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Torture Garden

UK 1967
produced by
Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky for Amicus
directed by Freddie Francis
starring Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith, Beverly Adams, Barbara Ewing, Michael Bryant, Peter Cushing, John Standing, Robert Hutton, John Phillips, Michael Ripper, Bernard Kay, Catherine Finn, Maurice Denham, Ursula Howells, David Bauer, Niall MacGinnis, Nicole Shelby, Roy Stevens, Norman Claridge, Geoffrey Wallace, Clytie Jessop, Timothy Bateson, Roy Godfrey, James Copeland, Barry Low, Hedger Wallace, Michael Hawkins
written by Robert Bloch, music by Don Banks, James Bernard, conducted by Philip Martell

Amicus omnibus movies

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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At a carneval, five strangers visit Doctor Diabolo's (Burgess Meredith) Torture Garden and four of them get their (rather violent) future foretold by one of his dummies (Clytie Jessop):

  • Colin (Michael Bryant) is so hell-bent on getting his hands on the fortune of his old uncle (Maurice Denham) that he kills the man - then though he has to learn that the uncle's fortune was provided by his cat (!) that forced him to kill - and ultimately, the cat sees to it that Colin gets behind bars where it kills him.
  • Carla (Beverly Adams) steals a date from her roommate (Nicole Shelby), only to eventually end up with legendary filmstar Bruce Benton (Robert Hutton), who has not aged a day in the last 20 years. He provides her with a movie role, but then is killed by a couple of gangsters - yet on the next day of shooting, he returns to the set as if nothing has happened. When Carla investigates further, she finds out that Bruce is actually not a real, living man anymore, but some sort of metal man (which is why he doesn't age), and to keep her from bklowing the whistle on him, he turns her into a metal woman as well.
  • Dorothy (Barbara Ewing) falls in love with pianist Leo (John Standing) - much to the dismay of his piano, which eventually kills her (!).
  • Poe-fanatic Wyatt (Jack Palance) finds original Poe-manuscripts in the possession of collector Canning (Peter Cushing) that were written about a century after Poe's death - and thus he murders Canning to uncover the mystery behind the new manuscripts - and finds Edgar Allan Poe (Hedger Wallace) himself hidden away in Canning's basement thanks to a Satanic spell - and somehow, Poe tricks Wyatt into taking over the curse from him - and subsequently dying in a fire.

The fifth visitor of Doctor Diabolo does not want to see his future and rather kills the Doctor - but that was just fake to make sure the others leave. But only because he fakes his own death in each show does not mean Doctor Diabolo isn't really the devil ...

 

This is by no means a perfect film, especially the writing by overrated Robert Bloch is terribly uneven and at times ridiculous here, but a first class cast and Freddie Francis' dependably light-footed directorial effort make this one worth watching anyways. No classic perhaps, but good-natured old-fashioned fun nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD