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

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Robert Powell and Robert Stephens
THE ASPHYX (1972). Director: Peter Newbrook.

Sir Hugo Cunningham (Robert Stephens) is a scientist who is interested in capturing pictures of the soul leaving the body after death. He comes upon an odd apparition or creature that seems to appear just before death, realizing this when he sees pictures of his natural son, Clive (Ralph Arliss), and fiancee, Anna (Fiona Walter), just before they die in a boating accident. Heartbroken, Hugo turns to his adopted son, Giles (Robert Powell of Asylum), for help in isolating the creature so that immortality can be achieved by capturing it. Alas, things don't always work out the way you intended, especially when Hugo tries to make his daughter, Christina (Jane Lapotaire), immortal, leading to a horrific climax. The Asphyx boasts an interesting idea, even it if seems influenced by certain E.C. horror comics, and it's also well-acted, especially by Stephens and Lapotaire [Crescendo], with good work from Powell as well. It is also not as predictable as you might imagine. Director Peter Newbrook was also a cinematographer for such films as In the Cool of the Day, but he did not do the photography for this film.

Verdict: Not entirely successful, but different. ***.


angelman66 said...

This one looks fascinating, I dimly remember hearing about it. There was a moment in the 1970s when everything was Victorian England, sci fi and horror. Remember Time After Time with Malcolm McDowell, and the remake of Frankenstein with Michael Sarrazin?

Looking forward to catching this one!

William said...

Yes, I saw those two films. I think the Sarrazin version was the (allegedly) "true" story and was made for TV. I waited too long to post about it working from my notes and have to see the darn thing again, but I remember that it was entertaining. Mary Shelley would have turned over in her grave, LOL! "The Asphyx" is streaming on Amazon.