Great early horror movie! Helen (McGuire) is a woman with a horrible disability-- she cant talk. All is well, until a line of serial killings happens-- but everything is more suspicious when the killer only preys on women with disabilities. Helen begins to grow worried when working as a maid at Mrs. Warrens (Barrymore) mansion, but when Mrs. Warren continues to tell her that shes in danger. But when the killer is finally revealed, Helen fears for her life. Seeing "The Killers" previously and not loving it, I was nervous to see Robert Siodmak film. But the experience was great! The gothic vibe gives this movie such an eerie feeling you literally get goose bumps-- and to make things more interesting, the whole scenario takes place on a stormy night-- an example of horror movies to come. The actors are wonderful, especially McGuire (being able to work with such little material, she only says one line in the movie) and Barrymore, the dying old woman who rules the mansion. The beautiful black and white cinematography adds to the experience-- and does the well done photography work. If youre looking for a dark and dreary movie, dont be afraid to watch "The Spiral Staircase", or you will really be missing out on a treat.