Monday, October 10, 2011

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

(1965) ***1/2

This anthology film not only has an all star line up including Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and a young Donald Sutherland, it also has a werewolf, a vampire, killer plants and an animated severed hand! I couldn’t have asked for more, well, maybe a severed head or perhaps a swamp creature.

The mysterious Dr. Shreck aka Dr. Terror (Cushing) seats himself in a train car with five other men. He reveals a tarot deck and one by one challenges the men to a fortune telling game.

The first story involves a man who has inherited a large old house. Legend says that the houses former owner was a werewolf who claimed the house was rightfully his. Our guy goes rooting around in the basement, and finds the werewolves tomb behind a recently erected wall. After that, all hell breaks loose.

The second segment features a man who has just returned home for a holiday with his wife and daughter. No sooner do they get settled in, when a strange plant begins to have a mind of it’s own. The murderous ivy becomes a real menace.

Next we are treated to some cool funky music, when a trumpet player stumbles onto a voodoo ritual. The voodoo people are jammin’ and dancing around a fire while he hides in the bushes. He digs the tune so much that he decides to write it down and steal it. After he is caught, the voodoo priest warns him, that song is meant for the Gods and destroys the writing. Our guy doesn’t heed the warning and gets himself in a pickle.

The fourth segment features Christopher Lee as a snooty art critic. He is full of hot air and boastful, so an up and coming artist makes a fool of him. In a fury, Lee runs the artist down on the road, severing the man’s hand. The artist, totally distraught without his hand, commits suicide. One he is dead, his severed hand relentlessly pursued Lee, tormenting him.

The final segment starring Donald Sutherland is the tale of his encounter with a female vampire. One of my favorite anthology films, it has all the elements to keep it moving along. All the subjects get exactly what they deserve so your left feeling quite satisfied. Also, the stories are too short to get into any of those dragging old 70’s style films that some of you have voiced a distaste for. Good stuff and something to please everyone.


JPX said...

This sounds terrific! What a fantastic cast. I will definitely be checking this one out!

Landshark said...

Yeah, this sounds excellent. I think I scrolled past this on Netflix and made a mental note to see what it was all about.

Octopunk said...

Great cast, lack of typical anthology pitfalls, and a severed hand! I will have to check this out, too. Good catch, Cat.

50PageMcGee said...

keeping with the Jim vs. Jim Face Fight theme, I wonder whose disembodied hand would win in a showdown. michael caine's in "the hand," or the artist christopher lee runs down in this movie.

Catfreeek said...

Maybe the one from Idle Hands as well.

Octopunk said...

Ooh, 50, that's a good idea (you too Cat.) A Crawling Hand free-for-all!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

The Christopher Lee segment sounds terrific. I love the idea of him as a snotty art critic who gets angry enough to run down someone who dissed him. You don't mess with C. Lee without expecting grave repercussions!

DCD said...

This sounds great! What a good find, Cat.