Let The Sickness Spread: Madhouse

The famous Dr. Death
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This week on Let The Sickness Spread, I was inclined to do one more tribute to Classic horror films before making our way to a more contemporary horror selection. I was thinking this week could center on Boris Karloff after re-watching The Bride of Frankenstein (1931), which I do suggest checking out by the way.


“Smoke…Good!!” Frankenstien

Not only does Karloff embody everything “The Monster,” (as they called him) might have truly been when envisioned by the writer and creator, but in The Bride of Frankenstein you learn a lot about how human “The monster” was; drinking, smoking, expressing desires, hungering for both food and companionship through love and friendship. In the end, “The Monster,” would choose to end his own reign of terror, taking with him Dr. Pretorius, who forces Henry Frankenstein to construct another un-dead creature as a mate for the first invention.

A common misconception about these horror films is that “Frankenstein,” was the name of “The Monster” in the movies. Today, we find people dressing up for Halloween, saying “I’m Frankenstein.” Keep in mind that “The Monster” had no name (besides “The Monster”). Frankenstein was the inventor’s name – Henry Frankenstien, or Dr.Frankenstein. The man who shouts the famous quote, “It’s Alive!!It’s Alive” – that was Frankenstein. They say it again once the bride is erected in The Bride of Frankenstein, but it’s not as strong as the first time…

However, I went on next to The Mummy (1932), another Boris Karloff horror film. Then thought about The Invisible Man (1933). I feel Hollow Man, starring Kevin Bacon, could possibly have been a re-creation or adaptation of the original Invisible Man.

Next I went to the classic actor Mr. Vincent Price. Initially I felt Vincent Price was a bit too mainstream – of course he played in everything from the original House on Haunted Hill to The House of Wax, and he was also the first Last Man on Earth. However I didn’t want to cover these films and I then came across another Vincent Price film, called Madhouse, which came out 1974.

MadhouseThis was a movie I had never seen or heard of before, and upon watching it, I feel Vincent Price shined incredibly during this picture. Playing the infamous “Dr.Death,” Price plays an actor who can’t draw the line between where film ends and reality begins. When murders start occurring around him, he doesn’t know if it’s his alter-ego on camera (Dr.Death) committing the murders, or some impostor framing “Dr.Death.” It’s a terrific film, although not too scary compared to movies out today and without a lot of shock factor.

The movie was adapted from the book called Devilday by Angus Hall.

Price went on to become a symbol of everything horror. A few fun facts about Vincent Price…

  • If you’ve ever seen Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, Price plays “The Inventor.”
  • Also he guest starred on Scooby Doo (1985) playing the character Vincent Van Ghoul, the  monster chasing the “gang” around.
  • One of the most interesting facts about Vincent Price, is that he did the narration in Micheal Jackson’s Thriller song and video. You know – “Darkness falls across the land, The midnight hour is close at hand…”

Check out MadHouse and other Price films – Tales of Terror, The FlyReturn of the FlyThe Raven, and many more.

I was looking for a better clip, but this is all I could find…

Movie of The Week : MadHouse (1974)

staring: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri, Natasha Pyne, Michael Parkinson, Linda Hayden, Barry Dennen

[fresh_video url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RgiFWkI6pk”]


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About the Author

Mercedes Thomas
is a musician/writer from Oakland CA into screenplays, reviews, music, anime, etc., specializing in the Horror genre, also into comedy, and an appreciation for the arts.
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