CARRY ON SCREAMING. (1966) DIRECTED BY GERALD THOMAS. PRODUCED BY PETER ROGERS. WRITTEN BY TALBOT ROTHWELL. MUSIC BY ERIC ROGERS. STARRING KENNETH WILLIAMS, CHARLES HAWTREY, JIM DALE, HARRY H. CORBETT, PETER BUTTERWORTH, BERNARD BRESSLAW, JON PERTWEE, TOM CLEGG, ANGELA DOUGLAS, JOAN SIMS AND FENELLA FIELDING. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Where do I even begin to talk about one of the greatest horror comedies of all time? I’ve always been a huge fan of the CARRY ON franchise (31 classic British comedies made between 1958 and 1992) anyway, but this Hammer Horror spoof featuring some of the franchise’s finest actors and actresses really takes the cake.
It’s funny, glamorously gothic, mysterious and downright wacky all at the same time, with sparklingly witty writing, terrible puns and hilarious sight gags all chucked in for good measure. The blend of comedy and horror works so well, and I love the way that they’re both parodying the Hammer Horror movies of the day and also lovingly homage-ing them as well.
Let’s see now, where do we start? Well, at the beginning, I suppose, in Hocombe Woods in the time of horse-drawn carriages and gaslight, where something mysterious walks at night and carries off local damsels who are never seen again.
If it was a real Hammer Horror film, it might of course be Christopher Lee as Count Dracula who’d be doing the carrying-off. Well, in actual fact, it’d be good old Eddie Powell as Christopher Lee’s double who’d be doing it, as Chrissy had a trick back and couldn’t be humping women around like sacks of coal all the livelong day…!
But this isn’t Hammer Horror and, for once, it isn’t the horny, bloodthirsty Count who’s stalking the forest for comely female victims with bounteous bosoms and sturdy, pinchable hindquarters. But someone or something is kidnapping local women from Hocombe Woods and ‘disappearing’ them without a trace. The woods, a hotspot for courting couples, are becoming an increasingly dangerous place to be.
It falls to the lot of Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung, married to a battleaxe of a wife played by Joan Sims, and his bungling sidekick Detective Constable Slobotham to get to the bottom of the mystery, starting with the disappearance of a certain Miss Doris Mann from Hocombe Woods.
Doris’s boyfriend, Albert Potter, a randy tradesman, is outraged at her abduction, not least because he hadn’t managed to penetrate her well-protected virginity before she ‘opped it, so to speak. And after all the trouble he went to to deflower her, as well, only to be thwarted at the last hurdle…!
Jim Dale is marvellous as Albert Potter, the gormless lug who’s slap-bang on top of Bung and Slobotham’s list of suspects, until they find definitive proof that they’ve ‘fingered’ the wrong man and that the case might, in fact, have a supernatural element to it that they hadn’t bargained on…
Charles Hawtrey, a wonderful comic actor who only has to say ‘hello…!’ in that funny voice of his and you’re cracking up already, is superb as Dan Dann, the lavatory man, who runs a mens’ convenience and has some rather vital information to impart to Bung and Slobotham, but will he live long enough to pass on what he knows? That, folks, is the sixty-four-million dollar question.
The key to the mystery might just lie at Bide-A-Wee, a spooky gothic mansion in the heart of the forest that houses a right motley crew of Halloweeny-style weirdos. Bernard Bresslaw appears first as the butler Sockett, who informs the coppers and Albert Potter that the master of the house has been dead for some time but he’ll see if he can rouse him nonetheless… Talk about the bleedin’ Addams Family.
Kenneth Williams, a man who surely was born to make a snidey-comic remark with an accompanying snidey-comic facial expression, is brilliant as the not-quite-all-there Dr. Orlando Watt. He’s hard to keep track of because he just seems to keep coming and going, but you’ll get quite a charge out of him when you get to know him, har-de-har-har.
I’ve saved the best for last. Fenella Fielding as Valeria, Dr. Watt’s sex-pot sister, gives all the Elviras and all the Vampiras a run for their money. Oh yes she does, with her long lustrous black hair, her chalk-white skin, red lips and smoky voice, her hourglass figure in that delicious red dress with her fabulous boobies on a plate for all and sundry to drool over, and drool they undoubtedly do. I could quite go for her myself if I weren’t such a committed man-eater, haha.
Valeria, a sexually-assured woman with a wealth of wiles and experience at her painted fingertips, easily runs rings around the besotted Bung and Albert Potter. As if having the undying devotion and everlasting lust of Sockett and the hideous Oddbod weren’t enough for her, the saucy strumpet.
Bung will have his work cut out for him, trying to figure out why the basement of Bide-A-Wee is filled with strangely lifelike waxwork dummies and why, even more curiously, a mannequin that Albert Potter swears is the living image of his beloved Doris Mann has turned up in the window of a local department store.
Will Bung and Slobotham, the latter of whom cuts a rather charmingly matronly figure in a wig and corset, ever get to the bottom of the unorthodox happenings at Bide-A-Wee? Will Joan Sims ever stop nagging her browbeaten husband? Will Dan Dann be able to meet you sometime at his convenience and, most importantly of all, will the luscious Valeria ever stop smoking? It’s unlikely, dear readers, to say the least…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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