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Madhouse (1974)

PG  |   |  Crime, Horror, Mystery  |  November 1974 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,216 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 41 critic

A horror movie star returns to his famous role after years in a mental institution. But the character seems to be committing murders independent of his will.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbert Flay
Oliver Quayle
Faye Carstairs Flay
Natasha Pyne ...
Julia Wilson
Michael Parkinson ...
T.V. Interviewer
Linda Hayden ...
Elizabeth Peters
Gerry Blount
Ellis Dale ...
Alfred Peters
Catherine Willmer ...
Louise Peters
John Garrie ...
Inspector Harper
Ian Thompson ...
Jenny Lee Wright ...
Carol Clayton
Julie Crosthwaite ...
Ellen Mason (as Julie Crosthwait)
Peter Halliday ...


Horror movie actor Paul Toombes, famous for playing "Dr. Death," suffers a nervous breakdown before going to England to do a TV series. Cast and crew members start dying the way characters did in Toombes' old movies. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If Stark Terror Were Ecstasy... living here would be sheer bliss! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

November 1974 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Deathday  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Peter Cushing dresses as Dracula, an in-joke reference: he frequently played Van Helsing in Hammer's Dracula series. See more »


Julia's dead body is breathing heavily after Paul Toombes discovers her. See more »


[first lines]
Villager in Movie: Dr. Death, where are you? Let's smoke him out!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"With special participation by Boris Karloff (and) Basil Rathbone." At time of film''s release in 1974, both actors had been been dead five and seven years respectively, and their "special participation" was limited to appearance in clips from old films in which they'd appeared with Vincent Price. See more »


Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »


When Day Is Dawn
Performed by Vincent Price
See more »

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User Reviews

A nice nod to Price's early career
14 September 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

The general consensus surrounding this film seems to be that it's a disappointment; and while I admit that Madhouse could have been a lot better considering the cast and ideas involved, in general; I'm very happy with the film. Every Vincent Price film that I haven't seen (not many left) is an automatic target for me, and this one also features a performance from the great Peter Cushing, which is a bonus. The central plot isn't all that original, but it still stands as a nice tribute to Vincent Price's career, and the way that director Jim Clark uses clips from classic Vincent Price movies such as Tales of Terror, House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum is good and reminds us of what a huge asset to cinema Vincent Price has been. The plot sees Price playing hammy horror movie actor Paul Toombes, famous for the role of 'Doctor Death'. When his wife is killed, Toombes vows never to play Doctor Death again; but on the advice of his friend and Doctor Death writer some years later, he reprises the role - and the murders continue.

The main problem with this movie is simply that it's not always interesting enough. Jim Clark seems content to rely on Price's star power; which is often just about sufficient to see the film through, although sometimes it could have done with something else. Peter Cushing's role isn't too much more than a cameo appearance - but it is nice to see these two great actors on screen together. As you might expect, Vincent Price slots into his self-replicating role nicely, and he seems to enjoy playing it. The story doesn't have much depth, however, and while the murder sequences are interesting and see things such as a woman being skewered with a rake and someone being crushed by an automated special effect bed. The script doesn't give much allowance for red herrings and through the one or two that there are; you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to spot which one it is. The film attempts a double twist ending, and while it plays out nicely; both are highly predictable and derivative of other movies that have carried off the same twists to better effect. But even so, you can always count on Price movies for entertainment; and this is entertaining despite its shortfalls.

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