Monday, October 02, 2006

Dr. Terror and the Drive-In Experience


DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS, made in 1965, was the first of Amicus Films' DEAD OF NIGHT style anthologies. Like most of the others, it was held together by a connecting theme, in this case a mysterious man on a train telling strangely familiar horror stories to passengers as he reads their tarot cards. Christopher Lee stars in one of the stories and Peter Cushing, like Lee taking a break from his reign at Hammer films, plays that title character. It's actually one of his best performances of the era. The rest of the cast is also first rate including an early performance by Donald Sutherland. That said, take a close look at this drive-in ad for the picture and you'll get a good understanding of what drive-ins were like by the mid-sixties. You packed the whole family into the station wagon and just at dusk, the scary picture comes on to enthrall the kiddies (as we all thought that horror films were kids' films in those days apparently). By the time it ended, the little ones had fallen asleep and the next picture, in this case THE GIRLS ON THE BEACH (the only beach movie to actually faeture the Beach Boys!), kept the teens from being too bored. Eventually, they too passed out. Around midnight by this point, the supposedly "adult" sex farce (here WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED?) unreels and the parents were still awake enough to get frisky and start smooching. After awhile, though, they decide to leave early so they can take the kids home, tuck them in and...well, you get the idea. It's an almost perfect triple feature actually.

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