HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Asylum Can I Play With Madness?
Year: 1972
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Geoffrey Bayldon, Richard Todd, Barbara Parkins, Peter Cushing, Barry Morse, Britt Ekland, Charlotte Rampling, Herbert Lom, Sylvia Syms, James Villiers, Megs Jenkins, Anne Firbank
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Young psychiatrist Dr Martin (Robert Powell) arrives at a remote mental asylum in the country to apply for a position there. He expects to meet Dr Starr, but the man who meets him is the wheelchair-bound Dr Rutherford (Patrick Magee), who claims to have been attacked by one of his patients. When the liberal-minded Dr Martin asks where Dr Starr is, he is told that Starr is now one of the patients, and Rutherford poses the psychiatrist a puzzle: go and interview four inmates, and work out which is Dr Starr. If he gets it right, he gets the job, and can implement his more lenient practices.

Definitely one of the better of the horror anthologies from Amicus, Asylum was scripted by Robert Bloch. What Dr Martin finds when he goes up to interview the four patients is more than just an excuse for their short tales of terror to be told - it's a framing device that builds to a clever climax. But before all that, we're in comfortably familiar territory for this studio, with four people drawn into the presence of vengeful, supernatural forces. The first story is a simple revenge tale, the second an awful warning, and the third a story of genuine madness.

First up is Richard Todd, who murders his wife (Sylvia Syms) and chops up her body to put in a freezer cabinet so he can be with his mistress (Barbara Parkins). However, his wife is a student of mysterious arts, and her body parts, all wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string, return to life. Next, poor tailor Barry Morse is visited by a shadowy figure (Peter Cushing), who gives him magical material with which to make a suit. Then, schizophrenic Charlotte Rampling is taken to a country retreat by her brother (James Villiers) to recover, but her imaginary friend Lucy (Britt Ekland) comes too...

Subtlety isn't necessarily a bonus in Amicus films, so the actors have little time to go into any depth with their characters. However many of the performances are nicely handled; in particular, the scenes that Morse and Cushing share are very well played, but it's the actors in the framing story who have the most fun. The last story, you see, concerns a mad doctor (Herbert Lom) who believes he has brought tiny robots to life, and as Dr Martin complains to Rutherford about the conditions in the hospital, one of the robots begins to stalk them.

One of the appealing things about these films is how plainly ridiculous some of the ideas look on screen, but how the comparitively cheap production gets away with them through sheer cheek. There's not much in the way of outright humour ("Rest in pieces," the dead wife is told at one point), but instead there is an amusing conviction about the horrors that makes them entertaining. A bunch of moving body parts or a dinky killer robot are not without their charms, and even the straightest story, the Charlotte Rampling one, has a neat visual punchline. It's crazy, but it works. Music by Douglas Gamley, which includes some classical excerpts.

Asylum has been released on DVD as part of the Amicus Collection. The film comes complete with audio commentary by director Roy Ward Baker and star Robert Powell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 10453 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Roy Ward Baker  (1916 - 2010)

Reliable British director who worked his way up from teaboy to assistant to Alfred Hitchcock to overseeing his own hit projects from the 1940s to the 1970s. Making his debut with The October Man, he continued with Morning Departure, Don't Bother To Knock, Inferno, The One That Got Away and what is considered by many to be the best Titanic film, A Night To Remember.

After the failure of The Singer Not the Song in the sixties he turned to television, including episodes of The Avengers, The Saint and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), then to Hammer, where he directed many of the later favourites associated with the studio: Quatermass and the Pit, The Anniversary, The Vampire Lovers, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. He also made Asylum, Vault of Horror and The Monster Club for Hammer's rivals, then returned for the remainder of his career to TV with episodes of Minder and Fairly Secret Army, among others.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: