An Incomplete History of Horror Films Part III.

My Incomplete History of Horror arrives in the swinging 60s.

The movie going trends have changed again. The post-war fears of the late 40s and 50s gave way to a new horror. Aliens, nuclear power and giant insects were fading fast. Some of the classic movie monsters were still around thanks to Hammer films and their continual reinventions and sequels. But things were changing and while movie monsters still had a place, audiences began to fear something more grounded and realistic, the human. The 1960 saw the rise of the boy/girl next door just going a little mad, as after all… “we all go a little mad sometimes.


Peeping Tom (1960): Many horror fans will debate and discus which film was the first ever ‘slasher movie’. This is the film that is often cited as being at least the first film that put in place many of the tropes we now consider to be part of the ‘slasher’ sub-genre. Directed by Michael Powell, the film tells the story of Mark Lewis, an amateur film maker who murders women with the aid of a hidden blade on his camera stand as he films their last moments alive at the same time.


Upon its initial release, Peeping Tom met with huge controversy and was slammed by critics. But today, its often considered a classic and even a masterpiece of British film making. The film has become a cult classic and much loved among horror fanatics and even respected film critics today. In 2004, Total Film magazine named Peeping Tom as the 24th greatest British movie of all time. Then in 2005, they listed it as the 18th greatest horror film ever. Peeping Tom may have been a disaster in 1960, so much so that it even ended the career of its director; Michael Powell. But it has since become one of the most respected and praised films in its genre.


Psycho (1960): Of course Psycho was going to make this list, it is one of my all time favourite films. I love Robert Bloch’s novel, I love this film and I even love the trailer for the film. Directed by the legend that is Alfred Hitchcock, this film is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. A tale about a young secretary, Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from her boss so she can run away with her boyfriend. After making off with the money, she pulls into a motel to rest for the night but regrets the theft and decides to return the money the next morning…


There really is very little I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over already. This is Hitchcock’s finest work, his opus. Everything about this film just works from its directing, the tight screenplay, the amazing acting and of course… the music. This film is so iconic and famed that even if you have never seen it, you know of the infamous shower scene. Psycho became such a popular and influential movie that is was imitated for years to come…


Homicidal (1961): Directed by the gimmick master himself, William Castle. This film follows the young and beautiful but mysterious Emily who is an outright murderess and whose presence in town could unearth deeply guarded secrets of a well to do family.


Homicidal was one of the first Psycho rip-offs that tried to ride on the coat-tails of Hitchcock’s masterpiece. The film lacks the quality of Hitchcock’s far superior film… but it still is a very well put together horror/thriller none the less. Its has some pretty scary scenes and decent acting throughout. And of course, this is a William Castle picture so it featured a gimmick. Just before the film’s climax, a 45 second countdown called a ‘Fright Break’ appeared on screen and would warn the audience of the horror that was about to be shown. The voice-over tells the audience that they can claim a full refund if they were too frightened to stay until the end. But that was not all William Castle had up his sleeve. If you were stupid enough to walk out before the end and claim your refund, then you would have to wait in what was called ‘Coward’s Corner’, which was a yellow cardboard booth. Then a ‘nurse’ would offer a blood-pressure test while a recording would repeat, “Watch the chicken! Watch them shiver in Coward’s Corner!”. Then finally while you waited in ‘Coward’s Corner’ you would have been forced to sign a yellow card stating, ‘I am a bona fide coward.’ So you could claim a full refund if you wanted, but William Castle would make you pay for it.


The Last Man on Earth (1964): Directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow, starring Vincent Price. This film follows Dr. Robert Morgan who finds himself to be the last man alive after everyone else has been infected by a plague that has turned them into undead, vampire-like creatures. If any of this sounds familiar, then that is because this is the first film adaption of Richard Matheson’s novel; I Am Legend.


Vincent Price is amazing as the lonely and desperate last man alive. The film is a low budget picture and this does show as some of the post production work is a little ropey. But at its heart, its a great and well told horror/thriller and some consider this the best film version of the novel. It can be quite dark and depressing at times which all adds to the mood of the overall film.


