Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mondo Week: The Mansion of Madness

Now that we've got the pseudo-lesbians out of the way, let's get to some crazy people. Let's take a look at...
A little history for you guys. The Marquis De Sade was one messed up guy. He was placed in an Asylum for his crazy thoughts, although he continued to write. He famously wrote a play called Marat/Sade bout the inmates running the Asylum, which was not received well.
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Oh and despite what the movie keeps insisting, this is not based on an Edgar Allen Poe tale. Watching bizarre cinema as much as I do, this is something that happens a lot. Basically, the movie was retitled to sound like a Poe tale- much like Corman's The Conqueror Worm. We know though.
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A French journalist is sent on assignment to check out an asylum that has been noted for it's extremely unique treatment style. He runs into an old friend and his daughter, so they go with him. While he goes on the tour, the crazy guards attack his friends. This leads to a humorous/freaky scene where the man tries to flee through the woods while wrapped in a potato sack. Go man, go!
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The comparisons to the Marquis' Marat/Sade is evident in the mid-point of the movie. It is basically a random collection of crazy people in different rooms under the pretense of 'seeing the facility.' Crazy guy covered in tar who thinks he is a chicken? Check. Patients placed in glass cages for some reason? Check. People wearing very fancy head-wear? Big check.
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Eventually, our hero figures out the truth. The real doctor has 'checked out' and the place is being run by a patient who looks like The Who's Roger Daltrey. He is locked up by the man and invited to the big climactic dinner scene. His friends- the girl is named Eugenie, another De Sade play- show up again. A big battle breaks out and all is right again with the world. Well, as right as it can be at an Asylum in the middle of the woods.
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Like Girl Slaves, this is not an easy recommendation. The film starts out a little slow, introducing all the characters. It hits its stride during the tour and ends in a very big way. The rampant nudity- done as an eccentricity and not involving sex- and insane behavior is certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea. If you like absurdity and have an open mind, check this one out. If you aren't into either though, you may not like much of my stuff from Mondo Macabro.
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We're only just getting started. Magic spells, manic ghosts and...murder. Stay tuned...

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