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Dr Tarr's Torture Dungeon [DVD]

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Product details

  • Directors: Juan Lopez Moctezuma
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Cornerstone Media
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Sep 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VF5YI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,497 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Horror based on a story by famed horror writer Edgar Allan Poe. The film is set in an insane asylum presided over by notorious brigand, Raul Fragonard (Claudio Brook). He has locked up the institution's director and set the lunatics free. A visting journalist uncovers the secret behind the Mansion of Madness, but soon finds himself on trial before a host of crazed lunatics - whose ultimate aim is world domination.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JONESY on 8 Dec 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a gem. Completely off- the- wall and bizarre.
This is not a film for people who like mindless slasher films. as there is no bloodshed at all.
What you do get,is an insane mind--- of a movie with superb visuals and a creepy and disturbing setting.
Its a take on the lunatics have taken over the asylum type of movie but with the superb backdrop of the gothic asylum,weird characters such as the nude horseriding lady and Mr. Chicken, and the High Priestess.
Spoiled only by being a bit over-talkative and poorly dubbed but an experience all the same.
If you liked Malpertuis, El Topo or Eraserhead, you'll probably love this too. A definite keeper.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mario on 22 May 2014
Format: DVD
Total and utter rubbish. Do not waste your time on this ham-fisted, tedious, appallingly acted and directed 70s 'metaphor' for something or other like 'totalitarian society needs liberating'. Unredeemed by any aspect: not frightening; not stylish; not weird in any redemptive way; not amusing; not even crazy in a nostalgic way; not any good full stop.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 July 2007
Format: DVD
Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon (apparently a shortened - by some eleven minutes - American release of The Mansion of Madness) may very well make your eyes bleed down your cheeks, leave you with both index fingers permanently embedded in your ears, and rob you of your very will to live. Even though the story is based to some degree on a story by Edgar Allen Poe, The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather, attaching Poe's name to this film just seems so incredibly wrong. I mean, this is one putrid, nonsensical mess of a movie. Some people actually seem to find it fascinating, but I would rather rip my own tongue out and eat it than to ever see this film again. I was shocked to learn it dates back to 1973, as the remarkably bad print of the film I watched (which was, admittedly, a public domain offering) led me to believe it was much older. It's a Mexican film (apparently director Juan Moctezuma's first feature) featuring one of the ugliest sets I've ever seen (apparently an old abandoned warehouse). It's not really horror, so don't be fooled by the name. I guess it's some kind of exploitation comedy or something. Now maybe you call watching grown men dress up like chickens and crows to perform elaborate dances or listening to some prissy Napoleon wannabe break out into maniacal laughter far too often funny, but I certainly don't. Even the comical music that accompanies one bound victim having to hop his way through the forest was more discordant than humorous.

As for the story, you have a reporter named Gaston Leblanc (Arthur Hansel) seeking the famed Dr. Maillard (Max Kerlow) at his lunatic asylum to learn more about his unique treatment method.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy W. Newbould on 7 Jun 2010
Format: DVD
The crazies have most definitely taken over the asylum in this truly bizarre 1972 film.

When a newspaper reporter, who is working on a story, visits a country asylum it soon becomes apparent that the doctor in charge there is as bonkers as the rest of them! What's more, he's allowing the other inmates to act out their wildest fantasies.

I don't think there's much point trying to analyse this film in great detail or to try to assess any actual merits that it may have because doing so could be enough to drive anyone bananas. The really disturbing thing though is the fact that somebody somewhere has bothered to track this film down and release it on DVD! I can only assume that the distribution rights must have been exceptionally cheap.

