Doom Asylum. Somehow this film avoided me back in the early to mid 90s when I was ravenously consuming every horror film my local rental store had. But what did I miss out on? Is it an unsung classic, or merely yet another low budget gorefest? Well, read on to find out, Fiends…
Doom Asylum Synopsis:
Taken from the Arrow Video website:
When a group of horny teens wind up on the grounds of a creepy abandoned asylum, they think they’ve found the perfect place to party. Little do they know that inside the building’s crumbling walls lurks a freakishly deformed maniac, driven to madness by the tragic loss of his fiancée in a car accident. With an array of grisly surgical tools at his disposal, it’s only a matter of time before the youngsters begin meeting various splattery ends at the hands of the ghoulish Coroner.
So, it’s a pretty simple set up. Abandoned hospital, horny teens, and a deformed maniac. That could describe any one of a number of late 80s, early 90s slashers. What sets Doom Asylum apart from the pack, however is its intention to be funny. Yes, Fiends, we are in the oh so tricky territory of horror-comedy with this one.
Doom Asylum sets itself up from the start as a not entirely serious film. The acting is purposefully hammy and over the top. The scenario and characters are deliberately paper thin. And the script is loaded with the cheesiest dialogue imaginable. The characters literally have lines that could only be coming from a written page. There isn’t an ounce of natural cadence to them at all.
And in a weird way, it works. The cheesy atmosphere lends the film an almost breezy air. It doesn’t hurt either, that the film moves along at a rollocking pace, cramming at least 9 grisly deaths into just 79 minutes.
Unlike many similar titles, the film is set in the daytime, which means lots of brightly lit scenes, both indoors and outdoors. For me, this is a bonus, as it gives a different look and feel to the usual dimly lit night time scenarios we are used to in this genre. And it shows just how good the make up is for the films antagonist, The Coroner. Clearly a good chunk of the films budget was spent on designing and creating his look. Yes, you ca tell it’s foam rubber, but I think that’s kind of the point. The gore is passable, albeit fairly brief when compared to other film of it’s ilk.
Yes, the characters do dumb things. But they are supposed to. That is the films raison d’etre. It’s a spoof.
As usual, Arrow have packed the disc with a substantial set of extra material for your pleasure:
- Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative.
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation.
- 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 versions of the feature.
- Original uncompressed PCM mono audio.
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Brand new audio commentary with screenwriter Rick Marx.
- Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues.
- Tina’s Terror – a brand new interview with actress Ruth Collins.
- Movie Madhouse – a brand new interview with director of photography.
- Larry Revene Morgues & Mayhem – a brand new interview with special make-up effects creator Vincent J. Guastini.
- Archival Interviews with producer Alexander W. Kogan, Jr., director Richard Friedman and production manager Bill Tasgal.
- Still Gallery.
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourne.
And I have to say, the film (apart from the title sequence which only exists on a 4:3 video print) looks superb. Audio is more than passable, too.
Doom Asylum: The Verdict.
Overall, this is a fun little film. Sure, it almost certainly won’t become anyone’s favourite, but is is enjoyable.
Buy Doom Asylum: Arrow Video Store