Showing posts with label CARRY ON SCREAMING (1966). Show all posts
Showing posts with label CARRY ON SCREAMING (1966). Show all posts

June 21, 2009

The Posters of Frankenstein :
Carry On Screaming

Let's see... There’s a freaky Frankenstein-like neanderthal monster with furry claws, a dungeon wall, a boiling vat, a haunted manor, lightning, tombstones, bats… One look at this garish poster and you know exactly what to expect from this film. Cleavage!

Carry On Screaming (1966) is a delightfully silly horror film spoof and an affectionate homage to Hammer Films. A slightly different version of this poster, complete with Fenella Fielding in busty profile as the Morticia-like Valeria Watt, appeared on a British Royal Mail stamp commemorating the Carry On films in 2008.

The original trailer for the film.

Carry On Screaming
The Stamps of Frankenstein

May 12, 2008

The Stamps of Frankenstein

News has come that the Royal Mail of Great Britain will be issuing stamps celebrating Hammer Films this summer (2008). The set will include a Curse of Frankenstein stamp, based on the poster shown here.

Frankenstein philatelic history spans back a mere decade. In 1997, Royal Mail plans for a Mary Shelley bicentennial stamp were abandoned, and — not for the first time — the author was supplanted by her creation. A Tales of Terror set appeared, itself a subset of an ongoing Tales and Legends series, featuring four famous British monsters painted in a vigorous caricature style by Ian Pollock. The watercolors included a bushy-haired Dracula, a split-face Jekyll and Hyde, a fiery-eyed Hound of the Baskervilles, and a subdued, laconic Frankenstein Monster.

The same year, at Halloween, after intensive lobbying by the Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney estates, the American Postal Service issued a heavily promoted Classic Movie Monsters series featuring Universal Pictures’ family of creatures: Lon Chaney’s Phantom, Chaney Jr.’s Wolfman, Lugosi’s Dracula, and Boris Karloff on two stamps: The Mummy and Frankenstein.

Thomas Blackshear II provided excellent portraits of the characters, notably a baleful, lizard-lidded Karloff Frankenstein, though monster fans, understandably, had hoped for paintings by the legendary Famous Monsters cover artist, Basil Gogos.

The USPS distributed thousands of promotional kits to schools. “We are using the fun of these 'monsters' to get kids interested in collecting stamps," said Azeezaly Jaffer, manager of Stamp Services. “The subject matter of these kid-appealing stamps offers employees the opportunity to promote the hobby.”

The USPS would use The Monster again, in February 2003, this time a closely cropped photograph of Karloff in mid-transformation at the hands of Jack Pierce. The picture served as the “Makeup” entry in a series called American Filmmaking: Behind The Scenes.

Date unknown, a curious Hollywood Horror Classic set was issued by the West African Republic of Sierra Leone, with art by American painter Zina Saunders. The collection includes Charles Laughton’s Dr. Moreau and Lionel Atwill from The Mystery of the Wax Museum, along with the familiar Universal monsters, and features the world’s first Bride of Frankenstein stamp. Karloff appears in a scene from Son of Frankenstein.

The new stamp set, coming June 10 from the Royal Mail, honors popular British films, notably the three Hammer Film lynchpins, Curse of Frankenstein, (Horror of) Dracula, and The Mummy. Much has been printed in the UK about Christopher Lee, featured on all three stamps, becoming the first living non-royal to be featured on a British stamp. In a statement published in the Telegraph, Lee says “I suppose its an honour. Her Majesty is rather more recognisable than me, though. In all but one of the stamps I have seen I have my head in bandages. It’s probably a mercy.

Interestingly, the other stamps in the Film set honor the bawdy Carry On Series, including their Hammer Film spoof Carry On Screaming.

The stamp design is a bit awkward, using horizontal film posters with the Queen’s cameo and postage overlaid and competing with the already busy images. Nevertheless, it’s amusing to see the Queen’s profile sharing space with the once critically reviled Hammer horrors, and Screaming’s pneumatic Fenella Fielding.

Closeups of the British 1997 Tales of Terror series.

USPS pages for the 1997 Classic Movie Monsters series, and 2003 Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes.

A fascinating page of Dracula stamps from around the world, including a full sheet of the Sierra Leone Hollywood Horror Classics series.

Two wonderful blogs: Literary Stamps, and Fantastisk Filateli.

November 27, 2007

Carry On Screaming

Oddbod gets a recharge. That’s Tom Clegg as the refrigerator-size, pointy-eared Frankenstein-like henchman rising from the slab in the 1966 horror send up, Carry On Screaming.

Billy Cornelius plays Oddbod Junior — seen here cavorting in the altogether — clone-grown from his twin’s severed finger. Surprisingly, the finger was not the middle one, a rare case of restraint for the Carry On gang, masters of the silly, saucy, nudge-nudge, wink-wink school of British comedy.

Made when the venerable series was at it’s creative height, Screaming comes roughly halfway through the list of thirty Carry On pictures released between 1958 and 1978, all of them produced by Peter Rogers, all directed by Gerald Thomas and reliably starring a familiar cast of regulars. The earlier films seem archaic today, the latter ones desperate and tired, but the middle ones — among them Carry On Doctor, Carry On Cleopatra and Carry On Screaming — are inspired and often inventive, while still firmly rooted in old school British Music Hall slapstick and double-entendre dialog.

The film benefits from a lively script by Talbot Rothwell and excellent performances. Its gorgeous photography is a pitch perfect spoof of Hammer Films esthetics.

Oh, how I hate these honest, law-abiding people! Why can’t everyone be thoroughly horrid? Like US!
— Dr. Orlando Watt

The ever-delirious Kenneth Williams plays Dr. Orlando Watt, a zombie mad scientist animated by regular juicings of electricity, as a cross between Peter Cushing and Ernest Thesiger. Aided by the Oddbod Twins, Dr. Watt kidnaps young women — virgins, for some reason — and "vitrifies" them, to be sold as store dummies. Detectives Bung and Slobotham investigate. Traditional Carry On humor includes a victim drowned in a toilet, bedroom gags and, inescapably, a burly cop in hideous drag. Horror elements, besides the Frankensteinian Oddbods (actually Neanderthals of some sort), include a Victorian, Hammer-style laboratory, a Jekyll-Hyde potion, an Invisible Man reference, and a reanimated Mummy.

Among other notable performances, Jon Pertwee (of Dr. Who fame) is delightful in a short bit as Doctor Fettle, and the towering, 6’7” Bernard Bresslaw appears as a Lurch-type butler named Socket. Interestingly, Bresslaw had been considered for the part of The Monster in Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein (1957). The role, and a career in horror films, went to Christopher Lee instead and Bresslaw found his own fame in a completely different register. Although he was also a serious actor, a Shakespearian and a published poet, Bresslaw became a household name in Great Britain as a comic.

The standout performance in the film, however, belongs to willowy Fenella Fielding as the voluptuous Valeria, a worthy companion to Vampira, Elvira and Morticia Addams, with a striking difference: The pneumatic Valeria wears a blindingly scarlet dress instead of the traditional vamp black. Fielding, as Dr. Watt’s sinister sister, can’t keep her hands off the men, dead or alive, and delivers innuendos in what can only be described as an amused deadpan. When she asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?”, she then proceeds to do just that. Literally.

Carry On Screaming is genuinely funny, especially if you’re partial to Benny Hill-style eye rolling and dumber is funnier gags. It’s also a silly, gently mocking valentine to Hammer movies.

The Carry On Screaming page on Carry On Line.

Carry On Wiki page.