Torture Garden - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Torture Garden Reviews

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October 24, 2010
Probably the dullest of Amicus' Anthology pics, but it's redeemed by amazing performances by Burgess Meredith, Jack Palance, and of course Peter Cushing. The last tale is by far the best of them all with Palance and Cushing playing crazed Edgar Allan Poe collectors. Worth it for the last 30 minutes alone.
October 21, 2010
Slow-moving and clunky, this Amicus anthology is saved only by the final segment, which is a delicious piece of macabre storytelling featuring Palance and Cushing.
½ July 11, 2010
Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing and Jack Palance in a delicious 60s flick that reminded me of the old Twilight Zones. :)
March 3, 2010
Pretty good compilation here of horror stories, some are better then others. The best is Jack Palance as a really obsessed Poe fanatic, and a hilarious tale of a possessed piano, and the other two are just ok, one being of a man who takes over the estate of a deceased uncle and, yes, a demonic cat, and the other, a very woodenly acted piece of what makes celebrities so youngish looking. So a mixed bag here, found it dragging more often then not though.
October 3, 2009
OK for Amicus Studio completists but their scripts (like this one) were almost invariably more despondent and negative than Hammer's. Oddly, about half of the stars and production people on this one were Hammer big names. A few nice set design touches, though.
March 20, 2009
Campy fun from Amicus, this anthology movie contains no gore, but DOES feature a killer piano, robot people, a demon cat and E.A. Poe. Very silly but fun!
October 31, 2008
Uneven Amicus horror anthology is pretty good if you can tolerate the leisurely pace. Robert Bloch's stories are hit or miss this time around: the first is an enjoyable, if conventional, story of witchcraft and mind control; the second - and probably the best - stars Beverly Adams as an aspiring actress who discovers a disturbing secret about her favorite star; the third story is a forgettable bit about a haunted piano; and Jack Palance shines in an uncharacteristically twitchy performance as a collector obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe, and he's matched by Peter Cushing at his best. Director Freddie Francis creates some nice spooky atmosphere, and Burgess Meredith hams it up as a sinister carnival barker. Great score by James Bernard.
½ October 30, 2008
I couldn't give it a full five stars but as a horror it does the job. The plot lines are a bit cheesy but the over the top acting made it a fun film to watch.
½ August 28, 2008
After Dr. Terrors house of Horrors, Amicus made Torture Garden. It was a neat idea, the stories seemed to be a little longer than the other anthologies that amicus made. Glad to See Burgess Meredith in it. Bottom line is that Torture Garden is a neat movie to watch.
½ August 2, 2008
Un film d'horreur a skecthes assez peu efficace... Bonne interpretation toutefois.
June 30, 2008
Not as good as the other Amicus anthology flicks, the only really standout story is one with Jack Palance and Peter Cushing.

Oh, and everything with Burgess Meredith is great also.
½ June 5, 2008
One would think with our ever shrinking attention-span that more studios would make anthology films these days. Four stories for the price of one. The beauty of such a thing means if one or two stories goes sour you always have a another and, naturally, the best saved for last, to look forward to. Unfortunately we just get longer lemons nowadays. That said, if you can make through the first three yarns in Torture Garden (campy and often corny premonitions of personal terrors to come), you're rewarded with a brilliant vignette staring the enthusiastically slippery Jack Palance and his haunting costar, Peter Cushing as rival Edgar Allen Poe memorabilia collectors. It's worth the price of admission alone and sideshow host Burgess Meredith mugs it up sufficiently between the other segments to keep the entertainment a spectacle before returning everyone somewhat indifferently to the midway.
½ March 20, 2008
Pretty good anthology film from Amicus productions. The story involving the two girls is stupid, but the rest are okay. The piano one is funny. Peter Cushing is great as always as a Poe fanatic.
½ January 7, 2008
I've always liked the old anthology horror films. This one turned out to be quite good. It was directed by Freddie Francis who directed some of the best Hammer horror films and was written by Robert Bloch who wrote the novel of Psycho. There are some good performances here especially Jack Palance as a really manic collector of the works of Edgar Allen Poe.
½ October 9, 2007
On the surface, the Torture Garden is a cheezy little traveling carnival sideshow and wax museum. However, for select customers, its proprietor, Dr. Diabolo (Meridith) pulls back the curtain on real horror, by bringing them face to face with the Goddess of Fate and their futures. When five such customers (Adams, Bryant, Ewing, Jack Palance, and Ripper), four tales of obsessions that end in horror unfold .

