‘The ghastliest horror of all!’
The Mad Executioners is a 1963 German krimi thriller film about a secret court of hooded vigilantes that hangs murderers. Bizarrely, they always use a hangman’s rope that they periodically steal from Scotland Yard‘s Black Museum! At the same time, a serial killer is murdering young women and leaving their decapitated bodies around London.
Directed by Edwin Zbonek (Monster of London City) from a screenplay written by Robert A. Stemmle (Monster of London City; The Curse of the Hidden Vault; The Terror of Doctor Mabuse) based on the novel ‘White Carpet’ by Bryan Edgar Wallace. Produced by Artur Brauner (Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace).
The CCC production stars Hansjörg Felmy (Torn Curtain), Maria Perschy (Exorcism; The Ghost Galleon; The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll; The Spectre of Terror), Dieter Borsche (The Phantom of Soho; Dr Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard; The Black Abbot), Rudolf Forster, Chris Howland and Wolfgang Preiss (Cave of the Living Dead; Mill of the Stone Women).
“What makes The Mad Executioners enjoyable even when it seems like the subplots will never meaningfully converge is that each of the two main aspects would make for a sufficiently compelling film all by itself. The secret court sections carry forward a trend that was always visible in Edgar Wallace movies, the tendency to wrap what could have been a conventional crime story in the trappings of horror for added impact.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“I don’t quite rank it with the best ones [krimis], but it’s one of the most straightforward and least confusing of the bunch, and it manages to keep the comic relief down to a minimum. Even the subplot about the serial killer weaves nicely into the main plot.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
” …some particularly impressive sets for the executioners’ base and the mad scientist’s home-come-laboratory. Edwin Zbonek’s direction likewise pleases, as does Richard Angst’s crisp black and white widescreen cinematography […] Dieter Borsche is nicely sinister and driven as the mad scientist, whereas Chris Howland’s investigative reporter Gabby Pennypacker is more annoying than funny…” Giallo Fever
” …it’s the type of movie that flings a lot at its viewers in the hopes that something will stick between its gothic atmosphere, ghastly imagery, psychological intrigue, and ridiculous plot. Remarkably, it not only sticks but mostly coheres: like its titular band of vigilantes, The Mad Executioners attempts to bring order to a chaotic blend of murder, deception, and paranoia. It succeeds and then some…” Oh, the Horror!
Cast and characters:
Hansjörg Felmy … John Hillier
Maria Perschy … Ann Barry
Dieter Borsche … Doctor Mac Ferguson
Rudolf Forster … Sir Francis Elliott, Ann’s Father
Chris Howland … Tom Jenkins aka Gabby Pennypacker
Wolfgang Preiss … Inspector Morel Smith
Harry Riebauer … Doctor Philip Trooper
Rudolf Fernau … Jerome
London, England (stock footage)
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1
Der Henker von London “The Executioner of London”
Some images: Giallo Fever