The Horror Honeys: Saturday Creature Feature with Suzanne!

Saturday Creature Feature with Suzanne!

Mansion of the Doomed (1976)

I was insanely lucky growing up in an area where drive-ins were a big thing and easily accessible. My parents were not big theater goers, but they loved the drive-in. It was a summer weekend ritual and I saw a lot of highly inappropriate films as a kid because I never fell asleep in the back seat of the car like I was supposed to. One summer, when I was still in elementary school, my aunt and uncle invited me to go camping with them and my older cousin. Camping was not something my folks were into, but it was a huge adventure for me so I begged my parents to let me go. One of the activities was going to be a drive-in double feature of horror. Yes!

The two movies were John Carpenter’s Halloween, and a movie whose title would escape me for decades, but traumatized me in such a way I was unable to sleep in the tent with my cousin and instead, slept in the camper with my aunt and uncle and demanded to be brought home the next day, never to camp again. Well, not until I was old enough to drink.

Eye surgeon, Dr. Leonard Chaney (Richard Basehart), is on a mission to restore the sight of his daughter, Nancy (Trish Stewart), blinded in a car accident. He deduces the only real solution is a full eye transplant. He begins by drugging and removing the eyes of colleague Dr. Dan Bryan (Lance Henricksen). Dr. Bryan also happens to be the boyfriend of Nancy. Initially, the transplant works, but within a short time, the eyes fail and she loses her sight.

Never sit too close to the TV kids. Your mother warned you.
Determined to succeed, Dr. Chaney, with help from his assistant, Katherine (Gloria Grahame), he abducts people using them as donors for his daughter. Not heartless, Dr. Chaney does not kill his unwilling participants he just keeps them locked in a cage in his basement. As he descends further into madness, his captives revolt and escape.

That is the definition of disgusting eye stuff.
Mansion of the Doomed is a blatant ripoff of the 1960 Georges Franju classic, Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face) although I wouldn’t know this until I began my search for the film several years ago. I had a terrible time tracking it down because I had watched it just the one time and could only remember bits and pieces, like the basic storyline and, most notably, the eyeless people in the basement. I finally did get my hands on a copy a few years ago and it was a total rush of nostalgia. It was not, however, the scare-fest I endured as a child.

Mansion of the Doomed does have some admirable qualities though. Aside from a solid cast, it utilizes some real medical eyeball footage, which seriously grosses me out. I may be desensitized by a lot, but not when it comes to eyeball gouging/poking/exploding. Other than that, the special effects are pretty low budget.

OH! Hey! That guy up there has some eyes for you!
If you want to chance it, Mansion of the Doomed is available on Amazon streaming and also on DVD. It’s worth the $2.99 just for a young Lance Henricksen, but you’re much better off seeing the film it’s based on.

Have YOU seen Mansion of the Doomed?
Talk to Suzanne about it on Twitter: @suzebee04