Plot: Julia (Trish Everly) is a kind hearted woman who teaches deaf children, a sweet person who wants to make the world a better place. She has a twin sister named Mary (Allison Biggers), but she has been locked in asylum for years due to her violent and unpredictable behavior. As their birthday approaches, Julia is convinced to visit Mary, who is now disfigured from self mutilation. As soon as Mary sees her sister, she lashes out and promises to make Julia suffer no matter what it takes. This leads to high levels of stress and vivid nightmares for Julia, all of which worsens as the birthday nears. Soon however, Mary is able to escape from the asylum and all of the sudden, a spree of horrific violence is unleashed. Victims are mauled to death in brutal fashion or stabbed in the heart, with Julia certain that her deranged sister is on the prowl. But is Mary truly behind a rash of sadistic violence that will lead to Julia, or is there something else going on that no one would expect?
Entertainment Value: A lot of blood, a lot of crazy shit, and a lot of confusion make Madhouse quite a fun watch. The story has a simple premise, as a woman is stalked and those around her are brutalized and she assumes her demented twin sister is to blame, since there is deeply twisted history there. But very little of the narrative makes sense and the movie opts to just go off the deep at times, rattling off suspects and red herrings at a rapid pace. Not to mention the outlandish dialogue and strange characters, which just add to the madness. Some folks won’t like the nonsense and bizarre elements, but to me, that is why the flick works. There’s just this sense of dread and an off putting vibe, its effective for sure. Madhouse takes no prisoners, which means men, women, children, and animals are all in the line of fire, though the animal effects are so low end, you won’t be too stressed. It looks at times like the actors are struggling with a stuffed animal, which only earns the movie more points, I think. A dark, cruel movie that rarely relents, Madhouse is indeed mad and hardly ever seems sane. If you’re a fan of 80s horror or just offbeat horror in general, this one is recommended.
No nakedness. There’s a steady flow of blood however, including some unconvincing, but still insanely wild dog attacks. As I said before, some of the rottweiler attacks look like a stuffed animal, but I doubt anyone will mind. Given how wacky the movie is already, those scenes just add to the mayhem. There is one mostly well executed dog attack when a woman is dragged down the stairs, which is a little inconsistent, but looks good and much better than the others. I also love a scene here that is one of the most epic back stabbings of all time, involving an ax. But those are just some of the instances of splashy bloodshed, so the blood quotient is solid here. As far as dialogue, we have some pretty wild lines from time to time, as well as a nutcase singing nursery rhymes, which is always a good time. Those on the side of evil tend to get the best lines, but overly dramatic dialogue is frequent here. Is Madhouse that mad? The low rent animal attacks, all over the place narrative, colorful evil-doers, and overall feel of “what the hell is going on here” helps earn some points. But the real gem is perhaps the wildest birthday bash of all time, which caps off this wacky experience.
Overall Insanity: 5/10