The Mansion of Madness

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The Mansion of Madness
Directed byJuan López Moctezuma
Produced by
  • José Borchowsky
  • Jacobo Guss Elster (as Jacobo Guss)
  • Roberto Viskin
Written by
  • Carlos Illescas
  • Juan López Moctezuma
  • Gabriel Weisz (as Gabriel Weiss: additional material)
Based onThe System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Claudio 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

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


The Mansion of Madness won the Laceno d'oro prize and a Special Mention for Claudio Brook's performance at the XIV Avellino Neorealist and Avant-garde Film Festival, Italy; a Special Mention at the Brave New World Festival in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1973); it was also awarded a Special Mention at the Locarno Festival, Switzerland (1973), and a Gold Medal at the Paris International Fantastic Film and Science Fiction Festival (1974).[5]

In the media



  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.
  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.
  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. Granados, Humberto. "La Mansión de la Locura de Juan López Moctezuma". Cineforever. Retrieved 9 August 2020.

External links

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