DR TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS
Dr Terror's House of Horrors was also the third directorial film of Freddie Francis. Francis originally began work as a cinematographer, winning an Oscar for Sons and Lovers (1960). He then became one of the most prolific directors of English horror cinema, whose body of work only rivalled that of Terence Fisher. Franciss output has often been underrated. He lacks the florid richness and often heavy-handed symbolic interplay that made Fisher a cult name but his work was always finely atmospheric, marked by a distinctly posed framing of imagery.
Although it was the first of Amicuss portmanteau films, Dr Terror's House of Horrors is also the slightest. Most of the stories are rehashes of B movie themes that had become well-worn through the poverty row films of the 1940s vampires, werewolves, voodoo, the disembodied hand theme of The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) and one more modern one the killer plant theme from Day of the Triffids (1962) (for which one of Freddie Franciss earliest uncredited directing jobs involved shooting additional footage). Later Amicus anthology films became much more sophisticated in terms of story and ideas. Werewolf and Vampire are mediocre retreads of well worn themes where the only effect hangs on their twist endings. Likewise, the final deathdream twist to the film is corny. The Voodoo episode has the immensely irritating presence of tap dancer Roy Castle, who would go onto wreck Amicuss Dr Who and the Daleks (1965) the following year. The slightness of the episodes does not allow Freddie Francis opportunity to develop much in the way of atmosphere. The one exception is Disembodied Hand where Francis creates some effective moments during the hands pursuit of Christopher Lee. The acidic sparring between Lee and Michael Gough is also an added plus that makes this the one standout segment in an otherwise forgettable film.
Dr Terror's House of Horrors is not related to the 1940s Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1943), an anthology filmed made up of scenes from various classic horror films. The reportedly extremely bad Dr Terrors Gallery of Horrors (1967) poses as a sequel but was not made by Amicus and, aside from being an anthology film and a similar title, is unrelated.
Freddie Franciss other genre films are:- Vengeance/The Brain (1962), Paranoiac (1962), Nightmare (1963), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965), The Skull (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Deadly Bees (1967), They Came from Beyond Space (1967), Torture Garden (1967), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1969), Trog (1970), The Vampire Happening (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Tales That Witness Madness (1972), Craze (1973), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Legend of the Werewolf (1974), Son of Dracula (1974), The Ghoul (1975), The Doctor and the Devils (1985) and Dark Tower (1987).