Sunday, 18 February 2018

Asylum

Made (and released) in 1972 'Asylum' is perhaps one of the least celebrated of Amicus Productions' portmanteau movies and undeservedly so. It's framing story tells of the arrival of Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) at the titular establishment where he is challenged by Patrick Magee's Dr. Lionel Rutherford to interview the inmates and identify the hospital's previous head who has been committed there following a breakdown.

The frame and the four tales that follow are all written by Psycho author Robert Bloch and whilst eschewing the more gothic trappings of the Hammer movies still drink from the same well with stories concerning voodoo, soul transference and magic.

Over the course of the movie we are treated to performances from a host of  Wyrd Britain film legends.  As well as the already mentioned Jesus of Nazareth we also have Professor Van Helsing, Catweazle, Willow MacGregor, Professor Victor Bergman and Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus alongside a host of other great actors that I wasn't able to think of an easily identifiable role for such as Charlotte Rampling and Sylvia Syms.

Director Roy Ward Baker, who had previously directed 'Quatermass and the Pit' and 'The Vampire Lovers' for Hammer and various episodes of ITC spy-fi series like 'The Saint' & 'The Avengers' and would go on to direct another Amicus anthology 'The Vault of Horror', brings a practised eye to the proceedings and the end result is nicely claustrophobic with rare narrative logic for the telling of the stories and a brutally satisfying ending.

Buy it here - Asylum (1972) ( House of Crazies ) - or watch it below.



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2 comments:

  1. I'm not much into horror except cosmic/sci-fi horror, but when I do it's usually from the 70s. Though nothing tops the Legend of Hell House for me.

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    1. I grew up on these films - my mother was a fan and i think wanted someone to watch them with - so i have a real soft spot for them. 'Legend...' is a classic with a great radiophonic soundtrack that really needs to be released.

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