Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

There’s a lot of fun to be had reading the reviews for movies, especially a favourite movie. It takes a certain kind of person to have a passion for a film but to see it for no more than it is. And it takes another who finds it necessary to look for too much in something…to take it too seriously. And that’s fine I suppose – each to his own and all that. But hokum is still hokum. I like hokum…and it’s nice to see that some other reviewers (such as “Roderick” and “Wayne Malin” get ‘Dr Terror’s House of Horrors’ for what it is these days….Hokum…FUN. It’s not horrific. It’s hard to find much these days which can be classed as truly horrific or terrifying – real life supplies too much of that for our own good. But what have here is purely and simply fun.

Personally, I find this movie is best enjoyed late at night ( a rainy night is ideal if one presents itself) with something nice to drink…and with the lights turned down low. The first time I saw ‘Dr Terror’ was very late one wintery friday night on BBC 1 many years ago and the time of night seems to suit so well that I wouldn’t dream of changing it. As I said previously, it’s not horrific but really, I could watch the likes of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee sitting in an open field reading aloud from the Edinburgh and Lothians phone book, so to see them in a creepy train carriage sparring over the merits of fortune tellers and “the entire lunatic fringe” is just a joy. As for the support – Neil McCallum, Roy Castle, Donald Sutherland, Peter Madden and Alan (and that’s going to happen to me..?) Freeman – they all do well with the material provided. It’s a touch spooky in a “The Avengers”/”The Ghost Train” type way. The direction by Freddie Francis is spot-on. The musical numbers are foot-tappin’ groovy. I liked the score but I agree with the reviewer who picked up on the music not quite fitting a scene or fading (or indeed stopping dead) in the strangest places. This may have something to do with Elisabeth Lutyens being brought in as a late replacement for Tubby Hayes who was originally assigned to score the picture. No matter..as they say, it all adds to the charm.

Good late night fun…there’s that word again. It should get repeat fees on this page. And incidentally, for those who are used to the late night TV screenings or the washed out VHS, you might like to know that a DVD is available. It’s Region 2 PAL and imported from Italy under the title “Le Cinque Chiavi del Terrore”. It’s a bit light on the extras save for a scratchy but rather cool Italian trailer. But its an ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN TRANSFER and a rather nice one at that…I don’t think I’m allowed to say where it can be bought on this page but it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find on the net…just think of somewhere Diabolik-al…ahem. But that’s all by the by – full screen, widescreen… Whichever version is available to you, and at whatever time…watch ‘Dr Terrors House of Horrors’…you’ll have fun…a lot of fun…so go on, tap the cards three times…