CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Horror, Sci-Fi
  • 1972
  • 88 mins

Asylum

Asylum

Synopsis

Four asylum inmates tell their stories in this chiller from the Amicus studios. Robert Powell, Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling, Britt Ekland and Herbert Lom star

About

With screenwriter Robert Bloch back on the payroll after his work on The House That Dripped Blood, the fourth of Amicus Productions' portmanteau horrors turned out to be somewhat more enticing than usual. Unlike most of the other omnibus chillers the studio churned out during the 1960s and 1970s - films such as Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965) and Tales From The Crypt (1972) - the linking storyline here is better than the individual segments themselves, which is a real bonus since it drags the story through its less compelling scares.

Young psychiatrist Dr Martin (Powell) arrives at a mental institution to start his new job, only to find that his boss (Magee) wants to test out his new employee's psychiatric skills by setting him a sinister challenge. Martin must interview four of the asylum's inmates and decide which one used to be the hospital's now-deranged superintendent. Each interview comprises the film's four stories: in the first, a man (Todd) tells how he murdered and dismembered his wife, only to watch her come back to life; in the second, bereaved father Peter Cushing asks a tailor to make a special suit; in the third, Charlotte Rampling and Britt Ekland play schizo and in the final segment, Herbert Lom builds several strange little robots.

While the original tagline - "You have nothing to lose but your mind" - was rather over-ambitious, this rough-and-ready horror collection delivers an unexpected frisson. Gleefully poised on the border between silly and scary, Bloch revels in the ridiculousness of it all while managing to keep things vaguely disturbing (the scene in which Richard Todd recoils in horror as the dismembered remains of his wife, wrapped in brown paper, jerk back to life is a perfect example). He also manages to keep the linking narrative's sadistic conclusion gripping till the last.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Richard Todd, Robert Powell, Britt Ekland, Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling
  • Director: Roy Ward Baker
  • Writer: Robert Bloch
  • Producer: Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky
  • Photographer: Denys N Coop

In a nutshell

An above-average entry in Amicus' horror series, Asylum benefits from Robert Bloch's screenwriting and a gleefully demented approach.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Devil's Tomb

    The Devil's Tomb

    Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as one of an elite group of soliders on a mission to save a scientist from an underground lab where they encounter an evil presence

  • Film4 High Rise

    High-Rise

    Tom Hiddleston stars in Ben Wheatley's adaptation of J.G. Ballard's novel about the residents of a tower block

  • Film4 Chronicle

    Chronicle on Film4

    Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan star as three teens who test their limits after gaining superpowers in Josh Trank's found footage movie

  • Film4 Men In Black 3

    Men In Black 3 on Film4

    When Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is killed in the past by a time-travelling villain, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to 1969 to save him, and teams up with a younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin) on Film4

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share