28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2004
Although there are many good horror anthologies on the market, this Amicus production is definately one of the best. The story consists of 5 strangers having their fortunes told on a train, by 'Dr Terror' (Peter Cushing).
The 5 segments/stories (all very different from one another) are all enjoyable to watch, although some are stronger than others. In my opinion the masterpiece is the 'disembodied hand' segment starring 'Christopher Lee' as an art critic. However, the concluding scene has to be the most memorable.
The atmospheric sets and props greatly emphasise the horror genre and the camera movement/angles, colour effect, music and other stylistic elements create a lot of suspense.
The film is also quite comical in parts, especially in the 'Voodoo' segment with Roy Castle, allowing some comic relief to the film.
The picture quality of the dvd is fantasitc and there are some good special features, including 2 commentaries (one of which is superb for fans of this genre).
If you are looking for a good old fashioned horror film (with a good strong cast), then I can highly recommend 'Dr Terrors House of Horrors'.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2010
This was one of the great cinema outings for youngsters in the 60s. When it was shown on TV in the old TV format and in black and white it didn't look so good, and criticisms were made of the special effects, especially the malicious vine episode which was my favourite. It looked great in the cinema, and in widescreen as here it looks great again. The film benefits from terrific colour photography and great film making. The only criticism I have is that the image as the credits roll up at the end was blurred on the DVD copy I bought, but the film itself is imaculate and splendid. This is an old favourite from when horror films were fun and satisfied as art.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2011
A compilation of five short stories consisting of Vampires, Werewolves, Creeping Vines, Voodoo and a disembodied hand. This was the first of a series of movies of this kind from Amicus Productions.
Set on a train five passengers encounter a mysterious 'Dr Schreck' who proceeds to tell each passenger their future via the Tarot cards. And so the cards are dealt and we the viewer see what is about to happen to each individual. This was a good horror movie for its time (1965) and had an X rating, today I see a PG rating printed on the DVD. Don't worry if the kids are around when you are watching this as it may only manage a giggle, they have probably encountered more horror on their X box or PS3 machine.
Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee head the cast, which probably lured the general public into the cinema. A supporting cast of Neil McCallum, Donald Sutherland, Roy Castle, Alan Freeman ('Hello Pop Pickers') and the great Michael Gough. All five stories rounding off a good 90 minute movie.
In those days the dialogue meant a lot and it shows. Cushing and Lee obviously made this while on a break from Hammer studios. To review this movie negatively in comparison to what we have today on our screens ie 'Freddie Kreuger 6', 'The Hills Have Eyes' (ugghh) would be grossly unfair, as todays audiences seem to want blood first, dialogue later. 'Dr. Terrors House Of Horrors' obviously paid off as it then was instrumental in urging Amicus Productions to produce more of the same, 'The House That Dripped Blood', 'Crypt Of Horror', 'Asylum' etc. This one is mainly for Cushing/Lee fans in particular and for the nostalgic types. You certainly wont have any nightmares....Good Fun
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is a fun movie.. well acted.. directed.. designed and with a good plot and script. Don't forget it's over 40 years old though, so don't go expecting "Saw10" (God forbid). It's good to have a decent print in the correct format too. So as compilation films go... this goes quite well... and if the evil vine etc look a tiny bit "ham" well so be it.... This is a camp classic. Better than average though...And Peter C. is always good value...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2010
Meeting Peter Cushing's mild-mannered Tarot card reader on a long train journey, five travellers have their fortunes read, with each discovering that a grisly destiny awaits him; Neil McCallum is set to fall foul of a werewolf's curse, Alan Freeman (yes, the DJ) will be plagued by man-eating plant life, Roy Castle will become involved with a West Indies voodoo cult, Christopher Lee will be haunted by the disembodied hand of a dead enemy, and a young Donald Sutherland will marry a vampire. Eventually, the group attempt to prevent the unhappy ends that have been predicted for them, but discover that fate is not so easy to cheat...
The first in the profitable series of `portmanteau' chillers from Amicus (a rival production company to Hammer, mainly notable for soft-pedalling on the sex and gore content that Hammer usually tried to forefront), 1965's Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is a reasonably well put together effort, with efficient if unremarkable direction from Freddie Francis and reliable performances from the main stars; however, the film's storyline is almost stiflingly arthritic (the script was, as usual for Amicus, by producer Milton Subotsky), combining five tedious `horror movie 1:1' vignettes with a predictable framing story. Of all the episodes, that in which Lee is tormented by Michael Gough's severed hand is the only one that really holds the attention, primarily due to the game characterisation of Lee at his most irritable, but the story itself is hokey at best. Given no opportunity to show the gift for creating off-the-wall characters that he would shortly display with his star-making contributions to The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, and Kelly's Heroes, Sutherland is saddled with the most boring episode, which unfortunately also comes last in the running order. Castle's vignette is played mostly for laughs (as you would expect - after all, it showcases Roy Castle), Freeman's story is stupidly illogical, and McCallum's episode, though reasonably atmospheric, is nothing more than a twenty-minute riff on the Universal Wolf Man flicks of the 1940s. To be honest, the best reason I can give you for seeing this film is easy to sum up in just two words - Peter Cushing. As the unshaven Dr. Schreck, with his rag-and-bone man's wardrobe and soft German accent, he (admittedly) has the showiest role in the film, and he makes the most of it in his typically effortless style. But Cushing's creepy turn aside, this is a timid film (even for the mid 1960s - note the current 'PG' certificate), that does not represent either the best of British horror movies, nor of Amicus' beloved `portmanteau' format.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The film itself is a mixed bag: A compendium of horror stories, some good, one or two rather weak, linked together superbly and with great atmosphere by Peter Cushing as the mysterious Dr Terror. The Donald Sutherland vampire episode, the werewolf episode with virtual unknown Neil McCallum and the severed hand story starring Christopher Lee are the most successful, where an amusing but otherwise dull voodoo story with Roy Castle and a risible man-eating plant tale with DJ Alan Freeman are not pulled off so well.
