Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) arrives at the remote Dunsmoor Asylum to take a job as one of the psychiatrists. He is greeted by the wheelchair bound Dr. Rutherford (Patrick Magee). Rutherford tells him that the doctor who hired him, Dr. Starr, went crazy and is now one of the inmates. To test whether or not he is capable of handling the job Rutherford challenges Martin to identify which of the inmates is Dr. Starr. Max Reynolds (Geoffrey Bayldon), the asylum’s orderly, brings Martin to four separate rooms containing four different people. Martin is to listen to their stories and, only based on his conversations with each inmate, must figure out which of them is Dr. Starr.
“Frozen Fear”: Walter (Richard Todd) and Bonnie (Barbara Parkins) are having an affair. Walter’s wife Ruth (Sylvia Syms) refuses to give him a divorce so he chops her up and puts her body in the freezer he just bought for her. Ruth, however, refuses to stay dead.
“The Weird Tailor”: Bruno (Barry Morse) is a tailor. Short on rent money he takes a job from a mysterious man named Smith (Peter Cushing). Smith wants him to make a suit from a very special material. Smith wants to use the suit to bring his dead son back to life. When Smith can’t pay for the suit, he tries to take it by force. Bruno ends up killing Smith. Bruno’s wife Anna (Ann Firbank) puts the suit on their mannequin, Otto (Daniel Johns). The magic suit does its job.
“Lucy Comes to Stay”: Barbara (Charlotte Rampling) has just returned home from the mental hospital. He brother George (James Villiers) hires a nurse, Miss Higgins (Megs Jenkins), to take care of her. Problems arise when Barbara’s invisible friend, Lucy (Britt Ekland), begins killing everyone.
“Mannikins of Horror”: Byron (Herbert Lom) believes he is a doctor. He is creating small robots that he believes are human. His latest creation looks like him. He believes he can mentally transfer his consciousness into it and bring it to life.
“Asylum” AKA “House of Crazies” was released in 1972 and was directed by Roy Ward Baker. It is a British anthology horror film in the portmanteau style and is the fifth anthology film produced by Amicus. The stories were written by Robert Bloch. The film was shot in 24 days, edited and released 15 weeks after shooting.
On the whole the movie has some decent stories, but the framing story is probably the most interesting and the creepiest. The fourth story in the film ends up blending into the framing story to the point where it almost becomes part of the overall framing story plot. Which is nice touch.
Some of the canned music includes “Night on Bald Mountain”. The film also includes some good actors and some great writing by Robert Bloch. With a nice twist at the end and a little gothic treatment, it ended up being more enjoyable than I expected.