"Chop chop, sweet Charlotte,
Chop chop 'til he's dead,
Chop chop, sweet Charlotte,
Chop off his hand and head."
Young Charlotte Hollis is having an affair with John Mayhew the husband of affluent heiress Jewel Mayhew. John & Charlotte plan to run off together but their plans are thwarted when her father gets wind of it. Mr. Hollis tells John to call it off when they meet at their scheduled rendezvous during a party at Hollis House. John does the deed sending Charlotte off crying only to be brutally murdered shortly after.
Many years later we find a much older and haggy looking Charlotte still living in the house with only the company of Velma, her maid. Kids come and tease her obviously blaming her for the murder of John Mayhew. Construction crews arrive attempting to begin demolishing the house and Charlotte goes all shotgun psycho on their asses. She invites her cousin Miriam, her sole living relation to come and help her fight to keep the house. Miriam comes and stays while Charlotte begins to see and hear strange things that connected her to John. Could it be the spirit of John Mayhew has come back for her?
You may recognize Agnes Moorehead, Endora from "Bewitched"
Also a very young Bruce Dern as John Mayhew
Bette Davis is my all time favorite actress. She not only holds up as a talented dramatic actress, she does crazy like nobody and I do mean nobody. Davis has the amazing ability to deliver the crazy and at the same time invoke sympathy for her character. Charlotte is like a child in a grown up body in many ways. Miriam basically treats her like she's mentally challenged. The plot unfurls like pulling a thread slowly unravelling a sweater. As the puzzle pieces come together and the truth is revealed, Charlotte becomes more and more unhinged. Watching a classic like this that is so well acted makes me mourn for the days before we relied on overblown effects to hold our attention.