Hey Jeff, I've just installed the latest version of XAMPP for Windows on my new Windows 8 machine and I played around with some other basic PHP statements and they work perfectly fine, so my localhost is setup to handle PHP files.
Without the semicolon after the include a parse error displays (this is with the two lines included that you suggested, thanks!): Parse error: syntax error, unexpected '$title' (T_VARIABLE) in C:\xampp\htdocs\huffieroop\ itle.php on line 4. I added the semicolon after the include and no error displays, but the problem from the opening post still persists.
Not sure about any mod_rewrite stuff that might affect it. It's a standard install of XAMPP for Windows.
What's interesting is that I had the same files on my Windows 7 PC with a standard install of XAMPP for Windows and it works perfectly fine - As anyone would expect it to work!
The difference between my Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs, other than the operating system itself, is the install of XAMPP for Windows. On my Windows 7 PC I have XAMPP 1.7.4 with PHP 5.3.5 whereas on my Windows 8 PC I have XAMPP 1.8.1 with PHP 5.4.7 installed. But surely the fact that it's a newer stable version of PHP wouldn't affect it?
Very strange indeed. Any ideas how I could fix this guys? Very vexing problem!
As for the actual "HTML" source of the pages, see the screenshots below Salathe.