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Carry On Screaming (1966)



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Another of the movie-themed Carry On films, Carry On Screaming is another winner and some people's favorite. It parodies the Hammer horror films of the 50s and 60s, which remade the whole Universal monster franchises with a British flavor. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee starred in most of them. But you don't have to have seen the Hammer horror films to appreciate Carry On Screaming, which works nearly as well as a parody of their American cousins.

As many of the Carry On films do, this one has a guest star in the leading role: Harry H. Corbett. He replaces Sidney James, which makes for a nice change of pace. Kenneth Williams, of course, is the villain and uses his his fearful, snooty, easily scandalized persona, even though he's playing a character who is technically a zombie, or possibly a vampire.

I greatly enjoyed this entry in the series and laughed throughout. But I liked it slightly less than those who rank it at the top, for reasons that shouldn't matter but somehow do. One of the monsters in the movie is sort of a cross between a werewolf and the Frankenstein monster. It looks neither funny nor scary. Either would have worked, but as it is he just looks kind of grotesque and off-putting. As a result, many of the scenes in this movie left an ugly taste in my mouth. Like I said, this shouldn't really matter. The characters and the jokes and the shenanigans all still work, but when I think back on certain scenes, the general dislike I had for the design of the creature overshadows my feelings of the more important elements of the movie.

It is likely that this won't bother you as it did me. And even so, I was impressed with the look of the film overall: it's got every bit of the gothic, 19th century atmosphere that the Hammer horror movies had. Once again, it is impressive how rich a Carry On movie can look, given how small their budgets were.

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