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(aka "The Mansion of Madness" or "La mansión de la locura" or "Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon")

 

directed by Juan López Moctezuma
Mexico 1973

 

Journalist Gaston (Arthur Hansel) travels to the isolated mental institution of Dr. Maillard (Claudio Brook) to do a story on his progressive treatment methods. The patients have the run of the place and are free to live out their neuroses. Soon Gaston learns from the real Maillard's daughter Eugenie that the man posing as him lead the inmates in a revolt against the staff. When they try to escape, they are captured. Can Gaston lead a revolt against the asylum's resident Napoleon before he and Eugenie are killed or swallowed up in madness themselves? Moctezuma's first of three memorable horror films, MANSION OF MADNESS is loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe's "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather" but its baroque visuals are very much in the spirit of Jodorowsky (whose EL TOPO Moctezuma produced) by way of the more makeshift surrealism of Fernando Arrabal (who scripted the Moctezuma-produced Jodorowsky film FANDO Y LIS). Brook is excellent in the flamboyant lead role (he would also appear in Moctezuma's ALUCARDA as well as Moctezuma-admirer Guillermo del Toro's CRONOS). Protagonist Hansel would play a detective in Moctezuma's second horror film MARY, MARY, BLOODY MARY while supporting actress Susana Kamini, who plays a cult priestess here, would play on of the leads in ALUCARDA. Described as being like "a Monty Python film directed by Fellini...on acid" MANSION OF MADNESS won't give viewers the chills but the combination of psychedelic imagery, gothic settings, and political commentary will be irresistible to art film buffs.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 1976 (USA)

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:30
Video

Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen -

Edition Details:
• Documentary on Juan Lopez Moctezuma (16:9; 13:44)
• Guillermo del Toro on Moctezuma (16:9; 7:31)
• English Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 4:00)
• Stills Gallery
• Text Interview with Moctezuma
• About the Film (text screen liner notes)
• Mondo Macabro Promo Reel

DVD Release Date: February 22nd, 2005
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

A Mexican production shot in English, MANSION OF MADNESS was photographed in 4:3 as it is presented here (the US release under the title DR. TARR'S TORTURE DUNGEON by Group1 was probably matted to 1.85:1). The image is interlaced but is likely hard-telecined rather than standard-converted as combing is present. The print used features the original Spanish title and credits (US prints featured the English title and the more prominent credits were in English while some of the technical crew cards remained in Spanish). Unlike their early release of ALUCARDA, Mondo Macabro's disc of MANSION OF MADNESS has English subtitles for the included Spanish track (the film was shot in English with Brook and Hansel dubbing themselves).

The only issue I have with the subtitles is the translation of "Vive la revolution!" as "Long live the revolution" since the French version is common enough in English not to need translation (it is spoken in French on both tracks) and actually distracts from the power of the moment by drawing attention to itself. The film had two tape releases in the U.S. under its American title; first from Catalina Video and then from Magnum Entertainment. The Moctezuma documentary and the Del Toro interview are ported over from Mondo Macabro's release of Moctezuma's ALUCARDA.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC




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