The linking story sees a psychiatrist visiting a colleague who runs an asylum for the insane. The psychiatrist at the asylum explains to the visitor how the inmates arrived there, making it sound as though he's developed a new theory that's a breakthrough in psychiatric thinking. They meet with four of the patients to learn their stories. This flimsy set up is made interesting by the presence of two great actors - Jack Hawkins and Donald Pleasance.
The first story is about a boy who has an imaginary friend; a pet tiger. The boy insists the tiger is real even though no one else can see or hear it. I won't say anything more about this story, suffice to say it has a superb, shocking conclusion.
The second story is about an antiques dealer who has recently acquired a penny farthing that has the ability to transport him back in time when he rides it. At the same time, the guy feels as though the picture of his late uncle Albert is watching him. Could there be a connection? Watch and see since I'm saying nothing more. This story is the most suspenseful and eerie of the four, with Peter McEnery and Suzy Kendall giving good performances.
The third story is the silliest and weakest of the three. A guy called Brian brings back home with him a tree. His wife doesn't like it and it starts to feel as though the tree is actually alive and that Brian is falling in love with it. This premise is even sillier than the story of the murderous piano in TORTURE GARDEN. The story is worth seeing only for the great performance from Joan Collins and a certain interesting scene towards the end of the story, which I won't reveal here of course.
The final story is about a woman named Auriol who organises a luau to impress a writer who has come to stay with her, along with his assistant. Auriol finds herself falling for the writer, but he prefers to be around her daughter instead. The reasons soon become apparent. This is perhaps the best of the four stories. It has a disturbing, macabre edge to it, as well as being an interesting mystery and a great performance by Kim Novak as Auriol. Its ending, which I won't give away of course, is the kind you would find in an EC Comics tale.
The film ends strangely to say the least, different from the way films like these normally finish.
This film certainly makes great use of Freddie Francis' talents in delivering shocks and surprises. There are many moments that linger in the memory long after the film has finished, much to its credit.
Overall, TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS is a slightly different, lesser-known horror anthology compared to the Amicus ones, but very enjoyable nonetheless.