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Madhouse (1981)

There Was a Little Girl (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 4 March 1981 (Italy)
Julia, a teacher in a school for the deaf, has a hideously deformed and deranged twin sister that resides in the local looney bin. She escapes to gate-crash a surprise birthday party for ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Oliver Hellman)

Writers:

(as Oliver Hellman), | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Trish Everly ...
Julia Sullivan
Michael MacRae ...
Sam Edwards
Dennis Robertson ...
Father James
Morgan Most ...
Helen (as Morgan Hart)
Allison Biggers ...
Mary Sullivan
...
Amantha Beauregard
Richard Baker ...
Sacha Robertson Jr.
Don Devendorf ...
Principal
...
Mr. Kimura
Doug Dillingham ...
Golden
Joe Camp ...
Hospital Guard
Janie Baker ...
Sacha's Mother
Huxsie Scott ...
Secretary
Edit

Storyline

Julia, a teacher in a school for the deaf, has a hideously deformed and deranged twin sister that resides in the local looney bin. She escapes to gate-crash a surprise birthday party for Julia. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Many People Visit... Few Ever Leave See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

4 March 1981 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

And When She Was Bad  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The entire crew had to be still and quiet during the shooting of any scenes involving the Rottweiler dogs. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Nicely shot, but clichéd and rather tedious
13 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Julia (Trish Everly), a disturbed young woman haunted by memories of her abusive and mentally ill twin sister Mary (Allison Biggers), works with blind children near her Savannah home. She learns from her uncle, Father James (Dennis Robertson), that her sister is suffering from a rare skin disease that is killing her, and is persuaded to go and see her for the first time in years. While there, Julia is attacked and abused by Mary who threatens that she is going the kill her. Mary does escape, and Julia finds her friends and co-workers being murdered and mauled by a killer dog that is very similar to the one Mary had when they both children.

Added to the Video Nasty list due to some rather gruesome scenes, Madhouse does stand out amongst the others due to its apparent higher- than-you-would-expect budget. I assume this due to the pretty nice cinematography, which makes full use of its sets and features some effective colour patterns. The scenes where Julia is followed through her seemingly gigantic house, almost evokes the likes of Polanski (due to the claustrophobic indoor locations) and Argento (characters running through endless corridors and doors building suspense). Sadly, Madhouse generates little of the actual atmosphere conjured up by these two geniuses and these scenes eventually becomes slightly tedious.

Although it looks like a John Carpenter, it is at its heart a by-the- numbers slasher that follows traditions and clichés seen a thousand times. The main appeal is the play on the killer - here being a colossal Rottweiler rather than a man in a mask. This provides the opportunity for some nasty throat removals that feature plenty of blood, but a rather unconvincing fake dog being shaken above the screaming body. The rather macabre climax almost rescues the film, but then descends into a frustratingly slow stalk-and-slash. The fact that its a bit of a slow- burner makes a nice change from usual set-piece-heavy horrors, but horror fans would do good sticking to Argento, Bava and Fulci for their operatic slashers.

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