DR. TERROR`S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1964 U.K. U.S.) D: FREDDIE FRANCIS W/P: MILTON SUBOTSKY P: MAX J. ROSENBERG
The first horror anthology from Amicus is nothing special, but remains one of their finest attempts at the notoriously difficult-to-get-right portmanteau structure (never really bettered since DEAD OF NIGHT). Five doomed men on a train are read their futures on tarot cards by the mysterious Dr. Terror (Peter Cushing sporting bushy eyebrows and a cod German accent). Neil McCallum is an architect summoned to his former ancestral home on an island in the Hebrides, only to find a walled-up coffin and a curse. Alan Freeman (the bland but loveable and iconic DJ Fluff was on tv`s Top Of The Pops at the time) returns from holiday to discover a killer plant with strangling vines on his property. Jazz trumpeter Roy Castle (quite funny here, not like he was with Cushing in Amicus` DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS the following year) steals some beats from the Voodoo God Damballah while in the West Indies and pays the price for plagirising a deity (this tale is the most silly, but oddly the most likeable for me. It helps that Castle`s band is actually the Tubby Hayes Quintet, and seeing them play is pretty cool). Snarky, cynical art critic Christopher Lee runs down artist Michael Gough with his car when he threatens to discredit him, only to be stalked by the suicidal former painter`s amputated right hand (it`s not exactly THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS, but it ain`t THE HAND either). The weakest link is the tongue-in-cheek filler starring American Donald Sutherland suspecting that his new French wife may be a vampire. With Bernard Lee, Jeremy Kemp and Kenny Lynch. Undoubtedly naff in the greater scheme of things, but also fun, fun, fun if you`re in the right frame of mind. Amicus` next crack at the portmanteau was TORTURE GARDEN.

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