Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The Carry On comedies were produced in Great Britain from 1958 to 1978. It is interesting to see ads for these in the old Springfield Daily News and Springfield Leader & Press, which is a testament to their minor popularity in this country. I'll get into another example of their following in this country later on. I became familiar with the Carry On films when they were part of a syndicated movie package called "The Movie Greats Network." It was there that I first saw Carry On Screaming.
The Carry On films satirized various British institutions such as the military, hospitals, public transportation, temp agencies, public schools, cruise ships and law enforcement. Along the way, they began poked fun at movies too. Starting first with James Bond, then Cleopatra, pirate films, and American Westerns. It would only make sense for the Carry On gang to take on Britain's most popular film studio, Hammer Studios and horror films in general.
The film revolves around the search for a missing girl (Angela Douglas). The only clue left at scene of the crime was a large, hairy finger with a sharp, black claw. The finger belongs to a reanimated neanderthal named Oddbod.
The girl's boyfriend, Albert Potter (Jim Dale), goes to the police with the hairy finger. Sergeant Bung (Harry H. Corbett) and Constable Slobotham (Peter Butterworth) decide to investigate, since she is the sixth woman to disappear from that area. After Slobotham has a chance meeting with the monster, Bung decides to visit a near by Gothic manor, known as the Bide-a-Wee Rest Home. They are greeted by a stoic zombie-like butler named Sockett (Bernard Bresslaw), who tells them that the master of the house has been dead for fifteen years, "but if you come in, I'll ask him if he can see you."
Next, they meet Valeria (Fenella Fielding), a slinky Goth chick in a tight scarlet dress. She says that she will have to "wake" her brother, Dr. Orlando Watt. Dr. Watt is played by Carry On regular Kenneth Williams. The best way to explain Kenneth Williams to a person who isn't familiar with him would be a British version Paul Lynde.
We later find out that Oddbod kidnaps women, brings them to Dr. Watt, who then covers them with wax and sells them as mannequins to clothing stores.
A public men's room attendant (Charlie Hawtrey) attempts to inform Bung and Slobotham about the women being turned into mannequins, but Oddbod gives him a fatal swirly (off screen, of course).
A police scientist (Jon Pertwee) tries a galvanic experiment with the severed monster finger and accidentally creates causes another monster to grow at the end of the finger. The monster shows up at the manor and  Dr.Watt names him Junior.
Add to this, a mummy named King Rubatitti, Valeria turning Bung into a werewolf and more than enough double-entendres and bad puns to make this one of the best horror film parodies of all-time.

Some other interesting trivia to note about this film.
  • I mentioned that contrary to what some have suggested, the Carry On films did have a modest following in America. As a matter of fact, the American distributors asked that nerdy Charlie Hawtrey be included, because he tended to be very popular with the American audiences.
  • Jim Dale's character is named Albert Potter. These days Jim Dale records audio books of the Harry Potter series.
  • There is a tip of the hat to Abbot and Costello when Williams introduces himself. Slobotham says "Doctor who?" Williams replies "Not Who, Watt! Dr. Who is my uncle."  Jon Pertwee, who plays the police scientist, later played Dr. Who in the early 70s.
  • Actor Frank Thornton plays the manager of a clothing store in this film, later played the manager of a clothing store on the TV show Are You Being Served?

Check out Carry On Screaming. It is great ghoulish fun.

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