Director: Michael Pataki
Writer: Frank Ray Perilli
Cast: Richard Basehart, Gloria Grahame, Trish Stewart, Lance Henriksen, Al Ferrara
DVD Released by: Full Moon
Dr. Leonard Chaney (Richard Basehart) is a brilliant and rich eye-surgeon. One day a dog crosses in front of his car, as he is driving. His pretty daughter, Nancy (Trish Stewart) warns him, and he swerves the car to avoid hitting the pooch but crashes. The broken glass from the front window causes his daughter to go blind. So, while he may care about doggies (Yay!!), he is not necessarily a very good driver (oh well, no one is perfect!). He begins to transplant the eyes of living people into his daughter's eye sockets. She can see, but the effect doesn't last long. So, he keeps on collecting eyes for his daughter, with the help of his loyal housekeeper Katherine (Gloria Grahame). All the while, keeping his victims (including among them modern day horror legend Lance Henrikson as Nancy's fiance), all sans eyeballs, locked in a cell in the basement.
Patakis isn't particularly good at building tension or suspense, and, for the most part the movie is kinda just there. Thankfully, it is pretty short and goes by fairly quickly. It's enough to keep you interested in what is going on, and what to know how it's all gonna end.
It's really aided by a cast that is way better than this movie probably deserves. Richard Basehart is really credible as the sort of sympathetic villain. He gives his all and helps to hold the movie together. Also, quite good is Gloria Grahame as the housekeeper who loves him and is will to do anything to help him and his daughter. They both add some class to the whole proceedings. Henriksen, one of my all time favorite actors, is quite young in what is one of his earliest roles. It's a cool one for us fans of his to see. He definitely has always had good acting chops, even while missing his eyes!
Mansion of the Doomed is a little on the pedestrian side, at times. But, it's made watchable thanks to some solid acting and good gore. Coupled with a short running time and a suitably nasty ending, it turns out to be an overall decent little movie. So long as they don't expect a masterpiece or anything original (or a quality DVD), fans of gore, mad doctors, 70s cheapo horror, and/ or Lance Henriksen will be in for a little bit of a treat.
Movie: 2.5 out of 4