Asylum (1972)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Overall decent horror anthology, nice framing story

No stand-out stories

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Asylum

Studio:  Amicus Productions

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 1972 (UK)/November 17, 1972 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


Ok…ok, I’ll make my obligatory horror cameo.

Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) has a new job at an insane asylum run by Dr. Lionel Rutherford (Patrick Magee), but first Martin must pass a test.  A doctor named B. Starr has gone insane and is now a patient in the asylum.  Dr. Martin must use his skills as a doctor to determine which patient is Dr. B. Starr.  Now, Martin is being guided through the asylum to interview the patients and hearing of their tales of horror and death…will he pass the test?

Directed by Roy Ward Baker and written by Psycho author Robert Bloch, Asylum is a horror anthology.  It is composed of the short stories “Frozen Fear”, “The Weird Tailor”, “Lucy Comes to Stay”, and “Mannikins of Horror”.  The film had a quick production and was released to generally favorable reviews.

I love horror anthologies and the anthology format in general.  An anthology generally has at least one or two good stories and you can usually be guaranteed that if there isn’t a story you like, the next one might be better.


Lucy’s here!

The basic stories are pretty typical of horror anthologies.  Unlike my general view of the horror series, there is no real stand-out entry into the film.  This isn’t bad however because there aren’t any real horrible ones either.  Generally, the framework story of an anthology is pretty weak, but I do like the set-up of Asylum with an actual reason for hearing all the stories instead of some forced concept (I could also see this being repeated for a modern telling).  The fourth story “Mannikins of Horror” kind of blurs the line between the anthology and the framework story by having Dr. Martin and Dr. Rutherford as “characters” in his story which is actually unfolding within the film.

The cast of the movie is generally made up of character actors and minor celebrities.  The acting is decent however (proving you don’t always need a big name).  Probably the biggest exception to the generalization about the film is the inclusion of horror master Peter Cushing who appears in “The Weird Tailor” (which was also adapted for Thriller) as a man seeking a mysterious suit.


I want a robot with guts!

The movie unfortunately doesn’t have much of a budget for special effects, but smartly picked stories with minimal effects.  It sometimes looks cheap, but for the most part this isn’t an issue due to the content of the stories.  Asylum looks like the period from which it came.

Asylum is worth watching if you are a fan of horror and definitely worth checking out if you like anthologies.  It isn’t the best anthology you’ll see but it also isn’t the worst.  It has a nice Tales from the Crypt feel and was produced by Amicus which was known at the time for producing horror anthologies.  Can you figure out who the “mad doctor” is?

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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