Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 13th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1987
Director: Richard Friedman
Cast: Kristin Davis, Ruth Collins, Patty Mullen, Kenny Price, William Hay, Michael Rogan, Harrison White
DVD released: January 9th, 2007
Approximate running time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Judy LaRue (Patty Mullen) was killed in a car crash in which her lawyer/lover was driving the car. She dead almost instantly while he somehow came back form the dead to haunt and kill anyone who trespasses at the now abandon asylum near where he lost the woman he loved. Ten Years later Judy’s daughter Kiki LaRue (Patty Mullen) and a few of her friends visit her mothers’ final resting place. Weird things start to happen shortly after their arrival and they soon discover that they are not alone when the corpses of their friends start popping up.
Doom Asylum was made near the end of the 1980’s horror boom. The story while simple in more then effective and for the most part the story moves along with rarely a dull moment. The gore and effects make up does look primitive including a rubber hand that appears early on in the film that was apparently bound cheaply at a store selling Halloween products. The films score is one of its strongest assets as it perfectly helps set the mood of the film.
Like most horror films with madmen on the loose this one has its fare share of gruesome deaths. Sure some deaths look more effective then others and then there are few that are just laughable. One thing that I really enjoyed about this film was the way it injected humor into the plot line. These more comedic/light hearted moments are some of the most entertaining in the film. I especially liked how one of the characters in Doom Asylum goes on about how there are rules to horror movies nearly a decade before Scream would make doing the same thing so hip with mainstream audiences.
One thing about the film that I didn’t enjoy too much was the daydreaming of Darnell and the lady he now wants to get to known. These brief scenes of them running to each other are unnecessary and feel like they where added to pad they films overall length. Speaking of padding the film with scenes to make the film longer the inclusion of the old black and white footage was done to pad out the film and even though these moments at times parallel what is going on in the movies they where not intended as part of the movie originally.
The cast in this one is really good and they do an amazing job with the material they have to work with. The films lead Patty Mullen plays the dual role of mother/daughter Judy LaRue/Kiki LaRue. Her role is mostly about her looking good in a bikini for most of her screen time and she has very little dialog. This film marked the film debut for Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen who would go on to make only a two more films including the cult classic Frankenhooker. One minor complaint about her participation in this film is that she doesn’t get naked or even topless and to think she was a former Penthouse Pet of the year.
Scream Queen Ruth Collins on the other hand was not as modest and we at least get to see her topless. Actor Michael Rogen does an admirable job as Judy LaRue’s living dead lover. The most famous person in the cast at least now and back then she was an unknown is Kristin Davis who would later achieve stardom as Charlotte York on Sex in the City. Doom Asylum was also Kristin Davis’s film debut and her performance a sexy yet bookworm teen is by fart and away the bets in the film. Ultimately sure this film is far from perfect; still the end result while flawed offers plenty of gore and al lot of laughs.
Doom Asylum is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This transfer was sourced from the films 35mm negative and it looks nothing short of spectacular with vivid colors and razor sharp detail.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. There are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects. Dialog is clear and easy to understand. Music and effects sound balanced.
Extras for this release include a Code Red trailer reel which includes the following titles Boarding House, The Dark Ride, The Farmer, Silent Scream, The Forest, Devil Times Five, Human Experiments, Nightmare, Stingray, Love me Deadly, Gang Wars, Enter the White Dragon and The Redeemer. Other extras include a thorough and insightful eleven minute interview with Richard Friedman (Director), Bill Tasgal (Production Designer) and Alex Kogan Jr. (Producer). The final extra include with this release is an audio commentary with Richard Friedman and Bill Tasgal who offer a lot detail into the making of this film and they also show their sense of humor while talking about this film and some of its flaws.
Doom Asylum is a late 1980’s slasher film that now can be rediscovered via Code Red’s definitive DVD release which comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a handful of extras.
For more information about Doom Asylum visit Code Red here.