Friday, February 5, 2016

Tales That Witness Madness - 1973

Revisit my previously stated rules for an anthology film as I explained in my review of Body Bags:
1) the beginner: straight-forward horror/thriller or mystery. It's what I'd call the most "realistic" in terms of a real horror idea. No high body count, no supernatural elements,etc.
2) the weird one: Something outlandish and WTF. This is the kind of thing that would never make a full length movie.
3) the super dark one: this is where they pull out all the stops to leave you with a good memory of the film. Also, this is the chance to have the most "developed" of the anthology.

Here we have a small variation because Tales That Witness Madness has 4 stories, but essentially the idea is the same.  I was dead on accurate with my previous review of Body Bags, let's see how accurate I am here, shall we?  Spoilers will be included.

1) Tiger:  some kid has an imaginary pet tiger that hangs out with him in his room.  His mom of course isn't thrilled about this cause of all the meat that's being left around, but is like whatever, kids will be kids.  But is the tiger real?  I was pretty accurate here, this is very straightforward, very short, and with a small suspension of reality pretty believable

2) Penny Farthing: somehow a guy gets linked to a picture that was painted of a man from the distant past.  Also, there is one of those circus bikes with the huge front tire and tiny back tire.  Somehow the events in the future effect the past, and that includes when, in the future, the picture gets set on fire.  This one for sure qualifies as weird and WTF.  In fact, I was and still am mildly confused about what actually happened in this one.

3) Mel: a man brings home a strange looking tree one day and puts it up in his living room much to the dislike of his wife.  Soon, her dislike for the tree turns to hatred, while the man's liking for the tree turns to love.  Yep.  Bullseye.  This short was a huge WTF, and a clear winner for the neatest one out of the 4 on this collection.  

4) Luau: this one is the evil cult type movie.  Easily the most developed storyline, but also with the least explanation (besides maybe the tiger...) this one is all about this dude who is going to sacrifice a virgin girl to his weird tiki doll.   Again, pretty much nailed it.  He hangs out with this family where the mother wants to fuck him, the daughter wants to fuck him, and he wants to daughter's blood.  Sounds like a situational comedy actually, someone call FX and pitch that as a show to them. 

These four episodes are introduced and dialogued about by Donald Pleasence and Dr. Nicholas, who have a small story of their own which isn't much of anything.  The intro and outro parts are rarely considered a "real part of the film" but for what it is, it almost works on it's own as a mini-story.

About the tree episode, Mel.  This guy had like the perfect day, I realized.  He brought home some ridiculous tree he found, got the house hella messy but his wife was ok with it, then he left to go to the pub to presumably get drunk while he was hanging out with friends, then his pissed off wife still had sex with him that night.  I was thinking about that the whole episode.  Like, damn, I wanna be this guy!

This collection is all about situational comedy, it was done with a black humor in mind.  The tiger episode, Mel, the overarching story, there are dark comedy parts to it all.  It's not like, laugh out loud kinda funny, but it's amusing in it's own twisted way.  It's another working anthology film, sure it could be said to be second rate, but I liked it.  It was very light on special effects or movie magic, if I had to guess I'd say it was low budget or made for TV, but I'm not sure.  It doesn't look all that bad.  It's no Creepshow though, even no Body Bags on terms of how it looks.

I'll give it 3 stars, because if you like anthology films it's good, overall it's pretty weird, and it had decent actors in it.  Also, brief nudity.

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