Kwaidan (1964): An anthology horror film from Japan, directed by Masaki Kobayashi. Based on the book “Kwaidan: Stories and studies of strange things” by Lafcadio Hearn. A collection of four stories including; The Black Hair which tells the story of a poor man who divorces his wife to marry a wealthier woman for money, but soon regrets his decision. The Woman of the Snow is a tale about a woodcutter who becomes stranded in a snowstorm where he comes across a ghostly spirit. Hoichi the Earless where a blind singer who is tricked into singing for ghosts who want more than just his voice. In a Cup of Tea is the final story and features a writer who writes a story about a samurai who keeps seeing a haunting face in a cup of tea.


This is not an all out ‘scary’ film, but it is more of a slow paced and tension building collection of creepy ghost stories. The film is beautifully shot and shows of some amazing set design and scenery. Each of the four stories are intended to represent the four seasons of a year. Kwaidan went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was even nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. A tremendous and atmospheric picture that will stay with you long after you have finished watching it.


Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965): Another anthology film, this time from British production company, Amicus. Directed by Freddie Francis and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. A collection of five stories including; Werewolf, Creeping Vine, Voodoo, Disembodied Hand and Vampire. There is also the connecting and wrap around story.


I’m just very quickly glossing over this one, not because I don’t like it (I love this film), but because I covered every Amicus anthology film earlier in more detail which you can read here. This was the first of the Amicus anthology films series that became very popular in the 60s and 70s.


Carry On Screaming! (1966): The Carry On films were a British comedic tradition and they covered a myriad of topics. For this one, they poke fun at the Hammer Horror style films. Directed by Gerald Thomas, the film stars; Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Harry H. Corbett and Fenella Fielding. The evil Dr. Watt is kidnapping beautiful young women and turning them into mannequins.


I’m a big fan of the Carry On films and this one is a riot. Very tongue in cheek and full of laughs that lampoon the great Hammer Horror films perfectly. Not a scary film, more comedy heavy as a Carry On film should be, but the film still has some great light horror moments and the film really looks the part too. This was filmed using the actual Hammer Horror film sets, which is why it looks so authentic. Well worth checking out if you want a few chuckles.


Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966): Hammer Horror are back with the third entry in their Dracula series. Directed by Terence Fisher and of course starring Christopher Lee. Two couples go on a holiday in the Carpathian Mountains and soon find themselves at Dracula’s castle. Dracula’s loyal servant, Klove greets the quartet and tells them that his master has been dead for 10 years and offers them shelter for the night where they will be perfectly safe…


While the third film in the series, the second; The Brides of Dracula (1960) didn’t even feature Dracula at all. So this film is often considered the first true sequel to Hammer’s original Dracula (1958). Christopher Lee is just as amazing playing Dracula as he was in the first film. One interesting fact is that Dracula does not have a single word of dialogue in the entire film. There are conflicting stories as to why this is. According to Christopher Lee, he refused to speak the dialogue written for him as it was terrible. But writer Jimmy Sangster claims he never wrote any dialogue for Christopher Lee’s Dracula to begin with. This picture is what Hammer Films does best, its dark, gothic and scary in all the right places. It was very well received by critics with some even claiming this film is better than the original.


Picture Mommy Dead (1966): Directed by Bert I. Gordon. This was another of those Psycho rip offs that popped up through the 60s. Recently released from an asylum, Susan Shelley returns home to her father who she suspects killed her mother in a fire. Susan begins to believe her father and new wife are conspiring against her.


While nowhere near as well made or respected as Hitchcock’s Psycho, this is not a bad effort. The acting is a little overdone for the most part and the whole thing feels a little ‘campy’ today, but its still an effective horror/thriller. Made on a very low budget (and it shows) but worth at least one viewing.


Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver (1967): AKA; This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse is the second film in the ‘Coffin Joe’ trilogy. The first being; À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma/At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) followed by; Encarnação do Demônio/Embodiment of Evil (2005). A Brazilian film from director, writer and actor José Mojica Marins. Coffin Joe terrorises the residents of a small town with his sadistic practices while he searches for the perfect woman to bare his son.


The ‘Coffin Joe’ trilogy are a little known collection of gory and brutal horror movies, from a country not really famous for its horror films, that posses a very bizarre atmosphere. This one is often cited as the best of the three pictures and I have to agree. Its not an easy watch though as the film is not shy in showing gruesome rituals and sadistic tortures. While most of the film is shot in stunning black & white, there is one sequence that takes place in Hell which is shot in full colour… and what a great sequence it is too. If you think your stomach can handle this one, give it a go. In fact, give all three ‘ Coffin Joe’ films a view.


