DR TERROR’S HOUSE OF HORRORS Play Your Cards Fright
released OUT NOW! 1965 | PG | Blu-ray
Director Freddie Francis
Cast Peter Cushing, Neil McCallum, alan Freeman, roy Castle, donald sutherland, Christopher lee
From 1965 to 1974, British studio Amicus Productions hit on a successful format, taking the anthology horror template mastered by 1945’s Dead Of Night and making it their own. This effort was just the first of seven.
A framing story sees Peter Cushing’s mysterious Dr Schreck using tarot cards to tell his fellow train passengers’ fortunes. The five stories that follow encompass werewolves, vampires, killer plants, voodoo and a disembodied hand.
Featuring Christopher Lee as a sneery art critic, the latter’s the only one that’s faintly creepy. The other four are so-so, with Milton Subotsky’s script guilty of crude infodumps and feeble finales. But none lasts long enough to outstay its welcome – not even the one where Roy Castle grins and pratfalls his way through a recordbreakingly daft account of what happens when a jazz trumpeter half-inches a voodoo chant. An amiable cavalcade of nonsense.
Extras An old commentary with Freddie Francis; a new Making Of doc (58 minutes); a 2012 appreciation of Chris Lee (45 minutes). Ian Berriman
The first anthology horror was 1932’s Unheimliche Geschichten, which adapted stories by Poe and Stevenson.