IMDb > The Asphyx (1973)
The Asphyx
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The Asphyx (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.3/10   1,227 votes »
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Release Date:
February 1973 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Immortality ... what would you sacrifice for it? See more »
Plot:
English country squire Sir Hugo Cunningham searches for immortality by literally 'bottling up' the Spirit of the Dead, or Asphyx. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(9 articles)
Brian Comport obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 14 October 2013, 5:56 AM, PDT)

Digital Fury: DVD Essentials for April
 (From Planet Fury. 11 April 2012, 9:19 AM, PDT)

Exclusive Update on the Asphyx Remake and First Concept Art for The Sorcerers
 (From Dread Central. 31 August 2010, 12:04 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Nice Ironic British Horror Gem See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Stephens ... Sir Hugo Cunningham

Robert Powell ... 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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Directed by
Peter Newbrook 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Christina Beers  story
Laurence Beers  story
Brian Comport  writer

Produced by
John Brittany .... producer
Maxine Julius .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Bill McGuffie 
 
Cinematography by
Freddie Young 
 
Film Editing by
Maxine Julius 
 
Production Design by
John Stoll 
 
Set Decoration by
Arthur Taksen 
 
Costume Design by
Evelyn Gibbs 
 
Makeup Department
Jimmy Evans .... makeup artist
Stephanie Kaye .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Ted Sturgis .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roger Simons .... assistant director
Nigel Wooll .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Peter Bond .... sound editor
John Cox .... sound supervisor
Bob Jones .... sound re-recordist
Ken Ritchie .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Ted Samuels .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Holden .... camera operator
Mike Roberts .... focus puller (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Ron Bareham .... production accountant
Phyllis Crocker .... continuity
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Horror of Death" - UK (reissue title), USA
See more »
Runtime:
99 min | USA:83 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
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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...See more »

FAQ

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Nice Ironic British Horror Gem, 2 December 2005
Author: aimless-46 from Kentucky

"The Asphyx" a/k/a "The Horror of Death" is one of the most original yet unheralded English horror films. Set in 1870's England, aristocrat Sir Hugo (Robert Stephens) accidentally photographs an entity (mythological name Asphyx) entering a person's body at their death. Sir Hugo theorizes that each person has their own Asphyx and that if the entity can be imprisoned outside the body, the person will be immortal. Can you guess what happens next?

From the physiological standpoint, the concept is not that different from the idea of vampires and zombies; with the same need to suspend disbelief to really enjoy things. Although like the implications of time travel, half the fun is speculating on the ramifications of the idea.

There is a pleasant and very haunting score and the story has a nice touch of irony as Sir Hugo's first experimental subject is his eventual downfall.

The real strength of this film is the production design. Considerable effort went into the meticulously constructed sets and there was much attention to detail in the various scientific apparatus and instruments. While the historical accuracy of these advanced devices is suspect, they are certainly no harder to accept than the basic premise. All looks great on the big screen and is probably fine on the letter boxed DVD, but the VHS tape is of marginal quality and the 4x3 aspect ratio does not do justice to the frame.

Few films from the era that did a better job of filling their frames than "The Asphyx" (credit to Academy award winning cinematographer Freddie Young), but this just magnifies the problems of the full-screen version. It appears that the 1989 Interglobal Home Video trimmed nine minutes from the film and was recorded at the LP speed, so you should avoid that one if possible.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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