Saturday, September 8, 2012

THE HOUSE IN NIGHTMARE PARK - "How Weird Frankie!" (1973)

Tonight's feature film is an extra special affair titled "The House In Nightmare Park"...

...or as I like to call it, "The Frankie Howerd Story!" Largely unknown in the U.S., popular British comedian extraordinaire Francis Alick "Frankie" Howerd's life was very interesting, and anything but common!

In this movie, Frankie has the role of failed thespian Foster Twelvetrees, a man completely down on his luck, whose whole life is just about to change!

As you can easily see, it's another sold out crowd at Foster Twelvetrees' one man show!

Out of nowhere, Dungeon legend Ray Milland as the extremely wealthy Stewart Henderson has approached Foster, and asked him to do a solo performance at his family's home! Joining them soon will be fellow eccentric family members, Hugh (ONE OF OUR DINOSAURS IS MISSING) Burden as Reggie Henderson, Kenneth (EXPRESSO BONGO) Griffith as Ernest Henderson, Rosalie (THE GAMMA PEOPLE) Crutchley as Jessica Henderson, and Ruth (URGE TO KILL) Dunning as Agnes Henderson! As The Beatles had so stated a few years prior, the Henderson's were all there, and what a group of fine talent it is!

John (CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD) Bennett is the houseman Patel, a very busy actor whose first ambition was to be an architect, but it seems pretty obvious, the only thing he ever really wanted to do in life was be Boris Karloff!!

Elizabeth (HANDS OF THE RIPPER) MacLennan as the niece Verity Henderson, has the role of Foster Twelvetrees' quasi-love interest. This hall shot looks like it came from a security camera!

Foster and Verity have just discovered one of the truths of the situation, the supposedly sick brother of the whole Henderson clan, the one with all the money, is in reality, DEAD!!

As the story unravels, we find out that Foster Twelvetrees is the actual heir apparent, a bastard child born out of wedlock, who also supposedly has been given an unknown clue as to where a fortune in jewels is ratholed away, but he doesn't know about any of this!

Foster is told that he has some dental problems, so Dr. Henderson volunteers to give him some free treatment! Foster doesn't know that the good Doctor is actually a Veterinarian who really only wants to dispose of him!

Next up is one of the most bizarre musical numbers I've ever seen in a movie in a while, as the family does their rendition of "Dance Of The Dolls," a tune they used to do as youngsters while traveling in India! The music for "Dance Of The Dolls" was written by Harry (TWINS OF EVIL) Robertson, with lyrics by Clive (THE CREZZ) Exton and Terry (DR. WHO) Nation, the writers of the script for "House In Nightmare Park!"

That's Hugh Burden on the left, and Ray Milland on the right!

Frankie Howerd was a gay man in a time when it was less popular to be so, in fact, in England and Wales, homosexuality was totally illegal until 1967, and in Scotland until 1981, and a lot of his comic shtick was derived from the fact that he had a terrible case of stage fright and was prone to extremely deep depression! In other words, his real pain was used as a vehicle to make others laugh!

The sweet, innocent and ever so helpful Verity Henderson turns out actually to be a dirty rotten conniving bitch!

All throughout his whole career, Frankie hid the fact that he was gay! Neither his fans nor even his Mother were aware of the fact! His partner for over 30 years was a chap named Dennis Heymer who was also Frankie's manager! On April 19, 1992, Britain was hit with a one, two punch when Frankie Howerd died. The next day, another brilliant English comic Benny Hill also passed away!

As the late Robert Palmer would say, lookin' for clues!!

Frankie had the role of the Dying King in The Bee Gees weirdo movie "Cucumber Castle" and also had the role of Mr. Mustard in the 1978 film "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! He was also in three of the "Carry On" series of flicks, "Carry On Doctor," "Carry On Christmas," and "Carry On Up The Jungle!" In 1987 Frankie was in a one man TV movie called "Superfrank!" How Weird!!!

What a deal, a breast, three skulls and a mask, all in one shot!!

Almost everybody is killed off, a package that is presumed to contain the diamonds is found in the snake pit, but when it is unwrapped, it is revealed that the map to where the diamonds are actually buried was written on the wrapper of the package that had just been casually tossed into the fire!

All Frankie knows for sure is that the note said the diamonds were buried in the meadow in front of the house, Oh, boy!! I love the tagline on the poster that says, "Don't see it alone - Bring the children!!" It is truly unfortunate, but for unknown reasons, this film is almost impossible to find; I had to sell my soul to the Devil just to get a copy, but it was worth it!!

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