Madhouse appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a bad image given its age, but it never became especially appealing.
Sharpness was probably the weakest link. Parts of the film showed reasonable delineation, but a lot of it came across as soft and bland.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws were absent as well.
Colors were adequate. Though the hues lacked great vivacity, they showed passable clarity.
Blacks were reasonably dark, and shadows presented acceptable smoothness. Nothing here seemed better than average.
When we moved to the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it showed its age but usually sounded decent. Taken from a stereo source, the soundfield lacked much ambition and failed to create much of an impression.
Music offered the broadest scope, as the score spread to the front side speakers in a moderate way, and these elements used the back channels on occasion as well. Effects didn’t do much, though, as they seemed monaural for all intents and purposes.
Dialogue was adequate as only occasional edginess affected the lines. Speech could’ve been more natural, but the lines seemed okay.
Music wasn’t particularly bold, but the score and songs showed reasonable clarity and vivacity, with some surprisingly nice low-end at times. Effects seemed clean and without substantial distortion, so though they didn’t have much kick, they reproduced the material well. While nothing here dazzled, the mix held up fine for something from a low-budget 38-year-old film.
As we shift to extras, we get an audio commentary from members of “The Hysteria Continues”, a podcast group. We hear from Justin Kurswell, Erik Threllfall, Joseph Henson and Nathan Johnson. All four chat together for this running, screen-specific look at cast/crew, other horror flicks/influences, sets and locations, and related subjects.
The commentary presents as a chat among semi-knowledgeable genre fans. That means we get a decent appreciation for how Madhouse compares to other horror flicks but we don’t actually learn much about it, mainly because none of the participants seem to know much about the production. This doesn’t become a bad chat, but it fails to deliver a lot of useful information.
Next comes Running the Madness, a 12-minute, 40-second interview with actor Edith Ivey. She discusses her career and aspects of the Madhouse production. This becomes a pleasant little chat.
Framing Fear goes for 19 minutes, 32 seconds and offers a chat with cinematographer Roberto D’Ettorre Piazzoli. He covers how he got into movies, other films on which he worked and his relationship with the director, and his memories of Madhouse. Piazzoli offers an enjoyable, frank look at his experiences.
We hear from the director himself in the seven-minute, 44-second Ovidio Nasty. Ovidio Assonitis talks about the Madhouse production and gives us a decent overview, though “Nasty” seems too short to offer much substance.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get Alternative Opening Titles that last three minutes, one second. These are identical to the credits in the released film except they call it There Was a Little Girl instead of Madhouse.
A second disc presents a DVD copy of Madhouse. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
A booklet concludes the package. It offers credits, photos and an essay from historian John Martin. It ends matters in a pleasing manner.
With a little talent behind it, Madhouse could’ve turned into a serviceable horror tale. Unfortunately, the film suffers from amateurish work at all levels and winds up as a dreary, pointless piece of nothing. The Blu-ray offers mediocre picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. Madhouse delivers a relentlessly dull experience.