GOT to love a good horror film, and occasionally a dodgy one too.
Whether it’s a gruesome stalk and slash thriller like John Carpenter’s ground-breaking Halloween or a shadowy old monochrome effort like Nosferatu or even a garishly coloured Hammer Horror.
Despite their ability to scare or send shivers down the spine, the ‘best’ horrors often include a element of ‘ham acting’, over the top melodrama and a degree of high camp.
That’s what makes B-movies such guilty pleasures, the exact words I’d use to describe the classic cult horror The House That Dripped Blood.
Hailed as ‘one of the best Amicus anthology movies’ ever made, it saw director Peter Duffell make his debut and at times you can tell.
Its recent release by Second Sight, a Limited Edition Blu-ray edition, proved the perfect opportunity to reacquaint myself with its horror and hilarity.
It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for decades having first watched it late night on BBC Two a long time ago. Even then it seemed tongue in cheek.
The fact Jon Pertwee talked so fondly of it when I interviewed him shortly before his death, also intrigued me.
He recalled how he based his character on Christopher Lee, who, although also in the movie, never twigged what Pertwee was up to.
Four tales of horror in one, the movie finds Scotland Yard’s Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigating a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants.
In the first, Method for Murder, Denholm Elliott stars as a hack horror writer haunted by visions of the psychopathic central character of his latest novel - it is by far the most disturbing of the four.
The second, Waxworks, starring Peter Cushing and Joss Ackland, features a macabre waxworks museum as a pair of friends fixate on a model of a woman they both knew - the special effects are less than convincing yet Cushing and Ackland play it for real.
Horror icon Christopher Lee appears next as a severe widower who appears to mistreat his young daughter in Sweets to the Sweet. But when a well-meaning teacher intervenes, will she realise her grave mistake in time?
Another chilling chapter but then comes Pertwee as a temperamental horror film actor in The Cloak.
When he buys a cloak for his vampire costume from a mysterious local vendor, his co-star (Ingrid Pitt) soon notices its strange powers.
It’s pure unadulterated hokum played with unashamed relish by Pertwee who gurns, grimaces and over-acts his way through a gloriously preposterous piece of grand guignol.
All great fun, and well worth revisiting if only to remember an era when horrors were far more innocent than today - Terror may await you in every room of The House That Dripped Blood…but a fair bit of laughter does too.
The House That Dripped Blood, Limited Edition Blu-Ray, £29.99