TORTURE ZONE (a.k.a. Fear Chamber) * Mexico / U.S.A. 1968 Dir: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez 72 mins
This version on the Boris Karloff Collection DVD I watched is the heavily edited home video release from 1987. The original film ran for nearly 90 minutes so my review is solely based on the version I seen on this DVD collection. Due to the way this version is edited the story is pretty incoherent which is a shame but here is what can be gathered from the limited remaining plot. A team of scientists discover a living rock beneath a volcano. Under further scrutiny they discover that this rock feeds on the adrenaline of frightened young women, so the scientists construct a fear chamber and kidnap women to feed the rock creature.
It is often repeated throughout the movie that the rock is not living…yet it moves! Boris Karloff hasn’t got alot to work with in this film as hes either sitting at a computer in his lab or laying in his bed at home. The film culminates with lots of explosions and the destruction of the menacing rock. I wouldn’t say this was a chore to sit through as there is far worse films out there but it has a laughable plot with many unanswered questions. It does have some impressive sets though including the fear chamber and the lab where the rock is held to be studied. Some of the acting is beyond terrible including one scene involving a disfigured man speaking his lines like a robot for no reason whatsoever. Just in case you get lost in the story (which is easily done) there is a scene involving a stripper getting groovy before she gets killed by the rock. Much like the other scenes involving women in various forms of undress it is there for sleaze factor, including the whipping of a woman tied up. It is pretty obvious which scenes Hill and Ibáñez had shot respectively as the two visions don’t come together well. Karloff seems to be on cruise control throughout but as mentioned he doesn’t have alot to work with in this film. Overall the film is a mishmash of ideas, poorly constructed to form a film leaving the viewer boggled as to what they just watched.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins