Two of the greatest authors of terror, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, revelled in the medium of short stories. The format lends itself to the horror genre, allowing directors to investigate a full gamut of fear. Anthology films are inherently difficult as, unlike collections of short stories, by their very nature there’s a much smaller pot to choose from. A way round this is to create portmanteau films within a single narrative. During the 1960s and ‘70s, Amicus Productions were legendary in this area. One of their best is Torture Garden.
Roll up roll up, are your brave enough to enter Dr Diabolo’s (Burgess Meredith) Torture Garden? After experiencing a number of spooky attractions at a fairground sideshow, five willing souls are step up and pay their money to experience what promises to be a truly scary experience. Through the shears of an effigy of the female deity Atropos (Clytie Jessop), their fates are revealed to them. Michael Bryant, Beverly Adams, Barbara Ewing, Jack Palance and Michael Ripper face fears including a malignant piano, a man-eating cat and android actors.
Peter Cushing, John Standing and Maurice Denham join the cast of familiar faces in horror stalwart Freddie Francis’ imaginative and scary Torture Garden. Of the four ‘truths’, Enoch with its malignant feline and the search for rare manuscripts in The Man Who Collected Poe are the most captivating. The format itself allows writer Robert Bloch and Francis to delve into a number of themes and tones, which holds your attention whilst satisfying a number of genre needs. Torture Garden is an imaginative mix of greed, terror and fear.
Indicator Limited Edition Special Features:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• World premiere Blu-ray presentation of the original theatrical cut (93 mins)
• Alternative presentation of the extended TV cut (100 mins)
• The Guardian Interview with Freddie Francis (1995, 77 mins): the great cinematographer and director in conversation with journalist Alan Jones recorded at the National Film Theatre, London
• Production Supervisor Ted Wallis on ‘Torture Garden’ (2017, 5 mins): a brief look at the film’s production
• Ramsey Campbell on Robert Bloch (2017, 17 mins): the horror-fiction author explores the importance of the prolific Bloch
• Fiona Subotsky on Milton Subotsky (2017, 8 mins): a personal remembrance
• Kim Newman on ‘Torture Garden’ (2017, 25 mins): new appreciation by the author and genre-film expert
• Original theatrical trailer
• Stills Gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Lobby Cards and Posters Gallery: an extensive selection of original international promotional material
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of Amicus Productions, and extracts from the original press kit, advertising and promotion guide
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
Torture Garden is released on limited Blu-ray by Powerhouse Films as part of the Indicator Series on 30 October.