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|Index||51 reviews in total|
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.
"Madhouse" bears a lot of resemblance with the previous year's "Theater of Blood", and actually that movie was already some sort of multiplication of the 1971 hit "The Abominable Dr. Phibes". General conclusion: throughout the early 70's Vincent Price's successful career largely relied on playing the same flamboyant character over and over again, but who cares seriously, as all his films are hugely entertaining and worth tracking down. "Madhouse" even features another rewarding bonus, as Vincent Price shares the screen with fellow horror legend Peter Cushing. Here in this film, Price wondrously (of course) depicts a horror actor named Paul Toombes who has practically converged with his fixed movie character Dr. Death. When his future wife is found savagely beheaded on the morning after numerous house guests witnessed a verbal dispute, Paul Toombes is led to believe that years of identifying with Dr. Death has driven him to madness and actual murder. Toombes retires for twelve long years, until his good friend and manager Herbert convinces him to reprise his legendary Dr. Death role in a TV-format. As soon as the series begins filming, dead bodies start piling up again. Is Paul Toombes really a maniacal killer or is there someone, dressed in his horror movie costume, trying to make him look guilty? Director Jim Clark, usually a respectable editor, clearly intended to make an amusing and tongue-in-cheek Grand Guignol effort, rather than a serious and indigestible thriller. The film features clippings from previous Vincent Price highlights, including "The Haunted Palace", "House of Usher" and "The Raven". Perhaps Clark borrowed this idea from Peter Bogdanovich, who did something similar with Boris Karloff's career in "Targets". The murders in "Madhouse" are extremely imaginative, although incredibly over-the-top, like the crushing bed sequence. Dr. Death's outfit and make-up are deliciously macabre and there are some bonkers sub plots, like a crazy woman in a basement and the ravishing Linda Hayden as a over-enthusiast fan-girl/stalker. Recommended, but only if you're a fan of Vincent Price and his career.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
About a year after coming to the UK to film "Theatre of Blood", Vincent
Price was tempted to return in this lesser horror flick which saw a
collaboration between American International Pictures and Amicus
Productions and teamed him up with two other horror genre big guns -
Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry.
Thinly based on Angus Hall's novel "DevilDay" Price plays Paul Toombes, a horror film actor who is cajoled back from reclusion to resume his portrayal of the Doctor Death character he had done so successfully years before until he suffered a mental breakdown following the grisly murder of his fiancée. Unfortunately, Toombes' grip on reality starts to wane and his sanity is questioned when some murders start taking place in and around the film set.
Clearly the film was partially made to pay homage to Price's horror film career as we see excerpts from some of Price's old AIP films which are intertwined in the plot and for the purposes of the story they are explained as clips from Toombes's Dr. Death films. This is probably the biggest gripe of the film because any Price fan will not be able to disassociate the clips from Price's career and "pretend" they are clips from the Dr. Death movies (in fact it is not impossible to name each movie). Furthermore, none of the characters shown in the excerpts even resemble the Dr. Death character so the link is bizarre and tenuous in the extreme.
The film is also guilty of being caught between two stools: seriousness and parody; and despite Price's trusted hamminess the film uncomfortably wavers between the two rather than pitches itself in one camp or the other.
The screen time of both Cushing and Quarry and their general interaction with Price is disappointingly minimal, but this is somewhat redeemed at the end of the film, when a largely suppressed Cushing "comes out of his shell" and expresses the most vigorous dialogue of the whole film, which forms some sort of an entertaining twist. In fact, the last ten minutes of the film would appear to be the most appealing and worthwhile.
Saddled with characters who you don't really care for, the film is not a total washout but it is well short of the intrinsic entertainment value that was derived from both of the Phibes films and "Theatre of Blood". Price himself was apparently dissatisfied by the end product and with the decline in the horror market in the mid 70s (Amicus made one more film whist Hammer integrated a bit of Kung Fu unsuccessfully and carried on until 1975), Price didn't make another horror film for nearly 7 years.
All in all I would go as far to say that it would be more beneficial for non-Price fanatics to watch it, but whatever the inclination of the viewer the disjointed and patchy proceedings that are served up are not likely to be digested too easily.
After the death of his fiancée, a Hollywood film star Paul Toombes who
was known for his horror character "Dr Death" retreats into his own
little world. Years have past, when an old friend/co-worker encourages
him to make a comeback with his old character. But soon enough after
returning, murders are occurring and the brutal kill scenes in Toombes'
old horror films influence them. Is Toombes losing his mind by becoming
part of his Dr. Death character or is there someone out there trying to
pin it all on him?
This nifty, if not terribly spectacular camp chiller by AIP/Amicus co-production went out of its way to pair up two influential horror draw cards, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. Who definitely lifts the film's bar out of average, even though I don't think they give their greatest performances or share much screen time together. Anyhow it's more so Price's film with Cushing in a secondary support role to him. The film and the story (taken from the novel "Devilday" by Angus Hall) actually rely on Price and his flamboyant persona, and streaming throughout the presentation are clips from his vintage AIP horror works. Oh, the memories. They are not just chucked in, but are tailored into the story with a purpose. Just like his ealier flicks, the "Abominable Dr. Phibes" films and of course "Theatre of Blood", this one has plenty of sly in-jokes scattered through the witty script and worked into the impulsive death scenes. The premise plays with a concept involving a horror film mocking and working around with horror traditions rather nicely. The (paltry) plot seems more compact then it really is. The routine actions occur and they come across as quite laboured and uneven in spots. Lazy pacing and the unfathomable nature of it all cause this. The identity of the killer in the Dr. Death costume isn't a big surprise, as the mystery side of the script never tries to side step you with heavy red herrings. Actually some character's deaths truly come out of the blue, though. Surrounding the film is a morbidly Gothic atmosphere and painted in is an obvious slasher mark. James Clark's fully blunt direction can get stuffy, but he gets out some exciting passages that drips with suspense and kicks out one outrageous twist and even off-kilter conclusion. A fruitful music score by Douglas Gamley is prominently saucy and at times eerie. The film also benefited from a solid cast. Other than Price's extravagantly variable turn and Cushing's sombrely lightweight performance. Featuring on screen with the duo happened to be Robert Quarry (in to small of a role) as an obsequious producer and the always-ravishing Linda Hayden chips in as an extremely persistent groupie. Adrienne Corri is quite enjoyable in her whacked role and there's an amusing cameo role by Michael Parkinson as a TV interviewer (oh, the irony).
It's not a very memorable or macabre outing, but this horror show is moderately campy fun where life is imitating art with mixed results.
This is like the male version of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" You'll either think it's the worst thing you've ever seen or -- as I did -- find it one of those rare things that truly is so bad it's good. Any flick whose last line is "Sour cream and red herring" is worthy of polar reaction
I thought this might be a good example of the great classic Vincent
Price horror movie. Given the fact that Peter Cushing was also in it, I
was definitely on board. The two do great jobs, but it was just a bad
story. The direction was good at parts, for some I had to wonder what
the director was thinking. It's as if he made the movie for
grade-schoolers. It's full of plot holes, convenient occurrences and
things people would never do. The ending was uninspired and
predictable, but also confusing. At the end of the day, I can't
recommend this movie - even with the great actors in it.
I'm only giving it 6/10 out of respect for Price. Otherwise it would be lower.
As Vincent Price's career started winding down he starred in a number
of British horror flicks like "Madhouse". This movie casts him
basically as himself but depicts his famous character committing
murders on its own. It's not any great movie but enjoyable enough for
its running time. A trick that they use is to incorporate scenes from
some of Vincent Price's earlier movies, so we get footage of the late
Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone. Overall the plot brings to mind the
blurring of reality and fiction (or even the blurring of the line
between news and entertainment).
So, "Madhouse" is no "House on Haunted Hill" or "Pit and the Pendulum", but it's still a fun movie. It's easy to see why Price was one of Tim Burton's idols (Burton even cast him as the inventor in "Edward Scissorhands"). The rest of the cast here includes Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri (Mrs. Alexander in "A Clockwork Orange") and Michael Parkinson (a TV interviewer). Director Jim Clark was best known as an editor, having edited "Marathon Man" and "The Killing Fields".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MADHOUSE came out at around the same time as fellow Vincent
Price-starrer THEATRE OF BLOODand both films share an aspect of deliria
that make them worthwhile watches. While the latter film is today
regarded as a classic, however, MADHOUSE has slipped into the void and
is regarded as an interesting obscurity at best. I enjoyed the film,
but I freely admit that it's no classic; it lacks pacing and focus in
the script, and during a couple of moments I was left looking at my
watch, waiting for something to happen. It doesn't help that attempts
at comedy (if that is indeed what they are) are quite awful; the attack
by the couple with the watch in the garden is one such moment and it
really stood out as a cheesy, unfunny, just plain weird moment in the
To start off with, it's business as usual. Vincent Price plays Paul Toombes, a horror actor with a successful career as the creepy "Doctor Death". Essentially Price is playing himself and the film has a self-referencing angle that came decades before Wes Craven did it in SCREAM. Toombes is the main suspect in a string of grisly murders, although the special effects rubbery severed head, hanging body are laughable rather than frightening. We're never quite sure whether Toombes is insane and committing the crimes himself, or if he's being framed by an arch rival, and it doesn't really matter: by the end of the film he's quite mad anyway. What follows are a couple of twist endings and a memorable final shot which boasts astonishingly good make-up job.
