Dr Terror’s House of Horrors is a fascinating and fast paced example of portmanteau filmmaking with a deadly twist in the tale…. Dr Terror foretells the future… and five men wish he hadn’t… It stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Roy Castle, Neil McCallum, Alan Freeman, Peter Madden, Ann Bell, and Ursula Howells.
This was Amicus Productions’ first of 16 horror films made between 1965 and 1977, 7 of which were portmanteau films. The portmanteau style of film helped Amicus (who’s small budget meant filming was done in 2 weeks) get established actors in their films, enabling them to compete with the better known horror film producer – Hammer Film Productions. Hammer film actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were brought in to the cast whilst only needing to be paid for a fifth of the movie, rather than the full film.
Dr. Terror (Peter Cushing) is a mysterious fortune teller who boards a train to tell fellow passengers (including Christopher Lee, Roy Castle and Donald Sutherland) their fortune with tarot cards. Five possible futures unfold: an architect returns to his ancestral home to find a werewolf out for revenge; a huge flesh-eating vine takes over a house; a musician gets involved with voodoo; an art critic is pursued by a disembodied hand and a doctor discovers his new wife is a vampire. But they all end in the same result.
This cult classic is directed by horror veteran and two time Academy Award winner Freddie Francis who worked with David Lynch on The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), and The Straight Story (1999). The film stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Roy Castle and Donald Sutherland. Francis directed Peter Cushing 8 times saying “I think Peter is absolutely wonderful – there is not an actor in the world who can speak rubbish like Peter and make it sound real”.
Anyone who ever watched Record Breakers knows that Roy Castle played the trumpet, but Castle who plays a jazz musician in the film, mimed his Voodoo track performance with the Tubby Hayes Quintet in the film. Castle replaced jazz legend Acker Bilk at the last minute after he had a heart attack. Virtuoso musician Tubby Hayes’ performance is a highlight of the film as Tubby was at the peak of his career when the film was released. Castle released “Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors/Voodoo Girl” as a 7-inch 45 vinyl in 1965 which is now highly sought after.
Extras: All new interviews with Kenny Lynch, Ann Bell and Jeremy Kemp (Blu-ray only), House of Cards Documentary, Gallery of Images (courtesy of Stephen Jones), Original Theatrical Trailer, Double-Sided Foldout Graham Humphreys Artwork Poster, 12 Sided Film Guide Booklet.
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