Carry On Screaming! (1966)

UK, 1966
97m, 2667 metres
35mm film, Eastmancolor, 1.66:1
mono, English

A British comedy horror film directed by Gerald Thomas. It is the twelfth in the Carry On series of films and the last made by Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors.

Plot Summary

Dr Watt is using his man-made man Oddbod to abduct beautiful young women who he then turns into mannequins which he sells to local shops. Detective-Sergeant Bung, the least effective flatfoot at Scotland Yard, is on the case…

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Gerald Thomas
© Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors MCMLXVI [1966]
Anglo Amalgamated presents a Peter Rogers production
Produced by: Peter Rogers
Associate Producer: Frank Bevis
Screenplay by: Talbot Rothwell
Director of Photography: Alan Hume
Editor: Rod Keys
Music Composed and Conducted by: Eric Rogers
Sound Recordists: C.C. Stevens, Ken Barker
Costume Designer: Emma Selby-Walker
Make-Up: Geoff Rodway
Hairdressing: Stella Rivers
Art Director: Bert Davey
Studio: Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK *

Cast
Harry H. Corbett (Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung)
Kenneth Williams (Dr Orlando Watt)
Jim Dale (Albert Potter)
Charles Hawtrey (Dan Dann)
Fenella Fielding (Virula Watt)
Joan Sims (Emily Bung)
Angela Douglas (Doris Mann)
Bernard Bresslaw (Sockett)
Peter Butterworth (Detective Constable Slobotham)
Jon Pertwee (Dr Fettle)
Michael Ward (Vivian the window dresser)
Tom Clegg (Odbodd)
Billy Cornelius (Odbodd Jr)
Norman Mitchell (cab driver)
Frank Thornton (Mr Jones, shop manager)
Frank Forsyth (desk sergeant)
Anthony Sagar (policeman)
Sally Douglas (new girl)
Marianne Stone (Mrs Parker)
Denis Blake (Rubbatiti)
Gerald Thomas [voice of Odbodd Jr] *

Alternative Titles

Carry on Vampire
Ist ja irre РAlarm im Gruselschloß
– West Germany

Extracts included in
Carry on Snogging (1998)
Can We Carry On, Girls? (2001)
That’s Carry on (1977)

See also
Doctor Who (1963-1989)
Frankenstein (1931)

Press

The Times 18 May 1966
After the freshness and liveliness of the last “Carry on” film, Carry on Cowboy, it is disappointing that this new addition to the series is one of the dullest and least spirited of them all. Mainly, it seems to be a curious failure of confidence, which has affected nearly everyone in the cast. For one of the cardinal rules in farce, surely, is that however fantastic the events in which the characters are involved may be, the players must always behave as though they are entirely believable and to be taken with the utmost seriousness. The trouble with Carry on Screaming is that apart from Fenella Fielding nobody seems to behave as though this is a real world they are living in; everyone else plays self-consciously, with one eye on the audience, and seems to be just going through the motions. A pity, that, since the burlesque horror film has obvious potentialities, already partially demonstrated in such television series as The Addams Family and The Munsters, with which Dr. Watt’s household of horrors in this film has certain affinities. Even such usually funny fellows as Kenneth Williams as the resurrected doctor and Jim Dale as the innocent at large never manage to hit the right tone, while Joan Sims is entirely wasted as a cliched harridan. When Miss Fielding is around as the doctor’s fiendishly resourceful sister one can see how the film might have worked: she is very funny cooing provocatively to a hairy Neanderthal monster “If only you weren’t so damnably attractive …” But then this is funny because she plays the character to make a sort of crazy sense: the rest just stand around, say the lines, and listlessly wait ior the next laugh. – from a review “from our film critic”

Evening Standard 18 August 1966
The Carry On comedies have a hard-earned and much praised reputation for deliberate badness. And I must admit that the latest in the series, all about monsters, vampires, old dark houses and things that go clang In the night – i.e. chamber-pots – keeps the reputation up manfully. Here are situations entirely depending on the humorous possibilities of long underwear, mothers-in-law, corsets, courting couples, buttocks and nagging wives. (When they say a film’s plot could be written on a post-card, I presume the Carry On writers have in mind a seaside post-card.) Here are toilet gags by the roll and jokes that must have been thought up first, then had the plot built round them. […] I confess I rather relished Miss Fielding’s blood-red vamp which belongs to a better class of monster film and I appreciated the tone of agony – or was it ecstacy – Mr. Williams got into in his scream as he finally tumbled into his own petrifying tank locked in the ambiguous embrace of a resuscitated Egyptian mummy. But otherwise this particular Carry On comedy is nothing to scream about – and I imagine the fun may be a bit too obvious even for the audience it is destined to pack in. – from a review by Alexander Walker

Daily Express 19 August 1966
“Where are we now?” asks detective Harry H. Corbett, of his assistant, as they search for the kidnapped blonde. “In Aviary Avenue,” he replies. “Then we must, of course, explore Aviary Avenue,” says Corbett. If you can bear that sort of pun, plus several coarser ones connected with policemen’s whistles and public conveniences, you will have a high old time at this film. It has characters called Bung, Slobotham, Sockett, Dan Dann (you can possibly guess his occupation), Fettle, Oddbod, and an Egyptian mummy. No old joke is left unturned. Not even that one from prewar films about someone called Watt. (“What’s your name ?” “Watt’s my name.” “That’s what I said. What’s your name?”). – from a review by Leonard Mosley

