HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Mad Room, The Family PlotBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Bernard Girard
Stars: Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters, Skip Ward, Carol Cole, Severn Darden, Beverly Garland, Michael Burns, Barbara Sammeth, Lloyd Haynes, Jennifer Bishop, Gloria Manon, Lou Kane
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ellen Hardy (Stella Stevens) hails from a family with a grim secret, not one she is about to share with just anybody, and certainly not her employer Mrs Armstrong (Shelley Winters) for whom she works as a live-in secretary of sorts, arranging her calendar and financial affairs. But now comes the news Ellen's two siblings are to be released from the home they have been staying in ever since they were children, and as they are both teenagers, it is important to find them somewhere to live. However, as that home was a mental asylum they had been committed to - this was part of the consequence of that grim family secret - it is dubious that anyone will want to take them in anywhere...

Can Mrs Armstrong be persuaded by Ellen that there is really no danger, and her brother George (Michael Burns, kind of a more presentable Michael J. Pollard) and sister Mandy (Barbara Sammeth) are able to be reintroduced to society perfectly safely? This was based on the old theatrical warhorse Ladies in Retirement which had been filmed a couple of decades before with Ida Lupino where she played the Stevens role, though there were changes made to the basic plotline, most obviously that the siblings were now a lot younger, and most blatantly, instead of a slice of delicate Gothic this was a great, big, thumping unsubtle slab of grand guignol, or it was eventually.

In truth, for the first half The Mad Room was somewhat dry, resembling one of those sunkissed American TV movies only with franker language and situations, but stick with it because there were compensations for making it through a lot of set-up. The opening titles more or less gave away what the big secret was, newspaper headlines detailing the sensational murder case that Ellen has had to live with all these years, but really this was more a descendant of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? That film featured ageing stars and revitalised a few careers, not least Winters' who took into the role of batty older lady like a duck to water, possibly thanks to not much acting being involved.

However, Winters was not playing the villain here, and in an inversion it is the kids we are meant to be wary of, though they appear to have settled down, aside from a few quirks - Mandy needs her safe space, the "mad room" of the title, like the one she had in the asylum where she was able to unwind and pray. The only room available for that kind of meditation in Mrs Armstrong's is the attic, which the older lady is not happy about the girl using, not least because she is having renovations and additions done to her property (Severn Darden is the head builder). But there are elements that would put anyone on edge, from the team of huskies that are fed with raw meat to the husband of Mrs Racine (Beverly Garland) who may be servicing the local ladies in more advanced form than his purported and sought-after massages.

So far, so TV soap, but director Bernard Girard had higher hopes for the project, therefore was bitterly disappointed when it was re-edited against his wishes and flopped when it eventually was released. We've heard tales of cinematic woe like that before, but Girard truly suffered and his other projects were not only placed on the back burner, but cancelled, prompting to leave Hollywood and a promising avenue in his career in a state of disillusionment. A real shame, because The Mad Room was not half bad once it worked up a head of steam, pinballing from crazy plot twist to crazy plot twist with increasing abandon, though George's interracial affair with maid Carol Cole (daughter of Nat King Cole) is probably less shocking now than it was in the late sixties. Still, we do have the gory murders, a dog with a human hand in its mouth, and the big revelation as to what is really going on (which is guessable). A movie of two halves, but the second made up for the first in camp bad taste. Music by Dave Grusin, with Todd Rundgren also heard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 522 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: