A young girl obsessed with an abandoned theater wanders through her seedy neighborhood after noticing the theater door is open. Once inside, the theater comes to life and shares six separate tales of terror to the riveted viewer.
Starring Udo Kier and Virginia Newcomb
This horror anthology features multiple writer, directors, and actors. Find the complete list at IMDb.
Enola Penny decides to venture from the safety of her apartment when she notices the front door of an abandoned theater is slightly ajar. Already obsessed with the creepy building, Enola slips inside and the theater comes to live. The music begins and Peg Poett (Kier), a creepy combination of a human marionette and something from my 1977 trip to Disneyland’s Hall of Presidents. Peg treats the viewer to six tales of horror and revulsion that touch on taboo and disturbing stories and imagery. There’s no shortage of gore or sexuality missing from this R rated Film.
Kicking off the terror is The Mother of Toads, a deeply Lovecraftian tale about two Americans traveling abroad. The gloomy atmosphere of rolling, lumbering fog anchors the story well, painting an accurate picture of a cursed foreign village. Lured in with a promise to see the actual Necronomican, the protagonist finds his knowledge of the arcane to be a slippery slope. The constant references to H.P. Lovecraft and his mythology sucked me into the opening story. If not for the occasional horror cliché and the overacted/directed villain, this was a great opener.
The clear winner of The Theatre Bizarre is The Accident, a mother must explain death to her young child after they come upon a fatal motorcycle accident. Not quite horror, but told and filmed in such a tense way that a nervous sense of dread permeates your living room. There’s no twist or big shock at the end, just the laborious discussion of a mother and child both trying to learn from the sudden tragedy and finality of dying.
Throw in a ridiculous Tom Savini directed tale of penis trauma and psychology, mingle it with a woman killing the dregs of society to mine their ocular fluid in a twisted take on posterity – and there you have The Theatre Bizarre. It’s sometimes brilliant even amongst the clichéd tales and moments of bottom rung acting. The top-notch production value and creative set design help this pass from forgettable to wholly disturbing. Don’t go out of your way to catch this one, but it does provide nearly two hours of squirm-worthy horror anthology.