Saturday, October 29, 2016

how green is my valley?

Day 29 of 31 days of horror and (again) realized that I'd not featured an anthology (or portmanteau as we call them here) 'orror yet.

Seeing as that was the case I reckon I should pick if not the best then probably the sexiest.

Plus It was a fairly recent purchase so needed an excuse to watch it that didn't centre on Joan Collins frankly magnificent nightie.

Or Michael Jayston's almost obscenely tight track suit trousers.

As is the way with these twisty tales I wont give too much away for fear of spoiling the terrific twists.

Plus I'm writing this on Friday night which is tragic enough without wasting the whole evening writing a blog no-one reads about films no-one watches.

I know my place.

Tales That Witness Madness (1973).
Dir: Freddie Francis.
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jack Hawkins, Russell Lewis, Donald Houston, Georgia Brown, Peter McEnery, Frank Forsyth, Suzy Kendall, Michael Jayston, Joan Collins, Kim Novak, David Wood, Michael Petrovich, Mary Tamm, Leon Lissek and Zohra Sehgal.





It happens beyond madness - where your mind won't believe what your eyes see.



Welcome one and all to HMP Shadynook where posh car driving Dr. Paul Nicholas (Hawkins - dubbed by Charles Gray - in his last film role) is about to have a very pressing meeting with his erstwhile college Dr. Jeff Tremayne (Pleasence, I'm assuming you know who he is), the psychiatrist in charge of the high tech (for 1973) facilities.

It seems that Tremayne may have discovered the cause of madness or, at the very least the reasons as to why his four favourite patients are locked up in the first place.

I mean it's late at night so it must be important or it could wait till morning.

Either that or Tremayne is a wee bit theatrical and feels that portmanteau horror works best in the dark.

Let's not waste time on semantics tho' as we've got a frightening foursome of fearsome tales to tell.

The first focusing on a tiny baw-headed boy named Paul (Lewis who bizarrely enough went on to create as well as write the Inspector Morse spin-off Endeavor) who spends his days sitting at a tiny piano asking for plates of meat and/or bones.

Must be from the West Midlands.


Inside Elton John's mind....


As it happens poor Paul is a sensitive wee boy who in an attempt to shield himself from his parents - the terrifyingly angry and scarily ginger Sam
(Brit TeeVee stalwart Houston) and drunken uber-MiLF Fay (British cabaret cum jazz songstress Brown in a fantastic collection of hip-hugging outfits) - befriends an imaginary tiger that lives under his bed.


Whilst his slightly pervy home tutor Phillipe (Wood from shit-loads of stuff, go on check) feels that it's normal for a boy his age to have an imaginary friend, his sozzled mum thinks he's a bit of a mentalist which is as good an excuse as any to have her hit the bottle for breakfast.



Shouty Sam doesn't care one way or the other tho' seeing as he's far too busy attending meetings and standing in the hall complaining about things.

Nothing specific mind, just things in general.

It's only when Paul begins to leave plates of chicken bones on his bedroom floor and stealing the Sunday joint from the fridge that his parents decide to finally have a word with him about 'Mr Tiger'.

Who, as mentioned earlier doesn't really exist.

No not at all.

That bike I'm always on about parking.


Next up is the sorry tale of groovy antique store owner Timothy Poshman (Mr Soane himself and star of the fantastic Le Orme McEnery) - alongside his girlfriend Ann (Kendall from Torso and Bird With A Crystal Plumage) - is busy sorting thru' the boxes of tat left to him by his old Aunt Sally in her will which alongside the usual cabinets, cups and crappy knitted toilet roll holders also includes a poppy-eyed portrait of a distant relative called Uncle Albert (Forsyth who, according to IMDB has been in more dodgy stuff than your dad) as well as his beloved penny farthing bicycle.

Tidying up for the evening in preparation for a well deserved Pot Noodle Timothy is shocked to find himself being inextricably compelled to mount his uncles bicycle and start pedaling.

No really.

But that's not the strangest part.

It seems that - in a kinda proto-Back To The Future/Quantum Leap way - Timothy's frantic pedal power actually causes the bike to not only travel back in time to the 1800's but for Timothy to enter Albert's body.

Not in a sexual way tho'.

Taking it all in his stride (and quite a lot of it up his arse judging by the bike seat) Timothy enjoys a quite ride around the park before coming across (phnar) the beautiful Beatrice (Kendall again but this time she's wearing a large hat), who it turns out was/is Albert's true love.

Beatrice tho' is worried, she's been having dreams that a terrible fate will befall her love and is sure that her premonition will come true.

Has Timothy time traveled to steer the couple to togetherness or is something more sinister (and slightly incomprehensible) afoot?

Who knows because to be honest we really don't have the time to dwell on such minutiae seeing as we've another two tales to get thru' so it's confused time travel shenanigans and exploding plates galore as the story lurches toward it's confused and nonsensical climax.

At least Suzy Kendall looks pretty.

Michael Jayston attempts to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality yesterday.

And taking of pretty we're suddenly transported by the power of wibbly-wobbly flashback to the English countryside (probably the big field behind the studio) where tight-trackied and bouncy bummed Brian Thompson (The Valeyard himself, Jayston) is jogging thru' the bushes on his way home from the shops or something.

Tho' he may be just jogging for fun.

Who knows?

None of that is important tho' as it's really just an excuse for him to come across (not in that way, well not yet) a bizarre shaped dead tree he finds propped up against a fence.

