Starring: Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Harry H. Corbett
Director: Gerald Thomas
Running Time: 97 mins
Carry On Screaming! is a British film and the twelfth in the Carry On series, following the misadventures of three men who investigate a mysterious doctor living in a haunted house who is kidnapping young women and turning them into mannequins.
I’ve mentioned it before, but my love for the Carry On movies wavers a lot. Sometimes, they’re some of the funniest, sharpest parodies you’ll ever see, and sometimes, they’re unbearably bad or just plain boring. Carry On Screaming definitely isn’t one of the series’ best entries, but it certainly isn’t an appalling mess either.
Let’s start on the bright side, with the film’s parody of the horror genre. On the surface, Carry On Screaming gets all of the tropes you know and love from classic horror in there, with Frankenstein, Dracula and countless more references in there for genre fans to enjoy.
What’s more, the movie features yet another collection of bright and energetic performances. While the restrictions of their characters means they’re not quite as chaotically hilarious as at their best, the likes of Jim Dale, Bernard Bresslaw and especially Kenneth Williams are still an absolute pleasure to watch messing around on screen.
And that’s one thing you’ve always got to remember about Carry On movies – they’re all about being silly and having fun. So, it would be a little much for me to say that this movie doesn’t get enough right, but there are still legitimate criticisms to be made.
For one, the movie’s parody is all on the surface, with far less to enjoy in terms of its story and characters. Admittedly, this wasn’t marketed at die-hard horror fans, so not all genre tropes would make it in, but the film for the most part just feels like another Carry On movie with the costumes and some of the punchlines changed around.
It doesn’t really stand out either as its own movie or a particularly sharp parody, and that means it never gives you the rollicking bit of fun that the best Carry On movies deliver in bucket loads.
As a result, Carry On Screaming won’t live long in the memory as the best of the series. I’m yet to see one that beats Carry On Doctor for constant laughs, but this film still has some fun gags and at least superficial parody that makes it a pleasantly silly, if forgettable, watch. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.8 overall.