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Asylum of the Damned (2003) – DVD Review

Asylum of the Damned


Written by Matt McCombs
Directed by Philip J. Jones
Starring Bruce Payne, Tracy Scoggins, Matt Stasi, Julia Lee

Released by: Columbia Tristar.
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Fans of really bad “horror” should consider it.

James Bishop (Stasi) is one of those doctors fresh out of medical school who idealistically wants to save the world but is destined to have reality slap him hard across the face. Wanting to get deep in the trenches, he starts work at St. Andrews Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Of course, the hospital is creepy as, according to the movies, all professional mental asylums are. Bishop also wants to work with Dr. McCort (Payne), a brilliant psychiatrist. McCort’s attitude on the mentally ill is more about keeping the insane from harming neither themselves nor others by simply warehousing them and lots of drugs. Bishop doesn’t have time to contemplate this cynical seeming philosophy because he finds that McCort is serving up his patients’ souls to a nasty demon called a Harvester. Definitely not an AMA approved course of treatment. So Bishop does the usual sneaking-around-deal while collecting evidence to reveal the Truth. Does Bishop succeed? Do we give a shit?

[ad#longpost]Let’s see here. Young naïve hero, check. He has a young naïve girlfriend, check. Hero gets warnings about destination that are subtle as a Mack truck to the sternum, check. Creepy doctor, check. Creepy nurse, check. Plenty of scared staff and patients reluctant to talk, check. Lots of patients acting weird, check. Creepy basement in hospital, check. Ridiculous climax that leaves room for sequel, check.

That’s pretty much the Horror Formula checklist, Mental Institution Subsection. So what else can I say? What a cliché-ridden mess. I knew that was going to be bad when they reveal the big bad demon in the beginning of the movie and had nothing better to top it. The whole point of the Harvester, the aforementioned demon, doesn’t make sense. Apart from sounding like a bit of farm machinery, it’s supposed to collect bad souls to take to Hell. But…hold on a second…don’t bad souls already go to Hell? I didn’t realize Satan had need of help in this regard.

And Dr. McCort doesn’t seem to get anything out of the deal except a certain sadistic rush. That might be enough for him but it doesn’t seem enough to risk jail time. Or, you know, whatever assisting a demon gets you these days–laws in your local area may vary. I did like Payne’s take on Dr. McCort, as a charming man who enjoys being evil, but the rest of the cast is on autopilot or thorazine, but I can’t tell without a urine test. And I’m not going to pass around a cup, so we’ll just have to guess the former and call it good. I can forgive no DVD extras since why throw good money after bad. So when it comes to Asylum of the Damned, get yourself committed to something else.

Where to Find Stuff
  • Buy it from Amazon.