Night of the Living Dead (1968): There were several good horror films released in 1968, but this one is the only one worth mentioning. Directed by the grandfather of the zombie film, George A. Romero. While visiting her father’s grave, Barbra is attacked by a strange man. She escapes to a farmhouse where things just keep getting worse and worse.


While not the first ever zombie film (not even close), this film is regarded as THE definitive zombie picture. Before this, zombies were often depicted as people under some kind of voodoo curse. Yet it was George A’ Romero who created the zombie persona we all know know, that of a reanimated dead corpse that feasts on flesh. This film was a revelation when it was released and changed horror cinema forever. A low budget production, but a well shot and scary film none the less. The film had undergone several revisions over the years including a colourised version in 1986 as well as other coloured versions through the years. And in 2009 a colorized 3D version of the film wa salso released. Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition was released in 1999 which added an all new soundtrack and even had newly filmed scenes added too, this version is often considered pretty terrible as it tampers with a classic. There was even an animated version called; Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated in 2009 which used a wide variety of animation styles by artists from around the world all laid over the original audio. There was also a remake released in 1990 directed by horror make up genius, Tom Savini. There are plenty of other versions of this film too that I have not mentioned, I could do a separate article just on alternate Night of the Living Dead versions/remakes/reboots and spin offs. Night of the Living Dead is an all time classic and deservedly so…due to a lack of copyright, its also in the public domain so can be viewed completely legal and free. “They’re coming to get you Barbra!

I think its time to say goodbye to the 60s. There were some notable horror films released in 1969, but after Night of the Living Dead, everything else just seems to pale in comparison. So I may as well end on one of the very best of the 60s. Next up in part IV its the 1970s and this is where things get really, really amazing…


Amicus Productions Anthology Horror: Part One

I love the sub-genre of movies that is the anthology/portmanteau film. I adore the fact they have several smaller stories contained into one film, often wrapped up in a connecting story in itself. So if you don’t like one story, there will be another one along in a few minutes to enjoy. It’s a classic storytelling format that has seemingly and sadly fallen out of favour in recent years. When you think of great anthology horror films, most people think of the mighty Creepshow… and rightly so too.


Creepshow really is an amazing film, written by Stephen King, directed by George A. Romero and special effects by Tom Savini. That is pretty much horror royalty of the seventies and eighties right there. For me, Creepshow is the cream of the crop of the horror anthology sub-genre. But I don’t want to talk about that movie here. This retrospective is all about Amicus Productions.


Amicus were a British film production company, based at Shepperton Studios, England. Though technically a British company, it was actually founded by Americans, producer/screenwriter Milton Subotsky and producer Max Rosenberg. Amicus released many films between 1962 and 1977. The titles they produced covered a wide variety of genres including; sci-fi, espionage, drama and even musicals.

However, the studio’s horror films are what they really became known for. Amicus even managed to become a notable rival to the awesome Hammer Film Productions who were THE film studio for horror films back in the sixties and seventies, with their modernised takes on Universal Studios’ classics such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and so on.

Amicus even managed to attract some of the biggest stars of the time including; Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Patrick Magee, Terry Thomas, Burgess Meredith and Ralph Richardson. Their films also featured a lot of then-unknown actors like: Donald Sutherland, Robert Powell, Tom Baker and Joan Collins, among many others. Watching a classic Amicus horror anthology film today is like walking around a museum of classic British and American actors, it can be quite surprising to watch these movies now and see the star power (past, present and future) they really had.

Much like the aforementioned Creepshow, Amicus used the classic EC horror comic series as an influence for some of the stories in their anthology films (including the use of actual EC stories), but they also had the help of famed horror/thriller writer Robert Bloch. You may know him as the writer of the amazing book, Psycho. They would also often use some dark humour and a touch of the macabre to great effect in their productions.

EC Comics

For this retrospective, I am going to take a look at all of the Amicus produced horror anthology films and each of the stories in those films until the studio finally went under. After which, I’ll then look at what happened to Amicus, with a few other horror anthology films that Amicus founder, Milton Subotsky, continued to make after the company went bust.

These films and the stories within the films are famed for having twists, stings and surprises. If you don’t want anything spoiled then stop reading now and go watch these films as I’ll be covering each film and the stories including important plot points but I’ll try to avoid any major spoilers. Yet I do have to pre-warn, possible spoilers ahead. With a total of ten films and each film with multiple stories contained within them… there’s a lot to cover in this retrospective, I had better get started.

Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors


Released in 1965 and sporting an impressive cast including: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland and Roy Castle. Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors was directed by Freddie Francis and written by Milton Subotsky. The film starts with five strangers boarding a train and sharing a carriage. They are then joined by a sixth man, Doctor Schreck (Peter Cushing) who reveals he can read Tarot cards and offers to tell the five strangers their futures…

The first story of this film features Jim Dawson (Neil McCallum) an architect who travels to Scotland and his former home to make alterations requested by the new owner, Mrs Biddulph (Ursula Howells). Jim finds a secret room in the cellar which reveals the coffin of Count Cosmo Valdemar, who was the original owner of the house two hundred years ago. It is revealed that Valdemar was killed in a conflict with the Dawson family centuries ago and they stole the house from him and Valdemar swore revenge since then and wishes to reclaim his house. Jim learns that Valdemar is emerging at night and takes the form of a werewolf to seek his revenge.

An interesting take on the werewolf mythos with some creepy atmosphere and tense scenes. Great way to start the anthology and a very solid story.

Creeping Vine
Bill Rogers (Alan Freeman) along with his wife (Ann Bell) and their daughter (Sarah Nicholls) return from a family holiday to find a fast-growing vine that has begun to sprout in their garden. Whenever Bill tries to cut the vine down, it reacts violently. Deciding to go to The Ministry of Defence for help, it turns out the vine has become intelligent and has learned to react to anyone or thing that threatens it. The vine slowly kills off anyone that dares to interfere as it continues to grow and grow.

This one is a bit of a silly tale and doesn’t really offer much in the way of scares or surprises. But there is a nice mini-botany lesson thrown in though.

Biff Bailey (Roy Castle) plays a jazz musician who accepts a job playing in the West Indies. Once there, he steals a tune from a local religious voodoo ceremony. Now back in London, when Biff plays the tune he stole, there are some serious and disturbing consequences as he is pursued by an unknown force.

This one provides a bit of comic relief to the anthology, so it’s more lighter in tone than the other stories and as a result, there’s not really much here to find scary, but it does provide a great fourth-wall-breaking moment and great jazz music.


Disembodied Hand
The fourth tale tells the story of Franklyn Marsh (Christopher Lee) a well-known art critic. He is a self-absorbed man and enjoys putting people down with his acidic wit. Artist Eric Landor (Michael Gough) gets on the receiving end of one of Franklyn’s overly aggressive tirades, yet he gets even with the critic by humiliating him publicly. Franklyn is not the kind of person that takes humiliation well and drives over Eric with his car, resulting in him losing a hand. Unable to paint anymore, Eric commits suicide and Franklyn Marsh is haunted by the disembodied hand.

This one packs quite an ending and for me the best story in the film. With a brilliant and smarmy performance by the great Christopher Lee who ends up getting what he deserves.

In the last story of the film Dr Bob Carroll (Donald Sutherland) returns home to America with his new French bride, Nicolle (Jennifer Jayne). Bob discovers the existence of a vampire and learns that the vampire is actually his new wife. After seeking advice from a fellow doctor and friend, Dr Blake (Max Adrian). Bob agrees to kill his vampire wife. The police arrive and this is where the twist of this tale is revealed.

A pretty good tale, a shame it feels a bit rushed though. Featuring a then-unknown Donald Sutherland and giving us an interesting vampire story that is not as black and white as it first seems. It’s moody and well shot with some great cinematography but could’ve done with being just a few minutes longer.

The film concludes with another twist. Doctor Schreck informs the men that the only way to avoid these terrible futures is to die before they can actually happen. The train comes to a stop and the men discover they are already dead having died in a train crash earlier while Doctor Schreck reveals himself to be none other than Death incarnate.

Overall, this one is a very decent anthology if a little uneven. But for Amicus’ first foray into the sub-genre, it’s good enough. It certainly set the tone and style Amicus were going for and shaped the films that were to come after it.

