Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing
DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965). Director: Freddie Francis.

In this horror anthology from Amicus, the fortune teller Dr. Shreck (Peter Cushing) entertains fellow travelers on a train by using his cards to tell their futures, none of which look especially bright. All of the tales that follow employ very familiar concepts. Architect Jim Dawson (Neil McCallum) goes to work at the old house and discovers a werewolf with other, bloody plans for him. Inspector Hopkins (Bernard Lee) investigates when a very strange and intelligent plant begins killing people. A musician (Roy Castle) incurs the wrath of a voodoo god when he uses a West Indian chant from a religious ritual for one of his songs. Art critic Franklyn Marsh (Christopher Lee) is so humiliated by painter Eric Landor (Michael Gough) when the former praises a painting actually done by a chimp, that he runs Landor over -- and the latter's disembodied hand begins following him everywhere. Dr. Carroll (Donald Sutherland) discovers the surprising identity of a vampire who is on the loose. The only really memorable segment in this is the one with the severed hand, and that's primarily because of the performances of Lee and Gough, who make marvelous antagonists. Peter Cushing and others in the cast are all quite good, including Jennifer Jayne [They Came from Beyond Space], who loses herself in the characterization of Carroll's French wife, Nicole; Sutherland [The Split] is also excellent. That same year there appeared a much better "killer plant" story on TV's The Avengers, "The Man-Eater of Surrey Green."

Verdict: Not much originality in this, but it's entertaining and well-acted. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I'm surprised I've never run across this one. Cushing and Lee were the greatest team in horror history. I enjoy their work separately, but they were truly awesome when they worked together. I'll have to look for this one.

William said...

Oddly, there was a much earlier movie with the same title that I believe is now considered a lost film.

You're right-- Cushing and Lee were great enough separately but they made a wonderful team, fine actors whose performances always complemented one another.