Amicus were the lesser known 'rival' to the more well known UK based Hammer Studios.
Amicus films were often anthology driven and this film is such sn example. When I say anyhology I mean that it features several stories intertwined into the films main architecture. Here 4 stories are told about patients at an asylum.
A young Doctor (Robert Powell) has a rather unorthodox job interview. Instead of answering questions fired to him by an interviewer he has the task of identifying a doctor who has become a patient at the asylum. 4 patients are featured and their stories of how they became patients at the asylum form the backbone to the film.
The cast is pretty good for a low budget British horror from the 1970s featuring the legendary Peter Cushing and Britt Ekland who would later be cast as a Bond girl in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).
The musical score is a trifle overpowering truth be told becoming a distraction.
The director Roy Ward Baker was an old hand at directing such films.
Entertaining, no frills British 'B' film.
For low budget English horror this really isn't bad stuff. If you're a fan of such films as Tales of Terror and Creepshow then this might be right up your alley.
Starring: Robert Powell, Partrick Magee, Herbert Lom, Barry Morse, Barbara Parkins, Britt Ekland, Charlotte Rampling, and Peter Cushing
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Dr. Martin (Powell) is charged with a most unusual final test before being hired for a position at an insane asylum: He must interview several inmates and deduce which of them is the former director of the facility.
"Asylum" is another of those very excellent horror anthology films from the '60s and '70s. This one uses Dr. Martin's final employment test as its framing story (although, in this film, the frame is itself a little twist-ending horror tale that) and the interviews with four of the inmates are the short horrors we are treated to.
First up, we have what is probably the weakest of the bunch... a story where a murdered wife who reanimates to take revenge on her husband and is lover (Parkins), despite having been dismembered and neatly wrapped in a number of individual packages. Athough predictable and goofy, the images of the writhing packages and the capper to the story as it ends and gives way to the frame more than make up for the weak story.
Second, there's the story of a desperately broke tailor (Morse) who receives a most unusual commission from a greiving father (Cushing), and in the end, we learn the lesson that tailorshops and occultism should be kept seperate. This tale is a bit slow-moving, but its beautifully shot, and Morse and Cushing both give excellent performances.
Third, we have the story of Barbara (Rampling) who, after being released from an insane asylum, promptly murders her brother and nurse. Barbara blames the evil Lucy (Ekland) for committing the crime and framing her, but is reality being filtered through the mind of a mad woman? This story is pretty basic and it works first and foremost due to the great performance of Ekland.
Finally, we have the tale of Dr. Byron (Lom), a medical man who has come to believe he can transfer his mind into dolls that he creates. Unlike the other three, this story is not a flashback, but instead takes place in the present and within the asylum walls. It is the most clever and surprising of the bunch, and the way it merges with the framing story is particularly horrific and grand. It's a great closer to a fine collection of stories.
To make this package even better, the film features some nice camera work and a great music score (that is especially effective in the Rampling/Ekland sequence).
Gorehounds won't find a lot of enjoyment in this film, but fans of classic British horror films will probably love "Asylum".