Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) – Freddie Francis

The last vampire title for me to cover before I move onto the next spooky section of DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book is an anthology film that is filled with familiar names and faces.

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors boasts names like Peter Cushing, Bernard Lee, Christopher Lee, Micheal Gough, and Donald Sutherland. Th story, such as it is, follows a journey on the train, where five passengers are told their future via a tarot reading by Doctor Schreck (or Terror) played by Cushing.

As they rocket along, we are plunged into five different supernatural tales that are as fun as they attempt to be spooky. There is a tale about a werewolf, a murderous creeping vine, a dangerous voodoo melody, a disembodied hand, and of course, a vampire.

The stories are light, definitely for the younger crowd, those piling into the theaters for the Saturday matinee. Still, it’s a lot of fun to see some very recognizable actors cavorting around, whether being chased by a werewolf, or an art critic being stalked by the hand of a painter, or a young husband being persuaded that his new wife is in fact a fanged demon of the nosferatu variety.


The special effects are hokey, the stories seem to firmly have their tongue in their cheek and some of the actors look like they are having the time of their lives. The final reveal of Dr. Terror in the closing moments of the film is laughably brilliant – it’s so much cheese, and you simply wouldn’t want it any other way.

Each of the characters is nothing more than the broad strokes of a character, but with solid performers they do the best as they are able with just a simple concoction of a plot.

Peter Cushing is almost unrecognizable in his makeup, and he seems to be more than content that way as he performs readings for each of his fellow passengers. The strange things about the readings is that not one of the cards in the readings is inverted, they all come right side up, and don’t really seem to have an impact on the story that Terror is telling.

I will say this, he says there is only one way out of the fates that the stories show them, and that is always revealed on the last card, but as we see, there really isn’t much of a choice at all, and the stories, may in fact be just that.

Still, this one was a fun one, and a nice way to close out the vampire chapter of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies by John Landis.

Next time we’ll need some silver bullets as we enter the realm of the werewolf in the next chapter!!



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