Picture is clear and lush for much of the film, restored to its original Cinemascope format. There are a few glitches, however, and the end-titles are of vastly inferior quality, as if they'd been filmed off a TV set with a camcorder. Bizarre.
It is the DVD extras that make this an eminently worthwhile purchase. One commentary features an interview with director Freddie Francis; a second has horror-film historian Allan Bryce in an endearing, trivia-packed introduction to Amicus, Hammer studios' only serious rival in the British horror-film industry of the 1960s.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2011
It would not be entirely incorrect to state that this movie has long-standing connections with my psyche. Many-many evenings ago, one of our seniors had recounted the stories included in this portmanteau movie, and along with many others I had also got 'hooked' to the potent cocktail of black comedy & thoroughly traditional horror. The basic concept behind this film is simple: 5 strangers come together in a train compartment, and are accompanied by a mysterious man, who tells their 'supernatural' destinies, which might just happen. The first protagonist (an architect) encounters an werewolf. The second person faces the menace of a creeping vine. The third (a musician) learns why one should not steal music from others, esp. where a "voodoo" god is involved. The fourth (a doctor) comes across vampires. And the final (an art critic) gets punished by the severed hand of an artist whom he had harmed. The stories are told in a modern tongue-in-cheek form, which neither grosses out, nor goes into the "intensely psychological" mold. The stories are "fun" and compel the viewer to look for more such portmanteau films. Most importantly, the present version (as part of British classics DVD-s) are good to watch, although a little short on the informative features front. Recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2003
I first remember seeing this film as a child and quite a few years passed before owning a copy on VHS video. It would come on t.v. late at night on very rare occasions before that. Now, I have just purchased it on DVD and eagerly look forward to seeing it again after several years, especially as it is now available in the format in which it was first originally released. My favourite segment is the last one with Donald Sutherland as a doctor whose wife is a vampire. My main interest in this segment is in the extremely lovely actress Jennifer Jayne, who portrays Sutherland's wife. She is a real stunner and it is a real pity her part is relatively small in the film. She did a few other films, but none as memorable as this one. Peter Cushing is excellent as "Doctor Terror". The segment with Christopher Lee is memorable, also. The weakest segment is the one concerning the "killer vines", which also features Bernard Lee, the original "M" in the James Bond films. The first segment, concerning werewolves, would have been better in a longer format. Overall, it is a satisfying and fun mid-1960s horror film. I can highly recommend it.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2007
The cast of this film alone is utterly incredible. No film before or since has brought together Donald Sutherland, Peter Cushing, Alan Freeman (not 'arf, pop pickers!), Christopher Lee, Kenny Lynch and Roy Castle - it really is a record-breaker!
This was the first of many films from the Amicus studio (the only serious British rival to Hammer for a while) in which several shorter horror stories are held together by a connecting thread. The titles were often poor - here, for example, there is no actual House of Horrors, it's just what he calls his Tarot cards. Never mind the titles, though: what a fun film!
As always with such films, some of the individual stories are pretty ropy - Alan Freeman's sinister shrub being a case in point...though the Donald Sutherland vampire story and Christopher Lee as a snide art critic being menaced by a suicide's severed hand are worth a viewing on their own. As for Peter Cushing as Dr Terror himself, has there ever been a better, more dignified horror actor?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2003
The DVD version of Doctor Terror's House Of Horrors was well worth the wait. The extras are fine, even though the original film trailer is not among them. More importantly however, the DVD contains a crisp and sparkling print of the film, in it's original widescreen format. Strangely, the film's title in the opening credits is in German, with the English title in parenthesis below! The rest of the credits are in English. The film itself has held up well for nearly 40 years since it's initial release. The stories are uneven, with the voodoo segment, featuring Roy Castle, as the weakest entry. Followed by the killer vine segment featuring Bernard Lee, the original "M" from the James Bond films. The only problem with anthology films is that the better segments don't really have the time to develop and build stories and suspense as well as normal films running times allow for. My favourite segment is the last, featuring Donald Sutherland as a small-town doctor whose wife, portrayed by the memorably stunning Jennifer Jayne, is a vampire. The first story is well-done, concerning werewolves on an island in the Hebrides, although good and quite atmospheric, suffers from the short time allowed to better develop the story and build the suspense. The segment with Christopher Lee as an arrogant art critic is very good and probably the best-known and most memorable segment. Peter Cushing is excellent as "Doctor Terror" and his scenes are very well done in the connecting story that links the five separate segments together on the train. Although, I personally think a film of this type and age could be more economically priced, I certainly didn't mind paying full price for it. It's well worth it to own a quality copy on DVD of a fun and entertaining 1960s horror film that features some top-notch performances by two of the genres all-time greats. If you remember it fondly from years ago, buy it on DVD. If you've never seen it, you are really in for a treat. It is such a nice change to see a horror film with decent acting, no graphic violence, bad language or sex scenes. It is suitable for younger audiences as there is no objectionable content. The film's violence is mostly implied and off-screen. The suspenseful scenes make the film a cut above films made today that have to rely on adult content in order to "out-do" their competition. This film just wants to be entertaining without offending anyone. It succeeds. I can heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic horror at it's very best. Don't miss it!!