Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible – television series, UK, 2001

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Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible is a British comedy-horror anthology television series created by Graham Duff, who co-wrote the series with Steve Coogan (aka Alan Partridge). BBC Two broadcast the series in 2001.

The series aimed to lovingly mock the British horror films of Amicus Productions, Hammer Film Productions, and Tigon British Film Productions. The title parodies Amicus Productions’anthology film Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965).

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Honor Blackman (FrightTo the Devil a Daughter), Graham Crowden, Sheila Keith (House of Whipcord; Schizo), and Angela Pleasence each guest-starred in an episode, in a pastiche of their earlier film performances. Mark Gatiss, John Thomson, Simon Pegg, Ronni Ancona, and Warwick Davis (Leprechaun) also performed in the series.

Steve Coogan presented each episode as Dr. Terrible, and played various roles throughout.

Viewership of the six-episode series fell short of expectations, and the BBC declined to recommission it. 2 Entertain issued the series on DVD  on 4 August 2003.

And Now the Fearing…
Three people trapped in a lift retell their recent nightmares in 1970s London. Spoofs Amicus Productions’ The Vault of Horror (1973).

lesbian vampire lust in steve coogan's dr terrible's house of horribleFrenzy of Tongs
Gentleman inventor Nathan Blaze must battle the inscrutable Chinese criminal Hang Man Chan in turn-of-the-century London. Spoofs Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu character, Hammer Film Productions’ The Terror of the Tongs (1961), and the Doctor Who serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977).

Curse of the Blood of the Lizard of Doom
Dr. Donald Baxter’s experiment with burn victims lead him down a dangerous path as he uses the regenerative powers of lizards on his patients with terrifying results: “I just want to cure the ills of man by injecting them with large amounts of reptile plasma… is that so wrong?”

Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust
Hans Brocken and his lovely new virgin wife Carmina are on their honeymoon when they encounter a castle owned by the mysterious Countess Kronstien. She and her ladies seem unusually interested in Carmina. Spoofs Hammer Films Productions films, especially the Karnstein Trilogy (1970–71): “You’ve pierced her heart with an occasional table!”

Voodoo Feet of Death
A famous ballroom dancer loses his feet to a pair of gigantic scissors. After a quick foot transplant his feet start taking on a murderous mind of their own. Spoofs The Hands of Orlac (1960).

Scream Satan Scream!
Witch locator Captain Tobias Slater travels the north of England accusing beautiful young women of being witches and to avoid the pyre they must sleep with him, until he runs across a real coven and Slater is cursed. Spoofs Witchfinder General (1968), Cry of the Banshee (1970) and witch locating in general.

‘What we have then is a genuine love for the material being spoofed and not just some idle, ill-informed buffoonery. Interestingly, this has two effects on the series. On the one hand it makes for an incredibly affectionate viewing experience; paradoxically, even the period perfect misogyny, racism and idea that England is the centre of the world elicit a certain charm, as do the intentionally variable special effects and accents. On the other, however, the pleasures of each individual episode are likely to come down to the viewer.’ Anthony Nield, The Digital Fix

‘I can’t see how anyone who loves Hammer and Amicus and horror films of the 1960s and 1970s won’t enjoy these good-natured, affectionate send-ups.’ Paul Mavis, DVD Talk

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Buy Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible on DVD from Amazon.co.uk

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