6.5/10
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Asylum (1972)

In order to secure a job at a mental institution, a young psychiatrist must interview four patients inside the asylum.

Director:

Roy Ward Baker

Writer:

Robert Bloch
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Parkins ... Bonnie (segment "Frozen Fear")
Richard Todd ... Walter (segment "Frozen Fear")
Sylvia Syms ... Ruth (segment "Frozen Fear")
Peter Cushing ... Smith (segment "The Weird Tailor")
Barry Morse ... Bruno (segment "The Weird Tailor")
Ann Firbank ... Anna (segment "The Weird Tailor")
John Franklyn-Robbins John Franklyn-Robbins ... Stebbins (segment "The Weird Tailor")
Britt Ekland ... Lucy (segment "Lucy Comes to Stay")
Charlotte Rampling ... Barbara (segment "Lucy Comes to Stay")
James Villiers James Villiers ... George (segment "Lucy Comes to Stay")
Megs Jenkins ... Miss Higgins (segment "Lucy Comes to Stay")
Herbert Lom ... Byron (segment "Mannikins of Horror")
Patrick Magee ... Dr. Rutherford (segment "Mannikins of Horror")
Robert Powell ... Dr. Martin (segment "Mannikins of Horror")
Geoffrey Bayldon ... Max (segment "Mannikins of Horror")
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Storyline

A young psychiatrist interviews four inmates in a mental asylum to satisfy a requirement for employment. He hears stories about 1) the revenge of a murdered wife, 2) a tailor who makes a suit with some highly unusual qualities, 3) a woman who questions her sanity when it appears that her brother is conspiring against her, and 4) a man who builds tiny toy robots with lifelike human heads. Written by Wes Clark <wclark@uspto.gov>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The doctor makes his last house call. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House of Crazies See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In segment 3, there is no rear view mirror in the Jaguar XJ6 driven by James Villiers when he first brings Charlotte Rampling home. See more »

Goofs

When Bonnie is being chased by a severed arm crawling along the floor, a crew member's hand is visible, holding the arm to make it appear as if it is moving. See more »

Quotes

[Barbara's imaginary friend Lucy has just stabbed Barbara's brother and nurse to death]
Lucy: There, Barbara, now you're free. Free of all of them.
See more »


Soundtracks

Pictures at an Exhibition
(uncredited)
Music by Modest Mussorgsky
Arranged by Douglas Gamley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Arguably Amicus's Best Film
2 February 2007 | by m2mallorySee all my reviews

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s the British-based film studio Amicus was a rival to the more famous and productive Hammer Films. Amicus didn't go in for Gothics, as a rule, but they mastered the art of the so-called "portmanteau" film, where four or five short stories are presented within a linking framework. They also mastered the art of hiring noted(and often very fine) British actors for only a day or two's worth of shooting, so that the final product ends up with an all-star cast. "Asylum" followed 1965's "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors," which was immensely fun, if incredibly cheap; 1967's "Torture Garden," 1970's "The House that Dripped Blood," and 1972's "Tales From the Crypt," and one can argue that it is the best of the lot ("The Vault of Horror" and "From Beyond the Grave" followed in 1973, and the mini-genre wrapped up in 1980 with "The Monster Club," but all of those were somewhat inferior to the earlier films). The success of "Asylum" is not simply due to it's terrific cast -- Peter Cushing (who appeared in nearly all of Amicus's portmanteau films), Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Richard Todd, Britt Ekland, Barbara Parkins, Charlotte Rampling, Sylvia Sims, Robert Powell, Barry Morse and the undersung Geoffrey Bayldon -- or its intriguing stories by American author Robert Bloch (who also scripted "Torture Garden" and "House that Dripped Blood"), but also the down-to-earth direction by Roy Ward Baker. Baker manages to keep his, Bloch's, and his actors' tongues all out of their cheeks, and the film is all the better for it.

The framing story concerns a new doctor (Powell) interviewing at a remote asylum, and being challenged by the doctor in charge (Magee, a brilliant Shakespearean actor who all too often ended up doing inferior horror films) to identify the former director of the place, who is now an inmate. As Powell interviews the various inmates, the different stories ensue. For horror film fans, the best story is the first one (which was not the first one in the script, but was elevated to that position over Bloch's objections); while not giving the plot away, suffice to say that it takes a story device that could have been rendered very cheesily and makes it wonderfully effective and creepy. Amicus buffs, meanwhile, will recognize the linking story as probably the most effective and logical of any in the portmanteau series of films. The remaining stories are all fine, with the most outré being the one that Cushing stars in.

"Asylum" is definitely worth, uh, checking into.


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