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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Madhouse (1974)



As I move into day four of Vincent Price Week, I decided to watch and review his 1974 entry Madhouse. While this is not my favorite Price film, it definitely seems to grow on me more every time I watch it.


Plot/ Paul Toombes made himself a Hollywood star by playing the role of Dr. Death in a series of successful horror films written by his friend, Herbert Flay. Now, after years in a mental institution following the murder of his fiancée, Ellen - a murder that many, and even he himself, believe he committed - he wants nothing to do with the homicidal character. Herbert, who is writing a new TV series about Dr. Death, persuades him to return to the role. Paul soon regrets the decision when the producer of the series turns out to be the former maker of porn movies in which Ellen starred. Worse, his new female lead is arrogant and incompetent. Meanwhile, he discovers that he is not the only guest in Herbert's home. There's also Faye, his former co-star, who has gone mad after being deformed in a car explosion. But none of this unpleasantness compares to the horror of Dr. Death himself. It seems the character has a will of his own - a will to commit murder.


This is definitely more of a mystery, rather than pure horror (cheaply made horror film at that) that manages to add a small tinge of creepiness. Boast icons Price and Peter Cushing, it is a shame that this film, based on the novel Devilday by Angus Hall, seems to miss more than it hits. The script as many holes and despite some brilliant flashbacks to some of Price’s best roles from earlier film, the movie does not keep its momentum throughout. However, the film does have a campy feel with some nice visual elements sprinkled throughout. With that in mind, while this is not the best movie of his career, Madhouse is at least good fun (especially for Price fans).


1 comment:

  1. This actually looks like it'd be fun. Price in a flowing cape and a face made up to look like a grinning skull? That's worth the price of admission alone! I'll have to seek this one out.

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