Thursday, 25 October 2012

House In Nightmare Park

OK, it's October.  The very best month of the year, officially!  Very soon, in this part of the world, we will start to have very short, chilly days but very long and cosy evenings.  Perfect for a spot of camp gothic horror!

At about the age of 15, I stumbled, quite by chance, across House In Nightmare Park (thank you graveyard slot, Channel 4).  I saw Frankie Howerd ("get your titters out") and a creepy gothic mansion and I was hooked

There are sweeping staircases and dusty candleabras everywhere.  The sets and camera work create a creeping sense of claustrophobia - but with Frankie Howerd about, of course you just have to watch with your tongue ever so slightly in your cheek.

The story commences with deluded ham actor Foster Twelvetrees (Howerd) delivering a reading of The Old Curiosity Shop to a spectacularly disinterested Victorian audience (look out for the encore scene, it's priceless).

He is invited to a large country mansion by it's owner Stewart Hendison (Ray Milland) with a view to perfoming one of his "inimitible renditions" for the household.  

Stewart lives with his ever silent and never smiling sister Jessica, played by the brilliant Rosalie Crutchley;   both of whom are converts to the Hindu faith and ardent Kali worshippers.

We are in time introduced to various other 'eccentric' family members and it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems


What follows is a beautiful mix of piercing screams, dark corridors, encircling mist and a growing corpse count.  Throw in the classic mad relative locked away in the attic and, well, you get the picture.

You're my wife now Daaave

So if you like creepy Victorian mansions, creaking staircases and semi-aristocratic head-cases, this should be right up your street

Baffingly panned by the critics on release, it has since quite rightly become something of a cult classic.  Unfortunately it has never been released on DVD so its a pain to get hold of.  My brother in law recently did me a VHS transfer which I have been watching with renewed enthusiasm.  Unfortunately the quality is not great.

The house used for location is the beautiful Oakley Court in Windsor.

This glorious building is now a luxury hotel.  Check out this blog post which gives a history of the house and the different films in which it has featured.  You'll no doubt recognise some of them.

Go on, give this film a watch if you dare

Mwah ha ha ha


  1. O,this looks totally awesome!
    I wonder how I can get hold of is right up my alley,baby!XXX

  2. Don't think I've ever heard of that film. Looks like fun!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. Hook, line and sinker, I am THERE with my cleaver (I don't have a cleavage) to engage in some wonderfully campy head lopping. I love this time of year because I discover so many new-to-me wonderfully creepy movies:)). Thank you for the recommendation - I'm on the hunt!! xo

  4. Yay!!!!! I found a full version on YouTube - woohoo, that's my evening viewing taken care of:)

  5. This looks utterly fabulous! I really love Oakley Court, especially as it was featured in one of my favourite films - The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  6. Wow! I'm hooked on these pictures!I really enjoy to watch old movie stills, they are so evocative even if you don't know the story behind them!
    I read in Desiree's comment that there is a full version on youtube, so thank you both for the recommendation!!
    Love and enjoy this lovely time of the year (here luckily is still sunny!)

  7. This looks marvelous you can't beat a bit of 'Ham'mer horror, just I can't believe I have never even heard of it before today, I shall certainly be youtubing it this evening! x

  8. Wow that feel looks creepy & very camp.. My favuourite film at this time of year is Hocus Pocus with Bete Midler. A childrens film granted but I love the cheese factor xxx

  9. Nearly missed you! Whoah! Never seen or heard of this film. Frankie Howerd AND Hindu mysticism? I'm in! Channel Four seem to be hopeless at promoting their films, I've missed loads of cool Bollywood lately, too! x

  10. This looks super creepy! But I'm very intrigued, I will definitely try get a hold of it, I think my boyfriend might really like this one!

    Emma x

  11. I think I've seen this film although I don't remember the very scary looking woman from the first photo!!

    I love horror all year round but especially at this time of year.


  12. Perfect timing!!!! This is exactly what I wanted to read on the weekend before HALLOWEEN! to get a copy of this movie...Mwuah Ha Ha!!!!

  13. Oh wow, this looks fantastic and deliciously camp. Remember when late night tv used to be good? Especially Channel 4. See if you can find a trailer for a film called And Now The Screaming Starts

  14. I have never heard of this film, it looks brilliant! I remember watching loads of Hammer horror films late at night on TV as a teenager and loving the camp craziness of them. xxx

  15. You can watch it online here

  16. You can watch it online here


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