The Asphyx (1973)

Article 2106 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-21-2006
Posting Date: 5-19-2007
Directed by Peter Newbrook
Featuring Robert Stephens, Robert Powell, Jane Lapotaire

A nobleman engages in photography of the dead and, due to a special solution he uses to light his subjects, he is able to photograph a force known as the Asphyx that arrives at the time of death. He soon discovers that the light produced by his solution can be used to trap the Asphyx, and by doing so, he can insure eternal life for the person whose Asphyx he captures.

This one is a mixed bag; it is quite original and engaging at times, and at others it is rife with cliches. There are times where the characters are extraordinarily thoughtful (I love the conversation in which two of the characters consider how best to deal with their guilt at having killed someone they both love), and other times when they are thunderously stupid (the plan to capture the daughter’s Asphyx is truly dunderheaded). It works best when it’s not trying to fit into a formula or put into affect Twilight-Zone style twists. Still, for my money, the strengths of this movie outweigh the weaknesses, and in many ways it is quite fascinating. Recommended with reservations.



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