Blu-ray Review: Asylum

Psychological horror continues to be the scariest and most compelling sub-genre because human imaginations can conjure up all manner of terrors. People have been labelled ‘insane’ for many reasons over the centuries with often little or nothing to do with their mental health. When there’s no logical explanation for something we naturally look for an alternative justification. In Asylum, one man must puzzle through the veracity of a number of tales.

Dr Martin (Robert Powell) arrives at an isolated asylum to interview for the job of head doctor. He’s greeted by the wheelchair-bound Dr Rutherford (Patrick Magee) who explains that his incapacity is due to the former incumbent, Dr Starr, having a mental break and attacking him. Martin is a set a challenge. If he can deduce which of the patients is the real Dr Starr then the position could be his.

Asylum is one of Amicus’ best anthology films. With a cast that includes Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling, Herbert Lom, Britt Ekland, Sylvia Syms and Geoffrey Bayldon, it’s certainly not short of talent. Roy Ward Baker’s film takes an intriguing premise and runs with it. From the pen of Robert Bloch, the stories themselves are cleverly told and beautifully executed. Asylum is a master work of horror. Entwining several stories to create a chilling finale.

Special features:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Roy Ward Baker and Camera Operator Neil Binney
  • ‘Two’s a Company’: 1972 On-set BBC report featuring interviews with Producer Milton Subotsky, Director Roy Ward Baker,
  • Actors Charlotte Rampling, James Villiers, Megs Jenkins, Art Director Tony Curtis and Production Manager Teresa Bolland
  • Screenwriter David J. Schow on Writer Robert Bloch
  • Fiona Subotsky Remembers Milton Subotsky
  • ‘Inside The Fear Factory’ Featurette with Directors Roy Ward Baker, Freddie Francis and Producer Max J. Rosenberg
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve subtitles for the hearing impaired

Limited edition contents:

  • Rigid Slipcase Featuring New Artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • 40 page booklet with new essays by Allan Bryce, Jon Towlson and Kat Ellinger
  • Reversible poster featuring new and original artwork
  • featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys and original artwork
  • Option English

Asylum is released on limited edition Blu-ray by Second Sight on 29 July.

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