Series / Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible

"Hello. I'm Doctor Terrible, and welcome to my House Of Horrible."
Doctor Terrible, Once per Episode.

An Affectionate Parody of Horror tropes, Doctor Terrible's House Of Horrible was a six-episode series created by Graham Duff and co-written by Steve Coogan for The BBC in 2001. In Horror Anthology style, each episode is introduced by Doctor Terrible (Coogan in heavy makeup) and then proceeds with the week's tale, where the main character will be played by Steve Coogan, the episode then concluding with a skewed moral message, more-or-less completely unrelated to the events of the tale, delivered by Doctor Terrible (Coogan again).

People other than Steve Coogan were involved, naturally. Aside from a grab-bag of British comedy talents (Mark Gatiss, Simon Pegg, Ronni Ancona, and John Thompson, among others) hamming it up with all their might, veterans of the very productions being lampooned leant their talents - Honor Blackman, Graham Crowden, and Angela Pleasance all appear.

Each episode is an Affectionate Parody of a particular subgenre or house style; for example, the episode "And Now the Fearing..." riffs on the anthology horror films of Amicus Productions. Amicus is also the source of the series title; the first of its anthologies was titled Dr. Terror's House of Horrors.

Viewing figures fell short of expectations - the humour is both dark and very silly, which tends to induce Mood Whiplash on first viewing - and the BBC opted not to order a second series. If, like many fans, you find that the series improves with repeated viewings, you will just have to reconcile yourself to the fact that six episodes is all you're ever going to get. For the uninitiated, they are:

  • Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust - Captain Hans Brocken (Coogan) is on holiday with his young bride. They decide to stay at [dramatic pause] The Castle. Countess Kronstein seems very interested in the Captain's lady... There are Lesbian Vampires in it.
  • Frenzy of Tongs - Yellow Peril Hang Man Chan and Gentleman Adventurer Nathan Blaze (Coogan) pit their wits against one another, with the main parodic targets being Hammer's The Terror Of The Tongs and Doctor Who's "The Talons Of Weng-Chiang". Mark Gatiss plays Hang Man Chan, and remarks in the commentary that he decided to play it as if he and Blaze were former lovers.
  • Curse of the Blood of the Lizard of Doom - Seeking to harness the regenerative powers of the Lizard, Doctor Donald Baxter (Coogan) begins experimenting on himself... oh, you know where this one's going already, don't you? Dooooooooomed!
  • Voodoo Feet of Death - A talented ballroom dancer (Coogan) loses both his feet in a giant-scissors related accident, and his transplanted new feet seem to have a mind of their own. A lot of foot-related Puns are paraded for your enjoyment.
  • And Now the Fearing... - A wealthy industrialist (Coogan) who cornered the market in Methylated Spirits (because Tramps have to drink something) is trapped in a lift with two other people. They relate their recent nightmares, which include gypsy curses, stable time loops, and killer coffee tables.
  • Scream Satan Scream! - Tobias Slater, Witch Locator (Coogan) is very definitely determined to locate witches, no matter how many young maidens he must lech on along the way. Features a hilarious turn by Warwick Davis as his mute assistant Tygon.