Carry On Screaming ★★★★
The 12th in the series, now 50 years old and as enjoyably corny as ever. Essentially, the franchise represents Donald McGill’s saucy seaside postcards writ large, cheerfully relishing women’s naughty bits, smut, outrageous puns and double entendres and a shameless, gloriously British vulgarity.
This one, directed by Gerald Thomas and written by the best of the Carry On writers, Talbot Rothwell, is a parody of horror movies, particularly the Hammer Horrors which were also popular in the 60s. In a wood in Edwardian England, Jim Dale and Angela Douglas are courting happily until a monster, Oddbod (Tom Clegg), comes along and carries her away.
Dale goes to the police and discovers Douglas is not the only attractive young woman to have been snatched recently. So an investigation begins and, given that it is led by henpecked Detective Sergeant Bung (Harry H Corbett) – dressed for some reason like Sherlock Holmes – and bumbling Constable Slobotham (Peter Butterworth), you will immediately grasp that we’re not exactly into Morse territory here. What we are into instead is typical Carry On… burlesque, farce and rude humour.
As the mystery deepens and a creepy fog envelops the landscape, our inept investigators stumble across the eerie Bide-A-Wee rest home occupied by the creepy, undead Dr Kenneth Williams and his sexy but sinister sister Fenella Fielding. Here surely is where the reason for all these goings-on is to be found. And Dan Dann the lavatory man (Charles Hawtrey), former gardener at the rest home, might well have told them what it was but for the fact that Oddbod kills him.
Further confusion is caused by such characters as Williams’s butler Sockett (Bernard Bresslaw) and a police scientist (Jon Pertwee), who inadvertently creates another creature to go along with Oddbod before it is revealed that Williams and Fielding are doing frightful things to young girls.
No Sid James or Barbara Windsor this time out you’ll notice, but in rare appearances in the series Corbett and Fielding fill what would have been their roles quite splendidly. For me, Carry On Cleo is the best in the franchise but Screaming is also great fun and great nonsense.
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