Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Diablo (Burgess Meredith) has a most unique power, one that allows people to witness what horrors lie ahead in their futures. Of course, few believe his claims of such power, but as he guides the skeptics through his exhibit, they soon learn he is no fraud. Colin Williams (Michael Bryant) finds himself desperate to collect his frail uncle’s immense wealth. Colin goes to extremes to take control of the fortune, withholding his uncle’s medications, but his uncle soon dies. But soon a black cat approaches Colin and offers to reveal the location of the loot, in exchange for some murders. Another customer learns that her aspirations of stardom will indeed be realized, but at what cost? Another woman lands the interview of a lifetime, but discovers that sometimes, music can be quite lethal. The final tale involves two collectors of Edgar Allan Poe materials, but one has gone to incredible lengths to complete his collection.
The concept of making a deal with the devil is a common one in all kinds of stories, from simple folklore to major motion pictures. Torture Garden tells us not one, but four tales of deals with the devil, each one a unique look at how such a deal can turn out. Amicus Studios was behind Torture Garden, the same studio who gave us The House That Dripped Blood, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt, and The Vault of Horror. While often compared to fellow horror creators Hammer, Amicus was best known for anthologies, such as the one we have here, Torture Garden. As with most anthologies, some stories are better than others and in this case, we have one great tale, one decent one, and two clunkers. So not a good ratio, but the one great story is so good, it alone is worth the price of admission. This is old school horror, so expect more atmosphere than blood. The cast is good here and while a couple of the stories are disappointments, if you’re a fan of horror anthologies, Torture Garden is worth a rental.
Video: How does it look?
Torture Garden is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This looks better than I expected, but at the same time, the transfer is unremarkable. The print has frequent nicks and debris, but nothing too serious and grain isn’t much of an issue either, a nice looking print, all things considered. The image is on the soft side, but I doubt anyone will be too critical here, since this is a lower profile Amicus release. The colors and contrast are in solid, more than reasonable form and in the end, this is an acceptable visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
There’s not much to discuss here, as the audio is basic, but seems up to the task. The age of the elements here are obvious, as range and dynamics are very limited, but such is to be expected in cases like this one. The dialogue is a little muffled and the overall experience is less than impressive, but again, with this kind of material, you can’t expect miracles. So no, this is not a superb audio effort, but I don’t think fans will be too let down, under the circumstances. This disc also includes subtitles in English, French, and Japanese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.