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Following the grisly murder of his fiancee,Hollywood film star Paul Toombes(Vincent Price)withdraws into his own world.Some time later,he is persuaded by an old actor-friend(Peter Cushing)to revive his famous horror role as Doctor Death.Life soon becomes a living nightmare for Toombes when friends and colleagues are brutally murdered one by one."Madhouse" is a rather cheaply made horror film that manages to create only a little bit of suspense.The story,which is based on the novel 'Devilday' by Angus Hall is also not very intriguing.Director Jim Clark uses clips from old Roger Corman horror films featuring Vincent Price as reenactments of the murders.Still the film is slightly entertaining and it's nice to see two horror veterans Vincent Price and Peter Cushing together.Check it out.7 out of 10.
I thought this "diamond in the rough" was masterfully done. Vincent Price is his old self as the true the master of macabre. It is easy to see that this movie contains many characteristics found heavily in the modern day, surprise ending, slasher flick. With many exciting and suspenseful chase scenes, a wicked masked murderer, quick slashing deaths, and an emotionally disturbed main character, "Madhouse" reminds me of a sick mixture of "Scream" and Hitchcock's classic, "Psycho." In addition, the scenes and camera shots beautifully convey the mood and emotion of the awkward story line. Although obviously low budget, it baffles me that "Madhouse" isn't more recognized on the ongoing list of cult classics. Not the best movie in the world, but certainly worth checking out.
This was made around the same time as 'Vault of horror' and it shows. Vincent Price is an ageing movie star who is asked to reprise his role as a killer a few years after his wife-to-be was decapitated by a killer nobody caught. The movie within a movie is just footage obtained from Prices earlier horror flicks like 'Pit and the pendulum' and 'The house of Usher'. The movie itself has good performances from Price and Peter Cushing and the music is great! The music sets an atmosphere for good horror especially in a part where a girl is looking for Vincent Price in Peter Cushings garden. The part where Vincent Price is interviewed by Michael Parkinson adds some class to the movie and also some terror as the killer is stalking someone in the studio! Overall, the movie has a good atmosphere helped by Douglas Gamleys music and decent acting. The movie is tense with the old dark house style 'looking downstairs with a candle' and some good deaths. The only problems are with the story as this just looks like a tribute to Prices earlier movies than something original and the 70's rock music in one of the death scenes. It gives the movies age away and isn't as timeless as Prices earlier movies. If your a Price and Cushing fan you will like it but for a normal person, its a scary but dim treat. 5 and a half out of 10.
There is the seed of a good campy horror movie here, and there are some genuinely humorous bits here and there. But the storyline is a mess, as if the writer was trying to cram in every element found in previously popular Price movies. At the end (which in itself contains a lot of unanswered questions), there were a lot of unexplained/unresolved stuff and characters left over. I have to wonder if there was some frantic rewriting or last minute editing during the production. There is some value of seeing both Price and Cushing here, though you should know that Cushing doesn't appear that much. I suspect that he was just hired for a few days of shooting, because from the looks of the movie, they didn't have a high budget.
