HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Asylum Can I Play With Madness?Buy this film here.
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: Horror
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 10246 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: