Penny notices a long closed and abandoned cinema is inexplicably open. She sneaks in, and discovers The Theatre Bizarre, a horror anthology of tales, presented by an eerie human puppet (which for someone with a apprehension towards puppets and stop motion cinema was frankly, terrifying.)
The stories are a mixed bag, none of them are train wrecks, but some are definitely better than others. The first story, The mother of Toads, has so much unused potential and is ultimately wasted and uninspired. I love you was thoroughly enjoyable tale of neurotic fixation and desperation; however, the acting is a little coarse. Tom Salvini’s Wet Dreams is an odd trippy dream sequence which, although not terrible, is one of the weaker segments. The Accident is thought provoking stuff and not quite a horror story, but rather a look at death from the perspective of a mother telling her young daughter, an odd but interesting addition to the collection. Vision Stains is an unsettling short with some original ideas, and lastly, is followed by the peculiar and fun, Sweets, an amplified, distorted look at food fetishes.
The movie plays out like most horror anthologies such as Trick ‘r Treat, Monster Club and Creepshow but with the weirdness turned up to full volume. The Theatre Bizarre feels like a backstreet London fetish club delivering six shows of obsession and Sadomasochism, it may not be your kind of thing, but hell, it’s worth a try. There’s a lot of fun gore, twisted torture scenes, and a generous dose of nudity.
Overall, The Theatre Bizarre is an entertaining watch that stands out for its dark visual indulgences. It’s clearly aimed at hardcore fans and perhaps could gain somewhat of a cult following among specialist audiences. At times it feels as your watching samples of longer films, instead of complete short works, and in a few places its texture is a bit cheap and overly theatrical. Nevertheless, It holds its own against other recent films in the horror anthology sub genre.
Our Rating: 5.7 / 10