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When Ellen Cole goes undercover at a mental asylum to rescue her brother, she is unaware that she is about to encounter her worst nightmares, for St. Mariahs Hospital for the criminally insane holds a dark secret. Deep in the dark recesses of the Asylum, Vampires have been caged for experiments and on this festive night the vampires will rise to draw blood again. Whilst in the hospital ballroom the party guests are blissfully unaware of the horror heading straight for them. With only the help of a whimsical police bobby and a pathalogical killer can Ellen escape the insanity of the Asylum?Written by
Janice de la Mare
Asylum Night is a gleefully demented horror movie that trawls through the depths of horror, splatter and low-budget shockers with the abandon of a seasoned grave robber. Playing like an extended episode of 'Urban Gothic' 'Asylum Night is by no means the perfect film but has almost all the ingredients of a perfect cult film.
The plot, such as it is begins with a smooth homage to the Amicus classic 'Asylum' and follows Ellen Cole (Adrienne Carlyle) as she goes undercover to find her missing brother. Murderous inmates, seductive nurses and dangerous experiments with the inmates and vampires chase a script that's surprisingly well-written but all this is incidental to the film itself, a demented jolt of electricity shot to the temples by a director who's clearly in love with his source material.
And there's enough to spare. From the 'Ultraviolet' inspired soundtrack to the frequent film references (Temple Of Doom, From Dusk Till Dawn and Angel Heart all get tipped a cheeky wink) and while Watson falls for many first-timer tricks (crazy camera-angles down the corridor) he delivers something in the vein of Ken Russell's excellent 'Lair of the White Worm'.
Admittedly, the film does suffer from pacing problems and the production design has set back the progress of independent film making a few years. Foley is non-existent and the lack of location is painfully evident as the technical mistakes: those professional hang-ups that are as evident as the 555 number given in Hollywood phone numbers.
That said, the sheer energy with which the cast and crew sink their teeth into this film is infectious I couldn't help but smile every time I saw the next cliché make a welcome appearance on the screen. Horror films are paradoxically the easiest and hardest features to make and a great way for raw directors to cut their teeth on a low budget: Sam Raimi's 'Evil Dead', Peter Jackson's 'Bad Taste' and Eli Roth's 'Cabin Fever' all spring to mind.
This isn't a film for those who like polished movies slavishly adhering to the dull world of Anne Rice or those who demand something new be bought to the table. What this film offers is energy, raw talent and a promise of a good night in with perhaps many more to come.
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