Dr. Terror’s House of Confusion

by "Penguin" Pete Trbovich on October 21st, 2018 | , | , ,

Here at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, our research zombie team attempts to track down the ultimate truth of the origins behind every horror movie – a Sisyphean task made no easier by the wonder that is British film culture.

There were three main British studios active in horror during the 1960s-1970s, and we’ve established lists for all three to track who’s-who once we get it sorted: Hammer, Amicus, and Tigon. The history of these three studios is intertwined, because all three competed with each other, to say nothing of American horror tendencies to copy-cat British horror and vice versa. The record gets so jumbled that even established sources get it wrong sometimes, which is why, when we see confusion between two separate titles involving one of the three, we know we’re in for a treat.

So the Present Author noticed that Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horrors (1967) mistakenly carried the trailer for Amicus’ Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965). “Gallery” is actually made by “American General Pictures,” and carries the alternate title Gallery of Horrors. Note the IMDB page lists the title as “Horror,” singular, where the poster clearly shows “Horrors,” plural.

In straightening this out, be careful not to confuse either of these with Dr. Terror’s Vault of Horror, an installment of a British BBC2 TV series broadly known as “Horror Double Bills”, a horror movie showcase series first run from 1975-1983. The series got revived under the name “Dr. Terror’s Vault of Horror” from 1993-1995.

…Which had nothing to do with The Vault of Horror, the Amicus anthology sequel to Tales From the Crypt. By the way.

But wait, also don’t get this confused with yet ANOTHER movie called Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1943), which has nothing to do with any of the above. Nobody seems to know anything about this movie besides two posters and some sketchy details. It might even be a lost movie, as is the case with 1929‘s House of Horror, a Warner Brothers film tragically lost to nitrate film’s combustible tendencies; Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds uses this notorious aspect of nitrate film as a plot device.

But let’s not get started on all the films with “House of Horror” in the title.

In pursuing all this, one might be tempted to throw up their hands and go consult Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible, a BBC2 British comedy-horror anthology series which spoofs all three of studios Hammer, Amicus, and Tigon – and here we’ve circled back. Which tells us that somebody else went down this research path years ago and went equally bananas. The series boasts hilarious episode titles like “Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust,” “Voodoo Feet of Death,” and “Scream Satan Scream!”

After all this, I just wanted a chance to see this Dr. Terror guy. I think I owed him a punch or two after my ordeal into research hell. And lo and behold, Dr. Terror has an actual face! Here’s a tiny compilation of Dr. Terror’s hosting turn in that BBC2 “Horror Double Bills” movie presentation series.

http://www.penguinpetes.com/

Writer, artist, prophet, cult leader. Take good care of my memes. I’ve raised them since they were daydreams.

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