Tales That Witness Madness

Tales That Witness Madness

Director: Freddie Francis

Cast: Freddie Francis, Neil Kennedy, Georgia Brown, Donald Houston

     
 

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Essentially a reworking of their earlier omnibus Asylum, this is another anthology of pulp horror tales from Amicus, this one helmed by the ever-reliable Freddie Francis. It features a quartet of eerie vignettes involving four patients in the care of psychiatrist Dr. Tremayne (Donald Pleasence), who is attempting to justify his strange theories to a colleague

Overview

Essentially a reworking of their earlier omnibus Asylum, this is another anthology of pulp horror tales from Amicus, this one helmed by the ever-reliable Freddie Francis. It features a quartet of eerie vignettes involving four patients in the care of psychiatrist Dr. Tremayne (Donald Pleasence), who is attempting to justify his strange theories to a colleague (Jack Hawkins, who died shortly after his scenes were filmed) by explaining the horrific events that drove the patients to their current state. The first tale centers on a young boy (Russell Lewis), whose parents' constant squabbling prompts him to conjure an imaginary tiger to devour them. The second involves a Victorian-era bicycle which allows its finder (Peter McEnery) to travel back in time and live as his own ancestor. The goofy third chapter pits a jealous wife (Joan Collins) against a strange rival for her husband's attention: a tree possessed by a human soul. The final segment stars Kim Novak (a last-minute replacement for Rita Hayworth) as a literary agent who must sacrifice her own daughter (Mary Tamm) to appease the restless spirit of her client's mother. Although certainly not the studio's best effort, this is still an amusing diversion, featuring the standard twist ending and a flamboyant approach suggestive of EC horror comics.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
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.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/26/2012
UPC:
0887090044103
Original Release:
1973
Rating:
R
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen, Colorized]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
31,570

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Neil Kennedy [Penny Farthing]
Georgia Brown Fay Patterson [Mr. Tiger]
Donald Houston Sam Patterson [Mr. Tiger]
Jack Hawkins Nicholas
Russell Lewis Paul
Peter McEnery Timothy
Joan Collins Bella
Kim Novak Auriol
Mary Tamm Ginny
Donald Pleasence Dr. Tremayne
David Wood Tutor
Suzy Kendall Ann/Beatrice
Beth Morris Polly
Frank Forsyth Uncle Albert
Michael Jayston Brian
Michael Petrovich Kimo
Leon Lissek Keoki
Zohra Segal Malia
Leslie Nunnerley Vera
Richard Connaught Moving Man

Technical Credits
Freddie Francis Director
Eric Allwright Makeup
Michael Almont Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Ebbinghouse Score Composer,Editor
Jay Fairbank Screenwriter
Bernard Gribble Editor
Jennifer Jayne Screenwriter
Norman Priggen Producer
Ken Ritchie Sound/Sound Designer
Nolan Roberts Sound/Sound Designer
Peter Saunders Asst. Director
Peter Saunders Asst. Director
Milton Subotsky Producer
Roy Walker Art Director
Norman Warwick Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Tales That Witness Madness
1. Psychiatric Clinic [:12]
2. Mr. Tiger [4:36]
3. Penny Farthing [14:13]
4. Mel [19:13]
5. Luau [16:32]
6. Proof Positive [1:51]

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