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Please note that this Entry contains spoilers.
'Carry On' films usually contained a mixed bag of actors who were all well-known in the British film industry. The regulars obviously knew each other very well, and it must have felt like a kind of club where the members wrote the rules. Nothing was sacred — the motley crew sent up anybody and everybody. Nobody was immune to the 'Carry On' treatment.
Undoubtedly the creepiest film of the series, Carry On Screaming is, of course, a send-up of the horror genre. It gleefully lampoons characters such as Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, Morticia Addams/Lily Munster and Lurch (the über-tall zombie-butler from The Addams Family).
Directed by Gerald Thomas in 1966, Carry On Screaming contains most of the usual 'Carry On' cast with the addition of the unforgettable Fenella Fielding and the brilliant Harry H Corbett.
Corbett and Fielding
The starring role was more than adequately covered by Corbett as the harangued, exasperated and weak-willed detective sergeant Sidney Bung. In his first and, unfortunately, only appearance with the 'Carry On' crew, Corbett was at the height of his fame thanks to the popularity of sitcom Steptoe & Son. However, this success backfired on the classically trained actor, as he ended up type-cast and struggled to shake off the 'rag and bone man' persona.
As for Fielding, vamping it up as the scheming, sex-mad femme fatale Valeria Watt appeared effortless for the smouldering actress. Sexier than the two horror sitcom wives Lily Munster and Morticia Addams, with a snippet of delicious deviousness thrown in, her full-length red velvet-gowned character became an icon.
The Usual Cast
Kenneth Williams: Portraying the recently deceased Dr Orlando Watt was a perfect part for Williams. Revived Frankenstein-style by his devoted sister Valeria, Dr Watt is head of the family business of creating mannequins from kidnapped women. Having conquered death himself, he's obsessed with re-animating his Egyptian mummy, Rubbatiti (pronounced rub-er-tea-tea), whose sarcophagus is part of the decorations in the family mansion.
Jim Dale: Heartthrob-of-the-day Jim Dale played the part of Albert Potter, the young man whose girlfriend, Doris Mann, is kidnapped at the start of the film. He spends half the time trying to do the police's work for them and the rest attempting to prove his own innocence to the inept coppers. Dale was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 2003 birthday honours list.
Angela Douglas: Playing Doris (but not the startlingly realistic mannequin) wasn't a huge part for Douglas, unlike her later, more memorable performances in Carry On Follow That Camel and Carry On Up The Khyber. Doctor Who fans may remember her as the brigadier's wife, Doris Lethbridge-Stewart. In real life she was married to the actor Kenneth More until his death.
Peter Butterworth: Detective constable Slobotham (pronounced slow bottom) is DS Bung's clueless sidekick and fall-guy. Disliking the sight of blood, he's prone to fainting as the bodies start to pile up. Slobotham's ambition is to solve a case; he ends up going undercover as a honey-trap.
Bernard Bresslaw: If anyone was suited to portraying the Lurch-type character Sockett, it was this actor. Even his deadpan expression was deceased; the only time he ever reacted was when Valeria kissed him, making his toes (and slippers) curl.
Joan Sims: Mrs Bung is the classic nagging wife-cum-battleaxe. The long-suffering spouse of DS Bung spends her time being torn between jealousy and suspicion.
Charles Hawtrey: Dan Dann, the underground toilet man can identify anyone by their footsteps. Except his killer!
Corbett: Bung uses work as an excuse to escape his harridan wife. He's confident of his own ability but disappointed with the ineptitude of his underlings. Secure in his conviction to resist temptation, he's finally tempted by the devilishly attractive Valeria.
Fielding: With her flawless white-powdered skin, long, straight, jet-black hair, wide-eyed expression, blood-red lips, sexy voice and goth clothing, the sultry actress portrayed the seductive vamp queen to perfection. Fielding also starred in Carry On Regardless.
Jon Pertwee: A scientist with Einstein looks, Dr Fettle grows a new 'missing link' from a severed finger and meets a sticky end. Pertwee's most famous acting part was as the third incarnation of Doctor Who.
