Not the Place to be Committed – Asylum of Satan (1972)

How could one not be intrigued by a film called Asylum of Satan? It would probably be the one place on Earth people would be least excited about visiting but movie-wise, it sounds like it could either be extremely horrific or a lot of fun. As it turns out, the picture borders itself between both and not because it is scary but simply one of those films that tends to be so poorly made that it ends up being good. The fact of the matter is, there are moments where the movie is laughably bad and others where it seems as if it will become something substantial with some good suspense to carry it along, but after all is said and done, the audience ends up wishing they had watched something else.

The main problem with the film is the fact that for a horror film, there is little of it. The only scene to generate anything resembling fright was that where the blind woman found herself in the pool with a number of snakes that would end up poisoning her to death. Seeing her thrash about with one attached to her hand and one to her face was slightly disturbing, but other than that, it all ended up being pretty tame. There was no blood to be found, little violence and no nudity despite teasing it on more than one occasion. It is almost as if director William Girdler was aiming to make an exploitation film of some sort but left out all the elements needed to make one. There was a little suspense as previously mentioned, a bit of tension, a good atmosphere and a couple of decent performances, but whether horror or exploitation, the movie fails to rise to the occasion.

To top it all off, the Beast makes an appearance with one of the worst costumes ever seen on film. It would have been far more preferable to have Satan look like a normal man than the monstrosity that appeared onscreen and that in itself was the one true horror that Asylum of Satan managed to perpetrate.

2 out of 5

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