Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and ...
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Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and impulsively decides to sneak inside. But there in the dark, decrepit auditorium, a show unlike any other unfolds before her eyes. Its host is an eerie human puppet named Peg Poett who will introduce Penny to six tales of the bizarre: A couple traveling in a remote part of the French Pyrenees cross paths with a lustful witch; A paranoid lover faces the wrath of a partner who has been pushed to her limit; The Freudian dreams of an unfaithful husband blur the lines between fantasy and reality; The horrors of the real world are interpreted through the mind of a child; A woman addicted to other people's memories gets her fix through the vitreous fluid of her victims' eyeballs; And a perverse obsession with sweets turns sour for a couple in too deep. But as the stories unfold, something much stranger is ... Written by
The Good Bizarre, the Bad Bizarre and the Exaggeratedly Bizarre.
I briefly tasted the extravagance of "The Theatre Bizarre" nearly one year ago, during a modest genre festival in country. Halfway the second segment, however, there were some technical issues and everybody got reimbursed and had to leave the theater. It took me until now to re-watch the whole thing, but my expectations were quite high because I remembered quite a number of good things from my abruptly ended first viewing. "The Theatre Bizarre" is an anthology, and the one element that immediately determines whether or not an anthology is worthwhile is the wraparound story! This film features one of best wraparound stories, with some of the grimmest and most macabre scenery ever seen. A timid young girl is lured to the sinister and seemingly abandoned Grand Guignol Theater across the street of her apartment, where she's "friendly" welcomed by a marionette version of cult legend Udo Kier and numerous other grisly dummies. As the presented stories pass by, both Udo and the girl undergo a nightmarish metamorphosis. The wraparound is courtesy of Jeremy Kasten, the underrated director of one of the better horror remakes of the decade, namely "The Wizard of Gore". As usually the case with horror omnibus movies, some of segments are good, some of the segments are bad and some of the segments are just too plain weird and flamboyant to judge properly. Unfortunately none of the six tales qualifies as truly outstanding, but at least the segments "I love you", "Vision Stains" and "The Accident" rate as well above average. They are diverse stories with either original basic concepts or uniquely tense moments. "I love you" is a prototypic mini psycho-thriller, but benefices from the ravishing Suzan Anbeh and her monologues that will make every male viewer cringe. "Vision Stains" is about a woman who kills homeless/troubled women and injects their eyeball-fluids in her own veins to live their memories Until she witness things she didn't want to witness. This little plot is inventive and genuinely horrific, but it could have used a better climax. "The Accident" is somewhat of an alien segment, as it's more of a melodrama instead of a horror story, but it features a wonderfully grim atmosphere and a couple of harrowing moments. The other three tales vary from mediocre to inferior. The first segment "Mother of Toads" is very H.P Lovecraft like, with creepy monsters and nasty make-up effects, but writer/director Richard Stanley totally forgot to tell a story. Tom Savini's "Wet Dreams" contains a few solid moments, but the plot is derivative and rather nonsensical. The final chapter "Sweets", somewhat a crossover between "La Grande Bouffe" and "Delicatessen", tries very hard to be artsy and controversial, but it's actually just ridiculous and preposterous. Recommended viewing for experienced and open-minded horror fanatics.
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