Synopsis of Madhouse
In Madhouse, after suffering a nervous breakdown, a washed-up horror-film actor agrees to do a TV-series based on his old screen creation, the monstrous “Dr. Death.” Soon the cast and crew of the series begin dying in mysterious ways.
Madhouse (1974) starring Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry
Reviewed by: The Masked Reviewer
Paul Toombs (Vincent Price) is successful horror actor who’s remember for his role as Dr. Death. During a party where they are showing his 5th Dr. Death film he surprises his guests with an announcement, He is getting married to Ellen Mason (Julie Crosthwaite) a sweet, but much younger woman. As people are congratulating the happy couple, Oliver Quayle (Robert Quarry) an adult film producer publicly shames Ellen in front of everyone.
This surprises Peter, and he and Ellen fight leading to her running away crying. Sometime later after Peter calms down he goes to apologize to Ellen, only to find her murdered. Years pass in isolation, and he receives a call from his friend Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing) telling him that he needs him to play Dr. Death one more time. Ellen’s killer was never caught, and Paul fears that maybe he’s the killer.
Madhouse has a great mystery, and is a fun film to watch. Most of the characters sound like real people, others sound like funny cartoon characters. Most of the cast are really good especially Vincent Price, and Peter Cushing. Then there is Robert Quarry and his terrible acting. In this film he’s like a smug, cardboard cutout of the worst human being alive. There is nothing interesting about him at all in this film, all of the other characters are interesting in one way or another because they put in effort.
All of the Dr. Death movies, are really clips from Vincent Price’s films. I think that is clever, to show a character’s best performs they show some of the actor’s best performances.
The story is interesting, All but one of the cast’s acting is great. The best way to describe this film is as a love letter to Vincent’s amazing career. You can see the love put into this film, and it really makes it something special.
I rate this film 4/5
Cast of characters
- Paul Toombs (Vincent Price, Theater of Blood) : A broken man, whose world died with Ellen. No longer able to play Dr. Death his career fades into obscurity. He fears that he has gone mad, and murdered his beloved.
- Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing, Horror Express) : Paul’s best friend, and co creator of the character of Dr. Death. He helps his friend find work, and tries to help his friend face his fears.
- Ellen Mason (Julie Crosthwaite) : Paul’s deceased fiancee. A sweet, young woman that genuinely loved Paul. Her memory haunts his wherever he goes.
- Faye Carstairs Flay (Adrienne Corri, Doctor Zhivago) : Hebert’s reluctant wife, and a former costar of Paul’s from one of the Dr. Death pictures. After her disfigurement in car accident, she has gone completely mad.
- Elizabeth Peters (Linda Hayden, The Boys from Brazil): An actress desperate to be a star, resorts to blackmailing Paul.
- Julie Wilson (Natasha Pyne, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing) : Oliver’s public relations chief, and huge fan of the Dr. Death series. She is realistic, relatable, and one of the nicest characters in the whole film.
- Oliver Quayle (Robert Quarry, Count Yorga Vampire) : A sleazy, egomaniac, unlikeable, fool, that somehow goes from adult film producer, to head of a tv studio.