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The Story Is Told

Tubby Hayes in
Dr Terror's House Of Horrors

"The superficially glamorous world of film-work was one distraction. That spring (Tubby) Hayes had recorded the soundtrack for the Hammer thriller Hysteria ... in May 1964 the quintet began filming for the Amicus horror portmanteau Dr Terror's House Of Horrors ..."

In the setting for the film, five men enter a train carriage in London bound for (the fictional town of) Bradley, and are joined by a sixth, the mysterious Doctor Schreck (Peter Cushing) whose name, he mentions, is German for "terror". During the journey, the doctor opens his pack of Tarot cards (which he calls his "House of Horrors") and proceeds to reveal the destinies of each of the travellers. This provides the framework to tell five horror stories.

"Horrors the screen never before has dared to predict!" says the trailer here. (The screen has dared to predict far more these day since the mid-1960s).

"... the entire quintet found themselves co-opted as actors in Voodoo, one of the film's five stories ... The plot was risible: played by Roy Castle, trumpeter "Biff" Bailey and his band - the Hayes quintet - visit the West Indies, a land of exotic tribal drums and imported cockney vocalists. When Bailey is caught transcribing some sacred ritual music, the voodoo god Dambala promises to exact a woeful revenge, which he eventually does, although not before wrecking the trumpeter's polite supper-club set featuring guest Kenny Lynch ..."

Roy Castle was a multi-talented dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician who sadly died in 1994. He was an accomplished trumpet player and I would assume he played the trumpet himself in the movie's band scenes with Tubby Hayes. Here is the scene where the band plays in the supper club.

"The final nightclub sequence, in which a hurricane destroys Bailey's arrangements, also proved hilarious "They had this huge wind machine," (remembers Allan Ganley), "and we're playing and we all have to make out we're falling over. The first time we did it we all burst out laughing. The director was going mad as we had to do all these retakes..'"

"If Dr Terror's House Of Horrors never quite added up to a cinema masterpiece, its true value continues to lie in the wonderful colour footage of the Hayes quintet at close to the end of its life."

Although it was edited in the film, the Voodoo Session number came out as a full recording by the Tubby Hayes band here with Tubby Hayes (tenor saxophone, flute); Terry Shannon (piano); Freddy Logan (bass); Allan Ganley (drums); Jimmy Deuchar (mellophone).

Extracts in black type from: The Long Shadow of the Little Giant by Simon Spillett

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