Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Obscure Slasher Week: Madhouse

Hello readers and welcome to day 3 of Obscure Slasher Week and I have a treat for you this time around with two Horror legends in one film.  Vincent Price and Peter Cushing so yes there will be lovely ladies put in macabre settings so don’t walk down that stairwell with only a flashlight, learn to stay together and for crying out loud never ask, “Is there anybody out there?”  This is Madhouse.

And that's my squirrel impression. Next, a ducky.

Spoilers will be the death of me…

Actor of horror Paul Toombes  (Vincent Price of Last Man on Earth, The Fly, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Theatre of Blood and Journey Into Fear) playing his claim to fame character Dr. Death is living the high life with success, riches and a lovely fiancée to be wed.  His thanks go to Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing of Horror of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Star Wars) the writer for creating such vivid imagery and a truly sinister character that has brought them both so much.  On the eve of the premiere party Toombes announces his formal marriage to his fiancée Ellen (Julie Crosthwaite of Dixon of Dock Green, Get Charlie Tully, Rock Follies and The Picnic).   All is bliss until it is hinted by a sleazy producer Oliver Quayle (Robert Quarry of Count Yorga, Vampire, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, The Return of Count Yorga and Alienator) that young Ellen had a hand or two in the adult industry and Toombes feels slighted by his would be gold digger.   Toombes has a mental breakdown for some time before the brutal murder of his fiancée leaving him questioning if he himself did it.

When Home Depot goes bad.

Years later, Paul Toombes is cured but his career is ruined and reputation besmirched a Television setup in England wants to run a Dr. Death mini-series ran by the same sleazy producer and Herbert Flay brought him to restart his career in the hopes of giving Paul some peace and improve his health and wealth.  All too soon murders are happening in fair England in the exact fashion a Dr. Death victim would.  Is Paul doing these grisly killings and then forgetting about them?  Is someone seeking to drive him mad?

A few side notes of the movie itself is the special appearances of Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff is through clips of the gentlemen in a few films that Price had previously done with them.  This is of course seven years later after their passing so it is a bit of a touchy subject but was used with their mutual families’ blessings.   
That's no way to get ahead in life, dear.

Based on the horror novel Devilday by Angus Hall; Madhouse delivers a steady pace of mystique, bizarre and ominous forebode.  Cushing as always the personification of poise and well mannered and a constant level of elegance and Price seems on the ragged edge one minute and completely the steadfast gentleman the next.    I could not help but comment of the collective of buxom blondes they had at the ready.  The casting directors must have been scouring the countryside for them.