Horror History: Doctor Who Sightings in Horror Movies You May Have Forgotten


Did you remember Patrick Troughton was the priest in 1976’s The Omen?

Yes, director Richard Donner cast the second “Doctor Who” from the long-running British sci-fi series to play the crazed priest who met an untimely end. (An end like, well, everyone else in the movie.)

Turns out that’s far from Troughton’s only role in a horror movie. The same intense voice and expressive face that made him so suited for the “Doctor Who” franchise served him well in films dedicated to the dark side of storytelling.

He portrayed Inspector Kanof in The Gorgon (1964), a Hammer film heavy on production values and mood and light on action. More a mystery than a creature feature, The Gorgon relied heavily on the strength of its cast. Troughton holds his own with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and others and adds depth to what, in other hands, would be a second-tier character.

In contrast to The Gorgon, Troughton is obviously the most interesting and well-played character in 1970’s Scars of Dracula. As Dracula’s sycophant, Troughton’s Klove character has a playful, evil side to him that makes him so much more interesting than the rest of the rigid actors.

I’m not a huge fan of many of the later Hammer Dracula films. Christopher Lee was given much time on the screen in this one; maybe director Roy Ward Baker thought that, and a good amount of action, would make up for the lack of atmosphere. For me, it didn’t — give me mood!

“Doctor Who’s” third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, has a good time “chewing the scenery” as an egotistical actor in one of the four stories included in The House that Dripped Blood (1971). Written by Robert Bloch (Psycho), this anthology is typical, but entertaining, Gothic horror, aided by a great cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Denholm Elliott (Indiana Jones), Ingrid Pitt (Hammer horror), and many more. Recommended for classic Gothic movie fans.

In the first segment, a horror novelist’s strangler character begins entering his reality. In segment two, a pair of men become obsessed with the wax figure of a woman they both loved. The third story follows a little girl’s entry into the world of witchcraft.

Pertwee’s story is hardly the strongest of the segments, but his comedic portrayal of an arrogant film actor is worth the wait until segment four. The actor purchases a black cloak which is reputed to bestow the powers of a vampire.

You may find the fourth segment out of place in this movie as it’s so silly, but I was entertained. And, bonus, I’ll watch Ingrid Pitt in anything.


Tom Baker took over as the fourth Doctor in 1974 and kept it up for 10 years. Consequently, it’s difficult for many (including me) to separate him from that carefree, jocular character, even when he appears in a major epic like The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973).

The stars of any Ray Harryhausen monster movie are his stop-motion animations, so I can’t be too hard on Baker as the villain Koura. He portrays his character with a tinge of sadness that turns what would usually be a stock, evil magician into a human with dimension. While casting Baker as someone who doesn’t smile works, something is obviously missing.

These actors had years to develop their craft and pop up in movies and TV throughout the decades. These are my “Doctor Who” horror movie sightings! There may be more. Let me know in the comments below!

Gary Scott Beatty’s graphic novel Wounds is available on Amazon and Comixology. Is madness a way to survive the zombie apocalypse? The strangest zombie story ever written, Wounds throws us into a world where nothing is beyond doubt, except a father’s concern for his wife and daughter. If you enjoy that “What th-?” factor in graphic novels, you’ll enjoy Wounds.

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