Friday, 31 October 2014

Dr Walpurgis' Vault of Horror

I’ve made no secret of my enduring memory of Halloween 1992 the night Ghostwatch aired. But Halloween 1992 didn’t end there, far from it because another show debuted moments after. As the nation telephoned the BBC switchboard to complain and enquire about Sarah Green’s safety the rest of us were turning over to BBC 2 to watch an all-night Halloween marathon entitled Vault of Horror hosted by one* of Britain’s first TV horror hosts Dr Walpurgis. Created especially for the programme by novelist/ horror aficionado Kim Newman and portrayed by actor Guy Henry with makeup by Geoffrey Portass. In an article for the TV Times producer Nick Jones promised that Vault of Horror would, “Celebrate all aspects of the genre from films and TV to books and special effects ” and it was! It kicked off with the network TV premiere of George A. Romero’s Creepshow followed by an apparently newly restored cut of Curse of the Werewolf before ending with The Bride of Frankenstein! (They also showed Death Line and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein but my video recorder had run out of tape by that point). Vault of Horror must have been a hit because the Dr returned to our screens the following year (changing his name to Dr. Terror) continuing to introduce us to classic horror movies by means of introductions to camera or skits before fading from our screens in 1996.
I vowed to follow up my Ghostwatch painting (that features on both Rich Lawden’s Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains documentary dvd and book(s)) with a bookend image devoted to the Vault of Horror, celebrating the wonderful Dr Walpurgis/ Terror and those wonderful movies that he introduced me to on that unforgettable Halloween. Many thanks to all involved with this show Happy Halloween!


  1. my god... I thought i was the only one who remembered!! Channel 4 also put on John Carpenter's THE FOG that night!! Great write-up!! And Happy Halloween!

    1. “my god... I thought i was the only one who remembered!!” Nope, he is deeply rooted in my brain! Channel 4 did indeed put John Carpenter's THE FOG out the very same night. Perhaps I should make another follow-up featuring Channel 4 offering along with Sky’s Movie Channel’s block of Dracula Movies? Not to mention Sky movies + serving of The Evil Dead, Scanners 2, Exorcist 3, Child’s Play 2 and Frankenhooker! Thanks for the compliment and taking the time to post a comment a very Happy Halloween to you too!



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