Despite its star trio of 1970s horror masters--Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry--"Madhouse" is not so much a horror film as a murder mystery with horror trappings. Very loosely based on Angus Hall's rather trashy novel "Devilday" (in which the central character of horror movie actor "Paul Harvard Toombs" is much more sinister), it features Price in a role that was at the time not too far removed from his real life situation: a film actor who would really like to move past horror films, but who for a variety of reasons was duty bound to keep making them. Price's character suffered a breakdown after his fiancé was horribly murdered. Several years later, after he is contracted to return to his signature role of "Dr. Death" for a television series, a new rash of murders occur and even Toombs himself does not know whether he is responsible or not. Cushing appears as the writer of the "Dr. Death" show and Quarry, in an uncharacteristically amusing performance, plays the producer, a parody of Amicus Films' Milton Subotsky (Amicus and Subotsky co-produced). Adrienne Corri has a bizarre role as a crazed, burn-scarred former actress, who has taken to living in Cushing's basement and raising spiders, which doesn't really fit in with the rest of the film. Still, as a quasi-horror film, "Madhouse" is fine; it contains some great, atmospheric scenes of "Dr. Death" stalking his victims, and despite its flying in from left field, the whole Corri subplot is undeniably unnerving. As a mystery...well, it's not really very hard to figure out who is responsible for the killings. But what "Madhouse" was obviously intended to do, and what it pretty much fails at, is to provide Price with the kind of career summation picture that Peter Bogdanovich gave Boris Karloff through 1968's "Targets." Old film clips from "House of Usher," "Pit and the Pendulum," "Tales of Terror," "The Haunted Palace" and "The Raven" are interspliced to give us a look at the actor's background, but they are not presented in a way that offers any kind of resonance to Toombs/Price's career. I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Vincent Price about this film a couple years after it was made, and he was not very happy with the way it turned out. But purely on the surface level, "Madhouse" is an entertaining, grisly whodunnit that offers good roles to its three stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Vincent Price is my favorite actor, and, until recently, Jim Clark's
"Madhouse" was one of the very few Horror films with the Horror icon
that I had yet to see. Since I knew that Price was playing a Horror
actor, who returns to his role after years of mental problems, I was
expecting a film very similar to Price's two most famous 70s films,
"The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (1971) and "Theater of Blood" (1973).
However, "Madhouse" turned out not to be a blatant copy after all.
While it never reaches the greatness of the two previously mentioned
films, "Madhouse", which also features Price's fellow Horror deity
Peter Cushing (another favorite actor of mine) is a very likable
mixture of Horror, Mystery, Parody and Black Comedy and a great homage
to Price's earlier career.
Price plays Horror actor Paul Toombes, who is most famous for playing the role of a villain named "Dr. Death". When his fiancée gets killed, Toombes falls in a state of shock and becomes insane. After treatment and several years without appearing in public, Toombes is invited by a sleazy producer (Robert Quarry) to reprise his role. He therefore comes to England where he is welcomed by his friend, fellow actor, and "Dr. Death" screenwriter Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing). However, soon after Toombes' appearance, a bizarre murder is committed, then followed by another, and corpses begin to pile up. Has Toombes gone mad and brought Dr. Death into real life? Or is there someone else behind the gruesome acts? "Madhouse" is, primarily, worth watching for its great cast. No Horror lover can allow himself or herself to miss a film starring Vincent Price AND Peter Cushing, and though this one is quite far from being among either man's best films, it is obvious that the two Horror deities had great fun making this film. One of my main complaints about "Madhouse" is that Cushing should have had more screen time. The rest of the cast is also very good, Robert Quarry ("Dr. Phibes Rises Again") fits very well in his role of the sleazy producer. The female cast includes Adrienne Corri (who is probably best known as the rape victim in Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange", and who had previously been in "Vampire Circus" of 1972, which is my choice for the greatest Hammer film) as well as the beautiful young Linda Hayden ("Taste The Blood of Dracula").
As mentioned above, the film is a nice homage to Price's earlier career, and features parts of Roger Corman's Poe films, which mark the highlights of Price's impressive career. This film being co-produced by AIP, which produced the Poe films, allowed the film to include actual sequences from these films (the other production company involved were the British Anthology Horror specialists from Amicus). Some of the films featured in this one are "House of Usher" (1960), "Pit and the Pendulum" (1961), "The Haunted Palace" (1963), "Tales of Terror" (1962) and "The Raven" (1963). The sequences that are shown are all supposed to be scenes from the fictional 'Dr. Death' series. "Tales of Terror" and "The Raven" gave the producers the opportunity to credit Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone, even though they are only seen in archive footage. The film has a nice, morbid sense of humor that often resembles that of "Theater of Blood" and "Dr. Phibes". There is some light and amusing gore, and the killings are wonderfully macabre.
