Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Asylum (1972)

Robert Powell stars as a keen, young shrink who starts work at a lunatic asylum only to find that it has rather strange working practices. New boss Patrick Magee asks him to interview the deranged patients before guessing which one was the former administrator of the facility, in this creepy Amicus film.

Almost everyone has heard of "Hammer Films" - but in the 70s the British film company "Amicus" were energetic rivals, producing some highly effective horror flicks. Their speciality was anthologies with the best being the fabulous "Vault of Horror", based on the old American EC comics. "Asylum" was one of a series of movies that traded heavily on the atmosphere and classy production values that belied the restricted budgets.

Despite the often-gory plotlines, Amicus was able to attract some class thesps and "Asylum" boasts a superb cast. First up is Barbara Parkins who is one of the four to relate her story to Powell. Parkins recalls how her fling with boozy Richard Todd started to go horribly wrong once his wife began terrorising her. Her problem with this is that Todd had murdered his wife and now it's the various body parts that are attacking her, after escaping from the freezer. This is a gleefully dark vignette.

Peter Cushing appears in a story concerning a magical suit that brings back the dead. Charlotte Rampling suffers a schizophrenic identity crisis, with Britt Ekland as her alter ego. And the ever-menacing Herbert Lom describes the nasty things that he's been up to with his tiny, murdering, robotic dolls. They're all rather deliciously far-fetched stories but fun to watch. And the demented camera angles and fast pacing makes the tales far more unsettling than you might imagine.

End Credits

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Writer: Robert Bloch

Stars: Patrick Magee, Robert Powell, Geoffrey Bayldon, Barbara Parkins, Peter Cushing, Barry Morse, Britt Ekland, Charlotte Rampling, Herbert Lom, Richard Todd

Genre: Horror


Country: UK