Torture Garden


This one came out in 1967 with Freddie Francis directing and being written by Robert Bloch. Starring: Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith, Beverly Adams and Peter Cushing. Torture Garden begins with a group of people visiting a fairground. Here, they come across an unusual sideshow, the titular Torture Garden, being run by Dr Diabolo (Burgess Meredith). Dr Diabolo shows the five strangers a simple horror-themed attraction, the electric chair, which is all rather underwhelming. He then offers to show them an unimaginable horror in exchange for some extra cash. The five get to see their futures via an effigy of the female Greek deity of fate and destiny, Atropos who holds a pair of shears.

In this first tale, a greedy and selfish playboy, Colin Williams (Michael Bryant), finds himself in some financial trouble. He takes advantage of his dying uncle Roger (Maurice Denham) by bribing him with medicine in exchange for information about where his money is hidden. Roger dies before he can give any information on his supposed fortune. Colin stays the night in his late uncle’s home alone and begins searching for the hidden cash. He eventually finds a mysterious cellar door and begins to investigate, digging around in the cellar he finds a cat that changes his life.

This tale has that Amicus style they became famous for with some impressively atmospheric scenes and a very creepy cat with some strange influence.

Terror Over Hollywood
Carla Hayes (Beverly Adams) is a young and eager Hollywood starlet struggling to become known. Sharing an apartment with another actress, Carla purposely sabotages her roommate’s date with a known Hollywood producer and takes her place instead. At dinner, Carla gets to meet the very people who can make her famous, she starts to sell herself in order to become a known actress. She eventually lands a part in a movie but her backstabbing ways end up coming back to haunt her as she learns her cast and crew in the film are not quite what they seem.

A nice little story about betrayal and greed. Not what I would call scary at all but still a story with a nice unexpected reveal.


Mr Steinway
Dorothy Endicott (Barbara Ewing) is a young and beautiful musical journalist who interviews famous classical musician Leo Winston (John Standing). During the interview, Leo offers to show Dorothy his pride and joy, Euterpe, a rather impressive grand piano named after the Greek muse of music. Dorothy and Leo slowly become close and eventually become lovers. Due to their relationship, Winston struggles to maintain his concentration as his manager and friend Maxine Chambers (Ursula Howells) begins to notice. Leo’s career starts to wane as the friction between Dorothy and Maxine gets worse. Maybe Leo is not the talent behind his music after all?

A nice little tale, but it doesn’t really offer any surprises or scares. It’s made very clear exactly what is going on early on.

The Man Who Collected Poe
A collector of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, Ronald Wyatt (Jack Palance) meets a fellow Poe enthusiast, Lancelot Canning (Peter Cushing). Ronald finds Lancelot is in possession of a very rare Edgar Allan Poe first edition and tries to buy it. However, Lancelot is not interested in selling but he does invite Ronald to his home to see his full collection of Poe’s books and other collectables. Their shared interest kindles a friendship and Lancelot offers to show Ronald his most favourite and prized Poe treasures. Lancelot takes Ronald down to his cellar where he keeps his most rare and impressive items of his collection, including original Poe manuscripts of unpublished stories. Ronald learns that these unreleased stories were written in 1966 meaning Edgar Allan Poe could not have written them at all as he died in 1849. So this means that Lancelot and his collection is fake… doesn’t it?

This tale features great performances from both Jack Palance and Peter Cushing. Brilliantly shot with a creepy story, as the truth behind Lancelot Canning’s impressive Poe collection is revealed. For me, the best of the stories in this film.

This film ends with a typical Amicus twist. If you have been paying attention, then you’d notice there were five people entering Dr Diabolo’s Torture Garden, but only four stories. The fifth stranger (Michael Ripper) goes crazy before he can be shown his future and uses the shears of Atropos to kill Dr Diabolo in front of the others. This causes panic and the others run away. It is revealed that the fifth stranger was in fact working with Dr Diabolo and the whole thing was a con to gain some extra money and Dr Diabolo is shown to be unhurt still very much alive. The two congratulate each other for pulling off their ruse, yet Ronald Wyatt (Jack Palance) shows he did not actually run off like the others and says he is interested in making a deal with Dr Diabolo to work with him. Dr Diabolo then reveals himself to actually be The Devil in a double bluff ending.

An improvement over their first effort with some good stories. Torture Garden is a fun romp with a few good twists and turns along the way coupled with great performances from Peter Cushing and Burgess Meredith. The seventies are next as Amicus ushers in a new decade of anthology horror.

