The Carry On… films are a staple of British humour, and their frequent re-runs on the ITV Channels mean they can be consumed with relative ease. For the sheer amount in the series, it’s surprising to me that the best remembered ones turned out to be the dullest. Case in point, Carry on Screaming, a film that uses up most of its laughs in the final few minutes, and leaves a massive hole of meandering plot devices in its first seventy.
Series regular Kenneth Williams stars alongside Harry H. Corbett and Jim Dale in one of the best-known pieces of the Caryy On… franchise. A clear mockery of 1930s Monster Movies and the later Hammer Movies, the film looks to parody Frankenstein, Dracula and as many other monster movies it can get its hands on. With splattered comparisons to the era of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing led horror movies, Carry on Screaming brings about some solid jokes.
Many of the jokes are forgettable and feel more like throwaways than anything else, and it’s really hard to review a comedy film when so few of the jokes have left a lasting impression. There are the expected cheeky one liners throughout, but they’re thankfully not the funniest part of the film. Instead the funnier parts of the film are the sudden parodies of popular monsters, and the low budget slapstick that ensues. Toward the end of the film holds one of the funniest moments in the Carry On… series, and while that doesn’t sound like much of a compliment, it surely is.
There are some real poor performances throughout though, and this manages to pull away from a fully enjoyable experience. How Harry H. Corbett continued to work in the film industry after his remarkably awful performance here is honestly beyond comprehension. We’re just lucky then that Kenneth Williams provides his usual zany self, alongside some solid enough supporting performances.
I find it harder and harder to find comedies from the 1960s that are still as funny now as they were all those years ago. A Hard Day’s Night is a great example of this, but my leniency toward The Beatles and their work in film is a probable reason to why I enjoyed that movie so much. Carry on Screaming is very much a product of its time, when parodies of popular films were at the very core of what people found funny. Thankfully we’ve grown away from that style of comedy, even if it is often rewarding enough to dip into a film of this calibre.