Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

Article #1677 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-17-2005
Posting Date: 3-16-2006
Directed by Freddie Francis
Featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Donald Sutherland

Five men on a train have their fortunes told by a mysterious stranger with a Tarot deck.

This was the first of several horror anthologies from Amicus, and though I don’t think it’s quite up to the level of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, it’s not bad. I have a method of deciding how good some of the stories are that is rather simple; if I’ve seen the anthology before, I generally consider the best stories to be the ones I remember from my first viewing. In this case, there’s really only one story I remember, and that’s the fourth story in which Christopher Lee does battle with a crawling hand. For me, this is still the best story; the pace is crisp (which is something that can’t be said for all the stories), and the acting by Lee and Michael Gough is excellent. Beyond that, my favorites are the framing story and the third story, in which a jazz musician steals a melody used in a voodoo ceremony. The first and last stories (about werewolves and vampires respectively) have some nice final twists, but are marred by sluggish pacing, and the last story features a silly bat with glow-in-the-dark eyes that is anything but scary. Still, the weakest of the batch is the second story about a killer vine that would have been best handled as a comedy; for me, this story went down the tubes when the vine purposefully cuts the telephone line. The movie also features a young Donald Sutherland and Bernard Lee (‘M’ from the James Bond movies).

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