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Carry On Screaming! (1966)


Main image of Carry On Screaming! (1966)
Directed byGerald Thomas
Production CompanyEthiro Productions
Produced byPeter Rogers
Screenplay byTalbot Rothwell
Director of PhotographyAlan Hume

Kenneth Williams (Dr Orlando Watt); Harry H. Corbett (Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung); Joan Sims (Emily Bung); Angela Douglas (Doris Mann); Fenella Fielding (Virula Watt)

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Detective Sergeant Bung comes into contact with ghouls and monsters while investigating the mysterious disappearance of several women from the local woods.

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The Hammer horror films have much in common with the Carry On comedies. Both were made on small budgets by a regular production team and both employed a repertory of actors, making their films instantly recognisable. Among the most popular series of homegrown films shown in British cinemas throughout the 1950s and 1960s, both series were dismissed by the critical establishment for many years. When the Carry On team decided to parody the horror genre, it was perhaps inevitable that they would do it in the commercially successful mould of the Hammer films.

Carry On Screaming (d. Gerald Thomas, 1966) opens with a catchy, if particularly daft, song (Because when you're screaming / I know that you're dreaming of me / Come closer / For you bring out the monster in me), then immediately sets the mood with a shot of a creature walking through a misty wood at night. The night-time sequences are inevitably filled with fog, a cliché mocked in a scene in which Fenella Fielding is enveloped in a huge cloud after asking if the Sergeant (Harry H. Corbett, in a role clearly planned for Sidney James) minds if she smokes. The film ably captures the lurid Eastmancolor look of the Hammer films, especially with the laboratory set, which is permanently bathed in an unhealthy yellow light, in which Kenneth Williams memorably cries "Frying tonight!" as victims are plunged into a vat of bubbling wax.

The film draws on many classic chillers, including the 1930s Universal horror films starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, but they are clearly also indebted to their later titles like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (US, d. Roy William Neil, 1943), which combined a number of Universal's monsters into single films. It also recalls the company's spoofs starring Abbott and Costello, especially an early scene between Corbett, Butterworth and Williams which apes the celebrated "Who's on first?" comedy routine of the American duo.

Sergio Angelini

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Video Clips
1. Waking Watt (1:43)
2. Morning gents! (2:48)
3. Seducing Sidney (3:02)
4. Into the vat (0:55)
5. Werewolf potion (2:31)
Production stills
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Bresslaw, Bernard (1934-1993)
Corbett, Harry H. (1925-1982)
Dale, Jim (1935-)
Pertwee, Jon (1919-1996)
Rothwell, Talbot (1916-1981)
Sims, Joan (1930-2001)
Carry On
Hammer Horror