Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

Director - Freddie Francis (The Doctor and the Devils, Legend of the Werewolf)
Starring - Christopher Lee (Dark Shadows, Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring), Roy Castle (Highway, Legend of the Werewolf), and Peter Cushing (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, From Beyond the Grave)
Release Date - 1965
Genre - Horror
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     This year has been one of the worst when it comes to deaths that the horror genre has seen.  We have lost so many legends this year but the one that hit me the hardest was the passing of cinematic legend Christopher Lee.  Lee was known for his roles in the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars, and his classic work with Hammer.  As much as I truly love Lee and his work, I have just a pinch more love for the late Peter Cushing.  Cushing is also known for his work with Hammer and his appearance in the original Star Wars trilogy.  The two have been known to appear in several Hammer films together and even worked on the very first anthology film from Amicus titled Dr. Terror's House of Horrors which was recently released on blu from my friends over at Olive Films.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows a group of men boarding a train late at night when an elderly man (portrayed by the great Peter Cushing) gets on board and reveals a deck of tarot cards.  An art critic (portrayed by the late Christopher Lee) scoffs at the notion of tarot cards while the remainder of the group is intrigued.  The card reader then starts shuffling his cards and revealing everyone's grim future.  The first to have their future read is Jim Dawson (played by Neil McCallum).  His story goes that he will be called to work on an old house where a werewolf will start killing the staff.  The second person to go is Bill Rogers (Alan Freeman).  His story is that he will return to his home after a long vacation where a mutant vine will kill forcing him to remain in doors for fear of his life.  Next up is the art critic, Franklyn Marsh.  He has been very rough when reviewing the art work of a certain artist but the artist refuses to let that get the best of him.  He openly embarrasses the critic during an art show resulting in the critic running him over with his car and injuring his hand.  The doctors are unable to save the artist's hand and have to remove it.  The hand then seeks revenge on the critic.  The last person to have their future told is an American doctor (Donald Sutherland) who marries a beautiful French woman.  They move back to his hometown where a vampire starts leaving a bloody trail to his doorstep.
     One of my favorite anthologies, From Beyond the Grave, is single handedly the film that made me fall in love with Peter Cushing.  He was brilliant in that film and ever since then I've had to see every movie he had a part in.  When I was younger I thought I had watched Dr. Terror's House of Horrors on television and it was a black and white film.  However, after receiving the blu I was clearly wrong and determined to find out what that movie actually was.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  We get another amazing performance from the man himself, Peter Cushing, who does a phenomenal job as a mysterious card reader with a possible bigger twist depending on how you interpret the ending.  The film also has amazing performances from Neil McCallum, Alan Freeman, Donald Sutherland, and the late and great Christopher Lee.  They all bring their stories to life and make the film what it is.  The stories in this one range in quality but all offer up some great atmosphere and entertainment.  Some of the stories are not that original while others were fun and offered up that fun Tales from the Crypt twist ending.  Fans of other Amicus films, as well as, the more contemporary Hammer horror flicks will surely enjoy the stories crafted in this anthology.  Finally, the film does have a few kill scenes but they are not that gruesome and bloody.  Fans of Amicus and Hammer know that their films are not that bloody but they offer up a great deal of atmosphere and suspense while telling bone chilling stories.  Overall, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is a superb horror anthology for those of you that love classic horror films.  The film is not that gory but has superb story telling.  I recommend this one!

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