The Door with Seven Locks (1940 film)

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The Door with Seven Locks
Film poster with the US title
Directed by Norman Lee
Screenplay by John Argyle
Gilbert Gunn
Norman Lee
Based onThe Door with Seven Locks
1926 novel
by Edgar Wallace
Produced byJohn Argyle
Starring Leslie Banks
Lilli Palmer
Romilly Lunge
Gina Malo
Cinematography Alex Bryce
Ernest Palmer
Edited byE.G. Richards
Music byGuy Jones
John Argyle Productions
Distributed by Pathé Pictures (UK)
Release dates
  • 12 October 1940 (1940-10-12)(UK)
  • 20 December 1940 (1940-12-20)(US)
Running time
89 minutes (UK)
79 minutes (US)
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Door with Seven Locks is a 1940 British horror film, created and released shortly after the British Board of Film Censors lifted its mid-1930s ban on supernatural-themed and horror genre films. It was based on the 1926 novel The Door with Seven Locks by Edgar Wallace. Released in the United States by Monogram Pictures under the title Chamber of Horrors, it was the second Wallace film adaptation to arrive in the United States, the first being The Dark Eyes of London (called The Human Monster in the US), [1] starring Béla Lugosi, which had been released the year before.



A wealthy lord dies and is entombed with a valuable deposit of jewels. Seven keys are required to unlock the tomb and get hold of the treasure. A series of mysterious events causes the keys to be scattered, and when trying to unravel the circumstances, the heiress of the fortune and her companion investigators become entangled in a web of fraud, deceit, torture, and murder.

It becomes obvious that family physician, Dr. Manetta, is the untrustworthy person. Assi sted by the mute family butler and the family chauffeur (a forger on the run), Manetta seeks to steal the treasure for himself. When rightful heiress June Lansdowne arrives, she is seized and locked in the tomb before she can announce her presence. She is eventually freed by a pet monkey that steals the key to the tomb.

Suspicion grows when Dr.Manetta announces he is an admirer of Torquemada (the chief torturer during the Spanish Inquisition); and that he keeps a museum of torture instruments in the basement.

When the authorities close in, Manetta is trapped in an automatic spiked mummy case. The police reluctantly rescue him. Manetta makes a full confession, then commits suicide by poison. He is proud that he killed himself with a goblet once owned by Lucretia Borgia.

The treasure is discovered inside the tomb, the one place Manetta didn't search because he didn't want to call attention to Lansdowne's captivity there.


See also

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  1. "Chamber of Horrors". Movie Tome. Retrieved 29 January 2008.