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The Asphyx (1973)

 -  Sci-Fi | Horror  -  February 1973 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,207 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 40 critic

English country squire Sir Hugo Cunningham searches for immortality by literally 'bottling up' the Spirit of the Dead, or Asphyx.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sir Hugo Cunningham
...
Giles Cunningham
Jane Lapotaire ...
Christina Cunningham
Alex Scott ...
Sir Edward Barrett
Ralph Arliss ...
Clive Cunningham
Fiona Walker ...
Anna Wheatley
Terry Scully ...
Pauper
John Lawrence ...
Mason
David Grey ...
Vicar
Tony Caunter ...
Warden
Paul Bacon ...
1st Member
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Storyline

Hugo is a brilliant turn-of-the-century scientist-loved and respected by his family and friends, admired by his colleagues. But he is a man quickly becoming obsessed with a curious and frightening question... what is the mysterious apparition found in the photographs of his dying subjects? Hugo brings to a family boating party his newest invention-a motion picture camera. The party quickly turns into a disaster as he captures on film the tragic drowning of his wife and son. When the film is replayed later, the same ghostlike presence appears. It flies towards his son, and vanishes inside his dying body. Has Hugo discovered The Asphyx, the spirit of the dead described in Greek mythology? A spirit which lives in constant agony, not finding rest until it takes possession of a human body? Could the spirit, if captured, become the key to immortality? Hugo is compelled to find the answers. It is a ghoulish search, with eternally haunting results. Written by James C. Allen <spgcs@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Immortality ... what would you sacrifice for it? See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Asphyx  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The main credits state that the film's soundtrack was recorded using a 4-channel quadraphonic sound system. Sadly, there appears to be no evidence of it ever being exhibited in this manner. See more »

Quotes

Sir Hugo Cunningham: I obey God's will, my friend, my old friend, my eternal and everlasting friend...
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User Reviews

 
Classic 70's horror
17 June 2008 | by (Reykjavík, Iceland) – See all my reviews

When The Asphyx was released in 1973, The Exorcist was about to change the landscape of horror forever, moving the genre away from subtlety and into the realm of graphic effects and makeup. That's one of the reasons why The Asphyx was a box-office flop, fondly remembered by a select few who never forgot this quirky little "thinking man's horror film" (as Variety called it), in which a 19th-century British philanthropist and amateur psychic researcher embarks on a fateful quest for immortality. Sir Hugo Cunningham (nicely played by Robert Stephens) has a morbid hobby of taking photographs of dying people, and this leads to his discovery of a nebulous spirit of the dead--known in mythology as the Asphyx--that appears (only visible on photographic plates) at the moment of death. Sir Hugo becomes obsessed with capturing his own Asphyx and thus ensuring that he cannot die, but of course this is an ill-fated ambition that puts Sir Hugo on a ruinous path to destruction and death. With its talky, literate script, well-drawn characters, and fascinating themes, The Asphyx bears closer resemblance to the Hammer horror films that became passé in the early and mid-1970s. The chills are subtle but effective under the direction of Peter Newbrook, and the widescreen cinematography by Freddie Young (whose credits include Lawrence of Arabia) adds polish and elegance to the proceedings. Filled with foreboding atmosphere, this is an intelligently conceived horror film that relies more on story than shocks, although the screeching Asphyx is eerily haunting. Kudos to Allday Entertainment for producing this DVD--The Asphyx has been rescued from obscurity, painstakingly remastered in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio for discerning connoisseurs of high-class horror.


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