Saturday, December 1, 2012

'70s Horror: Tales that Witness Madness

Could someone please explain this title to me?  I'll try to get past this MAJOR confusion for you, but I make no promises.  It's apparently some sort of British short-hand.  Don't worry about the rest of the World- we'll just figure out the title on our own!  Today's film is Tales That Witness Madness, a fairly-obscure Horror Anthology Film.  The premise is that a Psychologist is trying to show a man how well his Therapy is working by giving him four Case Studies on his Patients.  Confidentiality- what's that?!?  It's a pretty flimsy pretense for an Anthology Film, but I'll go with it.  These feel like the weird leftovers from some sort of Anthology Film dinner made three weeks earlier.  If you think I'm just being mean, well, you'll see...
Donald Pleasance is a Psychologist who wants to show off his techniques.  To do so, let's look at his Case Studies (of people he hasn't cured yet)...
In Story One, a kid is obsessed with his imaginary friend- Mr. Tiger.  The parents, meanwhile, just bicker bicker bicker.
 As it turns out, he did have a Tiger...I guess.  It kills the parents, but the kid lives.

To quote Hermes Conrad from Futurama- That just raises more questions!!!
In Story 2, a guy running an Antique Store gets a picture of his uncle and a Pennywise bike.  Who hasn't heard this Horror Film set-up before?
 In all seriousness, this shit just gets weird.  Basically, the face in the painting changes, can pull you across the room onto the bike and make the bike take you back in time.  No, really.

You almost have to see it for yourself to truly explain it.
 Story 3 is really, really silly, so I won't waste much time on it.  The short version: man brings home tree sculpture, falls in love with it and kills Joan Collins.

Again- you kind of have to see this to really make sense of it.
In Story 4, a woman plans a big dinner for a client- a man who writes books about the occult.  Unfortunately...
 She doesn't realize that the guy has to do some elaborate scenario involving killing her daughter.  As such, she's apparently gone crazy (since the girl never called from her trip).  Alright then...I was expecting more.
In the End, the guy 'Loomis' is telling the story to doesn't buy it and has him dragged away.

Unfortunately for him, the Tiger from Story 1 shows up...somehow and kills him.  I dare you to explain this, Internet!
So yeah, that was weird.  That's the best way to describe it: weird.  It's never really all that scary.  Even the situations that should be somewhat scary- like the Tiger attack or the burning shop in Story 2- are layered in so much crazy that they're just funny.  A Tiger- scary.  A Tiger that may or my not be imaginary attacking people in a London flat while a kid plays on a Toy Piano- just plain weird.  'Linus' is a real dick to his parents here!  The Shop burning in Story 2 should be dramatic and all, but it's due to the evil force in a painting, magic telekinesis or something.  It's just odd.  Hell, the one with human sacrifice ends weirdly by just kind of ending abruptly.  Oh and Story 3...that thing.  Was there a thing in the '70s with Joan Collins being attacked by weird creatures?  Seriously, she's sprayed with Giant Ant pheromones in Empire of the Ants, killed by her super-strong/devil baby in The Devil Within Her and now she's killed by her boyfriend/fiance to appease his carved-up tree art.  You're agent was either really good or f@$#ing with you, Joan.  I'd look into that...thirty-years later.  This is perhaps an example of how you can do a story idea too much and eventually run out of material.  Most of the Horror Anthologies from this Era had weird stories, but were much more grounded.  This...has an evil-faced painting that judges you...
Up next, I tackle some Three Musketeers action.  First up, a Spaghetti Western Comedy starring George Eastman.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I've always took the 'witness' in the title in the way it used in some churches... in their telling they reveal the madness (rather than the hand of god).
    It's true, none of these stories are particularly frightening... though the tree is pretty creepy looking. They're more on the 'weird' side... creating a mood that may get to you on some level, or not.