I have some DVDs in my collection that I just never get around to watching. They just stand there on our shelves collecting dust. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, I just have so much choice and some of them just get overlooked each time. Mansion of the Doomed is one of those DVDs. I think I own it almost 2 years now. But this week was its big moment to shine on my TV screen, and it most certainly did.
Mansion of the Doomed is about a surgeon called Dr. Leonard Chaney played by Richard Basehart. You might actually know him for “Knight Rider”. Dr. Chaney and his daughter got in a car accident a few years ago. His daughter turned blind because of this accident. Dr. Chaney is specialized in eye surgery and wants to do everything in his power to make his daughter see again. After thinking of multiple theories how to help his daughter, he comes up with the idea of eye transplantation. But the people who he needs to transplant them from, need to be alive. So he drugs a colleague of his and tries to transplant his eyes to his daughter. Dr. Leonard’s girlfriend is also a surgeon and she helps him with the operation.
The Operation is a success and his daughter can see again. But after a few days she turns blind again. Dr. Chaney goes out to find more people to drug and perform surgery on. But he doesn’t kill the people he operates on. After the surgery is over he keeps them in a cell in his basement. These in people in the basement try to make a plan to escape; meanwhile the doctor keeps on experimenting.
I think the plot of the film is really disturbing. The idea of waking up and being blind, not knowing where you are is just terrible. But waking up with your eyes completely removed is just friggin’ horrible. But I do feel this is the strength of the film. You can understand Dr. Chaney wanting to do everything possible to make his daughter see again. Also because he feels it’s his fault his daughter has turned blind. But you can also feel the pain of his victims, who turn absolutely mad when they wake up and have no idea what’s happened.
The actors in the film did a great job. Richard Basehart was really convincing and came across very disturbing. Also Lance Henriksen played a small part in this; he was actually the first victim of the doctor. The film also had great pacing. There was never a dull moment. Not a lot of people get killed in the film and there is hardly any gore. But I don’t think the film really needs it. The plot itself is just very horrifying. The only thing I don't get is why they chose the title, Mansion of the Doomed. The title seems out of place and doesn't have anything to do with the plot. I mean, it does take place in a mansion and the people being held captive are kinda doomed. It just feels a bit uninspired. But it is also released under different names, such as Eyes of Dr. Chaney, The Terror of Dr. Chaney, Massacre Mansion and House of blood.
The DVD is released by Dutch Film Works (DFW) under the Extreme label. We have quite a few of their releases and there some real gems among them. The cover art always looks great, the picture and sound quality are always perfect. But again there are no extras on the DVD, not even a trailer this time.
I would recommend this film to any horror fan. This film doesn’t seem to be well known and I think that’s a shame. But if you find this anywhere, be sure to pick it up.