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Madhouse Blu-ray Review


“Madhouse” is a passable slasher.

“Madhouse” (an Italian/American horror film production shot in Georgia) is a 1981 slasher film leads up to Julia’s (a teacher for deaf students) Birthday. This Birthday, however, looks to be a messed up one as her now deformed and mentally unstable twin sister Mary has escaped the hospital and is plotting a warped Birthday party for Julia that involves plenty of death, a killer dog, and plenty of surprises.

For a “video nasty,” “Madhouse” is a rather tame slasher film. While director Ovidio Assonitis does create a creepy atmosphere for this horror chiller, “Madhouse” never quite pans out. Instead of exploring the intriguing demented family dynamic between Mary and Julia, that aspect is disappointingly almost a MacGuffin in the grand scheme of things. It’s a shame because the freaky looking Mary is the most memorable part of the entire film, but her screentime is extremely limited. A wasted opportunity to be sure.

In terms of the actual story, there’s a lot of standard horror tropes here. Dumb character actions? Check. Drawn out scenes of a person being preyed on by a killer? Check. No one believing the main character’s stories about what is going on? Check. There’s simply not much in the way of surprises (or scares) here even if it mostly holds your interest from start to finish.


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? Arrow has been on a roll with their transfers of archival titles as of late and this 2K restoration continues that streak.

Audio Tracks: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 Stereo. How do they sound? The 5.1 track obviously has more depth but purists may opt to go with the 2.0 track which is fine. You’re good either way.

* DVD copy.
* Original trailer for “Madhouse.”
* Alternative opening titles.
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, and an essay about director Ovidio G. Assonitis by author John Martin.
* “Ovidio Nasty”- A newly recorded 7 ½ minute interview with director Ovidio Assonitis in which he talks about horror, “Madhouse,” behind-the-scenes stories, etc.
* “Framing Fear”- A newly recorded 19 ½ minute interview with DP Roberto D’Ettorre Piazzoli who talks about his fascinating career and his work on “Madhouse.”
* “Running The Madhouse”- An insightful interview with veteran actress Edith Ivey who played Amantha Beauregard.
* A solid commentary by the podcast The Hysteria Continues. It basically feels like a podcast in itself.

Overall Thoughts: “Madhouse” is worth checking out for slasher film buffs, but that’s about it.

June 5, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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