Director - Ovidio G. Assonitis (Tentacles, Piranha: Part Two: The Spawning)
Starring - Trish Everly, Michael MacRae (Battlefield Earth, The X-Files), and Dennis Robertson (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dark Night of the Scarecrow)
Release Date - 1981
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Many people visit, few ever leave the...madhouse"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
Halloween is just a hand full of days away and I wanted to get deep into horror. I wanted to check out something with some dark atmosphere, moody lighting, and bleak. I searched through my review stack and nothing was jumping out at me until I ran across the Arrow release of Madhouse. I knew Marc Shoenbach had designed the artwork for this release but that was all I knew about the film. The film looked like what I was looking for so I tossed it in and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Sure, the film wasn't as dark as the artwork lead me to believe but it was still a damn entertaining watch.
The film follows a young woman who teaches at a school for the disabled. She is dating a doctor and her uncle is the local priest. Life is great for her but she has a deep dark secret. Her twin sister is terminally ill but she refuses to see her because her sister hated her because they had to share a birthday together. Now, on her deathbed, she still haunts her. With their birthday fast approaching her friends and family are going missing and she suspects that it is her sister and a family dog she trained to kill but it is her or someone else doing the killing in her honor?
I didn't know what to expect from Madhouse. The film looked like it was going to play out like a slasher or a giallo but looks can be deceiving. The acting in this one is great. Trish Everly is fantastic as the films lead and she brings out a lot of raw emotion. You really feel the emotions she is trying to capture in her performance. When she is sad you feel for her, when she is happy you can't help but smile, and when she is scared you want to sit on the edge of your seat. She made the role her own and made the film so damn enjoyable. Also, I really enjoyed Dennis Robertson. He was great as the family glue that held everyone together and as the movie progressed you felt your skin crawl. That is as far into that as I would like to go. The story for this one is a slow burner but it does a great job at creating the mood and character development which is crucial for this story. If you can suffer through the slow beginning then the ending will be well deserved. The film could have been a lot darker but was not bad for what we did get. Finally, the film has several death scenes. These are rather lackluster with not the best practical effects but they still fit the style of the film. Overall, Madhouse is a great late night watch not only during Halloween but anytime. The film is genuinely fun to watch and has a brilliant cast. Check it out.