The Daily Telegraph 19 August 1966
This is one of the weaknesses of the latest “Carry On” if not of the whole chummy genre. Anticipation often helps a comedian to make the most of his effects, but schoolboy humour of this order needs the raciest treatment if it is not to appear archaic. It would be wrong, however, to suggest that “Screaming” seeks all its laughs in the natural functions. […] But it is uphill work for everyone, because it’s all been done too often and more wittily before. Horror films have a grotesque humour of their own, most effective when least self-conscious. Mocking them with all these knowing nudges and winks taxes the resources of a company of comedians almost to breaking point. – from a review by Eric Shorter

The Sunday Express 21 August 1966
Praise – paeans of praise – be to that delicious, dulcet-toned, sloe-eyed witch called Fenella Fielding. Why? Because if it hadn’t been for the fetching Fenella in Carry on Screaming […] I should probably have been carried out screaming. And not, let me assure you, from terror – even though producer Peter Rogers and his band of senders-up have now, predictably, broken into the cinema’s horror industry. […] All riotously funny, you imagine? I daresay it might well have been, if only every long-dead gag in the book of jokes had not been so thoughtlessly resurrected from its mumified shell and paraded before our eyes in genuine horror. […] Kenneth Williams is rather more subdued than usual, which is a pity. A bit of his nasal falsetto, with “Bold” or “Don’t be like that” might have enlivened the proceedings. Harry H. Corbett, usually a very funny man, is here miserably unfunny in one of the most laboriously self-conscious performances I have seen. And there is only Miss Fielding left – a glittering little island of professionalism in dreary seas of mediocrity – dilating those infinitely suggestive orbs, and fastening those hungry, clever lips upon the monster’s mouth with “God, Oddbodd, if only you weren’t so damnably attractive! ” As I said before, thank heaven for Miss Fielding. She alone saved me from being the casualty of the week. And a last, firm but kindly suggestion to producer Peter Rogers: does he not think the great Carry On has carried on for quite long enough? Because I do. – from an illustrated review by Michael Thornton

The Sunday Times 21 August 1966
Carry On Screaming” I should explain, is a burlesque, as far as something in itself absurd can be burlesqued, of the popular horror film: disappearing girls, monsters impervious to gunfire, steaming vats of petrifying liquid; Kenneth Williams is the mad scientist, Harry H. Corbett the detective; agreeable Jim Dale plays the bereaved fiance; Peter Butterworth has a few funny moments as the decoy in skirts. In appearance, at any rate, the characters played by Fenella Fielding and Bernard Bresslaw owe something to Charles Addams. Otherwise, as I say, basic music hall. – from a review by Dilys Powell

References

Periodicals

  • British National Film Catalogue vol.4 (1966) p.80 – credits
  • Classic Television no.1 (September 1997) pp.25-33 – illustrated article (Carry On remembering by Jim Bright)
  • Classic Television no.5 (June/July 1998) pp.10-25 – illustrated article (British Film: The Classic Television top 100)
  • The Daily Cinema no.9256 (15 August 1966) p.3 – review
  • Kine Weekly no.3072 (18 August 1966) p.12 – English
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.33 no.392 (September 1966) p.141 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Radio Times 29 August-4 September 1987 pp.19; 23 – review; credits
  • Shivers no.50 (February 1998) pp.34-38 – illustrated review (by James Abery)
  • Sight & Sound vol.3 no.5 (May 1993) p.70 – video note
  • Starburst no.279 (November 2001) p.65 – DVD review (DVD file: Carry on Screaming by Ian Atkins)
  • Starburst Special no.66 pp.82-86, 88 – illustrated article (Screams of laughter by Simon J. Gerard)
  • Variety 24 August 1966 – credits, review

Newspapers

  • The Daily Express 19 August 1966 – review (by Leonard Mosley)
  • The Daily Mail 16 August 1966 – review (by Cecil Wilson)
  • The Daily Telegraph 19 August 1966 – review (by Eric Shorter)
  • The Evening Standard 18 August 1966 – review (by Alexander Walker)
  • Morning Star 20 August 1966 – review (by Nina Hibbin)
  • The Observer 21 August 1966 – review (by Penelope Gilliatt)
  • The Sunday Express 21 August 1966 – illustrated review (by Michael Thornton)
  • The Sunday Times 21 August 1966 – review (by Dilys Powell)
  • The Times 18 May 1966 – review (“from our film critic”)

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.176-177
  • Carry On Confidential by Andy Davidson pp.94-100
  • The Carry On Story by Robert Ross pp.72-76 – illustrated article
  • Cinematic Vampires by John L. Flynn p.170
  • Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008 by Bruce G. Hallenbeck pp.78-80 – review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.160-61, 161, 244
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.60
  • Hoffman’s Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.64 – credits, review
  • The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide by Stephen Jones pp.44-45 – credits, review
  • Kine & TV Year Book 1968 p.110
  • The Official Carry On Facts, Figures & Statistics by Kevin Snelgrove p.110.
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.57 – credits
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.93-95
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith p.47
  • What a Carry On: The Official Story of the Carry On Film Series compiled by Sally Hibbin and Nina Hibbin pp.96-97 – illustrated article

Other sources

  • Darkfest II Official Programme p.4 – illustrated note