The House That Dripped Blood


Directed by Peter Duffell, written by Robert Bloch and Russ Jones. Released in 1971 and starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Nyree Dawn Porter, Denholm Elliott, and Jon Pertwee.

Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) from Scotland Yard is called to a house to investigate the disappearance of its newest tenant, film star Paul Henderson. During the investigation, Inspector Holloway discovers more of the house’s history and talks to an estate agent (John Bryans) who tells Holloway about some of its previous tenants.

Method For Murder
Charles Hillyer (Denholm Elliott) a writer of horror stories, moves into the house with his wife Alice Hillyer (Joanna Dunham). While staying in the house, Charles starts to have visions of Dominic (Tom Adams), the main character from the book he is currently writing. Dominic is written as a psychopathic murderer and the visions Charles suffers begin to get more intense and scary the more Charles writes the book. The visions eventually start to turn him insane and drives Charles to seek a psychiatrist for help. Is Dominic real or is Charles just losing the plot?

Really creepy and tense with a brilliant performance from Denholm Elliott. This story really nails in place what Amicus were great at and why they became so good at this genre of film and stories with intriguing twists.

Philip Grayson (Peter Cushing) visits a macabre horror-themed waxwork museum run by a mysterious proprietor (Wolfe Morris). While looking at the various wax models, Philip recognises one of the figures as a woman he once loved. Philip’s friend, Neville Rogers (Joss Ackland) turns up at the house for a surprise visit. Philip takes Neville to the wax museum where Neville also notices the waxwork of what appears to be the woman they both had a romantic involvement with. Neville says that he is leaving the next day, while Philip goes back to the wax museum once more, here he finds Neville staring at the enigmatic waxwork. They both agree never to go back to the museum and part ways but Neville eventually tells Philip he just can’t leave and feels he needs to go back to the waxwork museum again. Philip rushes to the museum and discovers a disturbing sight just in time for the proprietor to explain what has been going on.

Not really much in the way of surprises in this tale, if you have seen any horror film set in a wax museum then you’ll know what to expect here. But it’s still quite an effective story nonetheless and Peter Cushing is his normal masterful self.


Sweets to the Sweet
John Reid (Christopher Lee) moves into the house with his overly shy daughter Jane (Chloe Franks). John is a single parent after his wife died and he needs somebody to take care of his daughter while he is away working. He hires Ann Norton (Nyree Dawn Porter) an ex-school teacher to homeschool and care for Jane. Ann and Jane don’t really hit it off as Jane does not trust her new teacher at all. It is revealed that Jane is scared of fire and she slowly opens up to Ann and even eventually overcomes her fear of fire. John has always made sure Jane lead a sheltered life, no toys, no friends and she is never allowed to leave the house. Jane’s confidence grows and grows with the help of Ann and we learn that Jane is not quite as sweet and innocent as she seems to be. She’s a little too much like her mother… which is not necessarily a good thing at all.

It’s the angelic Chloe Franks that makes this story work. A nice little tale that is well shot and acted throughout.

The Cloak
We finally learn what happened to the missing actor, Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) that started this whole film. Paul moves into the house while working on a new vampire film being shot nearby. Paul is an arrogant actor who demands perfection and is upset at his costume for his new film, so he goes out and buys a cloak from a peculiar shopkeeper, Theo von Hartmann (Geoffrey Bayldon), to use for his film character’s costume instead. Whenever Paul wears the cloak, he feels a strange chill and begins to notice strange occurrences like not having a reflection when he looks in a mirror. It seems this cloak is a little more than just a simple costume piece, as Paul’s co-star Carla Lynde (Ingrid Pitt) soon discovers.

A good little vampire story that has a few chuckles along the way. There are even a couple of tongue-in-cheek jokes at the expense of Amicus’ rivals, Hammer Films and in particular Christopher Lee. More funny than scary, but still a good story worth watching.

The epilogue for this film ends with a little nice sting. Inspector Holloway demands to go to the house itself as he does not believe the stories he has just been told about the previous tenants. While there, he discovers a locked room in the cellar which he forces open. In the room, he finds that Paul Henderson hasn’t really been ‘missing’ after all.

The House That Dripped Blood is one of Amicus’ better anthology films. The stories get more interesting and feel much more even as a piece of storytelling. That will do for part one but there are still many more films and stories to cover yet. Part two sees some of the best films Amicus produced in the horror anthology sub-genre.