Posted by: Adam Charles
Directed by Roy Ward Baker, 1972
Written by Robert Bloch
A young psychiatrist, Dr. Martin, is looking to fulfill an empty job position in an insane asylum. He arrives at the asylum, and upon meeting with the head physician he’s told the reason why a job opening exists. One of the former doctors has him/herself gone crazy, and is in fact one of the patients currently being treated at the hospital. Dr. Martin is then presented with the challenge of identifying his predecessor amongst the inmates, and if he can rightly guess which of the patients was a former psychiatrist in that very hospital – relying only on his interrogation techniques and listening skills – the head of the facility will grant him the open position as he’d be deemed capable of fulfilling the needs demanded by the job.
Dr. Martin then makes his rounds through the rooms of the four incarcerated mental patients, and listens to the crazy story each has to tell as to why they’re being detained; and each story is almost as crazy as the one before it. The good, young doctor studies each as they delve into their history and open up about being a mistress caught in a murder conspiracy, a tailor hired to make a suit using a very unique sort of material, a ‘sane’ woman ‘wrongfully’ accused of murder, and a man obsessed with creating miniature figurines that each have an actual working biology underneath their plastic exterior.
ASYLUM is indeed a horror film anthology. The majority of the time is spent showing us each story told by the inmate in flashback form, and in typical anthology fashion none of the stories have any direct correlation with any of the others. However, unlike a lot of other anthology pictures each story does have an impact on the overall proceedings of the main plot, which is somewhat a story of its own.