Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Seek Asylum: "Asylum of Terror" (1998)

There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this movie, and the fact that it has been distributed to unsuspecting video stores throughout the country is a testament to York Home Video's marketing department more than actual entertainment value.

There is a spoiler in this is a spoiler if you live under a rock and have never seen a film before. A group of teens decide to tour a former prison that has been turned into a haunted house. A serial killer gets into the prison, he used to be an inmate there, and dons assorted cheap knock-off masks of better known movie slashers. He then kills everyone he can find, as he imagines he is in his own little horror film, and assorted spectators think his real murders are part of the haunted house. In the end, the haunted house's manager and a young boy kill the mad killer.

You will forgive the lack of characters' names. I literally only caught two- Dean and Mark. The sound quality here is awful, I think the film makers were using the microphone on the video camera for sound. I am not kidding, I could not comprehend seventy percent of the dialogue here. Everyone sounds like they are talking into tin cans. You really do not need to know characters' names anyway, there are no characters. There is the killer, and the victims. The killer kills the victims.

This video seems to have been assembled from a checklist of what normally makes a slasher film work: fake blood, a creepy set, a couple of females willing to take off their tops, an unstoppable killer, and plenty of things to stab with. What the film makers did not do was come up with a decent script or production values. Aside from the horrible sound, the picture is terrible. The director throws in the murder of a child as well, as if he ran out of ideas and was desperate to pad the running time. The video cassette gives an "approximate" running time of eighty five minutes, but my video counter and IMDB says the film runs seventy five minutes. With this logic, I weigh three hundred pounds, which is "approximately" two hundred pounds. "Asylum of Terror" (a terrible title) is a terror of a different sort.

This is a film making formula that may have started as a good idea, but quickly was lost by complete ineptitude, from the watery fake blood to the misspelled words in the end credits. If you like this film, you really are crazy. (*) out of five stars.