Madhouse (1974) Movie Review
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jim Clark
Producers: Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky, Samuel Z. Arkoff
Writers: Ken Levison, Greg Morrison
Date Released: May 22, 1974
Vincent Price as Paul Toombes.
Peter Cushing as Herbert Flay
Adrienne Corri as Faye Carstairs Flay
Robert Quarry as Oliver Quayle
Natasha Pyne as Julia Wilson
Linda Hayden as Elizabeth Peters
John Garrie as Inspector Harper
Ian Thompson as Bradshaw
Jenny Lee-Wright as Carol Clayton
Julie Crosthwait as Ellen Mason
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story is about a movie star who famously plays Dr. Death suffered mental breakdown because of his soon-to-be-wife’s death and ends up in a mental institution. 12 years later, he was asked to reprise his role and make a comeback in London but he becomes the primary suspect in a series of murders. Not sure about his mental stability and his part in the crimes, it is up to him to find out who has been committing the murders and put an end to it once and for all.
Madhouse (1974) never showed the actual killing. It only showed the screams before the killing and the bloody aftermath. The most notable ones include the severed head rolling on the dresser, the pitchfork through the neck, the woman hanging on the noose, the husband and wife stabbed by a sword, the woman with a knife through her neck, Paul’s burned face, and Herbert falling into the spider cage and turning into a skeleton.
The Grave Review
This was one of those movies where horror icons Vincent Price and Peter Cushing were together. Their acting made this movie great despite other actresses being so cringey and annoying.
Aside from some females in this movie overacting, the couple who were the adoptive parents of the woman killed by a pitchfork was also annoying. They were lurking and loitering in the yard and extorting money from Paul in exchange for the watch. The way they were delivering their lines were somewhat like a comic relief.
The best part of this movie was the scene where Paul screams in horror with the camera doing an awesome job of showing it in a terrifying way. It happened twice. First was when Ellen died and the other was with Julia. This scream was actually symbolic, not just for the horror of it all, but the trigger of Paul’s mental instability. With Ellen, Paul’s scream took him to the mental institution. The scream with Julia made him lose his mind and think about setting himself on fire.
Though there was a lack of actual killing action, the bloody mess and the prosthetics were on point. The fake Dr. Death had a scary mask on, and the wounds looked real. Even the makeup was on point including Faye’s bald and deformed face, Dr, Death’s face paint, and the part where Paul turned into Herbert.
There was also a lack of explanation as to why Paul was always sleeping when the murders happen, though it could be the same with the instability he feels when watching his old movies.
In any case, the thrilling scene towards the end where Paul was being interviewed and a murder was being committed was a game changer. It was at that point where audiences have to think who is the real killer. There were some parts where the suspect could be the producer, so it was a big reveal when Herbert ended up being the killer. It was not until Paul’s monologue in the studio where subtle hints led to Herbert.
Overall, this movie is recommended for those who love mystery killers.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Madhouse (1974) three graves out of five graves.
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