A special sideshow torture exhibit has the power, according to showman Dr. Diablo, to warn people of evil in their futures. As skeptical customers are shown the greed and violence they're hiding, one of them snaps and kill... more »s Diablo. When they run off, we see the murder to be staged as part of the show. One of the customers has hung around to see this, and wants to make a deal with Diablo, aka the Devil.« less
John H. (johnniemidnite) from LYNNWOOD, WA Reviewed on 4/2/2011...
"From Britain's Amicus Studio's anthology series is 1967's "Torture Garden", a quartet of ironic terror tales featuring a great cast, directed by horror pro Feddie Francis and written by Robert Bloch. ASYLUM and TALES FROM THE CRYPT are far better anthology films than this one from the same company. Get those. Skip this.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
"There's nothing like a good fright for toning up the circul
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Throughout the mid 60s and early 70s, Hammer Studios counterpart, Amicus Productions, also known as the Studio That Dripped Blood, formed through a partnership with producers Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky, churned out a series of wonderful little horror anthologies including Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Asylum (1972), Tales From The Crypt (1972), The Vault Of Horror (1973), From Beyond The Grave (1973), and this feature, titled Torture Garden (1967). Written by Robert Bloch (Psycho, The House That Dripped Blood, Asylum), and directed by Freddie Francis (The Evil of Frankenstein, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt), the film features Burgess Meredith (Rocky, Clash of the Titans), Jack Palance (Hawk the Slayer, Alone in the Dark), Beverly Adams (How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, The Silencers), and Peter Cushing (The Abominable Snowman, Dracula, The Revenge of Frankenstein). Also appearing is Michael Bryant (Bikini Summer II), John Standing (Au Pair Girls), John Phillips (Village of the Damned, The Mummy's Shroud), Barbara Ewing (Dracula Has Risen from the Grave), Robert Hutton (The Colossus of New York), and character actor Michael Ripper, whose appeared in over some thirty Hammer films over the years, including such features as X the Unknown (1956), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), and The Brides of Dracula (1960), to name a few.
As the film begins, we're at the carnival, an English one, to be precise...it's ever so much fun with the rides and attractions...would you care for some for some blood pudding? No? How about a creamery scone? Doesn't that sound smashing? Maybe later...oh, look...Dr. Diabolo's Torture Garden...that's an odd attraction. Look, it's Burgess Meredith dressed up like a creepy transvestite, and he's promising the `thrill of a lifetime' to those willing to stick around, and pay a little more after the regular show...I don't like the sound of that...a handful stick around, and soon we're knee deep into the first tale about a man named Colin (Bryant). Seems Colin's in debt up to his neck, but a fair bit of luck comes his way after his seemingly well to do uncle kicks the bucket (with a little help from Colin...nothing wrong with making your own luck, is there?), and Colin is the sole beneficiary. Colin does collect on his inheritance, but it comes with a few strings attached, one being a cat with an unusual diet and psychic powers. The second story features a comely woman named Carla (Adams) who will do anything to make it in the movie biz, including betraying her flat mate (which she does). She soon learns of a group within the business, a select few who never seem to age (can you say Dick Clark?), and will do anything to protect their secret. The third tale involves a woman named Dorothy Endicott (Ewing) as a musical journalist doing a piece on a famed pianist, played by John Standing. The two hit it off quite well, and a romance ensues, but problems arise due to a strange relationship the man has with his piano, one that his mother gave him before she passed. The forth story features both Palance and Cushing as Ronald Wyatt and Lancelot Canning, respectively, both extremely avid Edgar Allan Poe collectors. Turns out this `Poe' passion runs in Canning's family, as his grandfather started the accumulating of Poe memorabilia, his father followed, and now Canning himself maintains that which has grown over the years into what some might call the penultimate Poe collection. Wyatt is envious, especially during a visit to Canning's house, which is basically a shrine to Poe, and discovers there's more to this collection that meets the eye.
This is an anthology, comprised of four stories plus a wraparound (the wraparound is the `in-between' story that ties the rest together). My general conception of these horror anthology type films is that some of the stories work, and some don't, a good ratio being somewhere around 50/50...this applies here, but for me, it wasn't that some of the stories didn't work, but just that they didn't work as well as the ones that did...probably sounds like I'm splitting hairs here, but I have seen an anthology or two where one story was so completely lacking it drew the rest down. Amicus did produce a number of different type films including horror (The Psychopath, Scream And Scream Again), and science fiction (They Came From Beyond Space, The Terrornauts), but their strength was the horror anthology (1972's Asylum is probably one of my favorites, of the ones I've seen so far). The strongest stories, in my opinion, are the first, being a fairly straight up horror tale, and the last, featuring Palance and Cushing, playing off pretty well against each other. You can see Palance's tendencies towards going overboard with a bit here, but it works given the nature of the character, particularly in that of an obsessed collector determined to get what he wants. The second story is more of a science fiction tale, while the third, featuring the man and his unusual relationship with his piano, was kinda goofy, but ended fairly well. The wraparound story, usually the weakest link in these films, is no different here, as Meredith's character comes across as an impish character from the 60s Batman television series, which he actually appeared on as the character The Penguin. Overall the stories aren't very horrific, generally not very shocking, but they do contain some cultivated creepiness, and there's a lot of fun to be had here.
