After the death of her parents, a young girl arrives at a convent and brings a sinister presence with her. Is it her enigmatic imaginary friend, Alucarda, who is to blame? Or is there a satanic force at work?
Cristina Carver (Angelica Maria) finds herself in dire straits after she arrives to spend some time with her TV-reporter husband (Dean Stockwell) who is visiting a Latin American country ... See full summary »
Juan López Moctezuma
In the beginning of the movie you see a woman getting raped by a man-creature of some sort. The movie takes place years later when the child that was a result of that rape is on the rampage... See full summary »
A mysterious man is sent deep into the forest to investigate the bizarre behavior of the notorious Dr. Tarr. What he stumbles upon is the doctor's torture dungeon, a hellish asylum completely cut off from civilization and presided over by the ultimate madman. Innocent people have been savagely chained, tortured and stuck in glass cages, then forced to take part in gruesome games of ritual slaughter. Written by
Despite being a Mexican production and having a mostly Mexican cast and crew, this movie was filmed in English, then dubbed into Spanish for Mexican cinemas. The version released in USA, retitled "Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon", is actually the original version (not a dub), but in a cut form. See more »
It was the grisly demon-possession flick "Alucarda" (1978) that first made me aware of the talents of the late, underrated Mexican director Juan L. Moctezuma. Anxious to see more, I popped in the DVD for Moctezuma's first film, 1973's "The Mansion of Madness" (also, fortunately, on the Mondo Macabro label), and was pleased to discover that it is another winner, although much less disturbing and intense a horror outing than "Alucarda." The film nicely captures and expands Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 short story "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether" (one of many that Roger Corman never got around to adapting!), and shows what can happen when the inmates of a madhouse literally take over the asylum. In the film, we make the acquaintance of a young man named Gaston Leblanc who has recently graduated from journalism school in 19th century America, and played by hunky dude Arthur Hansel (who looks a good 20 years too old for the part). Leblanc returns to his French homeland to do a story on a mental institution run by one Dr. Maillard (Claudio Brook, the doctor turned demon slayer in "Alucarda"), whose innovative "soothing system" of letting his inmates run free has been causing quite a stir in medical circles. But shocking surprises await Leblanc as he enters the titular "mansion of madness"....
This film, I should say, starts out very strangely, and Maillard's initial tour of his institution may cause some viewers to shake their heads in bewilderment. My advice would be to stick with it, though, as several plot twists serve to both clarify matters and ratchet up the suspense. Novice film director Moctezuma gives the viewer something interesting to look at in virtually every shot, especially toward the picture's conclusion. That banquet sequence is a literal phantasmagoria of oddball characters doing unusual things, the frame filled with hyperkinetic wonder. Kudos also to cinematographer Rafael Corkidi, especially for his stunning work outdoors. A welcome addition to the Poe story here: a romantic subplot of sorts featuring an inmate named Eugenie, played by beautiful Ellen Sherman. And speaking of "beautiful," Susana Kamini, who played the gorgeous Justine in "Alucarda," can be seen in this film as well. Look sharp: There she is, playing the topless inmate on the receiving end of that fishing pole! Opening with a pensive voice-over amongst lovely country scenery and concluding with a seeming homage to--of all people--"Little Caesar"'s Rico Bandello, the picture is a fascinating experience from beginning to end. Thanks again, you Mondo Macabro maniacs!
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