Friday 31 October 2014

Monster Memories: 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 informative introductions to camera or skits, but as the years went on the skits became shorter before Dr Terror faded from our screens entirely in 1996.
Seeing as the information doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else here is an ongoing episode guide that I intend to keep open and update accordingly.

Dr Walpurgis’ Vault of Horror

Saturday October 31st 1992 11:05pm Horror Bites: What's behind the Door, Mummy? What it is that scares people.
11.20pm Horror Bites:Tales from EC. Comics that inspired Creepshow.
11.25pm Creepshow (1982).
1.25am Horror Bites: The Art of Illusion. About make-up effects wizard Tom Savini.
1.30am Horror Bites:The Unholy Trinity. The creations of Clive Barker, Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven.
1.40am The Curse of the Werewolf (1961).
3.10am Horror Bites:Prime Evil. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on the Evil Dead saga.
3.15am Horror Bites:Terror on the Page. Stephen King and other authors open their books.
3.20am The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
4.30am Horror Bites:The Horror of Sex. Love, pain, sex, sexuality and the position of women in horror.
4.35am Horror Bites:Dario's Friends. Dario Argento at work on his new movie, Trauma.
4.45am Death Line (1972).
6. 10am Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Dr Terror’s Vault of Horror:

Friday September 10th 1993 11:15pm Vamp (1986).
Saturday September 11th 1993 12:50am Mask of Satan (1960).

Friday September 17th 1993 11:25pm The Guardian (1990).
Saturday September 18th 1993 1:05am From Hell it Came (1957).

Friday September 24th 1993 11:30pm Curse of Frankenstein (1957).
Saturday September 25th 1993 12:55am Blood of of Dracula (1957).

Friday October 1st 1993 11:05pm Horror Express (1972).
Saturday October 2nd 1993 12:30am The Comedy of Terrors (1964).

Friday October 8th 1993 11:10pm Crucible of Terror (1971).
Saturday October 9th 1993 12:35am The Beast with Five Fingers (1946).

Friday October 22nd 1993 11:50pm Blood of the Vampire (1958).
Saturday October 23rd 1993 1:20am I Don't Want to be Born (1976).

Friday October 29th 1993 11:20pm The Gate (1987).
Saturday October 30th 1993 12:45am I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957).

Friday November 5th 1993 11:10pm The Haunted House of Horror (1969).
Saturday November 6th 1993 12:40am House on Haunted Hill (1958).

Friday November 12th 1993 11:15pm The Lost Boys (1987)
Saturday November 13th 1993 12:45am I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).

Friday November 19th 1993 11:40pm April Fools Day (1986).
Saturday November 18th 1993 1:05am Cats Eyes (1985).

Friday December 3rd 1993 11:05pm Countess Dracula (1971).
Saturday December 2nd 1993 12:35am Voodoo Woman (1957).

Saturday December 18th 1993 12:10am The Hands of the Ripper (1971).

Saturday September 3rd 1994 12:30am Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965).

Friday September 9th 1994 11:00pm The Fog (1980).

Friday September 16th 1994 11:00pm The Ghoul (1975).

Friday September 23rd 1994 11:05pm The Unameable Returns (1992).

Friday September 30th 1994 11:00pm Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)

Saturday October 8th 1994 12:05am A Study in Terror (1965).

Friday October 14th 1994 11:45pm Legend of the Werewolf (1974)

Friday October 28th 1994 11:20pm Body Parts (1991).

Saturday November 5th 1994 12:25am Curse of the Crimson Alter (1968).

Friday November 11th 1994 11:40pm The Mummy (1959).

Friday November 18th 1994 11:00pm The Legacy (1978).

Friday December 9th 1994 11:35pm Alligator (1980).

Saturday December 17th 1994 12:20am The Serpent and the Rainbow (1987).

Friday September 27th 1996 11:55pm House of the Seven Corpses (1974).

Saturday October 12th 1996 12:40am Devils of Darkness (1965).

Saturday October 19th 1996 12:40am The Cellar (1970).

Saturday October 26th 1996 12:50am A Child of Satan (1991).

Saturday November 2nd 1996 12:05am Ghost Story (1981).

Saturday November 9th 1996 12:35am Dr. Giggles (1992).

Saturday November 16th 1996 12:20am Phantasm (1978).

Saturday December 14th 1996 12:15am The People Under the Stairs (1991).

Both paintings side by side
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! 
*Deadly Ernest from Sky Channel’s Deadly Ernest Horror Show to have actually been the first British TV horror host find out more about him and an episode guide on this post.
© Arfon Jones 2014. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


  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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