The mad scientist chapter of DK Canada’s highly enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book continues as we skip across the pong to Jolly Ole England and join the Carry On gang (a successful series of British films that poke fun, while remaining very British) as they take on the horror genre with nods to all the greats including Hammer Films, and recognizable monsters, and situations.
Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung (Harry H. Corbett) has his hands full; he has an unhappy wife (Joan Sims) at home, and a rash of missing ladies – caused by the monster Oddbod (Tom Slegg) who lives in the Watt estate with the alluring (but way too much makeup) Valeria (Fenella Fielding) and her mostly dead brother, Orlando (Kenneth Williams).
It seems Orlando has a dastardly plan, and the clueless Bung may be the only hope of those poor women… before Orlando Watt transforms them into department store mannequins!!
The humor is broad and farcical, the innuendos and sight gags are plentiful, and the tongue is firmly planted in the cheek, as the cast spook and chew their way through the scenery. They give into their Hyde personas, succumb to lusty thoughts, investigate the strange occurrences at Watt Manor, and encounter many an odd moment.
And watch for Jon Pertwee as a hilarious police scientist.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Carry On films, but I will openly admit to getting a chuckle or two out of the moments the film shares. It’s bawdy, silly, and takes the mickey out of horror cinema.
There are chases, misunderstandings, cross dressing, and horror tropes all over this film, and of course, as the film races to its climax, it definitely has to hit all of those marks.
In this film, it’s not just the scientists that are mad, everyone is wacky in this one, even as their are literary nods to all manner of English traditions, characters, books, stereotypes… well just about everything and the kitchen sink.
Clocking in at about ninety minutes, this one is a goofy respite from some of the horrors that DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies have thrown at me, and shows that horror, mad scientists and monsters don’t always have to be scary.
But, don’t take my word for it, pick up a copy of this great book, written by legendary director John Landis, and find something ghoulish to watch tonight!