Asylum
1972***

| 88 MINS | COLOUR | AMICUS |

 

SYNOPSIS

When a young Psychiatrist, Dr Martin, goes to a remote asylum for a position, he expects to be interviewed by a Dr Starr, but instead he is greeted by Dr Rutherford. Dr Rutherford explains that Dr Starr is now one of the patients and that if he can tell which of four inmates is the real Dr Starr, the position is his. Four stories are related by the inmates:-

(1.) Frozen Fear: [ Bonnie’s Story ] Walter, a cheating husband, wants to get rid of his wife, Ruth, so that he can go off with his mistress, Bonnie. After he kills Ruth, chops her body up and puts it into a freezer, he realises that her necklace may have imbued her body with strange powers.

(2.) The Weird Tailor: [ Bruno’s Story ] Bruno, a Jewish tailor, is approached by a man with a strange request. He asks him to make a suit for his son but that it must be made with a weird material and only during the hours of darkness. When he delivers the suit, things do not go as he planned.

(3.) Lucy Came To Stay: [ Barbara’s Story ] After recovering from a nervous breakdown, Barbara stays with her brother and nurse. Being lonely, she is cheered to find that her old friend Lucy has managed somehow to get into the house. Barbara tells Lucy that her brother and nurse are keeping her prisoner.

(4.) Mannequins Of Horror: [ Dr Byron’s Story ] Dr Byron, a surgeon, makes small dolls with real organs, and he believes that he can bring them to life. He wants to use them to gain vengeance on the asylum that has imprisoned him.

Will Dr Martin recognise the real Dr Starr?

(1.) Frozen Fear: [ Bonnie’s Story ] After killing his wife, Walter drinks in his living room. He hears a noise and his wife’s wrapped up head appears in the kitchen. He rushes to the basement to check the freezer and is strangled by his wife’s hand and then pulled into the compartment. Bonnie arrives and eventually makes her way to the basement. She discovers Walter’s body and then is attacked by Ruth’s body parts. She is later found by the police, alive, in a pool of blood.

(2.) The Weird Tailor: [ Bruno’s Story ] Bruno delivers the package to Mr Smith and discovers that his client has no money with which to pay him as he spent all of his fortune on an astrology book, the book which details the making of the strange suit which purportedly will bring his dead son back to life. In a struggle Smith is shot dead. At home Brunos wife puts the suit on a mannequin which comes to life and kills Bruno when he argues with his wife about confessing to the police about Mr Smith’s death.

(3.) Lucy Came To Stay: [ Barbara’s Story ] Lucy stabs both Barbara’s nurse and her brother to death and exclaims “ There, Barbara, now you’re free. Free of all of them.” Back at the asylum, Barbara explains that Lucy is there all the time in the mirror.

(4.) Mannequins Of Horror: [ Dr Byron’s Story ] Byron successfully brings his mannequin to life; it makes its way to Rutherford’s office and kills him with a scalpel. Martin destroys the mannequin, which results in the death of Dr Byron, and seeks help. Dr Starr’s true identity is revealed: it is “Max Reynolds”, who has murdered the real Reynolds two days before. He then strangles Martin to death.

 

REVIEWS

BritishHorrorFilms: Asylum seems to split popular opinion right down the middle. Depending on who you talk to, or what you read, itís either film company Amicusís greatest masterpiece or their dullest folly.

SpookyIsles: In all, Asylum is well-written, acted and directed and draws the audience in from the beginning with just the right amount of scares and mystery and a superb twist in the tail which will leave viewers satisfied and shaken and stands Asylum apart from other Amicus anthologies.

BritMovie: Despite the horror anthology being very silly the stories are gruesomely entertaining.

 

QUOTE

Dr Martin: Working with the mentally disturbed can cause a breakdown.

 

CREDITS

  • Directed by Roy Ward Baker
  • Produced by Max Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky
  • Music by Douglas Gamley
  • Cinematography Denys N. Coop
  • Production company Amicus Productions

 

NOTABLE FACTS

  • Directed by Roy Ward Baker.
  • Written by Robert Bloch.

 

CAST

Britt Ekland — Lucy | Herbert Lom — Byron | Patrick Magee — Dr. Rutherford | Barry Morse — Bruno | Barbara Parkins — Bonnie | Robert Powell — Dr. Martin | Charlotte Rampling — Barbara | Sylvia Syms — Ruth | Richard Todd — Walter | James Villiers — George | Geoffrey Bayldon — Max Reynolds | Ann Firbank — Anna | Megs Jenkins — Miss Higgins | John Franklyn-Robbins — Stebbins