*** (out of 4)
Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) shows up at an asylum for a job interview given by Dr. Rutherford (Patrick Magee). Rutherford feels it would be best for Martin to interview four different patients and hear their stories. The first is a young woman (Barbara Parkins) who tells her about being a mistress to a man who murdered his wife. the second story involves a broke tailor who is asked by a mysterious man (Peter Cushing) to make an even more mysterious suit. The third story centers on the young Barbara (Charlotte Rampling) who talks about her relationship with a mysterious woman (Britt Ekland). Finally, the fourth inmate (Herbert Lom) has an interesting hobby that includes robots.
ASYLUM is a film that I first watched when I was around ten-years-old and I honestly didn't care for it too much. Having finally revisited the film after all of these years I can see why my younger self didn't like this since there's really not any gore or violence but seeing it after all these years has really made me appreciate it even more. All anthology films are going to be uneven and that's certainly the case here but director Roy Ward Baker did a very good job with all of the stories and the screenplay by Robert Bloch (PSYCHO) was also extremely good.
Out of the four stories I'd argue that the fourth one was the weakest but it too is still rather good and especially how it connects everything. I think my favorite was the first one because there are some genuinely creepy moments throughout it including various scenes where "something" just shows up. I'm saying "something" so that I don't spoil things but it is very effective. The second story is more of a slow burn but the pay off is extremely good. As far as the third story goes, you've got two great actresses really bring it to life and there's no question that it too works.
As you can tell, there's a terrific group of actors here and there's no doubt that they help bring even more life to the picture. It was great getting to see a young Rampling here and there's no doubt that Ekland is always worth watching. Lom was good in his role as was Magee in his. Then you've got Cushing who turns in a very touching performance but, again, I won't reveal too much to avoid any spoilers. Add in an effective music score, the nice cinematography and a good atmosphere and you've got a nice little gem.