Sunday, September 14, 2008

Torture Garden (1967)

Director: Freddie Francis

Starring: Burgess Meredith, Jack Palance, Peter Cushing

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Do You Dare See What Dr. Diabolo Sees?

Plot: A special sideshow torture exhibit has the power, according to the showman Dr. Diablo, to warn people of evil in their futures. The skeptical customers are shown the greed and violence they're hiding.

You can start watching the entire film here:

My Rating: 5/10

Would I watch it again? I don't think so.

Woof! Anthology films in general usually aren't that great; especially horror anthologies. But often times there is one story that stands out above the rest. TG has just one. The other stories are yawn-inducing. This one's made by Amicus, the British studio that competed with the horror champ, Hammer. Like a lot of British horror from the 60s and early-to-mid 70s they are beautifully shot with lush Gothic settings. TG has that but it's the stories of each that are slow, predictable, dull and lifeless.

The plot device that weaves these stories together is a freak-show-like exhibit at a carnival. The lucky few that stay behind to really see something scary are invited by Burgess to gaze into the scissors of a wax gypsy woman. Then they see their fateful future. Boo.

The only one I dug was the last one which had Jack Palance and Peter Cushing as two HUGE fans of Edgar Allen Poe only Petey has Poe living in a chamber cranking out more stories. Like the other stories it's slow but it does have a pretty good surprise ending and it's also got two major badass actors carrying us through it.

Burgess is always fun to watch. Always. He's having a blast as the over-the-top carny entertainer who may or may not be Satan. His name is Dr. Diabolo after all. It's hokey and I really can't recommend this film as much more than a curiosity. I even watched it outside on the giant movie screen and it still sucked. You win some. You lose some. Them's tha breaks.

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