Torture Garden


A horror anthology from Amicus written by Robert Bloch with Burgess Meredith and Jack Palance? Honestly, that one sentence/question should be the beginning and ending of a rave review, but for some reason it just did not come off all that well.

Horror tends to work at two speeds. The vast majority is the "slow burn" horror which is all about the "pay off". In the short story form, the earliest version of this style was Ambrose Bierce. Most of his stories built up a little and built up a little and then would slap you with a twist. Later on, H P Lovecraft and Robert Bloch took up similar patterns (though Bloch seemd better about embedding the twists inside of the work as he went). The other "fast burn" horror tends to have a handful of mini-climaxes with the traditional climax being more of a culmination of what went before. The fast burn movie is not going to bother itself with plot twists as much, and will be more about amping up (or, in some cases, just ending).

The problem with this movie is that the individual stories tend to be mired down somewhere in between. They are not quite moody enough to justify the length dedicated to story development. The pay off, though, tends to be more of the "much of the same" method. You end up with drawn out little segments that more or less just reach a natural conclusion without ever really conveying a whole lot of the ol' Bloch charm.

Nearly everyone that watches it hails "The Man Who Collected Poe" as the prime story. I personally wanted to like "Enoch" more but it just refused to stand up and go anywhere.

If you are building an Amicus collection or are a fan of anthology horror and looking for something new, then watch this, but realize that some have done it better.

Written by W Doug Bolden

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