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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
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 ...
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.
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.