The Spiral Staircase (2000 film)

The Spiral Staircase
Written by 2000 screenplay:
Matt Dorff
original novel:
Ethel Lina White
Directed by James Head
Starring Nicollette Sheridan
Judd Nelson
Debbe Dunning
Holland Taylor
Christina Jastrzembska
Music by Yuval Ron
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Shawn Williamson
Amy Goldberg
Cinematography Gordon Verheul
Editor(s) Grace Yuen
Running time 88 minutes
Production company(s) Shavick Entertainment
Distributor Fox Family Channel
Original release April 2, 2000

The Spiral Staircase is a 2000 television film remake of the 1946 film The Spiral Staircase based on Ethel Lina White's novel Some Must Watch. The film was directed by James Head with a screenplay by Matt Dorff, and stars Nicollette Sheridan, Judd Nelson, Alex McArthur, Debbe Dunning and Holland Taylor.


The Ethel Lina White novel Some Must Watch was first offered on film in 1946 as The Spiral Staircase. This same title was used for a 1962 television adaptation, 1975 British TV-movie remake, and the 2000 made-for-cable feature. The 2000 version updated the original story to re-set from the early 20th century to present day.[1] Filmed on locations in Vancouver and Victoria, Canada, the 2000 version was made for Fox Family network (now Freeform), as a remake of three previous films, still based on Ethel Lina White's novel, and using the same title as the previous films of 1946, 1962, and 1975.[1]


The film centers around Helen Capel (Nicollette Sheridan), a pathologically mute woman who is being stalked by a vicious killer. Mute since the death of her parents when she was a child, Helen accepts a nursing position on a secluded island in the household of wealthy matriarch Emma Warren (Holland Taylor). Helen learns that a serial killer is picking off "imperfect" young girls around town, and she fears she is next. A terrible storm hits the island one night and the family and Helen are trapped inside... and they're not alone, the killer is with them in the shadows.



The film debuted in April 2000 in the United States, followed by releases in the United Kingdom in May 2000, as Le secret du manoir in France in 2001, Czech Republic in 2003, as Stummer Schrei - Und keiner kann dir helfen in Germany in 2004, Hungary in 2005 and Sweden in 2007.


In noting that the original 1946 film was "a stellar thriller", Steven Linan of Los Angeles Times found the 2000 remake to be an "inferior remake".[2]


  1. 1 2 Pryor, Thomas M. "The Spiral Staircase (2000)". New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  2. Linan, Steven (1 April 2000). "Television Review; Plot, Direction Slow 'Staircase'". Los Angeles Times. pp. Calendar, Part F, page 18. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
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