Madhouse – 1974
Angus Hall (novel)
Ken Levison (screenplay)
Review by Wayne Malin
I give it a 6 only for the stars,
Vincent Price plays Paul Toombes (sigh) who plays a character called Dr. Death in a series of horror movies written by a friend (Peter Cushing). His fiancée is murdered and he has a nervous breakdown. Years later, he’s (supposedly) recovered and starts redoing Dr. Death…and a bunch of murders start up.
The teaming of two horror greats (Price & Cushing) and a semi-great (Robert Quarry) is a great idea. Sadly it doesn’t work. Since it’s an AIP pic it was made cheaply–and it shows. It’s dully directed and it has an obvious, boring plot and a totally stupid twist at the end. Also I’ve never seen such boring murders in my life (it looks like a few of them were cut down to get a PG). And there’s WAY too much footage from Price’s earlier horror films.
Still, it’s great to see Cushing, Price and Quarry all together. They give everything they have to the script. Price is great (as always); Quarry is amusing as a slimy producer; Cushing is criminally underused. There’s also a very funny joke in a costume party segment–Quarry (who played Count Yorga, Vampire twice) and Cushing (always fighting vampires in Hammer films) come dressed as vampires!
So, it’s almost worth seeing for those three. Almost.