Torture Garden (1968)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This entry in the cycle of Amicus-produced horror anthologies is a middling piece of work. Robert Bloch's script offers a clever, engaging framing device but the individual tales it contains often lack the punch they are aiming because they are too simple and straightforward to conceal their twists. That said, Torture Garden still offers a decent amount of macabre fun for the patient horror fan. Bloch's script moves quickly enough to keep the viewer from getting bored and this aspect of the film is aided immensely by fluid, colorful direction by Freddie Francis. The director also gets game performances from a strong cast: Burgess Meredith dominates with a flashy turn as the sinister con-man who spins the tales but there is also nice work from a typically intense Jack Palance as an obsessive collector of Edgar Allen Poe's work and Michael Bryant as a greedy schemer who gets an unlikely comeuppance from a sinister feline. Ultimately, Torture Garden lacks the strength and inventiveness to qualify as a top-tier horror anthology but it offers enough spooky thrills to qualify as a Saturday afternoon diversion.