Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis
Starring Allison Biggers
Richard James Baker Trish Everly
Not to be confused with the Vincent Price film of the same name, this 1980s slasher directed by the producer of "Beyond the Door" and "Piranha II" just isn't sleazy enough to make it very memorable, either as a time capsule or exploitation/horror movie. It's more than a little similar to another forgettable '80s slasher, "Happy Birthday to Me."
Everly stars as a schoolteacher who has an evil, deformed twin sister (Biggers) in an insane asylum. The evil twin escapes and suddenly starts killing off people in her life, from the handyman in the basement to one of her students. The weapon of choice is a really mad looking Rottweiler. All this is happening as the twins' birthday approaches.
After a few dog maulings we learn there is more to the story than meets the eye and things climax with a birthday party straight out of "Happy Birthday to Me." The funniest scene in the movie has the Rottweiler bursting its head through a door, then having its skulled drilled by the hero.
An Italian production filmed in Georgia, with American (undubbed) actors, "Madhouse" was resurrected by Dark Sky Films in 2008. The company known for restoring "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Magic" gave this film the royal treatment -- remastering the film straight from the negative and making it look like it just been filmed yesterday. But the movie is so bad, it's a mystery why they went to all the trouble.
-- Review by Lucius Gore