Arriving at the end of the video nasty era, when this British comedy was screened for censor James Ferman, the reels were played in the wrong order. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the movie and it passed.
It was created by British comedian, DJ and television presenter Kenny Everett, who got his start in pirate radio before being part of BBC Radio One. He was dismissed in 1970 after making remarks about the British Transport Minister’s wife. She had recently passed a driving test after several attempts and he joked that she must have bribed her driving test examiner. While this joke seems innocent enough, it was enough to get him fired, at which point he moved into commercial radio and TV.
After Everett’s death, the true story came out that this wasn’t the real reason he had been fired. It was probably because he had threatened to go public on the restrictive practices and deals with the Musicians Union. He was even embargoed from giving any interviews while working for the BBC.
Unlike the more leftist comedians we usually have in the U.S., Everett was to the right, openly supporting the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps even stranger, he was a closeted gay man and supported a political party that passed Section 28, which made it illegal for councils to promote gay rights and issues.
During the 1983 general election campaign, Everett appeared at a Young Conservative rally and was dared by director Michael Winner — yes, the man who made Death Wish — to take to the stage, wearing gigantic foam hands and screaming “Let’s bomb Russia!” The media didn’t react well to this and the fallout hurt this movie, which is really a rather silly parody of Hammer movies.
A group of Satanic monks — led by Vincent Price as Sinister Man — have been killing people since the 70s. Doctor Lucas Mandeville (Everett) and Doctor Barbara Coyle (Pamela Stephenson, ) are sent to investigate where it all began: Headstone Manor now known as the House of Death.
This is actually Price’s last appearance in a British movie and makes fun of everything from Alien and The Legend of Hell House to Poltergeist and The Entity, with Doctor Coyle arrdvarking with a spectral lover. It also completely rips its ending off of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s not great, but it’s silly and has plenty of gore, which somehow got through the aforementioned censors.