Doom Asylum

01/27/2022 06:02

Film: Doom Asylum

Year: 1987

Director: Richard Friedman

Writers: Rick Marx

Starring: Patty Mullen, Ruth Collins and Kristin Davis



This is a movie that I didn’t hear about until getting into podcasts. It popped up a couple of times, so I’m assuming that this movie must have gotten a release in the last few years. The reason I checked it out as part of my ‘New Year, New Moves’ segment on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. The randomizer pulled up this movie’s number. I didn’t remember a lot about what others said, so I was a blank slate. The synopsis is a horribly disfigured lawyer, wrongfully pronounced dead after a terrible car accident is taken to an asylum for dissection, only to come back alive, kill everyone and make the asylum his killing grounds.

Much as the synopsis states, we start this movie in a car where we have Judy LaRue (Patty Mullen) and Mitch Hansen (Michael Rogen). He is driving. They are both celebrating as he was her lawyer and she won a big settlement. They are running away together. Due to not paying attention though, they get into a car accident. It is horrific as Mitch’s face is all tore up and Judy is missing a hand. The movie then shifts over to a morgue where a medical examiner and his assistant are prepping for an autopsy on Mitch, but he’s not dead. He kills them both.

The movie then shifts us 10 years into the future. We have a group of kids in a car. Kiki (Mullen) is with her boyfriend of Mike (William Hay). He is indecisive about everything. They stop at the spot where her mother died. In the car with them is Jane (Kristin Davis) who is a bookworm and a psychology major. There is also Dennis (Kenny L. Price) who is into baseball cards and Darnell (Harrison White).

Their destination is an abandoned asylum. When our group arrives, they hear some music. Inside is a band of young women practicing. The lead singer is Tina (Ruth Collins) and she is joined by Godiva (Dawn Alvan) and Rapunzel (Farin). These two groups mess with each other and we see since they run with different groups, they don’t get along.

They’re not alone. We get to hear about the urban legends of this asylum. People go missing in the area and some are hurt while being here. Neither group seems to care. Kiki and Jane get into their bikinis to take in the sun. The legend is true though as Mitch continues attack anyone who comes to his asylum.

Now that is where I’m going to leave my recap. Where I want to start is that there isn’t a lot to this movie. We are getting a later slasher here that has a basic premise to get our teens to this place before our killer picks them off. This movie also fits the era in that we get comedy infused as well. Not to play my cards too early, but I wasn’t a fan of that. There is promise to this movie, but it feels like they took the easy route and it just makes the movie bland for me.

Before getting into too much of the negatives, I want to start with the positives. I like the idea that we have here. Mitch is disfigured after his accident. This isn’t a new idea for slasher movies and it is one we still see today. I’m fine with the idea though. Him using different instruments that you would for an autopsy also sets it apart for me. This leads to some interesting deaths. I’m not in love with the look of him after he is disfigured. They have the right idea, but it looks like rubber. It doesn’t help when it lingers on it either. I’m also not a fan that they wanted to have Rogen use one liners. I think his performance is fine. There just isn’t a lot to work with there.

Going along with this, I think the setting works. I can buy these teens would come here to hang out. If there is the urban legend of deaths, maybe not. They did come during the day so there is that. The setting looks good, but I just don’t know if they make it feel as menacing since we also have Tina and her band practicing there. I’m torn on this as I think the place is an interesting, but the fleshing out isn’t there. This all taking place during the day could be a part of it. I do get why from the trivia that this place was torn down a couple years later.

The next part I’ll go into would be the comedy and I might as well include the acting as well. The comedy didn’t work for me. Maybe this is a movie that I shouldn’t watch alone and need people, but here we are. Mullens says some odd things that don’t feel natural. There is a psychosis there that is interesting, but how they use it was strange. Collins is over the top as Tina. Davis is smart, but she goes way overboard even when she is faced with the killer. Hay’s indecisiveness doesn’t feel real. The rest of the cast all overact as well. They are going for comedy and playing caricatures of people you will see. It just doesn’t fit or work for me.

Finally, I’ll go into the rest of the effects, the cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, I’ve already said that I had my issues with how Mitch is done up, but I think the rest of the effects are good. The deaths are solid. It feels like this crew knew what they could do for the deaths. They decided to focus there and neglected some of the finer points. I don’t have issues there. As for the cinematography, I think this is shot well. We get some good POV of the killer. I like the setting as well. This part is probably the strong to be honest. Then for the soundtrack, much like other parts of the movie this is hit or miss. We get some good atmosphere music, including a song that mimics a heartbeat. There is also some music that takes me out of the movie, including Tina and her band practicing. I can be forgiving there as it comes from the world of the movie. There are a couple selections used for comedy that I didn’t like.

So then with that said, this movie has some good aspects and some that don’t work for me. I like the idea of a killer roaming an abandoned asylum. His look isn’t the greatest, but I think what they do for the deaths work. The instruments used are a bright spot and the effects of the deaths are as well. The comedy doesn’t work for me though. In turn, the acting isn’t very good with that. I’d say the cinematography is solid and the soundtrack is hit or miss. For me, this is an average film. There are things positive I like and negatives I hate so I’ll put this right in the middle.


My Rating: 5 out of 10