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A special sideshow torture exhibit has the power, according to showman Dr. Diablo, to warn people of evil in their futures. Ore by one, skeptical customers stand before the Fate Atropos to be shown the greed and violence they're hiding. Written by
Although Doctor Diabolo charges his customers five pounds to enter the Torture Garden, and the framing story ostensibly takes place in the United Kingdom, the banknotes seen on screen are clearly US currency. See more »
Dr. Diablo, a carnival horrors man, shows five people a "special" entertainment in a private showing. Each person looks carefully at the scissors held by a mannequin of one of the Greek fates and soon sees a fate that may or may not come to pass. These visions serve as the basis of the movie as we are entertained to four story adaptations of Robert Bloch stories. The first man sees a story about greed and a witch's familiar. The second story deals with android-like beings in Hollywood, the third story with a malicious piano. The last story is based on Bloch's story "The Man Who Collected Poe" and is about one man's obsession with the master of the macabre. All four stories are brought to screen with care and style, thanks in part to the workman-like direction of Francis. Burgess Meredith is exceptionally good as the devious Dr. Diablo in the frame story. The last story is the best and is highlighted by fine performances by both Peter Cushing and Jack Palance. Look for Michael Ripper in the frame story as well.
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