Tales That Witness Madness (1973)

Genres - Comedy, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Horror Comedy, Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Fans of horror anthology films will enjoy Tales that Witness Madness, a middling yet entertaining entry into that genre. As with almost all such omnibus affairs, it's an uneven excursion, as some segments simply work better than others, and the opinion as to which ones are the stronger (or weaker) will undoubtedly vary depending upon the tastes, experiences and expectations of the viewer. However, it's a fairly safe bet that the "living tree" episode will provide the most sheer entertainment, and the "lewd luau" the least. The former is in most ways the most ludicrous of the bunch, but that actually counts in its favor: after all, how seriously can one take a tale in which the chief rival is from the plant family? Joan Collins gets a great deal of mileage out of the part and is enormously fun to watch. By contrast, poor Kim Novak in the luau segment turns in a performance that is self-conscious and embarrassed, which only helps to sink the already-poor sequence. This viewer thinks that the time travel story is the most interestingly told and rewarding, but readily admits that many will find it slow and obvious. And while the tiger piece holds few surprises in terms of plot, the image of the boy calmly playing his piano as his parents are brutally disposed of is decidedly chilling. While Freddie Francis' direction is fairly standard for this kind of film, he does work with his cinematographer to create some striking visuals.