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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Torture Garden
Set within a carnival horror show some people decide to take a chance and pay to see a further show, each one of the shows just happens to involve themselves (4-5 little stories in one). Although a little outdated it still has that nightmare quality that we all enjoy. Well worth a buy.
Published 6 months ago by shell

versus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Now where did I leave the Edgar Allan?
Hmmm... It seems that opinions are divided about this 1960s' Amicus Anthology film. I think it is generally fair to say that the first and last stories are probably the best but the other stories do have their good points as well. The film is helped immensely by a very good cast and stylish direction by Freddie Francis (check out the cool black and white colour scheme...
Published on 19 Jan 2011 by Jeremy W. Newbould


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Now where did I leave the Edgar Allan?, 19 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Hmmm... It seems that opinions are divided about this 1960s' Amicus Anthology film. I think it is generally fair to say that the first and last stories are probably the best but the other stories do have their good points as well. The film is helped immensely by a very good cast and stylish direction by Freddie Francis (check out the cool black and white colour scheme in the story featuring a supposedly jealous piano).

I particularly liked the interplay and dialogue exchanges between Peter Cushing and Jack Palance in the final story. In fact Jack's performance in this film is a real revelation. He often played the bad guy in dozens of westerns but here he is cast against type as a man obsessed with anything and everything connected with the great writer Edgar Allan Poe and he plays this part really well. His performance as Dracula in the 1970s is also well worth checking out if you are a horror fan and this further goes to prove what a versatile and underrated actor Jack was.

The cast also includes Burgess Meredith (best-known as The Penguin in the 1960s' Batman TV series and as the trainer, Mickey, in the Rocky films), Barbara Ewing (who went on to appear in Hammer's Dracula Has Risen From The Grave and Guardian Of The Abyss) and Hammer film regular Michael Ripper.

Okay so this film may not be up there with some other Amicus films such as Beyond The Grave but it isn't that bad either and is definitely worth a look, particularly if you like horror anthology films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor anthology film from Amicus, 30 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a below par portmantaeu [anthology] film from Amicus, although again with a decent cast.

Burgess Meredith has and is fun as Dr Diabolo, who invites customers at his horror show to experience the great terrors inside themselves. Four twenty-ish minute stories follow;

Michael Bryant is trying to get his dying uncles money but ends up tangling with a murderous cat.

Then, Beverley Adams discovers how the top actors in the business manage to keep at their best for decades in the movies. This is ok but overlong.

In a silly and slow third part,Barbara Ewing plays second fiddle to a posessed piano.

Finally, Jack Palance is obsessed with collecting Edgar Allan Poe material, and goes to visit Peter Cushings extensive collection.

The first and last stories are the best, making the 45 minutes in the middle a bit slow. Meredith, Palance and Cushing [playing drunk, some of the time] are all good to watch, and its nice to see Hammer stalwart Michael Ripper in a small role.

Generally though, this is a minor entry in Amicus' list, but is under-seen as it has never popped up on TV as much as others like FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE or VAULT OF HORROR.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Torture Garden, 19 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Set within a carnival horror show some people decide to take a chance and pay to see a further show, each one of the shows just happens to involve themselves (4-5 little stories in one). Although a little outdated it still has that nightmare quality that we all enjoy. Well worth a buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent effort but not Amicus' best., 14 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Torture Garden is one of Amicus films first anthology efforts and the end results are - could do better.
There are 4 stories here, all flicker with some delight but all have weak points or just go plain silly.
Our guide is played by the excellent Burgess Meredith who in all fairness absolutely steals the show here.

Indeed Meredith seems right in his element here.

The first story is a bit of a yawn if not a little eerie, involving withcraft, money and a thinking cat that prefers human heads to whiskers. Personally I do like the quite frankly over the top second story involving a desperate actress trying to make it to the top in Hollywood. Feels like it came straight out of a Twilight Zone episode, but I like the feel for this one.

Next up is a jealous piano, yes you heard that right. I couldn't really get on with this.
Perhaps the best is saved for last. Peter Cushing and Jack Palance co starring in an episode about who has the bigger collection of Edgar Allen Poe. The climax is a little far fetched, but seeing these two greats share screen time is good enough.

