'Doom Asylum: Special Edition'
(Harrison White, Harvey Keith, Patty Mullen, Ruth Collins, Kristin Davis, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1987) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: A demented coroner uses autopsy equipment to kill off the teenagers who trespass on the long-abandoned asylum he inhabits. Filmed on location in an actual abandoned asylum.
Blu-ray Verdict: 'Doom Asylum' is an extremely weird, but massively amusing '80s shlock movie, seemingly made by a bunch of high school friends without any money; but with energy and enthusiasm to spare!
Chock full with an overload of wannabe comical elements and truly delightful over-the-top gore make up effects, tho my mind, 'Doom Asylum' is one of the most overlooked, and underrated '80s movies of this horror ilk out there today.
The killer is a heavily burned car accident survivor whose beloved young and sexy mistress died at the scene. He actually only has himself to blame for the accident, but nevertheless it drove him mad enough to encroach in the basement of a ramshackle asylum for ten years; with nothing better to do than watching old horror movies and practicing Scooby Doo's laugh!
Then, suddenly, there are two groups of trespassers in one day! A trio of rock chicks break into the asylum to rehearse their god-awful music (it's just noise, really) and some messed up nerdy teenagers that truly have the worst taste in picking out an idyllic spot for camping.
This happy bunch (which also includes Penthouse Pet of the Year 1988, Patty Mullen, 'Frankenhooker'),features the most indecisive guy in the universe ("We'll be right back. Maybe it'll take longer. Perhaps we shouldn't go") and the future Sex and the City top starlet, Kristin Davis. Her character Jane walks around in a tight, white see-through bathing suit and wears glasses as thick as pastry jars!
Basically, she's a geek whose cheek bones are cut in half with a buzz saw! Awesome! It's a small miracle that she managed to even build up an acting career after this. So yeah, if you haven't already guessed, 'Doom Asylum' is a terribly bad late '80s amateur-trash effort, but whether intentional or not, will still entertain you from start to finish; of that you have my word.
The humor is so lame it becomes a different type of funny and at least 20% of the film is pure and shameless filler! Director and co-writer Richard Friedman ('Scared Stiff' and 'Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge') obviously was a big fan of '30s horror icon Tod Slaughter, as the film features long pieces of footage of 'Sweeney Todd,' 'Murder in the Red Barn,' 'The Crimes of Stephen Hawke,' amongst others.
Personally, I always appreciate homage towards old horror cinema – especially to someone as often overlooked as Tod Slaughter – but did the scenes really had to be so long? The obvious aspects to love about 'Doom Asylum' are undoubtedly the extreme gore effects and imaginative death sequences.
I mean, there's some toe-cutting, acid drowning, stethoscope-strangulation, buzz-sawing and one poor girl is even completely turned into a meat cube! Ha, oh how I love and MISS the '80s! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourne
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes