Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Barbara Parkins being prepared for chop chop routine
ASYLUM (1972). Director: Roy Ward Baker.

When Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) applies for a job at an institution for the mentally disturbed, he is told by Dr. Rutherford (Patrick Magee of Dementia 13) that the head of the institution, Dr. Star, has recently become a patient. He challenges Martin to figure out which of the people upstairs could be the good doctor, and each in turn relates his tale of horror. In "Frozen Fear" a man (Richard Todd of Stage Fright) chops up his wife, but the wrapped pieces come to life and attack both him and his mistress (Barbara Parkins of The Mephisto Waltz). In "The Weird Tailor" a poor tradesman (Barry Morse) is offered money to make a suit from strange material for a man (Peter Cushing) mourning his son. "Lucy Comes to Stay" is a rather obvious split personality story with Charlotte Rampling [The Verdict] and Britt Ekland as two sides of the same woman. In "Mannikins of Fear" Dr. Byron (Herbert Lom) creates little mechanical men that he can control with his mind and that have brains and internal organs inside them. Scripted by Robert Bloch, Asylum is an entertaining picture, although Baker directs without any style or panache. Most of the acting is fine, with a superb Morse and Cushing taking top honors in the second story. Rampling, who is usually the Ice Princess Supreme, is actually warm and winning playing a psychopath  -- go figure! From Amicus films, not Hammer.

Verdict: Fun horror flick. ***.


CavedogRob said...

Wow! I've never seen this movie! I think The Weird Tailor was also used on an episode of TV's Thriller!

William said...

You're right! It was a second season episode, probably also written by Robert Bloch.