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Madhouse
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Reviews & Ratings for
Madhouse More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Didn't live up to its potential (spoilers)

Author: bgrubb (BruceLGrubb@gmail.com) from Las Cruces, NM
10 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie answers the question 'How can you have Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Robert Quarry star in a film and yet have a substandard to average picture?'

The premise of a horror star (Paul Toombes-Price) who had a nervous breakdown years ago as a result of his new wife being murdered in a manner used by the character he played (Dr. Death) and brought out of retirement by his fellow actor (Herbert Flay- Cushing) only to find the man who revealed that his wife had been fooling around that night (Quayle-Quarry) is the producer of the new Dr. Death series was a good one.

(minor spoilers past this point)

That said it is obvious the scriptwriter and director were both lazy. The pace of the picture moves along with all the urgency of a turtle out for a walk. Worse yet when you find out who the killer really was there are murder scenes that make no sense as there appears to have been no way for the killer to know that these people were a threat to his plans. The cops are portrayed in a manner that implies they must have gotten their badges out of cereal boxes because their efforts to keep an eye on their main suspect is pathetic (like letting him out of their sight while he is in front of a live audience). Then there is the padding of the film with clips from several Price films as being from "Dr. Death" pictures even though the characters in those films (Pit and the Pendulum, Fall of House of Usher) look *nothing* like Dr. Death; not to mention that that the way they are shown they might have as well been edited in a cuisinart. Then to top it off in a picture that has had zilch in supernatural element suddenly shifts gears and throws one in the last 5 minutes.

Quarry appears so infrequently that he might as well been billed as a cameo, Cushing gets a little more screen time but not much more than Quarry, so it falls on Price to try and save this train wreck of a picture. He manages to keeping the movie from becoming totally pathetic but he even cannot overcome the total ineptitude of the scriptwriter or director. Good for Price fans but little else to recommend it.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great film with Cushing and Price together!!

8/10
Author: turturici from Wilmingotn, DE
23 February 2000

What a great film! Cushing is an actor turned to writer creating the character and tv show Dr. Death. Price plays Paul Toombes, the actor who plays Dr. Death. What a movie!! What an ending!! If you like Cushing and Price, this is a great movie with a twist ending. The only downfall to this movie is that Cushing does not get enough film time with Price

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

The Waste...the Incredible Waste!

4/10
Author: BaronBl00d (baronbl00d@aol.com) from NC
22 December 2001

No bones about it. This film is not very good. It has so few moments of inspiration that I really have little to say in its favor. Let's tackle what is wrong with the film first. The story is threadbare and in many ways very illogical and incomprehensible. The ending makes little sense even though its billed as a "twist" ending. Paul Toombes, the co-creator of Dr. Death, was suspected of beheading his wife to be in Hollywood many years ago. He is brought to London by the other co-creator, writer Henry Flay, at least a dozen years later. Years of self-guilt, self-denial, and psychological analysis. So far so good. People begin to die again of course, but the three main suspects from many years ago are back. Vincent Price as Toombes, Peter Cushing as Flay, and Robert Quarry as a producer are all in London and all involved in a return to televisionshow of the retired Dr. Death. Toombes looks very guilty as we constantly see a pair of hands without a face put gloves on indicating someone is about to die. Little mystery here. It can only be one of three people, and the way the film is shot you know that it is unlikely Toombes did it...especially as one of the murders takes place while he is being interviewed. Now our suspects are down to two...and it is so incredibly easy to figure out the identity of the killer that I would go so far as to say there is NO mystery in this film. Any how, the story climaxes with an unrealistic and unexplained plot element that must have been scavenged from the throw-away red herring pile of Agatha Christie as something she would not even have the temerity to use and expect people to believe. I found myself after viewing th film filled with a great deal of disappointment that such huge talents were wasted. this was a co-production from Amicus and AIP. I think AIP just let the producer and director use a lot of Price's work from the old Corman-Poe movies. There are clips from The Raven, Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum(in black and white no less as it's advertised as one of Toombe's early works), and several others.The fact that the clips were used demonstrates the budget used in the film and the apparent lack of creativity and originality used in the film. Was there anything good? Yes, the pairing of Price and Cushing in ANY film is always worth a look. Price is excellent in some scenes, particularly those dealing with the business of the horror business. Cushing has little screen time but is effective for the most part. Quarry, though given little to do, is also a bonus. The real acting talent goes to Adrienne Corri as a woman whose body has been burned and has a penchant for spiders. Her character is totally unrealistic, but Corri really does a great job with what she is given. Themake-up of the Dr. Death character is fantastic. I think more could have been done with that. The biggest problem for me is not what the end product was but what it could have been. Vincent Price and Peter Cushing has shared so little screen time together that this movie could have been their penultimatepairing..for some it may be as I cannot think of but only one other film where they share any considerable screen time...House of the Long Shadows. For my money that is a far better film than this(and I am not particularly crazy about that film either)and at least gives the two actors time to thrust and parry against each other. In this film they have little to do. Such a shame!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The One Time Vincent Price Wasn't Playing Himself

7/10
Author: ikrani
15 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think that's the problem this movie has: it didn't cast Vincent Price as Vincent Price. Sure, he's gone under different names in his films, but let's be honest, we don't watch him for his characters, we watch him to see all the cool little things that Vincent Price does while on screen. He's much like Tim Curry in that respect.

This film, however, casts Vincent as Paul Toombes: a down-and-out horror icon whose haunted by the events of his past after his fiancé was murdered (after she was revealed to be a former adult film actress). This of course puts Paul in a bad mood and we get the moody, socially inept Vincent Price that no one wanted and nobody asked for. Adding to the body count of people murdered by the unexplained figure Doctor Death are Paul's liaison into the brave new world of television studios, a young actress who tries much to hard to get in bed with the uninterested Toombes, and her nagging parents who are so annoying that you'll jump up in jubilee when the mysterious murder skewers them in the most joyous of skewerings.

Only at the film's conclusion does it release Vincent Price from within the confines of Paul Toombes' moody self, end on a happy note that makes absolutely no sense but will ultimately leave you feeling good inside, even if it DOES make absolutely no sense.

Not the best of Vincent Price's films, but one that is no danger of being remade any time soon.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gee, Scooby, Grand Moff Tarkin was Dr. Death all along

3/10
Author: JoeB131 from United States
24 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Because there was like a mystery plot in here, I think. And the mystery plot was that Peter Cushing's character was trying to get Vincent Price's job that Vinnie didn't want to start with. Or something. And apparently, that involved murdering six or seven people.

Made about as much sense as spiders that could strip the flesh from ones bones like a piranha. Oh, wait, they had that too.

Amicus was the poor man's Hammer. American International was the Poor Man's just about everything in the USA. Together, they could churn out the mediocrity.

the way this film really shows its inadequacy is by showing clips from movies Vincent Price did that were actually almost good. Special Appearances by Basil Rathbone and Boris Karlof. As in "Too dead to complain about it!" Isn't that special?

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What's a ham actor to do when there's no scenery worth chewing?

3/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
14 September 2014

Rather tame, tepid screamer from American International, one with a PG rating and a cast full of weary oldsters and bland female murder victims. Vincent Price would seem to be snugly cast as the star of the "Dr. Death" horror movie series, coaxed back to the role after a 12-year hiatus following the unsolved slaying of his fiancée at a Hollywood party, who may be blacking out and killing people for real. But Price can barely summon up the energy to get through this leaden picture, and--what with clammy British locations and plodding set-ups--viewers can hardly blame him. Director Jim Clark can't seem to get anything right, not the scenes utilizing old movie clips nor the unravelling of Price's sanity. Showing us the actor's back teeth as he screams in shock, Clark is exploiting Price (just as he exploits Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff in the clips), feasting on the star's sagging, hairy face in unflattering close-ups. It's a hack job, made by hacks and actors in need of their paychecks, with a quasi-campy tone that is never acknowledged and shoddy cinematography worse than any television series of the era. *1/2 from ****

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I really wanted to like this more.