Frank Thornton: As the women's dress shop owner whose new mannequin is stolen, Mr Jones accuses the innocent Albert of theft. Later co-starring in Steptoe & Son with Corbett, Thornton is better known as the pompous Grace Brothers floorwalker Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served?
A family of weird characters kidnap women to turn into mannequins, which they then sell to shops to fund their 'lifestyle'. Bungling police and a desperate boyfriend try to discover what's happened to them. The clues lead to a spooky old mansion in the middle of a fog-shrouded forest...
Deep in a forest, a young man, Albert, and his girlfriend, Doris, are trying to spend some quality time getting to know one another a bit better. Before they get any further than kissing, Doris breaks off and complains that they're being watched. Cursing the interruption, Albert goes off to investigate. While he's away, a frightening creature approaches Doris, who tries to scream but is overcome by fear and faints. The creature throws her over his shoulder and carries her off into the fog. When Albert returns only moments later, he's perplexed to discover Doris has disappeared. Looking around, all he finds is a detached hairy finger, which he takes to the local police station.
With Bung and Slobotham on the case, and Albert in hot pursuit, they go to investigate the scene of the crime. A trail leads to a mansion where they encounter Sockett, the butler, and the mistress of the house, the mysterious Valeria. She offers them hospitality, then excuses herself to go and wake Dr Watt.
Down in the basement, Valeria attaches a jump lead to each of his ears, then flicks a switch on the wall, sending an electric shock through his body. He screams as he awakes, demanding to know why he's been rudely revived. When Valeria has explained that the police are upstairs making enquires into the disappearances of local women, he feigns shock then tells her to get rid of them.
Dr Watt hoists the now-solid body of Doris out of a boiling vat and into a packing crate. He checks that birthmarks and distinguishing features have been removed, then nails down the lid, applies a shipping label and calls for Odd Bod. Dr Watt doesn't notice that Odd Bod has a finger missing as he effortlessly heaves the crate and its contents onto his broad shoulders. Before going back to sleep, Dr Watt lifts the sheet covering the next female awaiting treatment and nods and mutters his approval.
The next day a shop owner calls the police because of a disturbance. Up roll Bung and Slobotham, who listen to both sides of the story. Mr Jones, the proprietor, informs them that Albert has accused him of kidnapping his girlfriend and turning her into a mannequin. Albert points out that the mannequin in the shop window is exactly like Doris.
They remove it from the display and Slobotham is instructed to check its posterior for the birthmark Albert says she has. He hastens to add that he only knows this because she told him. Slobotham makes a big fuss about being too embarrassed to peek inside her bloomers, but concludes eventually that there's no birthmark. A baffled Albert leaves and the policemen apologise to Mr Jones.
When they return to the police station, the officer on duty informs them that another girl has been reported missing. Bung had been about to return home but jumps at this excuse to revisit the old mansion in the woods. He returns alone and is warmly welcomed by Valeria, who kisses him. Coyly blushing, she says sorry for getting carried away. He says there's no need to apologise, the police are there to serve the public.
Valeria reclines on a sofa and asks Bung if he minds if she smokes. He tells her to go right ahead. She undulates and squirms as if being caressed by a lover. Smoke rises from the couch and Bung is entranced, until he can stand this erotic sight no longer. As he envelops her in his arms, the camera cuts away, leaving us to imagine what happens next.
In the meantime, Dr Fettle is performing stimulation experiments of his own: on the severed finger. He inserts it into a contraption, prods and pokes it, then bombards it with pulses of electricity. Before his shocked eyes, the finger starts to grow and expand: first a hand, then an arm, then a body. What looks like a naked clone of Odd Bod fully materialises and, as the hapless Dr Fettle screams, Odd Bod Jr kills him with his bare hands. The new monster crashes through the outside wall and heads off in the direction of the old mansion.
As Bung is leaving he accepts a proffered drink which causes him to turn into an alter ego of the Mr Hyde mould. In a rage, he heads home, breaks down the front door and crashes into the bedroom. Sitting there in bed is his wife, who, not even glancing in his direction, starts ranting and raving about what a hard life she leads and how her mother warned her about him, 'yadda yadda'. The Bung-Hyde character covers his ears to drown out the screeching, then attacks Mrs Bung, who jumps out of bed, reaches for a bedpan and starts hitting him about the head with it, chasing him off.