All in all Torture Garden isn't that tortoureous but it isn't as good as later Amicus offerings.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Yes, my friends. There is no end to man's inhumanity to man.", 25 Dec 2007
This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Ain't dat da' truth, Ruth! While this may not be as downright creepy as a few other Amicus anthology creep-fests it is certainly not what "May West" described! I don't know which film he/she was watching, but in this film a well-disguised group of creepy sociopaths enter the Carny sideshow tent of a flagrantly creepy "Dr.Diabolo", (one of the many names for "Satan"), and following his "regular performance" they're each given the opportunity to pay for a glance into their future, (* "Diabolo" burns the cash directly after collecting it!) But it's all just a "forewarning" of the inner evil that lurks within their hearts, and souls, and minds. The evil they've all managed to keep hidden from the rest of the world, (as all sociopaths do with a lifetime of acquired skills!) So, "Diabolo" is actually giving them an opportunity to escape their fate of "torture" in his "garden" at a later date by changing their vile and pernicious ways today! And that's a very very high-minded concept. Plus, you get the brilliant "badman" Burgess, as always, adding his signature verbal underlines to each line and every word delivered, causing one to listen up and listen closely, (unless a Nimrod with A.D.D. is the one allegedly doing the listening!) Take my word for it, while "Torture Garden" may indeed be on the lighter side of Robert Bloch's gothic horror writer's bag o' tricks, it is not "RUBBISH"!!!!!! BTW: "M.A.", the "cat" wasn't the evil one, (or even the point), of that story. Nor was it the "piano" doing the dirty deed. Nor were Cushing and Palance "fighting over the works of Poe". Nor, in fact, was anything you mentioned in your "review" actually going on in the film at all! I'd say you need to "review" your intelligence level, perception abilities, and audio/visual faculties, then "re-view" it with a new mindset. But please, pay attention this time... cause the Devil is in the details!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming anthology, 11 Feb 2011
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All of them Witches (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
A fine cast, made and set in the UK although clearly with an eye on the American market with the over-abundance of US actors and curious detail such as the customers paying their £5 entry fee to the Torture Garden sideshow attraction in dollars.
I quite liked the first story concerning a fellow who falls under the malign influence of a dishonest cat he has dug up and freed from a coffin in his Uncles cellar. He is not savvy enough to know what every cat owner knows and in contrast to what the cat initially claims cats are not here to serve anything other than their own interests. He's soon put right.
The second story is a poor effort about an american actress (on her hols) discovering the secret to longevity. There were fundamental elements that didn't make sense in how the story panned out but to raise them would let another cat out and I'm not interested enough in the story to over analyse it anyway.
Next one concerned another woman and cousin to the previous tales american actress, who falls for a classical pianist upsetting his dead mother/piano along the way with unfortunate results. Didn't think much of that one either.
Lastly we have Poe aficionados Jack Palance and Peter Cushings on screen personalities compensating for a rather lacklustre tale about Poe collectables and the 'terrifying' disclosure about where all those unpublished manuscripts are coming from.
Good performances including from Burgess Meredith as the Crypt Keeper figure 'Dr Diablo' who pulls the strings together but if the central element to an anthology, the stories, is the weak link then performances only equate to damage limitation. in contrast to most other reviewers I believe this to be the worst of all the anthologies from this era; in these types of film there is nearly always a story whereby the punishment/judgement is overly draconian in respect of the often mild transgressions of the victim. Torture Garden is the worst offender of this example which overall contributes to it being an unsatisfying viewing experience.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terror and humour, 15 Mar 2010
This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Interesting film about the devil and a group of lost souls. The brief cases are very atractive, and Burgess Meredith -as Satan- is so efective!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfection, 27 Nov 2013
This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Amongst those who enjoy the portmanteau Amicus films this is nowhere near the most popular and amongst the four stories here the one about the concert pianist is least liked. I take the contrary view. The more I watch this film the more I observe of its subtlety and detail, and for this I credit director Freddie Francis. I tend to dislike movies where the camera moves and pans without reason yet here every move of the camera facilitates the telling of the stories. Perhaps it is that I just would find stories about collectors and pianists interesting. Some find the story of the pianist unconvincing yet for me the pianist reminds me so much of my own Piano teacher, Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music by day, Concert Pianist by night and like the protagonist here orphaned single and somewhat put upon by a young woman. The choice of music (Beethoven, Schumann Rakhmaninov and then Chopin) is well chosen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst Amicus but..., 11 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The worst Amicus by quite some margin, but completists (like me) will need to have it and should take advantage of this excellent price. I paid quite a bit more. Edit: in just 5 days the cheapest new price has gone from £3.95 to £27.99, which rather confirms what I said - when you see these things at a good price, don't hesitate, buy immediately! 2nd edit - my mistake, it's the Region 1 version that's cheap, and still is. General principle still applies though.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars O.K. horror anthology., 19 Aug 2011
This review is from: Torture Garden [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Another one of Amicus' horror anthologies from back in the heyday of British horror, Torture Garden is probably one of the weakest of the bunch. As usual there are a number of smaller stories with a themed plot to link them all together and there are too many poor individual entries to make it work. The linking story isn't too bad though. Here it's the fortune-telling mannequin in Dr Diablo's sideshow but as per usual, the story comes full circle towards the end to put a little spin on what you think has happened. You can see it a mile away (Diablo is another name for what?) but at least Burgess Meredith has some fun in the role of the showman. The first story, Enoch, about a witch's cat who feeds on people's heads starts off silly but actually works, especially towards the end when no one will believe that a cat would do it. Just when you think the whole episode is over and Michael Bryant's character has been locked up and sent away for his psychological problems, along comes a nice twist ending which rounds it all off nicely.

The film goes downhill pretty quickly after this entry though. The second story called Terror Over Hollywood is rubbish and possibly the worst segment Amicus ever did. It's about a wannabe actress who will do anything to get into the movies and make a career in Hollywood, including sabotaging a friend's dinner date with a producer. She then enters in Hollywood's inner circle and uncovers a shocking secret about how the biggest stars have managed to retain their youthful looks throughout the years. This episode is pathetic. It's a nice idea but not for a horror film, and the set looks really cheap. Mr Steinway, the next story is about a protective piano which is inhabited by the spirit of it's pianist's deceased mother and refuses to let anyone come between him and his natural talent. So when an admirer falls in love with him, the piano takes it upon itself to stop it. Freddie Francis gives us some close-ups of the piano, with it's keys bearing like teeth ready to chomp down on a victim. But there's no sense of tongue-in-cheek and the seriousness of this segment is what kills it.

The final story, The Man Who Collected Poe, is arguably the best but mainly because of it's strong casting. Jack Palance is great as the nerdy and eccentric collector of all things Edgar Allan Poe and is fascinated by his work and his dabbles into the occult. He meets Peter Cushing's collector who has the world's greatest collection of Poe items including many unpublished works. Upon further examination, it seems that Poe has been writing from beyond the grave. Or is he really dead? It may be a little confusing at times but the two principle actors in the segment really give it their all. This last story also leads perfectly into the final part of the wraparound story and brings the film full circle. Torture Garden comes off as a pale follow-up to the brilliant Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. The two middle stories really drag on and it's only the final one which really manages to capture the imagination and the essence of what the link story was trying to achieve in the first place.
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