The picture, presented in widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic, looks very sharp, and the Dolby Digital mono audio comes through clean and clear. There's not much in terms of special features except for some unrelated previews of other Columbia Tristar Home Video releases like Frankenfish (2004), Devour (2005), Vampires: The Turning (2005), and a television mini-series titles Kingdom Hospital (2004). I'm hoping this release is a signal that more of the as yet unreleased Amicus anthologies are making their way to DVD, if only to illustrate to those who have the misconception that the horror anthology film genre originated with the release of Creepshow (1982), which is a great film, by the way (Creepshow 3 is scheduled to be released in 2006).
ENTERTAINING HORROR ANTHOLOGY.....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 10/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From Britain's Amicus Studio's anthology series is 1967's "Torture Garden", a quartet of ironic terror tales featuring a great cast, directed by horror pro Feddie Francis and written by Robert Bloch--no slouch in the horror genre himself. Burgess Meredith is Dr. Diablo, a carnival operator of a "Torture Garden"--a sideshow of ancient to modern torture devices. He lures a group of people into seeking their future from a Sybil he has on display...the Goddess of Fortune. They learn they each have an evil desire and see what happens should they pursue their greedy urge: a greedy nephew falls prey to a demonic cat owned by the uncle he murders; an ambitious starlet, willing to do anything for eternal fame, learns how those big stars last forever; a girl finds she has an unusual rival for her pianist boyfriend's affection....his piano; and there's Jack Palance and Peter Cushing in a tale about a fanatic Poe collector who gets much more than he bargained for. Good fun and a good DVD print make this a collector's item for those who love the old Amicus anthology films like "Asylum", the original "Tales From the Crypt" and "The House That Dripped Blood"---also written by Bloch. Enjoy."
A great british horror 4 in 1 movie.
bill renek | sunset,utah | 08/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this is a great little amicus movie finally on dvd!!there are 4 stories in it,the first about a man who murders his rich uncle then is stalked by the uncle's cat who eats human heads.the second one is about a girl who wants to be a big star in hollywood and is "immortalised"as a robot.the third is about a grand piano that is possessed by the spirit of the pianist's jealous mother,and will not let any woman get in the way of her son's success.the 4th and scariest is about a man who has a large collection of poe memorabilia who is killed by an obsessed poe fan,only to discover that poe himself has been kept alive in the basement by the collector.do yourself a favor and get this dvd,you won't be sorry."
Where Terror and Madness Are In Full Bloom
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 02/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In Torture Garden you won't see anyone whipped with string beans or turnips rammed under fingernails, but you do get a good collection of Robert Bloch horror stories...Amicus style! I like the horror anthology format for movies, it's something we really don't see much of anymore. Torture Garden is quite entertaining, but it falls victim to the same thing pretty much all anthologies suffer from, and that's the fact that not every story is a winner. It must be tough to make all the stories good, but sometimes there's that one or two that tend to fall short. But even the worst of Torture Garden is entertaining. I'd have to say the low point revolves around a homicidal piano. In reality, if a piano was trying to snuff you out, it would probably be terrifying, but in the film world, it's pretty silly. The Mangler should have taught us that homicidal inanimate objects are usually good for a laugh rather than a scare. You can't say it's not amusing though. This film stars Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing and Jack Palance. As we all know, any movie by one of these actors is worth watching, so all three together is a no brainer. Meredith hams it up nicely as the sinister Dr. Diablo(the devil!!), our ringmaster for the horror stories. Palance is a joy to watch as a Poe collector who gets as giddy as a kid in a toy store when he's around Poe memorabilia. And has Cushing ever given it less than 100%? Nope! Modern horror audiences won't give this the time of day, but anyone who digs British horror of Hammer and Amicus(or reads Robert Bloch) should check this out if they haven't already."
Class Brit horror
www.DavidLRattigan.com | United Kingdom | 05/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is one of several "portmanteau" films made by Milton Subotsky at Amicus, the British horror studio second only to Hammer during the '60s and '70s.
The interlinking story is about four punters at a carnival sideshow run by the sinister Dr Diablo. They each look into the shears of the ancient goddess Atropos to see what their fate holds. The first story is a chiller about a playboy who rips off his dying uncle and winds up possessed by a homicidal cat. The second story is about a wannabe Hollywood starlet who discovers the horrifying secret behind her co-star's longevity. These first two stories are the slowest moving.
Things really pick up for the third story, in which a grand piano gets jealous of its owner's new girlfriend. The girlfriend is Barbara Ewing, later seen in Hammer's Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968). This segment is brilliantly filmed, with some great shock moments and effective photography.
The fourth story is a gem - Jack Palance and Peter Cushing play rival Edgar Allen Poe collectors, one of whom ends up avenged by the famous horror writer himself.
Palance and Meredith stand out among the cast (and of course Peter Cushing, who never gave a bad performance). A must-have for British horror from that era. If you like the style, Dr Terror's House of Horrors is an earlier Amicus effort in the same genre. Sadly, the latter has yet to gain a Region 1 release."