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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tales That Witness Madness [Blu-ray]

 

(Freddie Francis, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: World Film Services

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:34.137

Disc Size: 16,460,209,090 bytes

Feature Size: 16,328,835,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 7

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 26th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 848 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 848 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Stroll down the corridors of a mental asylum, where your mind won't believe what your eyes see. In the tradition of Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow, this anthology of pulp horror tales, helmed by the ever-reliable horror master, Freddie Francis (Dr. Terror's House of Horrors). The film features a quartet of eerie vignettes involving four patients in the care of psychiatrist Donald Pleasance (Halloween), who's attempting to justify his strange theories to colleague, Jack Hawkins (Theatre of Blood). The all-star cast includes Kim Novak, Joan Collins, Peter McEnery and Suzy Kendall.

 

 

The Film:

Essentially a reworking of their earlier omnibus Asylum, this is another anthology of pulp horror tales from Amicus,... this one helmed by the ever-reliable Freddie Francis. It features a quartet of eerie vignettes involving four patients in the care of psychiatrist Dr. Tremayne (Donald Pleasence), who is attempting to justify his strange theories to a colleague (Jack Hawkins, who died shortly after his scenes were filmed) by explaining the horrific events that drove the patients to their current state. The first tale centers on a young boy (Russell Lewis), whose parents' constant squabbling prompts him to conjure an imaginary tiger to devour them. The second involves a Victorian-era bicycle which allows its finder (Peter McEnery) to travel back in time and live as his own ancestor. The goofy third chapter pits a jealous wife (Joan Collins) against a strange rival for her husband's attention: a tree possessed by a human soul. The final segment stars Kim Novak (a last-minute replacement for Rita Hayworth) as a literary agent who must sacrifice her own daughter (Mary Tamm) to appease the restless spirit of her client's mother. Although certainly not the studio's best effort, this is still an amusing diversion, featuring the standard twist ending and a flamboyant approach suggestive of EC horror comics.

***

"Tales That Witness Madness," which opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters, is Mr. Franci's glossiest, most absurd, almost-all-star horror film yet. Like his "Torture Garden" and "Tales From the Crypt," it is a collection of unrelated stories that, this time, have as their connecting link a mad doctor (Donald Pleasence) who theorizes to his friend (the late Jack Hawkins) that truth has physical substance that can be isolated, like hormones.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The image quality of Tales That Witness Madness by Olive Films is standard from the production company - modest 1080P representation of the original Paramount source. No restoration or manipulation. The Blu-ray is, predictably, single-layered but holds up okay with decent detail and colors plus some depth here and there. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio film has been transferred at 1.78. There is a shade of texture and overall eclipses SD but will never be used as a demo disc.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audio :

Limited but authentic audio in a DTS-HD Master mono track at a wimpy 848 kbps. Screams can sound piercing but there is no heavy depth. The original music is by Bernard Ebbinghouse and effectively adds a layer of suspense via lossless. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Nutt'in.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There is no real critiquing of Tales That Witness Madness - I mean, what do you expect with the title and directed by Freddie Francis? I thought there was some cool nostalgia here with the likes of Kim Novak, Hawkins and Pleasence as the thoughtful scientists as the segue between stories, and Collins and Kendall as the sexy distractions. The horror is a little creepy but I don't think the filmmakers were going for much more. It's kinda fun - maybe running a shade long but I enjoyed it as an amusing kitschy distraction. The Blu-ray isn't far from the same - a modest 1080P that provides an adequate presentation to get some cheap thrills in the Home Theater. Yeah - I can see quite a few getting a curious hoot out of this while feeling some comfort around the star power. 

Gary Tooze

June 7th, 2012

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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