Madhouse (1974)

Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri,
Madhouse is a movie starring Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Robert Quarry. A horror movie star returns to his famous role after years in a mental institution. But the character seems to be committing murders independent of his...
  • 6.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Angus Hall, Ken Levison, Greg Morrison, Writer:
  • Jim Clark, Director:
  • Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky, Producer:

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8 / 10

Madhouse A-OK

I thought this "diamond in the rough" was masterfully done. Vincent Price is his old self as the true the master of macabre. It is easy to see that this movie contains many characteristics found heavily in the modern day, surprise ending, slasher flick. With many exciting and suspenseful chase scenes, a wicked masked murderer, quick slashing deaths, and an emotionally disturbed main character, "Madhouse" reminds me of a sick mixture of "Scream" and Hitchcock's classic, "Psycho." In addition, the scenes and camera shots beautifully convey the mood and emotion of the awkward story line. Although obviously low budget, it baffles me that "Madhouse" isn't more recognized on the ongoing list of cult classics. Not the best movie in the world, but certainly worth checking out.

7 / 10

A nice nod to Price's early career

The general consensus surrounding this film seems to be that it's a disappointment; and while I admit that Madhouse could have been a lot better considering the cast and ideas involved, in general; I'm very happy with the film. Every Vincent Price film that I haven't seen (not many left) is an automatic target for me, and this one also features a performance from the great Peter Cushing, which is a bonus. The central plot isn't all that original, but it still stands as a nice tribute to Vincent Price's career, and the way that director Jim Clark uses clips from classic Vincent Price movies such as Tales of Terror, House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum is good and reminds us of what a huge asset to cinema Vincent Price has been. The plot sees Price playing hammy horror movie actor Paul Toombes, famous for the role of 'Doctor Death'. When his wife is killed, Toombes vows never to play Doctor Death again; but on the advice of his friend and Doctor Death writer some years later, he reprises the role - and the murders continue.

The main problem with this movie is simply that it's not always interesting enough. Jim Clark seems content to rely on Price's star power; which is often just about sufficient to see the film through, although sometimes it could have done with something else. Peter Cushing's role isn't too much more than a cameo appearance - but it is nice to see these two great actors on screen together. As you might expect, Vincent Price slots into his self-replicating role nicely, and he seems to enjoy playing it. The story doesn't have much depth, however, and while the murder sequences are interesting and see things such as a woman being skewered with a rake and someone being crushed by an automated special effect bed. The script doesn't give much allowance for red herrings and through the one or two that there are; you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to spot which one it is. The film attempts a double twist ending, and while it plays out nicely; both are highly predictable and derivative of other movies that have carried off the same twists to better effect. But even so, you can always count on Price movies for entertainment; and this is entertaining despite its shortfalls.

6 / 10

A Film That Does Not Get the Credit It Deserves

A horror movie star (Vincent Price) returns to his famous role after years in a mental institution. But the character seems to be committing murders independent of his will.

This is a great cast! Vincent Price as horror star Paul Toombes, Peter Cushing as his friend Herbert Flay. And even throw in Robert Quarry as Oliver Quayle. Cushing and Price alone sell a film, but Quarry (known to horror fans as Count Yorba) is a welcome addition.

This is probably the sexiest Price film. While he has had his share of female co-stars, and some of them even sort of foxy (see the Phibes films), here is the first time I know of where women are practically throwing themselves at him. Sure, he is past 60 at this point, but still a handsome man in his own right.

I also have to give credit to whoever joined Amicus and AIP together. AIP has consistently made Price a star in their films, and Amicus is a powerhouse in Britain (second only to Hammer). By combining them, that was a work of genius (and I presume why we see Cushing and Price share a screen).

Some critics have bashed the film saying "it could have been written during a lunch break", but I think it is a very touching homage to Price's career in horror, particularly with the showing of some of his past work. Howard Maxford hesitantly approves, saying it has "a fairly successful mixture of chills and humour." I concur.

There are, of course, other Price films to see first. But do not rule this one out -- it is better than some of his other work (I thought it easily topped "Cry of the Banshee") and a real treat to see him alongside Cushing. For as little exposure as this one gets, it is much better than you might think (though, the most overlooked Price film is still probably "Mad Magician").

7 / 10

Okay old-fashioned horror film.

Following the grisly murder of his fiancee,Hollywood film star Paul Toombes(Vincent Price)withdraws into his own world.Some time later,he is persuaded by an old actor-friend(Peter Cushing)to revive his famous horror role as Doctor Death.Life soon becomes a living nightmare for Toombes when friends and colleagues are brutally murdered one by one."Madhouse" is a rather cheaply made horror film that manages to create only a little bit of suspense.The story,which is based on the novel 'Devilday' by Angus Hall is also not very intriguing.Director Jim Clark uses clips from old Roger Corman horror films featuring Vincent Price as reenactments of the murders.Still the film is slightly entertaining and it's nice to see two horror veterans Vincent Price and Peter Cushing together.Check it out.7 out of 10.

7 / 10

A forgotten gem

The plot = A horror actor Paul Toombes played by (Vincent Price) whose biggest and best known role is Dr Death has decided to bow out of the profession and settle down with his new fiancé, but after a heated argument, she is attacked by someone dressed as Dr Death and murdered, Paul Toombes gets blamed and put into an insane asylum. Many years later he gets released and is persuaded to play Dr Death again, that's when the murders starts occurring again also...

I came across this rather unknown gem late one night while watching the horror channel and I must say that I rather enjoyed it. This movie stands as a fine example of the 60's and 70's features of it's time so I don't why this movie never gets mentioned or even recognised, as it's a fine form of slasher/thriller made movie with top notch acting from the likes of Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. the film is very striking, and looks very much like the other lush productions from this era.

The storyline is well crafted and keeps you interested throughout, the death scenes are also very elaborate and very violent, plus there are quite a few of them so that will keep the gore hounds happy. My only complaint is the so called shock twist ending, which wasn't really a shock at all, it was way too easy to see past the red herrings and the identity of the killer was pretty easy to figure out. But other than that this movie is on fine form.

The cast like I already said are top notch with great performances from legends such as Vincent Price and Peter Cushing who both add true layers to they're roles and are both greatly missed, as I've enjoyed watching they're horror movies growing up.

All in all "Madhouse" is an excellent horror movie which in a way ahead of it's time that oozes atmosphere and features a memorable character in Dr. Death.