Classic Film Review: Carry on Screaming

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Brenda Fellman

Latest posts by Brenda Fellman (see all)

When Doris Mann, disappears while on a date with Albert Potter, it starts a blood-curdling missing persons investigation. Detective Sergeant Bung is led into the strange world of the mysterious Doctor Watt and his vampish sister Valeria. Bung finds himself going up against a seven-foot tall monster, an angry Mummy and much more while trying to find the missing girl.

The Carry-On films were a series of films that were released from 1958 to 1978 with another one popping up in 1992. They were all very politically incorrect. Many of the films included sexism, classism, funny foreigners, puns, and innuendo. They are films of their time, and in some ways still enjoyable today. Carry on Screaming is not one of the better films. It has this mean atmosphere throughout that is hard to ignore. The film is a parody of the Hammer Horror films that were popular at the time, but the mix of comedy and horror just became mean spirited and not enjoyable.

The plot is weak and seems to be trying to bridge the gap between the Carry On Films and Hammer Horror films. Unfortunately, it doesn’t succeed. It is impossible to relate to the good guys or cheer on the bad guys as none of them are likeable.

The Acting is questionable throughout the film, but the noticeable absence of Sid James and Babs Windsor doesn’t help the film. The bulk of the acting falls to Harry H. Corbett, Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding to bring home the film. Corbett’s occasionally overdone mugging is a distraction throughout the whole film, while, half the time, Kenneth Williams seems like he is phoning it in and the rest of the time he’s over the top. Fielding made an acceptable saucy comic vamp(ire) although her acting was not that great. Joan Sims as the nagging wife, was one of the only good and funny character in the film. Her tirade about the newly installed phone being evil, and then when her husband comes home as the monster and she still waylays into him is especially funny. The actors do what they can, but their characters aren’t as finely drawn as many previous ‘Carry On’ efforts, and the energetic-but-hollow result looks a bit ‘try hard’.

The film itself is gorgeous and the backgrounds give off a creepy atmosphere. The sets are brilliantly made and the fact that this film had one of the highest budgets out of all the Carry On films is defiantly noticeable. The music is a stand out and the starting song is the must memorable out of all the Carry On Films, sadly it’s attached to this film.

In truth, though it manages quite successfully to emulate the visual style of Hammer horror, this is a pretty feeble joke which never really comes off at all. This is due mostly to a poor script, which delivers some atrocious dialogue and over laboured gags, punctuated by very occasional moments of wry amusement. Carry on Screaming just doesn’t possess that special Carry On magic that fans wanted.

Carry on Screaming – Cast

Harry H. Corbett – Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung
Kenneth Williams – Dr Orlando Watt
Jim Dale – Albert Potter
Charles Hawtrey – Dan Dann
Fenella Fielding – Valeria Watt
Joan Sims – Emily Bung
Angela Douglas – Doris Mann
Bernard Bresslaw – Sockett
Peter Butterworth – Detective Constable Slobotham
Jon Pertwee – Doctor Fettle
Michael Ward – Mr Vivian
Tom Clegg – Oddbod
Billy Cornelius – Oddbod Junior

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Classic Film Review: Carr…

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