Bedlam (1946)

Bedlam (1946), produced by Val Lewton, directed by Mark Robson.

Costume story from the Georgian Age of powdered wigs, when people paid admission to the insane asylum to have a look at the loonies. Boris Karloff is the doctor in charge, corrupt and sadistic but strangely witty.

Lewton's final horror film; like the others in the RKO series, it is more of a thriller than explicit horror, and has more comedy than the others. Of course, it is not so funny when someone we care about gets locked up in the asylum and threatened with some (unspecified) Infernal Psychiatric Torture Engine.

I don't find zombies, werewolves or vampires scary: they don't exist. But mental institutions and abuses therein: that's real and that's scary!

Trivia: this film is the only IMDB citation for William Hogarth (1697-1764), due to his inspiring paintings for The Rake's Progress.

Detailed commentary track.