Exactly like your mom on a Saturday night.

Brian, taken aback by it's 'natural beauty' (IE it looks like it has breasts and a face-mounted vagina....no seriously, just look at the pic) carries it home and mounts it (again, not in that way just now) in the living room much to the chagrin of his beautiful (in a non- wooden way - never thought I'd say that about Joan Collins) wife Bella.

Admit it, you would.

 As her hubbie begins to spend very waking moment preening and polishing the tree - which he's named Mel due to it having, well the word MEL carved into it - trimming its bush, sanding its curves etc. Bella becomes evermore jealous, first hitting the bottle and then hitting the bed in quite possibly the sexiest babydoll nightie ever (complete with a yummy pink hair-bow....meow) in the hope of winning back her husbands heart.

I would, you would, your granddad did. Twice.

 Realizing that if it's good enough for Shatner it's bloody well good enough for him Brian heads off to the bedroom to treat Bella to an altogether different type of wood leaving Mel weeping green puss onto the living room carpet.

Later that night Bella is tormented by vivid dreams of tree-based violation culminating in her nightie getting ripped by twigs and her breasts popping out.

It's not too surprising then that upon awakening she storms into the living room with an axe intent on proving she's the lady of the house once and for all.....

Lady Gaga's cucumber suit cheered up a slightly depressed Phil Collins no end.

Back at the asylum Tremayne is excitedly introducing Nicholas to his most interesting - and complicated - case.

Tho' what can be more interesting than an ex-Doctor Who villain fucking a tree is beyond me.

Anyway whilst you think about that we're off to Polynesia where the bequiffed and man-boobed best-selling author Dave Kimo (Petrovich who you may remember as Tito in Turkey Shoot) is listening intently as his dying mum explains the secrets of eternal life to him whilst overdubbed bongo drums are played in the background by a variety of facepainted extras.

So fair so racist.

Having spent a life free of women, wine and low-waist trousers (and mirrors by the look of his barnet) Kimo has one thing left to do if he wishes to not only attain enlightenment but also guarantee his dear old mum a safe passage to the afterlife.

And that involves appeasing the Polynesian god of sideburns by performing the mysterious 'Luau' ceremony.

But for this Kimo needs a virgin.

Mary Tamm: Fancy trainers not shown.

Meanwhile back in dear old blighty the frightening frocked literary agent, Auriol - bless you - Pageant (an off her tits on prescription meds Novak), is excitedly preparing for Kimo's promotional book tour.

Having already booked him to do Loose Women and Summertime Special she's decided that what the tour really needs is a massive Hawaiian themed party to show her appreciation of his talent.

And if that results in her getting him pissed and touching his flaccid (I imagine) member then so be it.

Unfortunately on arriving in the UK Kimo seems much more interested in Auriol's beautiful young - as in school age....t'was a different time - daughter Ginny (Time Lady in waiting Tamm).

Tho' to be honest who can really blame him?

Things go from uncomfortable to slightly annoying tho' when it transpires that the local butcher can't get enough pigs meat for the party (really), luckily Kimo's servant Barry Keoki (hardworking Lissek who's been in everything from Shogun to Time Bandits via EastEnders...busy bloke) just happens to have a suitcase full of butchers knifes with him and excitedly offers to take over the party planning and source some 'special meat' for the celebration himself.

You can see where this is going can't you?

Put it in me!

Will Keoki cook poor Ginny and serve her up to the guests?

Will they eat her whole?

Or spit that bit out?

Will Dr Tremayne convince Nicholas that his experiments are a success or will the poor guy be himself declared insane before being dragged off to a padded cell setting up a bizarro ending featuring grainy stock footage of a tiger menacing an obviously unwell Jack Hawkins?

And will the image of Michael Jayston outrageously flirting with a polystyrene tree ever stop haunting my dreams?



Taking in a multitude of influences ranging from EC Comics to Robert Bloch via Gardeners Question Time, veteran Hammer and Amicus director Freddie Francis hits all the right notes - and the bottle by the look of things - with this frankly bonkers tale of tigers, trees and teen-based tea time terror.

 
Jennifer Jayne: Any excuse.

With a script from Dr Terror’s House of Horrors babe Jennifer Jayne (using the name Jay Fairbank due to women not being allowed to write spooky stuff in the 70s....go on check, it was the law), TTWM is at once as brilliantly bizarre as it is frustrating - and whilst not every story works there is at least something to enjoy in each.

Whether it be the fantastic fashions of Collins and Brown, Mary Tamm's ample arse or even Kim Novak attempting to subtly emote whilst dosed up on Ketamine and dressed as a comedy vegetable, there's something here for everyone.

Yes even fans of Victorian bicycles.

And I've not even mentioned the fantastic sight of Michael Jayston attempting to seduce a tree that just happens to be lying in his bed.

Well not for a few paragraphs anyway.

Plus any film that features a proto-Evil Dead style tree violation shot in the style (and colours) of a Debenhams Christmas ad is at least worth a few minutes of your time.


"Leaf me alone you beast!" Seriously this is quite possibly THE most erotic thing I have ever seen.


Criminally underrated and almost as hard to find as Lord Lucan, TTWM is well worth a watch, especially if you have a bottle - or two - of gin handy.

Oh and probably a box of tissues too.

Bloody bonkersly brilliant.

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