"Madhouse" isn't nearly the same quality as "Theater of Blood" or "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and yet it is another delightfully macabre 70s Horror Comedy starring the most magnificently sinister actor who ever enriched the world of Horror. Vincent Price, we worship thee!
I saw this movie for the first time about a year ago and thought it was genuinely pretty creepy. I am from the Scream generation and believe it or not, saw comparisons between this movie and Scream. It made me feel the same way. It was horror with a little bit of mystery. I am hoping for a dvd release of the film. If you haven't seen the movie, give it a try. You might be surprised.
After a mental breakdown following the murder of his bride to be, famed horror actor Paul Toombes (Vincent Price) is persuaded to return to the Dr Death role that made him famous. He is persuaded by a writer friend of his Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing) who is also the scriptwriter of all the Dr Death movies. Soon Toombes finds his mind is again being tested as the series of mysterious deaths that plagued him before, returns. The police soon suspect Toombes of the crimes, but who is the mysterious masked and caped killer that is disrupting filming? Lots of campy and cheesy fun with some horror greats, there's actually some nice visuals too that I hadn't remembered from previous viewings. Not price's best but still good fun.
A horror movie star (Vincent Price) returns to his famous role after
years in a mental institution. But the character seems to be committing
murders independent of his will.
This is a great cast! Vincent Price as horror star Paul Toombes, Peter Cushing as his friend Herbert Flay. And even throw in Robert Quarry as Oliver Quayle. Cushing and Price alone sell a film, but Quarry (known to horror fans as Count Yorba) is a welcome addition.
This is probably the sexiest Price film. While he has had his share of female co-stars, and some of them even sort of foxy (see the Phibes films), here is the first time I know of where women are practically throwing themselves at him. Sure, he is past 60 at this point, but still a handsome man in his own right.
I also have to give credit to whoever joined Amicus and AIP together. AIP has consistently made Price a star in their films, and Amicus is a powerhouse in Britain (second only to Hammer). By combining them, that was a work of genius (and I presume why we see Cushing and Price share a screen).
Some critics have bashed the film saying "it could have been written during a lunch break", but I think it is a very touching homage to Price's career in horror, particularly with the showing of some of his past work. Howard Maxford hesitantly approves, saying it has "a fairly successful mixture of chills and humour." I concur.
There are, of course, other Price films to see first. But do not rule this one out -- it is better than some of his other work (I thought it easily topped "Cry of the Banshee") and a real treat to see him alongside Cushing. For as little exposure as this one gets, it is much better than you might think (though, the most overlooked Price film is still probably "Mad Magician").
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's got Vinnie The P - Yaaay! Peter Da Cush - Yaaay! AND THEY ACT
TOGETHER!!! Yep, none of your Scream and Scream Again solo stuff here.
Price and Cushing team up as fading horror star Paul Toombes and script
writer Herbert Flay (nope it's not a Carry On Film) creators of a
character by the name of Dr. Death, a big horror hit years ago but not
so hot since the day Toombes discovered his fiancé's decapitated corpse
at a party to celebrate the latest Dr. Death flick. Toombes has an
understandable nervous break-down, being unable to remember if he "did
it" (Yep, it's also one of those "Am I going Barmy?" films).
However an on-form Robert Quarry, sleazy film producer extraordinaire, invites Toombes to make a come back in England in a Dr. Death t.v. series, and of course it's not long before the killings start again...
The Madhouse of the title is presumably the house where ol Pricey stays during his visit, namely because Cushing's wife lives in the basement with a bunch of spiders and is really quite barking. She still seems to fancy Toombes, though.
This is a strange but agreeable little film. Price is not really suited to the part of the cracked-up hero, but maybe he and Cushing exchanged their usual parts. Uncle Cush is brilliant, though -and just wait till you see the end - Price as Cushing as Price (work that one out!)It can be viewed as a forerunner to all those terrible slasher pics and although it's certainly not as good as Theatre Of Blood it does have something unique in cinema history to my knowledge.
Where else would you see a murder on the Michael Parkinson Show?!!!
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