ASYLUM



Amicus films was similar to Hammer Horror back in the day, minus the big monster names like Frankenstein and Dracula. It did feature many of the same actors and actresses though, and this trilogy anthology is just a taste. Featuring the likes of Peter Cushing, Britt Eklund, Patrick Magee and Herbert Lom, Asylum had a cast that many studios would envy. The first story revolves around a cheating husband and his rich wife. He has committed to leaving her for his girlfriend, but when his wife refuses to let him leave, he divorces her; with an axe. The problem is, she wasn’t kidding that she wouldn’t leave and even death sometimes will not break a promise. In the second story, Peter Cushing plays a distraught man who has a tailor make a special suit. One that will bring his son back from the dead, although the tailor doesn’t know it. Despite having odd rules about putting the suit together, including working at night and using a weird glowing fabric, the tailor delivers the suit based on the absurd amount of money he is promised for it. But the whole scenario is a double cross and the mild mannered, but poor, tailor doesn’t find out until too late. There is a dead son, no money and a near psychotic client that all need to be dealt with before it spills to the tailors unsuspecting daughter. The final story takes place in a Sanitarium where Barry Morse meets Patrick Magee (of Clockwork Orange fame). They are both Doctors, but Morse is looking for a job at the Sanitarium. He is told to diagnose 4 patients that are upstairs. One of the patients is another Doctor who has gone mad. If he can spot the Doctor, he gets the job. You run through the stories of the four patients, including Herbert Lom, who has found a way to bring little robots to life and contain the essence of human beings. He comes to an untimely death, when he possesses one of the toys and it is crushed. The plot twist of this story isn’t unexpected, but the tales of the patients are some of the highlights of the film. This final story contains Eklund in all her beauty as well as Charlotte Rampling. The bonus features on the disc include Biographies on many of the stars of the film, a documentary on the existence of Amicus films and an audio commentary by director Roy Ward Baker and cameraman Neil Binney. This is an excellent commentary, as it is done with old world precision, describing shots and styles and how they did certain visual elements. If you are looking for a real lesson on film making, this is one of the best parts of the DVD. (Dark Sky Films) – Myk