Torture Garden DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
With Burgess Meredith playing the creepy Dr. Diablo, Torture Garden plays like an elongated version of the "The Twilight Zone." He is able to "warn people of evil in their futures" as they stare into the "shears of fate." We see various people's futures and the impending evil acts they will commit in all of them. Finally, one of the people cannot take it anymore and kills Dr. Diablo. Everyone runs off, except for one of the customers and this is where the story of the whole evening really reveals itself.

While I felt at times this movie was a bit too long, Torture Garden is a very well crafted look at human behavior, the past and present as well various ideas about the innerworkings of the human mind.
THE EXTRAS
No extras came with this DVD.
THE VIDEO
1.85:1 - Anamorphic Widescreen. The moment this movie started with the shots of the carnival, I was hooked. I loved the eery, luminous quality that this film has. All the colors look so rich yet they don't seemed to have overwhelmed the picture in any way. It is very inspiring seeing a film like this hold it's own against the other horror movies of today. What I loved the most was how they mixed aspects of the everyday with the overtly supernatural.

THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital - Remastered in High Definition. The soundtrack for the film was very well done because they exercised restraint. In a lot of early horror movies they seem to have punctuated all the revealing moments with harsh music. Thankfully, they didn't really do that in this film. The soundtrack seemed almost separate from the narrative and underscored it more than it was attached to it. In my mind, this really helped give Torture Garden it's almost Roman Polanski-type feel.
THE PACKAGE
A creepy picture of Burgess Meredith standing behind the women who holds the "shears of fate." They have mixed red and yellow together with black and it just doesn't work for this cover. The back features 3 shots from the movie (they sadly make it look like it has been colorized when I believe that's how it was shot), a description of what it's about, a cast list and technical specs. I would like this cover more if it didn't make the whole movie seem almost comedic in it's scariness.
THE FINAL WORD
Burgess Meredith is the standout in his role of Dr. Diablo. In fact, I am trying to think of a movie I have seen him in where he has been bad? He is such a consummate actor that I feel to simply call him a character actor would be doing a serious injustice to his long career. Meredith really played this role well, as you are never quite sure who he is and what his true motivations are.

Made in 1967, this movie's look is very much a part of the fabric that makes Torture Garden such a chillingly interesting film.

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