Psycho Circus - 3 Rings of Terror Triple Feature - BD - Brotherhood of Satan, Torture Garden, Creeping Flesh [Blu-ray]
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STEP RIGHT UP AND EXPERIENCE THE TRIOLOGY OF TERROR THAT PEOPLE ARE DYING TO SEE!
The Creeping Flesh - (1973) - Color - 94 minutes Rated PG
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones unleashing a malevolent being on the scientist's family and friends.
Brotherhood of Satan - (1971) - Color - 92 minutes - Rated PG
Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri
A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan.
Torture Garden - (1967) - Color - 93 minutes Not Rated
Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing, Robert Hutton
An anthology of four short horror stories about people who visit Dr. Diabolo's fairground haunted-house attraction show.
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Top Customer Reviews
The three movies included are 'Brotherhood of Satan,' 'Torture Garden' and 'The Creeping Flesh.'
This release is a tremendous value. I purchased this at the pre-order price of under $7.00. At the time of this review, the price was $7.65.
I thought one of the movies was good, one was ok, and the other was poor. But then again that is a matter of opinion. There are merits to each movie.
BLU-RAY: All three movies come on one disk. I thought the picture might suffer because of this but it didn't appear to be so. I thought that The Creeping Flesh looked excellent. Torture Garden was also very good. Brotherhood of Satan was the least impressive in the quality of the print (and everything else for that matter.)
EXTRA'S: There are none.
Brotherhood of Satan: Ben, Nicky and their daughter, Katy are out in the 'dust bowl' somewhere when they come across an accident scene. They go into town to report it and are assaulted by just about everyone including the sheriff. The reason for this craziness is that nobody has been able to get into town except them. So obviously something is wrong. They take off only to get into an accident when they see a child in the road. Back in town they learn what has been going on. The town is more sympathetic now that they know they can't leave either. As the movie progresses we learn that their is a coven of satanists there but nobody knows where. We find out that they need a specified number of children. The reason is that they are using the children to be their new hosts for their older bodies. The townspeople go hunting for the coven before it is too late.
Torture Garden: A group of people enter a carnival tent for a horror show. After the main show is over, Dr. Diablo (Burgess Meredith) tells his customers that for $5 he can show them something even scarier. Several of the customers agree and pay and they enter another part of the tent. In there is a motionless gypsy woman whom can show them their future. Diablo tells them that the purpose of showing them their future's is so that they can change it if they wish. None of them believe at first but one by one they approach and learn their future's. There are four stories. They are:
1)Enoch: Colin Williams goes to visit his uncle whom he believes to be very wealthy. He wants money but his uncle refuses. His uncle is in poor shape and seems to want to warn Colin. Colin demands to know where his money comes from and his uncle has a heart attack and dies. Colin goes in search of the fortune. He has heard that his uncle always paid in gold coins. He discover an entrance to a secret basement. There he uncovers a grave and inside the coffin is a cat. It's not long before we find out that this is no ordinary cat.
2)Terror over Hollywood: Carla Hayes manipulates her way into stealing her roommates date. He is a well known actor and she figures this is a great way to get her foot in the door. It's not long before some odd things start happening. She meets some other movie bigwigs and her date disappears. Ultimately she finds out that not is all it seems in Hollywood. Talk about plastic surgery!
3)Mr. Steinway: Dorothy is in love with world famous pianist Leo. Leo is going to go out on tour and Dorothy does not want him to leave. She is upset with Leo because he just seems to want to spend time with his piano and not her. We soon find out that Dorothy is not the only one who wants to spend time with Leo.
4)The Man Who Collected Poe: Ronald Wyatt (Jack Palance) goes to the home of Lancelot Canning (Peter Cushing) to view his collection of Edgar Allen Poe books and artifacts. Wyatt seems to have an obsession with Poe. Canning invites him into a secret room to show him the more remarkable parts of his collection. Canning tells Wyatt that it was his father who collected most of the Poe artifacts. In the collection are some unpublished stories by Poe. Wyatt thinks this is impossible because the stories don't appear to be old enough. There is another secret room yet to be visited that will shed more light on things.
After the fourth story, the one remaining person (played by Hammer veteran Michael Ripper) attacks Dr. Diablo and appears to kill him. However, there is yet one more twist to this story to be shown and we find out the true nature of Dr. Diablo.
The Creeping Flesh: Emmanuel Hildern(Peter Cushing) comes home from a trip to New Guinea and brings with him a crate containing an old skeleton. He believes that this skeleton is some sort of missing link and that it will help him to win the Richter Prize along with 10,000 pounds. At home is his daughter, Penelope. She has been waiting for him for years. Emmanuel finds out that their home has hit hard times and that they have had to let go most of the staff. Penelope believes that her mother, Marguerite died sometime around her childbirth and her room is kept the way it was and locked at tall times by Emmanuel. Emmanuel receives a letter from his brother James, James is the head of an asylum. In the letter we learn that Penelope's mother was kept there and that she had just died. Emmanuel goes to visit James. Emmanuel is worried that Marguerite's insanity might be hereditary and asks James about it. James informs Emmanuel that he is writing a paper about that very subject and that he intends to win the Richter prize.
Emmanuel returns home and spills some water on the hand of the skeleton. The finger of the skeleton grows flesh on it's middle finger. Emmanuel removes the finger and places it in a jar. He begins experiments with his assistant. Wardelow.
Meanwhile, a patient escapes from James' asylum and Penelope steals the key to her mother's bedroom and enters it. The patient holes up in a warehouse in town. Penelope goes in her mother's bedroom and learns of her mother's recent death. Emmanuel hears her in the bedroom playing the piano. He enters thinking Marguerite has returned only to be confronted by his daughter. We find out that Marguerite was a showgirl and through flashbacks we learn that she was extremely promiscuous and ultimately is institutionalized for this reason.
Emmanuel injects Penelope with a serum he believes will kill 'evil' cells and thus prevent Penelope from getting the same sickness that inflicted Marguerite. Later, Penelope takes off and she is obviously not her self. She goes to a bar where she is 'picked up' by a gentlemen who believes she is a whore. She scratches his face in the inn bedroom and the gentlemen leaves. Penelope reenters the bar and when another guy gets touchy feely with her she slashes his throat with a broken bottle. She runs out being chased and encounters the escaped asylum prisoner in the warehouse. He attemepts to help Penelope but ultimately she kills him and is then caught. Fortunately they send her to James' asylum. James returns her to Emmanuel's house. James arranges to steal the skeleton from Emmanuel. Unfortunately for James, there is a rainstorm. The skeleton becomes fully formed (almost!). From here it goes searching.....
THOUGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: The title is deceiving but ultimately who cares? There is a circus (kind of) in Torture Garden but it's not the focal point. The framing story takes place inside a horror attraction at a circus but none of the stories in the anthology have anything to do with a circus.
In 'The Creeping Flesh,' it was obvious from the get go that something was not right. Emmanuel's laboratory has a completely white backround and surroundings. It looked odd. I wasn't sure if this was something telling or that it was just a movie set that ran out of money!
To me, the best of the three movies was 'Torture Garden.' I like anthology series and this one was pretty good and had a decent framing story.
The 'Creeping Flesh' has the Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee team up. The movie itself is at times slow but interesting. Ultimately, I did not like where it ended up. It is still a decent movie.
'The Brotherhood of Satan' is not a good movie in my opinion. I almost gave up on it half way through. I have read some reviews by others that think this movie has a lot going for it. I am not in agreement. I felt the movie was very confusing in the beginning and when confusion sets in, so does boredom.
'Brotherhood of Satan' is in my opinion a poorly directed movie. I felt that many of the scenes dragged on way too long. In addition, I am reminded to comments made by 'B' movie legend Roger Corman. I have read his biography and listened to many interviews with him and about him. One of the things that he strongly points out relates to camera movement. Corman says that the camera needs to be in moving at all times or a scene will become boring. The director keeps the camera in the same position for long periods in this movie. Not as bad as the silent movie era but nevertheless it is quite noticeable. As a result the scenes drag on and become boring. For an amateur like me to notice stuff like this is not a good sign!
RECOMMENDATIONS: This is an excellent value for the price. Highly recommended for horror fans of the 70's. Also recommended for fans of Amicus Pictures and fans of Peter Cushing.
Even though the title is deceiving I'm giving this release 5 stars due to the fact that you get three movies with blu-ray quality for a very low price.
The packaging is nice with reversible artwork with a port in of the poster which is a nice touch comparable to what Shout or Kino does.
This is a Region "A" locked released.
The good news is that "The Creeping Flesh", while worn and faded looking in terms of colors, still looks fairly decent despite being bit-starved n this three movies on one disc presentation. The film appear a bit unsteady at the beginning and there some issues with contrast but the films looks much better than I expected. It could look loads better so I am hoping we get a region free blu with special features but I wouldn't bet on it just yet. The film has decent detail and depth while the audio is passable. Dialog is clear but we don't get subtitles which continues to perplex me as fans of this movie will tend to be older and need the subtitles.
"Torture Garden" featuring Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing and Jack Palance uses roughly the same type of structure as "Dr. Terror". This film, like "The Creeping Flesh" is an example of a film that could benefit from a restoration effort. Unfortunately, neither film has quite the same demand as the main Hammer films or even "Dr. Terror's House of Horror". The image is relatively clean looking but, again, this film is definitely bit starved resulting in a rather dense look. The film appears to be in better shape than "The Creeping a Flesh" generally. Audio is clear fo the dialogue for the most part but, again, this would have benefited from subtitles.
The third film is "The Brotherhood of Satan" which some may find inferior to the other two films presented here but I still found the film entertaining and had forgotten that I had seen it years ago on TV on a "Creature Features" broadcast with Bob Wilkins (in the San Francisco Bay Area).
I can't comment on how this compares to the 2013 release from Mill Creek. The film looks surprisingly spry with a nice presentation although I felt it could have had better definition and depth. Color's are pretty good here as well. The audio isn't lossless (which was a benefit to the previous release according to what I hear).
I do believe that spreading out the films and putting two films on one disc and one on a second would have helped signicantly with the image quality on all three films as they are, as mentioned, lacking enough space to render them properly. A bit of sprucing up during the transfer would have benefited all three films here as the first two I mentioned have some issues due to the wear and tear of the source for the films.
The lack of subtitles continues to be a turn off from Mill Creek and, although they are a label that puts out inexpensive label, they are getting licenses fo some classic films and TV shows so one would expect them to step up their game here especially considering the titles they are releasing which appeal to older viewers.
Special features would have been nice but I can't recall any Mill Creek releases having anything. Yes adding them would have increased the cost a bit but it would have been worth it for fans of these films (along with better transfers, a higher bit rate). I can give these a recommendation for fans but the technical presentation is not exactly inspiring for two of the three films.