While we're on the Halloween theme, I thought I would take time to talk about one of my favourite scary films, which is actually a comedy-horror spoof (and one that hasn't really been seen much in the States due to its innate Englishness), the great Carry On Screaming, the twelfth in the Carry On series and named #30 on Channel 4's Top 100 Scariest Movies Of All Time. It's a spoof of the 1960's Hammer Studios horror genre, lots of mood lighting and campy dialogue. The studios' output is at least partly responsible for the popularity of such luminaries as Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed and Christopher Lee.
It stars Carry On regulars Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth. It guest stars Harry H. Corbett, Fenella Fielding, and also includes appearances by Jon Pertwee (Dr. Who number three), Frank Thornton (best known in the USA as Capt. Peacock from Are You Being Served?) and Angela Douglas. The plot is based around the disappearance of young women in Victorian London, and the later appearance of store mannequins bearing striking resemblances to those who vanished. The bumbling police investigation finally yields a clue in the form of a hairy clawed finger where the last young woman vanished. The police then search the nearby woods. The creature, searching for his finger, is disturbed by the arrival of the cops; one of whom is guarding the sergeant's car. They notice a terrible smell in the air, and Constable Slobotham passes out when he sees the monster. As he lies unconscious, the creature trashes the car and leaves. Sergeant Bung finds Slobotham and they drive to a spooky manor house named Bide-A-Wee Rest Home, where he meets the sinister Dr. Watt:
Det Sgt. Bung: Now then, your name please.
Dr. Watt: Doctor Watt.
Constable Slobotham: Doctor who, sir?
Dr. Watt: Watt. "Who" was my uncle.
Dr. Watt's pet project is to re-animate the mummified King Rubatitti. He is financing this venture by using his hairy pet creature Oddbod to spirit away young women so he can turn them into mannequins and sell them to unsuspecting stores. The plot gets further complicated when Emily (Joan Sims), the wife of Sgt. Bung, disappears and later turns up as a mannequin.
The movie is littered with send-ups of different horror characters, bad puns and wordplay, and of course, saucy humour:
Det Sgt. Bung: A young lady has disappeared and we're anxious to trace her whereabouts.
Dr. Watt: Oh? Whereabouts?
Det Sgt. Bung: Hereabouts.
Albert: At ten o'clock.
Det Sgt. Bung: Or thereabouts.
Constable Slobotham: In this vicinity.
Det Sgt. Bung: Or roundabouts.
Constable Slobotham: We're police officers.
Albert: Or layabouts.
Constable Slobotham: Sarge, she's as hard as a rock!
Det Sgt. Bung: You don't have to tell me that, I've been married to her for fifteen years!
Det Sgt. Bung: I've been up till half six looking for a woman.
Emily Bung: That should be something you're good at, looking for women.
Det Sgt. Bung: I wouldn't say that, last time I tried I found you.
Valeria: Why don't we do what they did to your friend Dracula, drive a spike through his heart.
Dr. Watt: No , I don't really feel like driving tonight.
One of my family's favorite characters was Charles Hawtrey as Dan Dann. My mother's maiden name is Dann, and this added to the hilarity of Dan Dann the lavatory man:
Dan Dann: I am the cloakroom attendant in the One by the Park and you can see me any time, at my convenience.
Constable Slobotham: I'm a police officer and I must warn you that I'll take down anything you say.
Dan Dann: Alright then, trousers.
Finally the truth is discovered and women regenerated; and Dr. Watt gets his come-uppance as he revives King Rubatitti:
Have a spooky day!