Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TORTURE GARDEN


TORTURE GARDEN (1967). Director: Freddie Francis. Screenplay by Robert Bloch.

Several people go backstage at a sideshow exhibit and are given glimpses of their possible futures by Dr. Diabolo (Burgess Meredith.) The first man has his mind taken over by a cat after he murders his wealthy uncle; a blindly ambitious young actress discovers the secret of a handsome, seemingly ageless actor to her regret; a jealous piano -- no, that's not a misprint -- apparently possessed by the spirit of his dead mother torments a woman who's fallen for a famous classical pianist; and -- in the best of the four stories -- Jack Palance and Peter Cushing -- both of whom are terrific -- trade off as collectors of rare and expensive Edgar Allan Poe memorabilia. But Cushing tells Palance that he has the ultimate Poe collector's item in his basement ... With the exception of this final tale most of Robert Bloch's stories are fairly lame, but the film is enteraining in spite of it.

Verdict: You have to see that piano go on the attack to believe it! **1/2.

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