5/10
Author: InjunNose from Alabama
26 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Any movie that teams Vincent Price with Peter Cushing (and features Robert Quarry of "Count Yorga" fame and Adrienne Corri, to boot) should be more fun than "Madhouse" ultimately was. This tale of a horror film star (Price) who, with the assistance of his screenwriter friend (Cushing), comes out of retirement years after the mysterious murder of his fiancée just never gets going. While the performances are uniformly decent, the dialogue is clunky and many of the plot developments simply make no sense. The viewer can't help feeling that Ken Levison and Greg Morrison just didn't have their hearts in the screenplay and that Price, Cushing and company responded in kind. (It's obvious that Price, especially, understands he's working with substandard material.) Director Jim Clark conjures some eerie atmosphere in the murder scenes that take place around Cushing's rural cottage, but the rest of "Madhouse" is strictly ho-hum. Too bad that it was Price's last hurrah at AIP.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Welcome to the Madhouse

7/10
Author: Sean Jump from United States
4 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While not exactly a classic in the true sense that many of Vincent Price's films are, MADHOUSE is still a lot of fun and a worthy tribute to the genre of horror filmmaking. Price is to some degree playing himself here--or at least essaying the stereotypical version of himself that most fans probably consider the real thing--in the role of a veteran actor whose signature role is the wicked "Dr. Death." Naturally, Price does a great job, although it's fairly obvious he doesn't take the part altogether seriously--which, after all, is only appropriate. While it might not be completely accurate to label MADHOUSE all-out camp, it's close in the sense that the script has tongue firmly in cheek throughout and this is one of those horror movies that works best as a tribute to the genre that can be enjoyed by longtime fans. Price has a couple of excellent guest stars to work with, including Robert Quarry, Peter Cushing, and the radiant Linda Hayden in a small bit as a vampish aspiring actress who wants to manipulate Price for the good of her own career. Production values are good for a 70s horror film and direction is solid if unremarkable. Overall a fun flick for horror enthusiasts and fans of the strong cast.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good curio, but not one of Vincent Price's finest hours

6/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
24 July 2012

I saw Madhouse as I love Vincent Price and would see anything with him in, regardless of its reputation. Madhouse is not one of his best sadly, actually of the films of his I've seen(I need to see more but I have seen enough to know of his talent and most of them are good to great films) only Story of Mankind was worse. Madhouse does have major problems, the footage was interesting but doesn't always add much to the story or the atmosphere, while the script felt rushed and cobbled together and the story, although I didn't mind the unoriginality, just didn't thrill me enough and felt obvious complete with a twist that was entirely unsurprising. The film does feel stodgily paced sometimes also. On the other hand, the production values are decent, the editing could've been crisper but the settings and such do have a nice edge to them. The music is reasonably atmospheric also, but it is the cast that really lift this film. Peter Cushing is underused but as ever he is good value, and Robert Quarry is amusingly slimy. Their scene at the costume party was a lot of fun. Best of all was Price, proving once again that no matter the state of the film or script that he can do no wrong, with his magnetic presence, distinctive voice and deadpan delivery of lines, all present here. Overall, not sure if I recommend it but for Price or Cushing completists it is at least worth a look. Not a bad film, in fact better than its rather dismissive reputation, but considering the promise of the idea it had and the cast it could have been much more at the same time. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An average Horror

6/10
Author: TJMBuddlake from United States
25 April 2012

Madhouse with Vincent Price was actually pretty good. There were some moments where I think the story went dry but everything else was OK. The acting was good, the sets were cool looking, and the eerie music just had me on edge for the most part of the movie. But lets add something else awesome to the pot, Peter Cushing! What can I say about Cushing, he's a terrific actor. From his roles as Van Helsing in Dracula to Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. Now take that and add Vincent Price and what do you get, the greatest acting duo in a movie. Despite some mediocre moments, the movie was well worth it. I got this movie in the Vince Price 5 movie pack and that's saying something. Its an average horror, and replay value for me is average as well. Overall this gets a 6 out of 10.

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