The inmates are running the asylum in this disturbingly surreal film, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Mondo Macabro USA R0 DVD.
"I had heard, at Paris, that the institution of Monsieur Maillard was
managed upon what is vulgarly termed the "system of soothing", that
all punishments were avoided, that even confinement was seldom
resorted to, that the patients, while secretly watched, were left
much apparent liberty, and that most of them were permitted to roam
about the house and grounds in the ordinary apparel of persons in right
Edgar Allan Poe - The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether
named Gaston LeBlanc is paying a visit to the lunatic asylum run
by Dr. Maillard. Inside, he explains how the asylum is run under
the Maillard Soothing programme, where the patients are permitted to
roam the grounds freely, encouraged to display their insane tendancies.
However, after being shown the horrific dungeons, LeBlanc is convinced
that something is amiss....
Taking a framework from one of Edgar Allan Poe's lesser known works, The Mansion of Madness
is simply one of the strangest films ever made. As he tours the
facility, Dr. Maillard spouts all manner of bizarre pseudo-psychology,
however, it is the asylum's inmates who give the film its most surreal
edge; from a man who plays fowl, known as Mr. Chicken,
to inmates who live in glass boxes, and a man named Danté
imprisioned deep in a darkened gaol who recites poetry all day. The
film moves very slowly around these characters, and the pacing is
almost non-existant although it does boast a fitting conclusion.
López Moctezuma was a friend and producer for Alejandro
Jodorowsky, considered to be one of the strangest directors of the 20th
Century. Mansion of Madness
runs in a similar vein to many of Jodorowsky's infamous films with some
absurdly bizarre imagery throughout. The set designers really pushed
the boat out here with some wonderfully strange sets populated by some
equally mad extras in strange costumes. The music is infrequent but
suits the film well.
Mansion of Madness is a largely plotless and disturbingly surreal look at madness, ranking alongside such cerebral films as Werner Herzog's Even Dwarfs Started Small
(1970). For most of the runtime the film is actually quite hard to
watch and it can be hard to make it through the entire film in a single
sitting. Rather like the Herzog and Jodorowsky films, Mansion of Madness
is more of an experience than it is entertaining and you need to be in
the right frame of mind to enjoy its somewhat dubious charms, but to
fans of these strangest of films it comes highly recommended.
Anyone famous in it?
No-one of note
Directed by anyone interesting?
Juan López Moctezuma - a very little known Mexican director, best remembered for the bizarre female vampire film, Alucarda (1978)
Some violence although nothing strong.
Several female topless and soft nude scenes.
Who is it for?
Recommended fans of surreal and bizarre cinema. Not recommended to anyone else!
1.33:1 fullscreen (there is no notable cropping on the sides, so this might be the OAR). Colour The
print is decent quality, with some very noticable print damage but the
colours and detail are good and it is generally better than most public
domain titles. A couple of scenes are slightly softer.
English and Spanish mono. English track is missing in a couple of short scenes, replaced by Spanish. Both tracks sound okay, the English track plays best as the film was shot in English and the voices are better.
English #1 - Infill for the brief missing scenes on the English track. English #2 - Translation of the Spanish audio.
The disc includes:
piece on Juan López Moctezuma from the Mondo Macabro
TV series, including some interviews and clips of this film as well as
from Alucarda. (13m 43s)
Interview with Spanish director Guillermo del Toro about the influence Moctezuma had on him. (7m)
Detailed text interviews, filmography and biography of Moctezuma plus notes on the film.
Photo gallery - posters and lobby cards.
Original cinema trailer.
Mondo Macabro Promotional reel.
Note: most of these extras are the same as included on Mondo Macabro's earlier Alucarda DVD.
Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
None known - Spanish language print, includes scenes cut from the American prints of the film.
A very bizarre and surreal look at insanity . Recommended to fans of the strangest cinema.
A good DVD release - the film looks very nice with strong audio and a good mix of extras.