Tag Archives: grey

Madhouse (1990)

Madhouse poster

Orion Pictures
Starring:
 John Larroquette, Kirstie Alley
Directed by: Tom Ropelewski

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Mark and Jessie Bannister (John Larroquette and Kirstie Alley) are a happy couple until houseguests descend upon them and turn their lives upside down.

Featured Feline: A cartoon cat is shown causing havoc during the opening credits (animated by Sally Cruikshank).

Madhouse - orange animated cat from opening credits

Madhouse - orange animated cat from opening credits

Madhouse - orange animated cat from opening credits

The first couple to arrive at the Bannister household is Cousin Fred (John Diehl) and his wife Bernice (Jessica Lundy) and they bring with them a long-haired gray cat named Scruffy Bannister. Scruffy arrives in a carrier on the luggage carousel and when he is introduced to Mark and Jessie he reaches through the mesh of the cage and scratches at Jessie, leaving her sleeve in tatters.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy reaching through wires of carrier

Things get worse on the drive home when Bernice takes Scruffy out of his carrier in the car and notes he doesn’t look to well. Moments later the cat is throwing up all over everyone. This is achieved with a fake cat puppet spewing crap. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy in lap of Bernice Jessica Lundy in car with Fred John Diehl

Madhouse - fake long-haired gray cat Scruffy about to throw up in car with Mark John Larroquette, Jessie Kirstie Alley, Fred John Diehl and Bernice Jessica Lundy

When they arrive at the house, Bernice sets Scruffy down and Jessie goes to clean up. Scruffy eyes the Bannister’s fish tank.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy carried into house by Bernice Jessica Lundy and Fred John Diehl

On Day Two Scruffy enters the room where Mark is sleeping (having lost the bedroom to the guests). Scruffy jumps over him and plays with the cord of a lamp, bringing it down on Mark’s head. Mark chases Scruffy through the house but the cat eludes him.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy on bed with Mark John Larroquette

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy playing with lamp cord

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy running out of room and away from Mark John Larroquette

Kitty Carnage Warning Number One!  On Day Four Bernice screams as she spots Scruffy drowned in the fish tank with a fish in his mouth. A funeral is held and the cat is buried in the back yard.

Madhouse - fake long-haired gray cat Scruffy drowned in fish tank

Later that night Jessie hears some noises in the kitchen. When she goes down the window screen has been broken, there are shattered potted plants in the sink and, lo and behold, Scruffy jumps down from a cabinet! The cat is not dead! Bernice comes down and sees the cat and hugs him, apologizing for burying him alive.

Madhouse - close up of long-haired gray cat Scruffy with glowing eyes

Madhouse - dirty long-haired gray cat Scruffy sitting up with play toy and dirt on floor

Madhouse - Bernice Jessica Lundy hugging long-haired gray cat Scruffy

Kitty Carnage Warning Number Two!  On Day Five Jessie’s nephew Jonathan (Bradley Gregg) arrives and accidentally runs over Scruffy. Another funeral and on Day 10 Scruffy comes back again, this time stringing yarn all around Jessie.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy walking away from a mass of yarn

That night the guests (which are growing in number to include Jessie’s sister and the neighboring family whose house was burned down) are having dinner. The neighbor’s son, a juvenile delinquent named C.K. (Aeryk Egan) sees Scruffy on the table and asks if they got a new cat. When told Scruffy came back from the dead, C.K. becomes obsessed with killing the cat and burying it himself.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy on dinner table with C.K. Aeryk Egan and Jonathan Bradley Gregg

Kitty Carnage Warning Number Three!  On Day 27, C.K. places a firecracker under Scruffy’s food bowl while Scruffy is eating. The cat is blown up (not seen directly on screen) and buried for a third time. Moments later the cat is running away from the grave and C.K. takes chase with a baseball bat.

Madhouse - close up of long-haired gray cat Scruffy eating from bowl

Madhouse - dirty long-haired gray cat Scruffy running behind C.K. Aeryk Egan

Kitty Carnage Warning Number Four!  On Day 49 C.K. tries to stuff Scruffy into a microwave oven. Fortunately the cat manages to get away.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy being stuck in microwave by C.K. Aeryk Egan

Kitty Carnage Warning Number Five!  Later that night, Mark is trying to hide a package containing cocaine which Jonathan has been receiving through his office. The police arrive at the house on another matter and while Mark is talking to the police Scruffy finds the box and tears a little hole from the bottom, sniffing and licking up the spilled cocaine.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy approaching box wrapped in brown paper

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy sniffing white powder from box wrapped in brown paper

Moments later the police are shocked to see Scruffy racing around madly in circles before keeling over dead yet again. This is all achieved by the use of a fake cat. They tag and bag Scruffy and take him to police headquarters.

Madhouse - fake long-haired gray cat Scruffy running madly around in circles

On the final day when Fred and Bernice are finally leaving, Scruffy suddenly appears still wearing the police tag. Bernice greets Scruffy with open arms but the cat passes her and jumps into the arms of Jessie.

Madhouse - ragged long-haired gray cat Scruffy approaching with tag on him

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy in arms of Jessie Kirstie Alley with Mark John Larroquette

When Bernice tries to take Scruffy, he scratches at her and tatters her sleeve. He has made his choice to stay with Mark and Jessie. Mark figures the cat has five lives left and is welcome to spend it with them.

Madhouse - long-haired gray cat Scruffy in arms of Jessie Kirstie Alley with Mark John Larroquette

Scruffy the cat is such a notable character in the film that he is seen on the movie’s posters. Cathy McCallum was the cat trainer with Jackie Martin (Kaptan) as lead trainer for Animal Rentals. Yes, it’s another example of violence against cats being the basis of comedy (a not uncommon practice around this time) but at least the humor is meant to be broad and in the end Scruffy does survive!

Madhouse - close up of long-haired gray cat Scruffy

Final Mewsings: Cats are resilient!

Many thanks to Nick Wale for letting us know about the cat in this movie.


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Cat Show (1948)

British Pathé

Synopsis: Unused and unissued newsreel footage of a cat show at Shepherd’s Bush, London.

Reality Cats: The newsreel begins with a couple of takes of two women, Irene Ashton and Diana Morrison, looking into a basket to find some Siamese kittens.

Cat Show 1948 - Irene Ashton and Diana Morrison looking into basket of Siamese kittens

Cat Show 1948 - little girl looking at Siamese kitten in cage

Cat Show 1948 - Siamese kittens inside cage

Cat Show 1948 - kitten sitting on woman's shoulder

Several shots of the show cats are then seen. What’s interesting about this footage is it gives you an idea of how these segments were shot, with an interesting variety of sounds being made to get the cats to look up for the cameras.

Cat Show 1948 - close up of white Persian cat

Cat Show 1948 - extreme close up of black Persian cat

Cat Show 1948 - close up of gray Persian cat

Cat Show 1948 - close up of Siamese cat

Final Mewsings: Cats must wonder why people make such weird noises when cameras are around.


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