TV Cream

Films: D is for...

Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors

Things really took off here, as Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg, trading under the name of Amicus Productions, moved away from pop ‘n’ roll showcases like It’s Trad, Dad into the Hammer-baiting realms of multi-story horror. This film is an exemplar of the transitional period between the old Gothic school of Hammer (vampires, castles, dry ice) and the more gory and raunchy contemporary seventies style (whisky tumblers, cravats, breasts). In the linking scenes Peter Cushing, as the sinister doc with the tarot cards, mugs conspiratorially to camera as his foolish train-bound companions dismiss his prognosticatory powers. Taking a lead from Vincent and pals, the stories eschew Dead of Night’s subtlety for all-out Grand Guignol. Donald Sutherland suspects his wife of nocturnal bloodsucking. Critic Christopher Lee is terrorised by the severed hand of a slagged-off artist. Roy Castle steals voodoo jazz riffs with disastrous results. A Brylcreemed Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman defeats a strangling vine with the smoke from the pipe his friend lights in order to ponder over the solution. A precendent is thus established.

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  1. Tarot the Diamond Man

    August 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Anyone remember the majestic reunion of Alan Freeman and Roy Castle on Simon Mayo’s Radio 1 Breakfast Show? Simon introduced Roy to Alan, but they admitted they had already met, and had a slightly embarrassed reminiscence together about Doctor Terror and his House. If only Kenny Lynch had turned up too!

  2. B B Beyer

    August 1, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    This was obviously before Amicus diversified from low budget horror flicks and became an engineering trade union.

    Saw it on telly years ago with my brother, and we both still remember the line in the Alan Freeman segment: “A plant like this could take over the world!”.

    This was when said plant was about the size of the avearge houseplant!

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