Sunday, 4 September 2011

Do You Dare?

Truth be told, 'Torture Garden' is not a terribly good film, but that doesn't mean I'm not fond of it or that it doesn't have a certain appeal. Amicus' portmanteau follow up to 'Dr. Terror...', 'Torture Garden' is nowhere near as good, despite having a script from 'Psycho' writer Robert Bloch and direction from one of the heroes of British horror, Freddie Francis.  

There are three main problems that I can see: the individual stories are, for the most part, boring; at least three of them are simply idiotic, and the climactic 'twist' is so poorly executed that it's actually embarrassing.

The stories concern, variously, ridiculously, a man who kills for an inheritance only to find himself mind-controlled by his victim's cat; a Hollywood starlet who discovers that the secret of screen success is to become a robot; a young woman who is menaced and finally killed by her fiancee's jealous piano, and a next level Edgar Allan Poe collector who actually has Poe locked up in his basement.

What's the twist? Well, as details of a forty four year old film can hardly be called a 'spoiler', I can reveal that fairground showman Burgess Meredith, who has inveigled the characters into his sideshow to give them a terrifying glimpse of their future, is actually the Devil, shown in all his rubber horned glory in a really jumpy, shoddy effects shot, a rare error from director Francis who presumably, like the audience, had stopped caring at this point.    


  1. Always liked Torture Garden. True its not as good as Dr Terrors, but I am quite fond of it. Daft as it is my favourite story is The man who collected Poe. I think the reason for this is that not long before I 1st saw Torture Garden I had been given a rather tatty paperback copy of Poe.
    I had also just got hold of the Marvel Classic Comics edition of some Poe stories. So with me anything Poe related got the thumbs up.
    Having said all that I have not seen Torture Garden for about 30 years so maybe I should have another look.

  2. Fantastic little film. Hadn't heard of it till this year. Check out the filmface review at