30 July 2014

Tales that Witness Madness (1973)
90 min.
Directed by Freddie Francis.
With Donald Pleasence, Kim Novak, Joan Collins, Suzy Kendall, Jack Hawkins, Georgia Brown, Peter McEnery, Michael Jayston, Donald Houston, Michael Petrovitch, Russell Lewis, Leslie Nunnerley, Leon Lissek.
Good portmanteau horror in the style of Amicus' Asylum (1972).

At a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Tremayne (Pleasence) relates a quartet of disturbing yarns.

In Mr. Tiger, little Paul (Lewis) has an imaginary pet tiger...who doesn't like Paul's bickering parents.

Penny Farthing tells of a malevolent bicycle intent on transporting its rider to the past...with deadly results.

And in Mel, Brian (Jayston) finds an odd shaped tree trunk and brings it home. But his wife Bella (Collins) wants the dirty thing back outside. The tree prefers living inside. Actually, the tree just prefers Bella...

In Luau, party planning mother Auriol (Novak) unwittingly serves up her own daughter as dinner's main meal.

The enjoyable vignettes benefit from some solid performances: the Luau segment is probably the most fun with Novak's broad turn midst the cannibal workings (Rita Hayworth was originally set to star as Auriol in this segment, but reneged at the last moment).

Director Francis clearly had a special fondness - and talent - for the horror anthology format, having directed a number of superior entries such as Tales from the Crypt (1972) and Torture Garden (1968).

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