It’s Tree Week here at the Avenue. While looking for movies in which a tree plays a prominent role, I had to think of a movie I reviewed for the IMDb way back in 2000. It’s only a mini-review and apparently not really a good one (only 1 in 5 people found it useful), but it’s appropriate for this week’s theme, so nine years later it proves to be useful after all.
Tales That Witness Madness (or as I like to call it, Tales That Provoke Boredom) is a Freddie Francis movie starring Kim Novak, Donald Pleasence and Jack Hawkins… how bad can it be? Well, pretty lousy actually.
The movie starts with a car entering a psychiatric hospital. Then we hear from Dr. Tremayne that he’s going to show us four extraordinary cases, after which we are subjected to them, in true portmanteau style. Err, wait a minute, wasn’t there an Abacus movie called Asylum (1972), a movie where … (to finish this sentence, please re-read the first two sentences of this paragraph).
So, by the end of the movie, you’re pretty much expecting that the film will also end in a way similar to Asylum.
Alas, it doesn’t. The ending is even more ludicrous than the four stories you’ve just seen. Yes, one story has an invisible tiger. Yes, there’s the story of Uncle Albert, a man on a painting who makes his next-of-kin ride on a bicycle (which makes them go back in time where they’re observed by Albert, in the shape of a moving statue). Yes, it’s a the man who falls in love with a tree (though, as he’s married to Joan Collins, we cannot blame him). Yes, it’s a man who has to devour the flesh of a maiden. And yes, the ending is even more ludicrous. (Although the last minute itself isn’t too bad.)
Jennifer Jayne wrote only two movies (as Jay Fairbank). The other is Son of Dracula (1974). Avoid the ludicrous Tales and watch that one and Roy Ward Baker‘s Asylum instead.