The fortune-making Carry On team spoof Hammer Studios with a broad, farcical and sometimes near-the-knuckle look at the conventional spook thriller.
When his girl-friend Doris disappears under mysterious circumstances from the forest clearing in which they have been dallying, Albert Potter reports the matter to Detective Sergeant Bung (Harry H Corbett) and his assistant, Slobotham (Peter Butterworth).
Investigating several similar disappearances, Bung and Slobotham find a house near the clearing but are unsuspicious of its very suspect owners, Dr Watt (Kenneth Williams) and his vampirish sister, Valeria (Fenella Fielding).
Bung is led into the strange world of the mysterious Dr Watt, the dead doctor who is periodically electrically revived to help Valeria in the stealing of another woman to wax down and sell as a dummy.
The actual stealer is their machine-made creation, Oddbodd Monster (Tom Clegg).
The reluctant Bung sets about investigating, and finds a seven-foot-tall monster, an angry Mummy, and Kenneth Williams’ nasal cry of “Frying tonight!”.
In the absence of Sid James, Harry H. Corbett stepped brilliantly into the spotlight as the Holmesian Scotland Yard detective and contributes a stunning performance of dogged determination, sceptical raised eyebrows and incompetence.
He is also blessed with the nagging of Joan Sims as a domestic feed for comic business at his Victorian home.
His Dr Watson is brought to life by Peter Butterworth, in the first of several outstanding character supports which hover down the cast list but grab most of the best lines.
Without doubt, this pitch-perfect parody of Hammer’s campy horror flicks is one of the series’ finest productions, awash with delightfully bad jokes and stunning performances of manic horror.
The interior sets are stunning, with Director Gerald Thomas establishing the ethos of horror through the crumbling brick seen behind flaking paintwork; a small, shadowed window; primitive light encased in cobwebs and the acid-stained, experiment-affected floors of the lab – ideally suited to the obsessions of the mad Doctor and his seductive sister.
The film bristles with mesmerising sequences taking a comic look at every facet of horror cinema.
Detective Sergeant Bung
Harry H Corbett
Detective Constable Slobotham