Larry Drake was the horrid bad-guy with the cigar-clipper in Darkman (1990) & the retarded sweety-pie in television's LA Law. He's potentially a very, very fine character actor though so far no one's given him the types of film roles that would really prove it.
In Dark Asylum he plays an arch psychopath serial killer. As a physical presence he is more awesome than Jason in the Friday the 13th franchise, without even needing the face-mask & knife to be totally creepy. The whole cast has some acting ability & nobody turns in a crappy performance.
Alas the script is just stalk & slash, wound him with a gun, stalk & strangle, wound him, stalk & strangle, stair & strangle, strangle & strangle, shoot & miss & strangle, run & hide & crawl in yet another type of crawlspace & get caught & run & strangle, then strangle, get caught in the crossfire while being strangled, then raise a hatchet, then strangle, & finally the dullard of a leading lady (Paulina Poriskokova impersonating Jamie Lee Curtis) wacks him into submission with a stick & pushes him on a bomb, big fucking deal.
It's as imaginative as farting, & twice as smelly. The five kinds of crawlspaces in the improbable rat-maze asylum provide enough environments behind the walls that a secret society of cats that evolved into human beings as in Red Dwarf could've been living in there undiscovered, before even counting the sewer access. Every scene has been seen a bazillion times in more interesting contexts than this time through.
While bad actors can sometimes fail to ruin a pretty good script, this film proves that fairly good actors can't save a really bad script. Jurgen Proknov & Judd Nelson & the rest of an impressive roster must've been awfully desparate for work, as there's just nothing in the script that could've made any one of them say, "Wow, I gotta be in this!" ÝSo it's surprising the quality of actor who can fall on such hard times they daren't even choose their cheezier gigs carefully.
A rather tongue in cheek tale of terror, Doom Asylum (1987) begins with a man who wake up on the autopsy table after a terrible disfiguring accident. Ten years later there are many urban legends about the psycho who wanders about killing people with autopsy tools.
Kiki (Patty Mullen), the daughter of the woman who died in the same accident (who was also played by Patty Mullen), & other young people, show up at the abandoned asylum, to be the bowling pins of the "let's kill everybody" storyline.
Absurdist throughout, comedy takes even more skill than horror, so it does very badly in two departments for the price of one. But it does have everything a cheezy pointless unwholesome & unimaginative film needs to be great fun at the "so bad it's good" movie party.
It's packed with bad jokes, bad acting, & bad gore gags. And it was filmed in an actual abandoned Jersey asylum, which lends a certain authenticity that the no-budget could never have recreated with a set designer.
Throughout we get clips from very old black & white horror films starring Tod Slaughter, spliced in as an afterthought to pad this cheapie to feature length, on the premise that the psycho of the tale is a Tod Slaughter fan.
Inserting fragments of Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936), The Crimes of Stephen Hawks (1936), The Face at the Window (1939), & a couple others, turns out to have been a really great idea & lend moments of competence to an otherwise amateurish horror film.
Continue to more madhouses:
Kolobos (1999) and Hypnosis (2004)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl