5.6/10
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28 user 48 critic

Madhouse (1981)

There Was a Little Girl (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 4 March 1981 (Italy)
A woman is pursued by her taunting, murderous, sadistic, psychopathic twin sister and her relentless demonic Rottweiler on a killing spree.

Director:

(as Oliver Hellman)

Writers:

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

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

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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

References Bloodsucking Freaks (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
No Accounting For Taste
30 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Taste—and what it reveals about a person--is a funny thing. For example, there are flicks I simply like, regardless of what others say, regardless of critical reviews. In fact, all of us have favorites that might not hold much sway with the general public. In these films, there may be stupendously bad acting, scenery, costumes, sets, and narrative—but nevertheless there's something "ineffable" about them that jibes with our personal tastes and personal aesthetic in some inexplicable way. We just LIKE them, even though those around us say we have no taste at all. (I hear this a lot.)

So, a strange taste-related revelation occurred to me recently as I watched the UK R2 DVD release of "Madhouse" (aka "There Was A Little Girl"—a MUCH better title, by the way). As I watched, I thought to myself, "Sure the 'Crazy Deformed Twin Sister is Going to Kill Me' plot is derivative, but it is nicely composed. As I watched, I also thought the photography was carefully done, with good use of colors, and nice use of the scope format. The mood was unbearably somber and tense. The denouement was appropriate, and I jumped accordingly at a few spots. Finally, I wondered to myself, 'Who made this film?' As I turned the DVD box over to find out, I saw…

Ovidio Assonitis! And that's when I realized my tastes were somehow inextricably linked to this director/producer and his aesthetic. Just about every knockoff horror film he has made in his career, I simply love, love, LOVE! Beyond the Door (Exorcist Clone), The Visitor (an Omen Clone], Tentacoli (Jaws Clone), Who Saw Her Die?—though my friends shake their heads in disbelief, I have that same taste-related, inexplicable, unwilling gut-reaction to all these films: I like this! I like the way it is photographed. I like the pace. I like the way the plot rolls out—or the way the plot disappears entirely in some cases. I like the characterizations, the effects. I like the outrageousness of some of the scenes. The music works just right. I just like his films. Ovidio Assonitis is all-right by me! Not surprisingly, known as the "Rip-Off King," Assonitis is railed against hither and thither. Even those who are appreciative of his films feel obliged to say things like, "You know, it wasn't so bad," or "It wasn't as horrible as I thought it might be" (just look at some of the reviews right here).

But I think I just discovered that I am an unabashed Ovidio-junkie. He makes the perfectly derivative, low-budget (but nevertheless big-minded, carefully-made, professionally shot) crap I absolutely adore. On the surface, the films are nothing but a cash-in on whatever is trendy at the time. No one disputes that. But these films all saw major theatrical release because, simply put, they are extremely well-made, seriously photographed, professionally acted and scored flicks. They take what they do seriously, even though it's all been done before (and with bigger budgets). These films are great products, including "Madhouse." The UK DVD is also impressive and it shows Ovidio at his film-cloning best. As I mentioned, a great use of the scope format; nice authenticity of settings and background actors (the female protagonist who is being stalked by her deformed twin sis works in a school for the deaf, and real deaf-kid-actors are used to incredible effect in the film); nice use of colors; a nutsy ending. Hey maybe, I'll start an Ovidio Fan Club. In the meantime, though, check this out.

And, by the way, when the heck is Ovidio's apocalyptic "The Visitor" (Lance Hendricksen, John Huston, Shelly Winters) ever going to see the light of day on DVD?


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