13 user 37 critic

The Mafu Cage (1978)

Ellen has been taking care of her insane younger sister Cissy ever since their explorer father died. When Cissy's pet ape dies in their mansion's dungeon and Ellen finds a boyfriend, Cissy's incestuous desire for her sister turns deadly.


Karen Arthur


Don Chastain, Éric Wesphal (play)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Lee Grant ... Ellen
Carol Kane ... Cissy
Will Geer ... Zom
James Olson ... David
Budar Budar ... Mafu
William Sherwood William Sherwood ... Will (as Will Sherwood)


Two strange sisters live in a crumbling mansion, where they keep a pet ape, which belonged to their late father, locked in a cage. While one of the sisters seems to be keeping her head on straight, as it were, the other appears to be sinking further and further into barbarism and insanity. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ellen lives with two animals. One of them is her sister! See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

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Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

User Reviews

A pointless, unpleasant waste of time.
8 November 2018 | by jadavixSee all my reviews

"The Mafu Cage" is a boring and pointless trudge through god knows what. It was mislabeled a horror movie, which is okay by me - I'm fine with drama, especially those adapted from plays - but lord. What was the point of it?

The plot is something to do with two sisters whose explorer father dies, and leaves them a house which comes equipped with a jail cell with chains he apparently used to tie up an orangutang (?). The younger sister, played by Carol Kane, is mentally ill, though the hows and whys of her illness are unexplained and unexplored.

The elder sister is an astronomer.

One day, some guy brings an orangutang into the house and they chain it up. The crazy sister kills it, in an unpleasant, if not graphic, scene.

I can hardly even bring myself to explain any more about this movie.

Here's one thing: Carol Kane, who plays the crazy younger sister, is the only performer in the movie who has any kind of presence, and leaves any kind of impression on the viewer at all. I guess it could count as a positive that it's not a horror movie, since I don't know if she's work in that role, but she was obviously born to play quirky, eccentric, and even mentally ill women - if not really violent ones.

So why doesn't it work? The fact that none of the other actors work at all? They're not bad actors, just not very watchable. The fact that the movie doesn't get into the heads of any of the characters? The fact that you can't believe the situation - what was the point of the cell, exactly? That was just a bizarre contrivance coming between you and the movie.

I just couldn't wait for this movie to be over. With any luck, I'll forget about it soon.

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Release Date:

September 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Don't Ring the Doorbell See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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