Plot: What’s it about?
I’ve never heard of writer/director George Demick, but he has come up with a very cool premise for this movie. The Asylum of Terror used to be just that, an asylum that housed terror, in the form of the insane criminals. So the place used to be home to some psychos and killers, what a terrific place to hold a haunted house, right? That seems to be a good idea to some people, as they begin to take tours of people through the asylum, where they’re greeted by various spooks and scares. It is all in good fun of course and no one is hurt, just a good old fashioned haunted house, but this one is in a very eerie place and that makes it a little better. What the folks touring the spooky asylum don’t know, is that one of the former residents is within their midst. This former guest of the asylum doesn’t seem to have been taken care of either, as he plans to murder those who wander through the asylum’s halls. So that means when some dude thinks the guy with the saw is an actor…he isn’t. This causes all sorts of problems for those on the tour and soon enough, the body count begins to grow. Can anyone survive this real life house of horrors, or will this deranged former patient have his revenge?
I was drawn to this movie due to the storyline, which I thought sounded like a terrific idea for a horror movie. As I viewed the film, I was still interested in the basic premise, but the details weren’t as well executed as I would have liked. So some flaws do emerge in as the story unfolds, but since this is a horror movie, they’re easy to overlook. I am unsure who would look to horror movies, especially a lower profile one like this for a complex and well executed storyline, but that would be an unwise choice. So I overlooked the problems with the writing and hoped to see some gore, or at least some good cheap scares. I liked this movie and I suppose my low expectations had something to do with that, as I would have been let down if I expected a lot from this one. The makeup effects and such are on the cheese level, but that makes it a little more fun and there’s nothing wrong with fun in lower tier horror films. This is also some cool sequences thrown in to make sure you’re paying attention, which I liked a lot. If you want a movie to stimulate your brain, this is isn’t your pick, but if you want to rent a decent lower profile horror flick, Asylum of Terror would be a good choice. It has some flaws sure, but never takes itself too seriously and that helps the film a lot.
Video: How does it look?
Asylum of Terror is presented in full frame and I have no clue as to the original aspect ratio. This seems to be the intended ratio or an open matte, as no pan & scan was evident, but this image is less than standard to be sure. This might be due in part to the source material, which seems to have been shot on home video cameras, but perhaps not. This looks at best like a VHS transfer, which is not what we’ve come to expect. The contrast is too dark, which obscures detail at times, while the colors bleed and look too rich. I also saw a lot of grain, especially in the darker sequences. If you want to see this movie, this is the best chance, but I wish this title were given more attention than this.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wasn’t too impressed by this mix, but at least it sounds better than the movie looks. The source seems to be the main flaw here, as the dialogue is poorly recorded and that makes it seem either too soft or harsh. But you can hear it all, it just takes some patience and a quick finger on the volume button. The sound effects are the same way, but since they’re in the background, it isn’t a big deal in the least. It ain’t much, but it all comes through in audible form.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials, not even a main menu. Just the flick…