I’ll make you suffer what I’ve suffered. Mary
Madhouse (1981) is one of those movies that never hit my radar until recently. At least with today’s technology, it’s easier to get caught up on those hidden gems from the past. The open of this film is just as creepy as the ending. Surrounded by shadows, we see a girl rock another in a rocking chair as a melancholy voice sings rock-a-bye-baby, and then suddenly she realizes she has a rock in her hand and commences bashing the other in the face with it; such a delightful way to start a movie.
I feel what she feels. I know what she knows. To some extent, I am what she is. Julia
Timestamps appear on the screen from time to time, alerting us on how many days until Julia’s birthday. Trish Everly plays Julia perfectly. She is a teacher at a “Deaf School,” and when she speaks with her therapist and boyfriend, Sam, her words are breathy much of the time, adding a layer of sexual innuendo when it doesn’t belong. For whatever reason, that drew her to me. She’s not the only actress in this film that seems that could’ve done wonders in adult entertainment, too. Morgan Hart plays Helen, Julia’s friend and co-worker.
Death gives meaning to life. It is one of the few things we can count on. Father (Uncle) James
Integrating shadows with the effects is an ingenious way to show but not show what is happening, and is just effective when used correctly, which they did. The hospital that Julia visits her sister in is creepy as expected, and this is one of the few films that the patients were not wandering around in a great room; maybe, they were in a different ward. Mary’s bed is enshrouded with opaque, plastic curtains. That’s not the only setting that sent chills down my spine, her apartment building was unnerving, and I didn’t want to go inside.
They shocked me with a twist that I didn’t expect at all (thank you), and then it flipped back and slapped me again; believe me, I’m so happy when that happens. The screams are heartfelt and chilling, and one of the many of the reasons why I give Madhouse 4.5 out of 5 Stars.