Asylum (1972)

ASYLUM (1972)
Article 3604 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-12-2011
Posting Date: 6-27-2011
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Featuring Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom
Country: UK
What it is: Anthology horror

A psychiatrist who has come to an asylum to apply for a job is given a test; he is to interview the patients and figure out which one is actually the former director of the asylum.

This is the Amicus horror anthology that I was the most curious about, largely because it’s the only one I remember seeing ads for on TV. The first story is a “revenge of the dead” story which, though a bit on the obvious side, does have the advantage of taking the “crawling hand” horror gimmick to the next level. The second, which features Barry Morse and Peter Cushing, is the most offbeat; it’s about a down-on-his-luck tailor who is hired to make a suit from a mysterious material, and it’s easily the least predictable of the bunch. The third, which features Charlotte Rampling and Britt Ekland, is about a troubled woman and her friend named Lucy; this one works better if you don’t figure out the twist, but I was able to pick up the clues in the story. The fourth story (which features Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee) is tied to the framing story; it’s a bit perfunctory, but it does have some memorable moments and contains the scene that stuck in my mind from the original ads. Then there’s a final twist to the whole thing as well. All in all, it’s not bad; it’s more consistent than some of the other Amicus anthologies, but I’m afraid it doesn’t have a story that matches the high points of some of the other anthologies; for example, there’s nothing here that has the impact of the story about the Poe collector in TORTURE GARDEN.


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