Frenzied Fright! Freezing Terror! Screaming Nightmare!

I have previously written about a couple of Amicus Productions horror anthology films, “Tales From The Crypt” and “From Beyond The Grave”. Yesterday I watched a third, this one from 1965 and directed by Freddie Francis (“Hysteria”, “The Creeping Flesh”) and titled “Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors”.

dr_terrors_house_of_horrors_poster_02

Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing

The film opens with a group of five strangers sharing a railway carriage on a train departing London, who are joined by Dr. Schrek (Peter Cushing – “Frankenstein & The Monster From Hell”, “The Vampire Lovers”).

Dr. Schrek has a deck of tarot cards and tells the five that he can tell them their destiny by picking four cards from the deck, each scenario depicted in separate stories. A fifth card at the end of each story will then tell them how they can avoid the future foretold

Neil McCallum
Neil McCallum

In the first, “Werewolf”, architect Jim Dawson (Neil McCallum – “Catacombs”, “Quest For Love”) is requested to return to his former home on an island off the Scottish mainland by its new owner to plan some alterations.

Ursula Howells
Ursula Howells

Mrs. Biddulph (Ursula Howells – “Assignment K”, “Crossplot”), the new owner, explains that she bought the house as she wanted somewhere quiet and secluded to mourn the death of husband.

Examining the cellar, Dawson finds the coffin of Count Valdemar who owned the house hundreds of years previously before he was killed in a dispute with Dawson’s ancestors. It appears that Valdemar is taking the form of a werewolf at night but the truth may be more complex…

Alan Freeman & Bernard Lee
Alan Freeman & Bernard Lee

Story two, “Creeping Vine”, sees Bill Rogers (Alan Freeman – “Sebastian”, “Absolute Beginners”) returning from a holiday with his family to discover a rapidly spreading vine has begun to grow in his garden and resists any attempt to prune it.

Rogers seeks help from a scientist, Hopkins (Bernard Lee – “Thunderball”, “Diamonds Are Forever”), at the Ministry of Defence.

It seems that the plant has intelligence and harbours murderous intent to any threat to its continued existence…

Roy Castle
Roy Castle

“Voodoo” is the third tale, and has a definite sense of fun with obvious humour throughout. Jazz musician Biff Bailey (Roy Castle – “Carry On Up The Khyber”, “Record Breakers”) travels to the West Indies for some performances. Whilst there he witnesses a voodoo ceremony and is struck by the music used.

Despite warnings from his friend Sammy Coin (Kenny Lynch – “Carry On Loving”, “The Playbirds”) and from the locals who tell him that the music belongs to the God Dambala, Bailey decides to “borrow” the voodoo tune and use it in his shows back in London…

Christopher Lee Michael Gough
Christopher Lee & Michael Gough

In story four, titled “Disembodied Hand”, art critic Franklyn Marsh (Christopher Lee – “Season Of The Witch”, “The Lord Of The Rings”) is proud of his acidic reputation and happily scathing of artists’ work.

When he savages an exhibition by artist Eric Landor (Michael Gough – “Batman”, “Out Of Africa”) in front of the artist he finds himself being even more publicly humiliated in return. However, when Marsh resorts to violence things spiral out of control quickly…

Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland

The fifth and final tale, “Vampire”, finds Dr. Bob Carroll (Donald Sutherland – “The Eagle Has Landed”, “JFK”) returning from Europe to New England with his new French wife, Nicolle (Jennifer Jayne – “They Came From Beyond Space”, “On The Beat”).

Jennifer Jayne
Jennifer Jayne

When patients start turning up with blood missing and strange marks on their necks, Carroll’s colleague Dr. Blake (Max Adrian – “The Music Lovers”, “The Devils”) suggests to Carroll that a vampire may be responsible…

Dr. Schrek then tells the five what the fifth card shows and how they can avoid the destinies that he has shown them…

This is a decent enough anthology film, especially given its age, though it’s fair to say that the fate shown on the fifth card is worse than that suffered in a couple of the stories – though really that’s irrelevant by the time you get to the twist at the end.dr-terrors-house-of-horrors.24742

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s