Madhouse/Funhouse/Nuthouse & Then Some!

DATELINE: One Last American International Horror



 Cushing & Price


Madhouse is a nuthouse extravaganza movie with a funhouse spirit.

Vincent Price finished up his American International contract, which featured so many classic Edgar Allan Poe tales done outrageously, that it seemed inevitable that he would go out with a blaze. Here, he plays a movie star who made a bunch of movies as “Dr. Death,” a hideous murderer. Art imitates life here.

His career went south when he was accused of cracking up and murdering his fiancée. Whether he did it or not is the crux of the horror. You may find more than a fair share of suspects trying to “gaslight” the old star.

Well, after a dozen years in a madhouse, he returns to acting to star, good grief, in a TV series based on his infamous character.

If you haven’t guessed that most of the funhouse nuthouse stuff is all tongue-in-cheek, you miss more than most of the Hammer House parody.

Joining Price is Peter Cushing as his best friend, fellow actor, and screenwriter of all those grisly murder movies.

If that is not spicy enough for you, A-I studios dug up their two other favorite stars of the 1960s—Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone—and featured them in amusing cameos. It’s no mean feat, as the two legendary stars were long-gone for about a half-dozen years by the time this film was before the cameras.

You have to love a movie that begins with everyone watching a film in a Hollywood mansion with the final credits rolling out the words, “The End” in blood red letters.

If shameless overacting isn’t your thing, then you may not appreciate the golden opportunity Price has been given: he even dresses the part, in white trench coat and matching fedora.

There is even an O.J. Simpson moment when Scotland Yard has everyone try on the murderer’s glove: if it fits, you know the rest…So, O.J.’s lawyers found the idea in this movie!

Playing Mr. Toombes, Price puts a cutrate on fellow cast members as they are all mysteriously dispatched as the new TV series takes place at British studios. It is a nicely set film with solid production values to make you forget this is what a good cast and production team can do with a low-budget.





Return to O.J. Unnecessary

DATELINE:  Guilty Even If Found Not Guilty

Rick Investigator Rick Levasseur

Before there was Aaron Hernandez shooting up the serial killer sports figure, there was O.J. Simpson who slaughtered his way into fame after doing light comedy in movies and heavy sports in youth.

Now O.J. is back with several examinations of his alleged crimes. One is enough for us. The 6-part miniseries documentary/crime expose is called Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.  Yes, some people think the jury was right.

During the course of an overwrought investigation, it became clear no one wanted to re-open this case. We were astounded that Nicole Simpson’s sister and Ron Goldman’s father stood for additional tormenting interviews. Were they paid for their time?

It was rumored way back at the time of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ron Goldman that the real killer was O.J.’s son. Yes, the story was a kind of Mildred Pierce in which the parent is willing to take the blame for the crimes of their child.

As hard as it is to picture O.J. Simpson as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest mode, he seems tailor-made to save his troubled son, or more likely to throw him away. On the other hand, theorist William Dean was hell-bent on finding the “true” culprit whom he labeled Jason Simpson, O.J.’s son.

With glossy production values, the miniseries documentary features Martin Sheen as narrator. Chief honcho William Dean selects two matinee idol types, right out of central casting as forensic psychologist (Kris Mohandie) and former police sergeant (Rick Levasseur) as his leg men. They couldn’t be cuter if you cast real actors.

Bill Dean has been enterprising for years: he took possession of Jason Simpson’s diaries and hunting knife out of a storage locker. It sparked his manhunt attitude like something out of Hugo’s Les Miserables.  He is a dogged Javert.

Showing up to provide insights include Dr. Henry Lee and Detective Tom Lange from the original case. They give both sides of inept police work. No one from the prosecutor’s office would bother with this investigation.

The two boy-toy crime busters try to reach reclusive Jason Simpson, and he is stalked by private detectives hired for the series, showing only a rather sad, downtrodden, and unhappy man, but is he a murderer?

Ultimately Jason Simpson’s time-card from his job at the time of the murder would prove to be the investigation’s high-point. Yet, we ended up nearly as disgusted by the rehash as all the surviving original people.

Was any of this necessary?


Murder Most Foul Under the Hair Dryer


affluenza suffererHollywood is never one to take a back seat to New England. Therefore, when Aaron Hernandez took the starring role as a hitman who kills a bunch of thug wannabes in Boston, Hollywood knew it had at least one NFL killer in its midst.

Now the Hollywood community is aghast that a former NFL Detroit Lion has been implicated as a man hired to kill some poor schmuck who worked at a beauty salon.

The brains behind this dumb move is one Dawn DaLuise, a skin specialist who proves beauty is only skin deep.

The list of former Detroit Lions making a living in Hollywood is a killer. The names can be counted on one hand: and since police are throwing out hints that this is a biggie, we have an idea about the identity of our suspect.

You can take the killer out of the NFL, but you can’t stop him from wanting to execute. The Lion in question is reportedly Chris Geile, a 300-pound sack of sackers.

Now he appears to be the sucker of a beautician whose ugliness has led her to try to murder a rival through a hired gunsel. She solicited Chris Geile to do her bidding and bumping off. Granted, the former NFL dumbbell played only three games in 1987.

Hernandez may still hold the NFL record for sheer numbers of dead piling up on the streets of Boston. Of course, Hollywood is no stranger to weird killers on the fringe of the entertainment biz. Do we have to say the initials “O.J.”?

NFL thugs are now a driving force behind murder in our society.

Attack of OJ Simpson: 21st Century Cookie Monster



A brazen prison crime has been perpetrated and the perp is a familiar monster of folklore. Put the notion of overweight James Cagney calling for his “Ma!” in a one-man prison riot.

This is another fat inmate doing a Pillsbury Doughboy imitiation.

Yes, O.J. Simpson of double homicide fame has been busted. If the glove did not fit, we’d have to acquit. Based on his pulchritude, nothing he wears really fits.

Alas, for mammoth fat slob O.J., the years have not been kind.

His crime sort of fits his belt size. He was caught stealing oatmeal cookies out of the prison cafeteria. They contraband were hidden in his lumpy shirt.

So, the cookies were hot in both a metaphorical and literal sense.

Simpson now adds a cookie sheet to his rap sheet.

When you are 66 years old and failing to follow dietary rules, you turn up looking like a raspberry turnover.

How much time will be tacked onto his sentence at the Las Vegas country club prison is open to speculation. He likely will be strip searched every time he goes through the cafeteria line. That will kill appetites for sure.

You will be able to pick O.J. out of the lineup because he’s the one with the crumbs on his shirt.

In the fiction of James Cain and other Hollywood types of crime writers, you are always punished for some minor infraction, not the major crime of your life. 

Alas, for Simpson, this is how the cookie crumbles. The Toll House cookie tolls for thee, O.J.