The next morning Bung awakes in his car with the mother of all headaches, his mouth tasting like he's been licking the lining of a parrot cage. Unaware of what occurred the previous night, Bung nonchalantly returns home to be confronted by his furious wife. She informs him he's no longer welcome because he's turned into such a monster. Confused, Bung heads off to work where he's waylaid by an agitated Mr Jones who demands he arrest Albert for the theft of his mannequin.
They all troop off to the shop to find the window broken and a distraught Albert trying to convince everyone he had nothing to do with it. As Slobotham is reading Albert his rights, Bung spots a huge six-toed footprint on the floor where the mannequin had been on display. Bung tells Slobotham to let Albert go, and they all return to the station.
The duty officer tells them that Dan Dann the toilet man has some information about the missing women so they go pay him a call. Dann starts to tell them gossip about who is walking out with whom and they're all listening intently until Bung loses patience and demands the information he offered to supply about the missing women. Dann tells them he used to do odd jobs at the mansion, but before he can continue he hears Odd Bod's footsteps overhead. Not recognising them, he excuses himself saying he'll be back when he's attended to his customer. Odd Bod upends Dann, holding his head in the toilet bowl and drowns him.
The policemen are chatting about the new gossip when they notice water covering the floor. Upon investigating the cubicles, Bung finds Dann's body. He tells Slobotham not to look, but — too late — he looks and passes out on the floor.
That night Slobotham goes undercover dressed as a buxom female and accompanies Bung on a 'date'. Unbeknown to them, Bung's wife is following them to find out what he's up to. The two policemen park up near the spot where Doris disappeared and Bung slips out of the car to investigate a noise.
Mrs Bung tries to get a closer look at the 'woman' in Bung's car. Odd Bod and Odd Bod Jr appear, Mrs Bung screams, Slobotham faints, and they're both carried off to be 'processed'.
Bung bumps into Albert, who's still searching for Doris. They return to the car to discover Slobotham missing, but spot six-toed footprints which they follow back to the mansion.
Sockett lets them in and, when he goes to fetch his mistress, Bung and Albert investigate the basement. They find the unconscious Slobotham and Mrs Bung, but Odd Bod disturbs them so they run back upstairs. Valeria locks them in a room and pops the key down her cleavage, before going to revive her brother.
Albert goes berserk trying to get out of the locked room. Bung tells him to have a drink while he works out a way to escape. Albert takes a swig of the personality-altering potion and changes into his fearsome alter-ego, just as Dr Watt unlocks the door to let Odd Bod and Odd Bod Jr in. Albert-Hyde fights them and hurls them through the windows, allowing Bung and himself to escape.
Outside, there's a storm brewing: thunder and lightning, the whole works. Dr Watt is cursing the men's escape when a bolt of lightning strikes the mummy's sarcophagus and Rubbatiti steps out, arms outstretched. Delighted, Dr Watt starts to talk to him, but Rubbatiti advances menacingly towards the doctor. Backing off, Dr Watt races to the basement, where he's cornered by Rubbatiti. To the cry of 'Frying tonight'1 Rubbatiti pushes Dr Watt into the boiling vat, and falls in after him.
Bung returns with reinforcements and they work out how to revive the mannequins — all but Mrs Bung, who has 'accidentally' been forgotten.
Some time later, Albert is driving his bride to their honeymoon when he pulls up at the Bung residence. The door is answered by Valeria wearing a pinny over her velvet dress. She calls 'Sidney', then teeters off to the kitchen to make drinks, planting a kiss on the smiling Bung along the way. The two men greet each other like old friends, before passing a mannequin in the hallway which looks just like the first Mrs Bung...
- Lovable letch Sid James was originally cast as Bung but illness prevented his participation.
- The alternative title for the film was Carry On Vampire — unusual considering there are no Count Dracula or vampire send-ups.
- Fielding bought the ring that she wore as Valeria; it cost £9.
- For petrol-heads: Bung's car was a 1904 Brushmobile. Only six were ever made.