"Torture Garden" is the second of a string of excellent horror anthology pictures made by Amicus at the tale end of the British horror boom. It features decent performances and competent direction from some of the people who gave birth to the boom, such as diretor Freddie
Francis and actors Peter Cushing and Michael Ripper. The stories aren't the best, but they're well told, and, like all anthology films, even the weakest one is so short that it doesn't damage the movie too much.

The film opens and closes on a strong note, with its framing story featuring sideshow performer Dr. Diabolo and his vision-inducing statue. Burgis Meridith does a great job as a circus performer with a sinister edge. He is particularly good in the closing portion of the segment where his performance makes the ending that manages to both be surprising and predictable at the same time.

As for the four stories that are the visions experienced by the visitors to the Torture Garden, two are mediocre, one is about average, and one is excellent aside from a weak ending.

The first vision is a predictable tale of a greedy man who, to his eventual deep regret, discovers the secret source of his uncle's fortune. Although the character is utterly repulsive, Michael Bryant manages to give a performance that still makes us care about what happens to him... and not just in a way that makes us want him to get what's coming to him.

The second story is the weakest of the bunch. In at, an overly ambitious young actress (Adams) ends up paying the ultimate price for stardom when she discovers the source of the seemingly endless youth and energy that Hollywood's most powerful producers and bankable stars seem to possess. While the Big Reveal of the dark secret that keeps the "Top Ten" of Hollywood youthful and in power wasn't what I expected it to be (I figured it would be a trite play on the fact that agents and producers are "bloodsuckers"), the actual twist is even goofier. To silly to be scary, and featuring a character who is too coldblooded for the viewer to give a damn about and too stupid to be even remotely likeable, this tale feels like a filler and time-waster when it's over.

The third story is the oddest of the bunch. It sees a music journalist (Ewing) who attempts to seduce a world-famous concert pianist (Standing) away from his music... only to find that some rivals are jealous beyond measure. (I think this is probably the high-water mark of killer piano films, and it's main virtue is that it's short and to the point. It's more silly than scary, but it moves so fast that one hardly has a chance to dwell on its silliness.)

The fourth tale, and the best of the bunch by far, features two actors at opposite end of the quirky scale-- Jack Palance and Peter Cushing--playing obsessive collectors of Edgar Allen Poe memorabelia. Palance excudes such menace that one has to wonder why Cushing's character was crazy enough to invite him over to see his collection, no matter how proud he was of it. (And the menace is enhanced even further by the way Palance seems to loom next to the slight and small-statured Cushing!) As for the story, it takes some nice twists and turns as it unfolds, ultimately resolving in a slightly dissapointing way... but that dissapointment is more than made up for with a tie-in to the framing story, and the excellent performances by Cushing and Palance.

If you enjoy horror short films, and particularly if you enjoy horror anthology films, then "Torture Garden" is worth checking out. It's not as good as "The House That Dripped Blood" or "From Beyond the Grave", but you'll nonetheless find it to be a worthwhile viewing experience. (Palance and Cushing make the film worthwhile all by themselves.)

Torture Garden
Starring: Burgess Meredith, Beverly Adams, Jack Palance, Peter Cushing, Michael Bryant, Barbara Ewing, Michael Ripper,and John Standing
Director: Freddie Francis
August 15, 2007
Fun, campy Amicus entry is most notable for eccentric PAlance performance(like there are other kinds...) "Stare into the shears!"
August 5, 2007
One of the earlier Amicus anthologies, with four horror segments linked by a single story, this time set in a fairground sideshow. My favourite was the last, starring Jack Palance and Peter Cushing as rival Poe collectors. Quite enjoyed the killer piano segment, too. Burgess Meredith is a treat as Dr Diablo.
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2007
A nice anthology of horror tales with a strange statue in a garden being used as the framing device.
½ July 14, 2007
this was twisted... i'd love to see it uncut up.
½ July 11, 2007
This is a pretty good movie. Classic. Jack Palance! Kind of like the Twilight Zone - 4 stories in one movie. Best part: killer piano. Like, OMG, I totally didn't see it hiding behind that door! - quite possibly one of the funniest scenes in any movie EVER.
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