with many other female-infatuation slashers, our wackadoo here seems to direct most of her fury at other women, whom she brands whores (technically only true in one case) while the male vics have quick and convenient demises.

Still, Shire’s off-her-rocker performance mostly compensates for any plot shortcomings.

Blurb-of-interest: Courtney Gains played Malachai in the original Children of the Corn.

3 comments

  • Imagine a quaint little slasher/psycho-thriller town inhabited by The Landlady, The Stepfather, The Mailman, Ice Cream Man, The Dentist, The Paperboy, The Janitor, etc.

  • @Lord Crayak

    Like the ending to that 2000 slasher-friendly anthology Terror Tract?

  • As long as Jessica Fletcher lived there too, I’d be game.

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