Vincent Price was a major draw for me and without him, I think this film would have been dire. With him, it's quite good. He has a lot of fun with the role and some creepy moments as the camera captures his distorted face. Price is ably supported by a pair of fellow horror veterans, Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry, although the two of them appear in relatively few scenes and their appearances seem to be little more than extended cameos. The delectable Linda Hayden also pops up in some eye-popping outfits and she's as gorgeous as ever, while chat-show host Michael Parkinson puts in a cameo that really adds to the movie as well as dating it. Adrienne Corri overacts her heart out as a crippled madwoman living in the cellar with her tarantulas.
This was an Amicus/AIP co-production, so plenty of use is made of Price's career with Roger Corman; we get clips from THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE RAVEN, and TALES OF TERROR. The inclusion of scenes from the latter two movies allow the film-makers to give an amusing "with special participation by Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff" announcement at the film's opening. Such moments give MADHOUSE a weird atmosphere and unusual storyline, but I can't help feel that this is a bit of a jumbled film, a mess in places and brilliant in others. It's good, but I won't be returning to it in the same way I will THEATRE OF BLOOD; a worthwhile failure is the best way to think of it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Vincent Price not only parodies his own career but salutes the whole
genre as well in this look at the modern world through the eyes of
Gothic horror. Old colleagues Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone get
honored through their then recent deaths through clips of several of
their horror films, and while this marked the end of Price's American
International films, he had nearly 29 years left in his own career that
included film, stage and TV, as well as various other forms of art.
Paired here with Peter Cushing, Price still gets the spotlight as the
complicated horror movie star whose series of films as Dr. Death have
seemingly driven him mad. But is he the fiend, or is it someone else?
Cushing actually has little footage as an actor of horror films who instead became a writer of the series, and hints are dropped that he could be the maniac. But there are other suspects too, among them a former female co-star who has obviously gone mad due to her own frightful memories and unrequited love. The film is bloody and gruesome but not needlessly so, unlike some other films that took the frights a bit too far. Its ultimately pretty predictable but a nice ending to the lengthy career Price had at the greatest B studio following the end of the golden era of movie making. At times, Price overacts a bit and seems to be taking what Karloff had done in Targets and giving it his own touch. There is a persistent blonde who stalks Price and I couldn't wait for her to be dispatched. Perhaps that is the point of the film made through a speech Price gives that we all have a deep seated desire to see violence even if we are unable to commit it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paul Toombes (Price) is an acclaimed Horror film star who rose to stardom playing a character called Dr. Death. As the film starts, Toombes discovers his blonde fiancée (Linda Hayden) dead at a Hollywood party causing him to go into hiding for years. He is lured out of retirement for a British TV series in which Paul will be able to reprise his role of Dr. Death by the films screenwriter Herbert (Cushing). Once on location, a mysterious killer dressed as Dr. Death is stalking about killing cast members. Has Toombes gone off the deep end and is killing people for real? Or is it someone else trying to frame it. This joint production from AIP and Amicus has a distinct British feel to it despite Price in the lead role. The movie flirts with being a slasher movie and the gore is amped up with decapitations and the like, but the plot is straight out of the early 1960's and is quite predictable. Price chews up the screen in a role that reflected himself at the time of an aging horror actor. Cushing is completely wasted in his minor supporting role, and the entire story feels like it should have been made ten years earlier. Dr. Death is a cool killer and the prowling scenes work well, but you can guess everything that is going to happen way before it does, and the surprise ending doesn't surprise anyone. This would strictly be for Vincent Price fans who want to see the legend in a starring role one last time.
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