Doom Asylum (1987)

DVD Cover (Code Red DVD Reissue)
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Overall Rating 46%
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Ranked #6,166
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A demented coroner uses autopsy equipment to kill off the teenagers who trespass on the long-abandoned asylum he inhabits. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: January 14, 2007
The eighties was a good time for independent filmmakers, thanks to the rise in popularity of that little device known as the VCR and the subsequent explosion in the movie rental market. Hollywood churns out a lot of movies, but at the time, it was nowhere near enough to fill the local mom-and-pop store shelves - and that's how a lot of budding directors got their names out there. With a cheap video camera, they could record a mindless film with some blood and titties and it'd almost assuredly wind up in stores across the nation. There were none of these fancy test screenings back then, and the "little guy" never had to do risk analysis on a script: show some blood, get a few women to pop their tops, and you're more than likely getting a paycheck at the end of the day. This is probably how Doom Asylum got made, and movies like would almost assuredly never see the light of day in today's market. That's either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your choice in film, but personally, I'm glad that someone is giving these films another chance at finding an audience.

As was the case with most of the other direct-to-video fare of the day, the plot is extremely simple. A man (Michael Rogen) has recently come into a lot of money, and while celebrating, he starts making out with his girlfriend. Not an unusual reaction, except for the fact that he was driving a car at high speeds while doing it. They get into an accident, the woman dies, and the man is horribly disfigured; so disfigured, in fact, that all of the medical personnel believe him to be dead. They find out that that isn't exactly the case when he gets up off of the autopsy table and stabs the coroners to death.

We then move to ten years later, and this man has taken up residence in an abandoned asylum. There's a small legend surrounding this asylum, that being that people who go inside it generally don't come back out (at least, all in one piece), so that naturally gets a group of sex-starved teenagers wanting to check it out. Kiki LaRue (Patty Mullen, 1987 Penthouse Pet of the Year), Jane (Kristin Davis, star of Sex and the City in one of her first roles), Darnell (Harrison White), Mike (William Hay), and Dennis (Kenny L. Price) arrive at the place, and the first thing that they find out about it is that an all-woman rock band has decided that this was the perfect place to jam. These ladies - Tina (Playboy centerfold Ruth Collins), Godiva (Dawn Alvan), and Rapunzel (Farin) - are fairly upset about these "mall-goers" ruining their little party, but they'll have more to worry about when the killer makes himself known.

Alright, so it's not an overly original storyline (even by eighties standards), but at least the director knew this and chose to add some self-parody to the mix in order to make things a little more interesting. We witness every horror cliché known to man as the film plays out, and there are times when the characters involved even point this out (one particular line predates Scream by almost a decade). This does add to the movie experience, but in the end, it's not enough to make this a strong recommendation.

The main problem here is the insane amount of padding that was thrown in to stretch this out to feature length. It has a nice pace to begin with, but it seems like the director prematurely blew his load... in regards to the characters, you sickos. With the obvious exception of the main characters, almost everyone is dead forty minutes into the movie, so that leaves us with thirty minutes that is chock full of walking, talking, walking, and walking some more. Oh, and did I mention that they walk around a lot? The backdrop for this movie - a legit abandoned asylum that is supposedly haunted - made for some nice scenery, but it certainly got old very quickly when all it's used for is to show the characters strolling around. The talking aspect doesn't fare much better as the two women who made their names in adult magazines are the two who live the longest, and it doesn't take long to figure out that they weren't featured in such magazines due to their abundance of acting talent.

It's a decent enough movie if you're a fan of eighties cheese, but the padding issues really hurt this in the end. There's some neat kills to be found, including a drill-to-the-head scene which is quite good even by today's standards, but you have to sit through way too much tedious nonsense to get to them. 5/10, and that's only because I'm a huge fan of eighties slasher films; dock a few points if you're not.
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