*** Asylum (1972) ***
Starring: Robert Powell, Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Geoffrey Bayldon, Charlotte Rampling
This film is by far my favourite of the horror anthology movies around.
The basic story of the film is a young doctor goes for a job interview at a mental institution, where he is told that the previous doctor, Dr Starr, had a breakdown and went insane and is now being detained as a patient. As a kind of test the young doctor is told to go and speak to all of the patients and if he can figure out which of them is Dr Starr then he can have the job. The film is then broken in to four separate sections (“Frozen Fear”, “The Weird Tailor”, “Lucy Comes To Stay” and “Mannikins Of Horror”) as each patient tells the doctor their story.
Admittedly the acting can be slightly ropey at times, although Robert Powell and Geoffrey Bayldon are superb. And some of the ‘effects’ (most notably during 'Frozen Fear’) are a little…erm….iffy, but that’s part of the movies charm. The four stories are all very different and the linking story keeps the film flowing smoothly. I wouldn’t say all four stories are equal in quality, but they are certainly worth a watch! (My personal favourite is 'Frozen Fear’). The linking story is probably my overall favourite part of the film as this is usually the part where anthology films fall flat, but Asylum manages to use the linking story to keep your interest peaked. The music score is wonderful and the set used for the asylum (or the location, I’m not sure which it is) is so grim it’s perfect.
So why should you watch this film? Well, because it’s just so fun! You don’t get good horror anthology movies these days! The last 5 minutes of the film is genius, probably one of my favourite ever movie endings! Very creepy! And of course what a brilliant cast. If you want a shiny, clean, perfect looking film with spectacular special effects and jump scares round every corner then this certainly is not the film for you, but it is a good solid film and so fun to watch!
Treats to look out for:-
- Barry Morse’s accent taking a global tour during 'The Weird Tailor’
- “Anna! Nooo! NOOOOOOO!” (the pronunciation just tickles me! :p)
- Any scene with Robert Powell or Geoffrey Bayldon
- How long it takes the little mannikin to get anywhere! :)
- The laugh! (it’ll haunt you forever!)
- “Better keep the door closed and keep out the drafts, as Dr Starr used to say…”
Happy viewing folks!