This movie may look like an Amicus movie, but make no mistake. It isn’t. But I can’t blame anyone that thinks that it is, thanks to its cast and director, Freddie Francis. Its wraparound story is all mental hospital, where Dr. Tremayne (Donald Pleasence) tells Dr. Nicholas (Jack Hawkins, Theater of Blood) about four very special cases and how he solved them.
In the first story, Mr. Tiger, a young boy imagines a new best friend, a talking tiger. His parents argue constantly, so he uses that friend to try and escape.
The second tale — that witnesses madness — is Penny Farthing. Here, an antique store owner Timothy inherits an odd portrait and a penny farther bicycle from his aunt and uncle. Soon, he travels through time and romancing an earlier love interest of his uncle who looks exactly like his girlfriend in our time. That’s because they’re both played by Suzy Kendall (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage).
Mel, the third part of this film, concerns found object art that a man falls in love with, ignoring his wife Bella (Joan Collins!). Obviously, this man is a complete moron.
Finally, Luau is about a literary agent (Kim Novak, Vertigo) whose daughter is menaced by an author and his associate who plan on serving her daughter for dinner as an “earth pig.” Novak replaced Rita Heyworth, who was originally going to be in this part of the film.
Finally, the story is wrapped up when Dr. Nicholas tries to lock up Dr. Tremayne for being as insane as his patients. He’s soon eaten by the invisible tiger from earlier. Yep. That really happens.
Sadly, Jack Hawkins died soon after this movie wrapped due to complications from a surgery that was to give him an experimental voicebox. His dialogue is dubbed here by Charles Grey, the narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
There are a few fun moments here, but if you haven’t enjoyed a British portmanteau horror before, this probably isn’t the one to start with.