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The Mansion of Madness

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The Mansion of Madness
Directed byJuan López Moctezuma
Produced byJosé Borchowsky
Jacobo Guss Elster (as Jacobo Guss)
Roberto Viskin
Written byCarlos Illescas
Juan López Moctezuma
Gabriel Weisz (as Gabriel Weiss: additional material)
Based onThe System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
by Edgar Allan Poe
StarringClaudio Brook
Arthur Hansel
Ellen Sherman
Martin LaSalle
Music byNacho Méndez
CinematographyRafael Corkidi
Edited byFederico Landeros
Producciones Prisma
Release date
  • 10 August 1973 (1973-08-10) (Mexico, Italy)
Running time
  • 99 minutes
  • 88 minutes (USA)
  • English
  • Dubbed into Spanish for Mexican cinemas

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The Mansion of Madness (released in Mexico as La mansión de la locura, in the UK as House of Madness, and in the USA as Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon) is a 1973 Mexican horror film directed by Juan López Moctezuma.[1][2] It is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. The film is the directorial debut of Juan López Moctezuma, who went on to make Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975) and Alucarda (1977), among others.[3]

The film is notable for the influence of the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, who supervised sets and costumes, with one of her sons, Gabriel Weisz. The repeated appearance of a white horse, Carrington’s alter ego, and the elaborate surreal feasts and costumes demonstrate the artist’s vision and several of her recurring motifs.[4]

Despite being a Mexican production, shot in Mexico and having a mostly Mexican cast and crew, it was filmed in English, and then dubbed into Spanish for Mexican cinemas.


The film is set in France in the 19th century. Gaston LeBlanc visits Dr. Maillard in his spacious sanatorium to witness his revolutionary treatments. He is introduced to the doctor’s lovely niece Eugénie, and is taken on a tour. He has several odd encounters with the patients, who seem to roam free. As LeBlanc observes the increasingly eccentric methods of Dr. Maillard's "soothing system" he begins to question the mental stability of the doctor. In the doctor's dungeon, innocent people are chained, tortured and stuck in glass cages, then forced to take part in gruesome games of ritual slaughter.


  • Claudio Brook (as Claude Brook) - Dr. Maillard / Raoul Fragonard
  • Arthur Hansel - Gaston LeBlanc
  • Ellen Sherman - Eugénie
  • Martin LaSalle - Julien Couvier


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds has an audience score of 41% based on 614 user ratings.[5]


  1. Strayer, Kirsten; Och, Dana (2014). Transnational Horror Across Visual Media: Fragmented Bodies. New York, USA & Oxford, UK: Routledge. pp. 115–120. ISBN 978-0-415-82124-7. Retrieved 9 June 2020. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Greene, Doyle (2015). Mexploitation Cinema: A Critical History of Mexican Vampire, Wrestler, Ape-Man and Similar Films, 1957-1977. Jefferson, North Carolina & London: McFarland. p. 168. ISBN 9781476600727. Retrieved 9 June 2020. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. "From the Videotheque Vault: The Mansion of Madness". Facets. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  4. Markova, Lora; Shannon, Roger (10 January 2019). "Leonora Carrington on and off Screen: Intertextual and Intermedial Connections between the Artist's Creative Practice and the Medium of Film". MDPI Arts. 8 (1): 11. doi:10.3390/arts8010011. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  5. "The Mansion of Madness (Edgar Allan Poe: Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External links[edit]

Category:1973 films Category:Mexican films Category:English-language films Category:1970s horror films Category:Mexican horror films

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