I don't know how people reacted to it in the early 1970s but this is a very, very odd movie and I really cannot see who it would actually appeal to because sitting through it is a very gruelling experience. You would have to be a real connoisseur of strange cinema to appreciate this film, I think, because it is certainly too weird for mainstream audiences.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Surreal Entertainment 28 Jan 2005
By B. M. Kunz - Published on
Format: DVD
The first entry in the short film career of director Juan Lopez Moctezuma, The Mansion of Madness is a fine example of South of the Border Surrealism, and as such, shares more of a kinship with the works of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal, than with Moctezuma's later film (also on DVD) Alucarda. Based in part on Edgar Allan Poe's The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather, The Mansion of Madness tells the story of Gaston (Arthur Hansel) who, having recently returned from abroad, travels to an asylum nestled in the heart of a secluded forest. During the opening voice over, Gaston reveals that it was in this remote asylum that his father died, and under the guise of meeting with the head of the institution (a doctor named Maillard who employs unorthodox methods of treatment for patients) Gaston hopes to uncover the mystery shrouding his deceased father. However, this initial motivation is quickly abandoned once Gaston is given a grand tour of the sanitarium by the infamous "Dr. Maillard" (played with psychotic abandon by Claudio Brook) resulting in the discovery that the lunatics are actually running the asylum, and that the real Maillard and his staff are being held captive.
Unlike Alucarda, the premise of The Mansion of Madness provided Moctezuma with a concept in which to explore his Surrealist inclinations, and let his crazed imagination run wild. The film also reveals Moctezuma dabbling with absurd humor, the results of which are quite funny, and again help solidify his association to Surrealism. Although this film marked his directorial debut, Moctezuma's direction seems confident, his artistic vision clear, and he does not display many of the telltale signs of a novice director. In addition, the cinematography is of a high caliber, as are many of the performances from a very large cast. In this type of a story the mise-en-scene is crucial and thankfully the locations are wonderful, helping to create a palpable atmosphere of decay, and yes, madness. Perhaps due to the freewheeling nature of the narrative, the film does tend to lag on occasion. However, there is enough going on throughout to hold the viewer's interest, and the final fifteen minutes (highlighted by inmates performing a synchronized chicken dance) are well worth waiting around for.
This is another fine release from Mondo Macabro, featuring a great film transfer and a Spanish audio track with English subtitles. The handful of extras include - a director bio, the U.S. trailer, an interview with director Guillermo del Toro (also on the Alucarda disc) who discusses Moctezuma and actor Claudio Brook, an essay on the film, a director filmography, and a Mondo Macabro trailer highlighting past, present, and future releases.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Kristofer Upjohn - Published on
Format: DVD
First, despite any of the number of things that would suggest this is a horror movie, THE MANSION OF MADNESS really isn’t exactly a horror movie. It’s not without its shocking and disturbing visuals, but they’re not the whole package and, truth be told, THE MANSION OF MADNESS is more or less an art film. Not that horror films can’t be art films or vice versa, but some movies are just, plainly and simply, arthouse movies. This one, from the director of ALUCARDA (a horror film, and one whose review will appear here very shortly), and allegedly inspired by a Poe tale, is a deliberate exercise in absurdism. Reminiscent of not only Fellini but also Spain’s Fernando Arrabal - in fact, kind of a mixture of those two - this movie proves the mettle of its title by offering up a setting that is none other than a mansion. Of madness. But don’t expect just any old asylum or what not; this thing’s packed with loonies but the guy in charge also clearly needs an OUT OF THE OFFICE sign on his own gourd. Therapy amounts to “explore your creativity,” which, to be more specific, amounts to some pretty extreme s***. There’s a giant metal structure that, when finished, will supposedly be able to connect with the nervous system. There’s a guy who has embraced chickenhood - being a bird, I mean, not being a coward. There are all sorts of bonkers but beautiful visuals on display in the film’s foray through the titular madness. One could endlessly debate what it all means, but I’ll leave that to the viewer. Which is you. What? Yes, you can be a reader and a viewer, just not generally at the same time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Original is a gem... 13 Mar 2013
By Kenneth Winland - Published on
This film is a surreal and hallucinatory classic!

The original version is 'Mansions of Madness'. This truncated version was made for the more exploitative US market. The print quality of this version is lacking, but is still a must-see if you cannot get your hands on the original version.
so bizarre, it's good.... 27 May 2010
By James C. Ward - Published on
A newspaper reporter is working on a story and pays a visit to a country sanitarium. After he has interviewed the staff and observed the happenings at the hospital, the reporter comes to a horrifying realization. The mental hospital is actually being run by the inmates and the leader is allowing them to live out their wildest and most bizarre fantasies.
Yay Crazy People and Boobies. 23 May 2014
By Michelle R. Knop - Published on
The inmates have taken over the asylum. It starts slow but picks up though even if you are paying attention it does become a bit incoherent at times. You really have to love bad movies to make it through this. That or like boobies, lots of boobies. Oh and there is an interpretive bird dance towards the end. There is not enough interpretive dance in horror movies.
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