Chamber of Horrors (1940)


The movie Chamber of Horrors (1940), originally titled “The Door with Seven Locks”, is a British horror film based on the 1926 novel “The Door with Seven Locks” by Edgar Wallace¹. The film was created and released shortly after the British Board of Film Censors lifted its mid-1930s ban on supernatural-themed and horror genre films¹.

A wealthy nobleman passes away, leaving behind a treasure trove of precious gems sealed within his tomb. The tomb is secured by seven locks, each requiring a unique key to open. Mysteriously, these keys are dispersed, leading the heiress of the fortune and her team of investigators on a perilous journey filled with deception, treachery, torment, and homicide.

The family’s physician, Dr. Manetta, emerges as the prime suspect. With the assistance of the family’s mute butler and a fugitive chauffeur, Dr. Manetta plots to seize the treasure for himself. Upon the arrival of the rightful heiress, June Lansdowne, she is captured and confined within the tomb before she can stake her claim. Her liberation comes unexpectedly when a pet monkey manages to steal the key to the tomb and sets her free.

Dr. Manetta’s suspicious behavior escalates when he reveals his admiration for Torquemada, the infamous chief torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, and discloses his collection of torture devices housed in his basement.

As law enforcement closes in on him, Dr. Manetta finds himself ensnared in an automated mummy case lined with spikes. Although the police manage to rescue him reluctantly, Dr. Manetta confesses to his crimes before ending his life with poison. He takes pride in the fact that his suicide was carried out using a goblet once owned by the notorious Lucretia Borgia.

The treasure is eventually discovered within the tomb, the one place Dr. Manetta neglected to search, as he did not want to draw attention to Lansdowne’s imprisonment there.


  • Leslie Banks as Dr. Manetta
  • Lilli Palmer as June Lansdowne
  • Romilly Lunge as Dick Martin
  • Gina Malo as Glenda Baker
  • Richard Bird as Det. Inspector Cornelius ‘Andy’ Sneed
  • David Horne as Edward Havelock
  • J.H. Roberts as Luis Silva
  • Cathleen Nesbitt as Ann Cody
  • Harry Hutchinson as Bevan Cody
  • Philip Ray as Tom Cawler
  • Robert Montgomery as Craig the Butler


The movie was released in the United States by Monogram Pictures under the title Chamber of Horrors¹.

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), starring Béla Lugosi, which had been released the year before¹.


One review from describes the film: “Overall, the film is okay and not a waste of time. You can figure out what’s happening pretty quickly” [3].

Another review from describes it: “While the makers of this movie were probably going for something a little more serious, due to the amount of humour they wove throughout, much of it dated or simply not funny, it ended up taking away from the overall picture. The premise of the movie is a good one and the mystery definitely mysterious, but if there had been a stronger script and better editing, it would have made Chamber of Horrors far better than it was and not a film on the verge of being forgotten.” [4].


[1] Wikipedia
[2] IMDb

Last updated byCody Meirick on November 29, 2023