Madhouse (1974)

Madhouse (1974) movie poster

director Jim Clark
viewed: 08/30/2014

My son Felix has taken a particular interest in Vincent Price, I think in response to my story about how I was surprised by two young co-workers who hadn’t heard of him and vowed that I would make sure that my kids knew him.  He’s been saying since last year that he wanted to go as Vincent Price for Halloween and I was telling him that I’m not sure exactly how that would play out.

I have had a couple of Vincent Price movies queued up on Netflix streaming and though Madhouse (1974) wasn’t considered one of his better films, it did have that appealingly odd skull-face make-up that you see there on the poster.

It’s a semi-meta-movie about a one-time big horror film star whose fiancee was beheaded after an argument and the seeming similarity of the murder to crimes from his films.  What makes this even more meta than that is that this film was produced by Amicus Productions and AIP, so the film clips of Price’s character’s movies are film clips of Price’s films like ” The Haunted Palace (1963), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), Scream and Scream Again (1970), and House of Usher (1960)” per Wikipedia.

It’s neither dire nor great.  Apparently it was not terribly successful and ended up being the final nail in the coffin of the horror series from that company.  Indeed, the horror genre was a-changing around that time, leading way for the slasher film and blood and gore effects.  The old guard of great horror film legends was slowly on its wane.

Felix agreed that it wasn’t a masterpiece but I think he enjoyed it too.  It also features Peter Cushing and has a number of little things to its credit.  Pretty good poster, too.

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