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Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965)

Unrated | | Horror | 28 February 1965 (USA)
Aboard a British train, mysterious fortune teller Dr. Schreck uses tarot cards to read the futures of five fellow passengers.

Director:

(as Freddy Francis)

Writer:

(screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ann Rogers (segment "Creeping Vine")
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Neil McCallum ...
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...
Alan Freeman ...
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Caleb (segment "Werewolf")
Kenny Lynch ...
Sammy Coin (segment "Voodoo")
...
Jerry Drake (segment "Creeping Vine")
...
Harold Lang ...
Roy Shine (segment "Voodoo")
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Storyline

Five strangers board a train and are joined by a mysterious fortune teller who offers to read their Tarot cards. Five separate stories unfold: An architect returns to his ancestral home to find a werewolf out for revenge; a doctor suspects his new wife is a vampire; an intelligent vine takes over a house; a jazz musician plagiarizes music from a voodoo ceremony; a pompous art critic is pursued by a disembodied hand. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Acclaimed as "THE FEAR OF THE YEAR"

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

28 February 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House of Horrors  »

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Box Office

Budget:

£105,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tubby Hayes was booked to write the score but did not write anything and so was replaced by Elisabeth Lutyens. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to what is implied, in Tarotmancy the thirteenth card showing Death is generally interpreted to indicate a positive change. See more »

Quotes

Dawson: Schreck? That's a German word isn't it? Means fear or horror.
Dr. Schreck: A more exact translation would be terror. An unfortunate misnomer for I am the mildest of men.
See more »

Crazy Credits

On some American prints the MPAA seal appears on the Paramount logo. See more »

Connections

Followed by The House That Dripped Blood (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Island of Happiness
(uncredited)
Written by Russ Henderson
Performed by Russ Henderson Steel Band
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User Reviews

 
First and best of the Amicus compendiums
3 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Techniscope)

Sound format: Mono

Five travellers on an overnight train are told their fortunes by a mysterious old man (Peter Cushing) who turns out to be... well, you'll see.

Formed in the early 1960's by American producers Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg as a response to various tax concessions which encouraged an upsurge in British movie-making, independent studio Amicus hit the ground running with this breezy horror anthology, directed by famed cinematographer Freddie Francis, in which several heavyweight thesps (including Christopher Lee and a very young Donald Sutherland, the latter a sop to US audiences) and a couple of notable UK media celebrities (entertainer Roy Castle, DJ Alan Freeman) meet grisly fates at the hands of various supernatural entities (werewolf, creeping vine, voodoo, disembodied hand and vampire, respectively).

Lavishly photographed by Alan Hume in widescreen Techniscope - Francis had, of course, learned a thing or two about widescreen composition during his work on SONS AND LOVERS (1960) and THE INNOCENTS (1961), amongst others! - this low budget thriller utilizes the same audience-friendly Gothic elements which launched Hammer to worldwide fame and fortune, but locates them within the recognizable boundaries of contemporary British society, an aspect which immediately distinguishes it from the Victorian milieu favored by rival studios. Francis clearly relishes the creative opportunities afforded by the material, and while the stories themselves - all originals, penned by Subotsky - are fairly bland and obvious, they're all energized by Francis' stylish visuals and helter-skelter pacing. Each story has its merits, but director and scriptwriter keep the best two for last: Lee's pompous art critic is haunted by the living severed hand of an artist (Michael Gough) he drove to suicide, and Sutherland discovers his new bride's (Jennifer Jayne) bloodthirsty secret, leading to a twist in the tale...

Lee gives the showiest performance, as a haughty member of the critical Establishment whose ego leads him on the path to self-destruction, but his fellow cast members all rise to the occasion, and Francis even manages to indulge Castle's famed jazz trumpeting abilities without holding up the plot! Cushing takes center stage, playing a character much older than his years, though he's rather let down by a fake German accent which sounds more comical than ominous; his timing, however, is impeccable, as always. Brisk, stylish and more than a little camp in places (watch out for that crawling hand!), the movie is a triumph for Francis and his technical team. Subotsky and Rosenberg were also responsible for John Llewellyn Moxey's moody witchcraft thriller THE CITY OF THE DEAD, produced in 1960 under the 'Vulcan' banner, but it was the creation of Amicus which firmly established their fortunes within the UK film industry (cf. TORTURE GARDEN, THE VAULT OF HORROR, etc.). Sadly, Francis became increasingly disillusioned by his status as a 'horror' director, and many of his later efforts suffered as a consequence of his apathy (THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE, TROG, CRAZE, etc.).


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