B Movie Glory: Asylum

Asylum is first rate trash, a nasty, cheap exercise in shocker horror that gives sanitariums everywhere a bad name and perpetuates the ludicrous stigma that all such institutions are the scariest, most unorganized places on earth. God bless the cheap underside of Hollywood and it’s deliberately skewed perception of things. This one sees Robert ‘T-1000’ Patrick as a private investigator who goes undercover inside a mental hospital as a patient when it becomes clear that people are going missing inside and something is up. The set, design and mood of the place is schlock to the core, without the faintest hint of realism to be found. The facility’s head doctor (the late great Henry Gibson) is a benign fool who has no idea the kind of havoc being perpetrated under his watch. The place has a special kind of crazy in a character played by Malcolm McDowell called Sullivan Rane, a lucidly maniacal serial killer who has red herring written all over him and moonlights under an obvious wig and mask as a patient known simply as ‘Doc’. It’s a hammy throwaway role, but ever intense McDowell seems to have a ball playing whatever oddball garage sale B role they give him, and ends up stealing his few scenes, as usual. Patrick plays it straight and his trademark steely reserve is an odd contrast to the knowingly silly demeanour of almost everyone else involved. The film does it’s best with a twist one can sense coming a good country mile off, but it gives one aforementioned actor some last minute juicy scenes to make his involvement worthwhile. Low rent horror and then some.

-Nate Hill

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