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The Mansion of Madness
Dr.Tarr's Torture Dungeon / Dr.Tarr's Pit of Horrors / The System of Dr.Tarr and Professor Feathers / House of Madness

Mexico 1972
produced by
Roberto Viskin for Producciones Prisma
directed by Juan López Moctezuma
starring Claudio Brook, Arthur Hansel, Ellen Sherman, Martin LaSalle, David Silva, Mónica Serna, Max Kerlow, Susana Kamini, Pancho Córdova, Roberto Dumont, Henry West, Jorge Bekris, René Alís, Mario Castillón Bracho, Victorio Blanco, Ramón Barragán
screenplay by Carlos Illescas, Juan López Moctezuma, based on The System of Dr.Tarr and Professor Feathers by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Nacho Méndez

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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As he wants to interview Doctor Maillard (Claudio Brooks), the famed director of an insane asylum known for his unusual therapeutic interventions, reporter LeBlanc (Arthur Hansel) asks his friend Couvier (Martin LaSalle) to introduce him to the publicity-shy Maillard. Even at the entrance to the asylum's premises though it seems the loonies have taken over the bin. Caring for the well-being of his companion Blanche (Mónica Serna), Couvier decides to drop off his friend in front of the mansion & heads right back home ... but the 2 of them are ambushed, & Couvier is beaten up, hen tied up, & Blanche is brutally raped.

LeBlanc of course knows nothing of all this, & meets up with Maillard, who initially seems quite sane & a charming host, even though when he shows LeBlanc around the premises, certain doubts about his sanity start to arise, culminating in a tour through his dungeons, where he has inmates incarcerated & chained up. LeBlanc starts having reservations about the Doctor's methods, but later in that evening, when the Doctor's companion Eugénie (Ellen Sherman) tries to kill the Doctor (seemingly unprovoked), LeBlanc saves his lilfe.

Later that night, LeBlanc sees Eugénie being led away, apparently to her execution, & it begins to dawn on him that he has halped the wrong man ... but when he mouthes his reservations, Maillard just has him locked up.

LeBlanc can escape though, & not only save Eugénie, but also he finds & unties his friend Couvier. From Eugénie they learn that Maillard is not Maillard at all but a megalomaniac criminal who enticed a revolution of the asylum's madmen & has now taken over the place, having imprisoned the real Maillard (Max Kerlow) - Eugénie's father - & all the wardens.

LeBlanc, Eugénie & Couvier soon try to get away from the asylum, but are soon captured by the phony Maillard's madmen. & while Couvier is locked in with the real Maillard & his wardens, LeBlanc & Eugénie are invited to some sort of feast in which the phony Maillard celebrates his supremacy & his future conquest of the world. At the climax of the feast, LeBlanc & Eugénie are to be burned alive ...

However, Couvier, the real Maillard & the wardens have since organized a counter revolution, broken out of their prison & broken the phony Maillard's spell ver his madmen. & in the end, Blanche, who has been raped by his men, shoots the phony Maillard.


This is one movie that cannot be judged by familiar categories like narrative stringency or character development, as it would do rather poor on both accounts, neither does the label horror film do the film much justice - despite its being a Poe adaptation & (from a very objective point of view) of course a horror film.

What the movie is though is an extremely atmospheric excursion into the world of nightmares, a world that doesn't necessarily follow the laws of logic (or even laws of nature), instead creates a (surreal) reality all of its own, aworld filled with madness & menace, perversion and ... black humour.

... & judged along the lines of creating such a nightmarish world, Mansion of Madness is nothing short of a masterpiece.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD