Madhouse (1974)

madhouse poster 1974 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Price is always fun

The story doesn't go far enough

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Madhouse

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 1974

MPAA Rating:  PG


Could I just watch a Doctor Death film instead?

Paul Toombes (Vincent Price) has become famous for his betrayal of Doctor Death on the big screen.  When his fiance is killed, Toombes is driven crazy…unclear if he did it himself.  The years pass, and the public demands more Doctor Death.  Called out of retirement, Toombes heads to England for a new movie, but discovers that the death which plagued him has followed him…but could he really be the one responsible?

Directed by Jim Clark, Madhouse was a Vincent Price horror film for American International Pictures.  Loosely based on the book Devilday from 1969, the movie has been released on DVD along with other Price films.


Those spiders are hungry!

I like Vincent Price and his movies and remember images from Madhouse in particular because of the impressive Doctor Death make-up.  It wasn’t the scariest movie, but the nice mystery/suspense aspect of the film does add to the horror story.

The movie is rated PG, so the horror isn’t that great.  The mystery of the movie is what ends up being better.  It is pretty obvious that Price isn’t the killer (I kind of hoped it turned out he was the killer).  With a story based on the deaths from movies, I also expected more in the way of the horror.


Hey…didn’t you used to kill Dracula?

The cast is obviously built around Vincent Price, but the movie also is aided by the other horror great Peter Cushing.  Like Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing pairings, it is always fun to see horror “masters” pair up…it also however creates a bit of an unfortunate “obvious killer” since you knew that Cushing’s role had to be bigger than it appeared.  It is rather interesting that the movie is a movie about horror movie actors…clips from Price’s films are used through the course of the movie and this style of self-reflexive post-modern horror wasn’t necessarily common at the time.


Should have used a higher SPF

The visuals of the movie also are quite good.  I like the horror aspect, but I wanted the gore pushed a bit more.  I also did love the design of the “Dr. Death” character.  I just wish that Price had been in the Death make-up more.  It was a cool costume and made me wish there were some Dr. Death movies (which could have been a fun tie-in).

Madhouse isn’t the best Vincent Price movie that you’ll see, but it also isn’t the worst.  The movie has some fun and like most Price films, much of that fun is because of Price’s all out commitment to his characters.  Even if a movie is a bit of a clunker, Price can manage to make it a winner.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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