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Hammer House of Horror - Rude Awakening

episode 3

UK 1980
produced by
Roy Skeggs, Brian Lawrence (executive), David Reid (executive) for Chips Productions, Cinema Arts International, Hammer/ITC
directed by Peter Sasdy
starring Denholm Elliott, James Laurenson, Pat Heywood, Lucy Gutteridge, Eleanor Summerfield, Gareth Armstrong, Patricia Mort, Pat Gorman
written by Gerald Savory, music by Paul Patterson, musical supervision by Philip Martell

Hammer House of Horror

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Norman (Denholm Elliott) is a henpecked realtor who is deeply in love with his secretary Lolly (Lucy Gutteridge) - and she with him as well - but his wife Emily (Pat Heywood) just won't give him a divorce. Then he's called away to a decaying country estate on business ... where he witnesses his wife'd dead body falling out of a dumb waiter before two empty suits of armour start attacking him, all to the chorus of "why have you killed her" - upon which he awakens, lying next to his (alive) wife. It was a nightmare of course, but it doesn't leave him during the day, so much so that Lolly suggests he just pays the mansion another visit to find piece of mind. But the mansion isn't there, just a phonebooth, and when he enters it, Lolly mysteriously shows up in the booth as well, undresses ... well, it's too good to not be a dream, right.

It soon turns out that every time Norman wakes up, he just awakens to another dream that usually involves his wife, Lolly, and a certain Mr Rayburn (James Laurenson), who usually acts as bringer of doom of some sort or other, and of course the usual accusations of Norman having killed his wife - which he hasn't actually in any of the nightmares.

The dreams involve ghosts, a building under demolition, brain surgery and the like, and they won't stop ... until Norman actually kills his wife. He comes to the office a changed man and proposes to Lolly on the spot - but without knowing yet what he has done, Lolly is completely freaked out by this, as if they never have had an affair at all. Then Rayburn turns up, and he's a policeman now ... and it slowly dawns upon Norman that this is no dream no more, he has actually killed his wife, and now he has to pay for it ...


One of the best episodes of the rather uneven Hammer House of Horror anthology-series, as it throws logic overboard early on with relish to tell a really creepy story following the logic of nightmares rather than anything else (and if nightmares aren't the stuff horror is made of, I dont know what is), that despite the a tad predictable ending features enough twists and turns to keep the audience on its toes throughout. Add to that an excellent cast and a few visual puns (like Lucy Gutteridge completely changing her look and attitude in each new sequence), and you've got yourself a very decent horror story!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD