John Hough (director)

John Hough (born 21 November 1941) is a British film and television director. He is primarily known for his suspense films of the 1970s and 1980s,[1] including Twins of Evil (1971), The Legend of Hell House (1973), The Watcher in the Woods (1980), The Incubus (1982) and American Gothic (1988).

John Hough
Born (1941-11-21) 21 November 1941
London, England
OccupationFilm director


British TV

After many credits as a second unit director on The Baron, The Avengers and The Champions, he took his first job as a director on the 1968 season of The Avengers, directing episodes such as "Super Secret Cypher Snatch" and "Homicide and Old Lace".

"ITC was a very special place to work in," he said later. "And the people cared. Instead of asking you to do it quicker and with less quality, they'd push you to excel yourself. It was creative and interesting, but very disciplined. It was like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel on a nine-to-five contract."[2]

British films

His TV work led to a TV pilot for a proposed Robin Hood TV show, Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood in 1969. Even though the series never materialised, the pilot was picked up by Hammer Films, which distributed it theatrically.

"That one sank without trace," Hough recalled in the notes for his biography on the DVD of his 1980 film The Watcher in the Woods, "but in 1970 a Hollywood producer named Paul Maslanksy came over here looking for a new director to work on a remake of The Window (1949), in which a young boy is the sole witness to a murder and is then tracked down by the assassin."[3]

The film Eyewitness (1970) was well received; Hammer then approached him to make the final film in its erotic vampire horror 'Karnstein' trilogy, Twins of Evil (1971).

Hollywood career

Hough moved to Hollywood, wanting to direct for Disney.[4]

Hough's career then hit an unexpected slump. He spent a year and a half at Columbia and a year and a half at Disney preparing films which ultimately were not made. He made no films for three years. "I had to sort of rebuild my career again," he said.[4]

Return to Britain

He later directed three of the TV movies in the 1984 anthology series Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense.

He did a series of films based on Barbara Cartland novels starting with A Hazard of Hearts.[5]

He directed Something to Believe In (1998) for Lew Grade.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1962The Scales of JusticeBoom assistant
1964The BargeeThird assistant director
1965The Man in a Looking GlassSecond unit director
1966–1967The BaronSecond unit directorTelevision series
1968–1969The AvengersSecond unit director, directorTelevision series
1968–1969The ChampionsSecond unit directorTelevision series
1969Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin HoodDirector
1971Twins of EvilDirector
1972Treasure IslandDirector
1972–1974The ProtectorsDirectorTelevision series
1973The Legend of Hell HouseDirector
1974The Zoo GangDirectorTelevision series
1974Dirty Mary, Crazy LarryDirector
1975Escape to Witch MountainDirector
1976The New AvengersDirectorTelevision series; episode: "Cat Amongst the Pigeons"
1978Brass TargetDirector
1978Return from Witch MountainDirector
1980The Watcher in the WoodsDirector
1982The IncubusDirector
1982The Triumphs of a Man Called HorseDirector
1984Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Associate producer, directorTelevision series
1985Black ArrowDirector
1986Dempsey and MakepeaceDirectorTelevision series; episode: "Extreme Prejudice"
1987A Hazard of HeartsProducer, directorTelevision film
1988Howling IV: The Original NightmareDirector
1988American GothicDirector
1989The Lady and the HighwaymanProducer, directorTelevision film
1990A Ghost in Monte Carlo (1990)Producer, directorTelevision film
1991Duel of HeartsProducer, directorTelevision film
1994OmnibusProducerTelevision series; episode: "Joan Littlewood's Lovely War"
1998Something to Believe InDirector, writer, producerTelevision film
1998What's a Carry On?Executive producerDocumentary film
1999Lovely WarProducerDocumentary film
2000Mr. Thunderbird: The Gerry Anderson StoryExecutive producerDocumentary film
2002The BackyardExecutive producerDocumentary film
2002Bad KarmaDirector
2003The Human RaceExecutive producer

Unmade films

  • The Fan Club (1974) – for Lawrence Gordon at Columbia Pictures based on novel by Irwin Wallace.[7]
  • Poe – about Edgar Allan Poe (1976)[8]


  1. "Featured Filmmaker: John Hough". IGN. 4 October 2002. Archived from the original on 17 December 2018.
  2. Sellers, R. (2006, Nov 30). No more heroes ; lew grade's cult shows from the sixties are winning a new generation of fans. so, asks robert sellers, can the ITV boss michael grade match his uncle's golden touch? The Independent Retrieved from
  3. "Interview with John Hough". History Project.
  4. "John Hough: "I am happy to say that 'Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry' is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films"". Film Talk. 30 August 2017.
  5. Billington, J. (1987, Sep 04). Cartland: Every good girl does fine. USA TODAY (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  6. Billen, A. (1998, May 13). Ninety- one, still dancing come on, someone is looking after me " INTERVIEW,FEATURES,money is unimportant as long as you have enough to keep your family contented. Evening Standard Retrieved from
  7. Liz set for role in 'blue bird'. (1974, Sep 06). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. Lochte, D. (1976, Nov 28). MacDonald with all the trimmings. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
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