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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Asylum of the Damned

Here we go again...This week's slasher(which may not actually BE a slasher...I won't know until we watch it!) is something called Asylum of the Damned. That title pretty much sums up my entire existence. But enough about me...let's get ready for SPOILERS!

The movie begins in what I assume is the asylum, during s violent storm. A guy in a white coat is running down a corridor, as something appears to be chasing him. When he stops at a secure door to fumble with a keycard, whatever was looking for him catches up. He screams at a security camera that he's not crazy, but the office where the monitor is located looks empty.

The lab coat guy is then somehow subdued, and brought into what looks like a lab. He's been strapped onto a table, and his mouth has been taped shut by his attacker. Oh, and his tongue was removed, which seems like overkill if you're going to just gag the guy. A large winged demon with red eyes looms over the poor guy, and little bolts of energy pass through its claws as it waves the claw over the victim's face. Then the title screen pops up.

The movie then whisks us away to a tiny house, where we see a young couple talking before heading off to work. The wife gives her husband, a medical student, a medal of St. Christopher, to encourage him on his first day at work in a certain ASYLUM OF THE DAMNED!!!! The clasp on the medallion breaks, but he puts it in his pocket, promising her that he'll fix it later.

When he gets into his car, he finds a book that his wife left on the seat for him, by some doctor named McCort. He drives down a deserted highway, and a wolf howls at one point. I don't want to criticize the guy, but shouldn't his commute to work take less than a day? Not only does he need to stop for gas at one point, but night has fallen.

The gas station seems abandoned, so our young doctor tries to yell for attention. A stranger leaps at the young doctor, then a  creepy-looking old man looms up behind him, demanding to know why he didn't  just ring the bell for service, as opposed to shouting. While pumping the gas, the old man explains that the other man who ran off was a guy who sometimes wanders out of the mental hospital. He's supposedly harmless, but we'll see...After paying for the gas, the doctor resumes his journey.

When he finally gets to the mental hospital, we finally discover that our protagonist is named Dr. Bishop. He meets a security guard outside, and the guard offers to escort him to his boss, Dr. Francis, who is currently in the Isolation Ward. Along the way, Bishop is told a little bit about the history of the facility. The place is massive, but only holds about 600 patients. At the end of the tour, the guard introduces himself as Frank, then instructs Dr. Bishop on how to get to the Isolation Ward.

Dr. Bishop heads down a shadowy hallway, and finds a number of patients staring out at him from their rooms. Then he hears the sound of a muffled cry behind one door, and a greasy-looking doctor named Peter Francis advises him to step away. Dr. Francis shows Bishop where his new office will be.

In the cramped office, things start to get a little bit bizarre. Doctor Francis pushes Dr. Bishop onto an office chair, then asks him if he believes that Satan is real. As he rants and raves that the patients in the facility are all evil, someone can be heard attempting to enter the office. After Francis shares the idea that all of the patients are damned souls, another doctor steps in, calmly injecting him with a hypodermic.

The new man is Dr. McCort, the person that Bishop was supposed to meet. It's soon revealed that Dr. Francis was actually tied up and gagged by a delusional serial killer by the name of Harry Smith. Dr. Bishop could have very likely become his next victim, if Dr. McCort hadn't have shown up just then.

The 2 men have a casual interview, and get to know one another over some coffee. McCort sees the medallion around Bishop's neck(Uh, did he fix that broken clasp when I was blinking?), then shows off his own holy item, a ring with a strange symbol engraved on it. He doesn't explain what it means, so I'm willing to bet that it'll be important later.

After a more thorough tour of some of the patient wards, Bishop is introduced to Helen, and Wells, 2 of the main nurses in charge of the dangerous patients in "A" ward. While Dr. McCort gets a report from the nurses, Bishop decides to talk to one of the patients, an elderly black man who is tied to the bed that he's in. He begs Dr. Bishop to loosen the straps on his arms, claiming  that he and the other patients are being tortured and used as human sacrifices in some kind of dark ritual.

After they head back toward the administration area, Dr. Bishop requests that he be assigned to the patients in A ward. Dr. McCort agrees, but only if he agrees to live at the asylum full-time, at least to start. Bishop agrees, then rushes home to tell his wife that he'd literally rather live in a mental hospital, than be with her.

Dr. Bishop helps the now-unemployed Dr. Francis pack up his office, then he gets some instructions on dispensing medications from the head nurse, Helen. She makes him a promise that all of the pertinent files on his new patients will be delivered to his room, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed by paperwork.

After a restless night, Bishop organizes the patient files, and kills several dozens of cockroaches in his office. Then he meets Smithy, a hulking brute of an orderly, who also happens to be blind. A blind orderly, in a ward for the criminally insane. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is absolute genius.

Smithy escorts Bishop to the shower area, where he has his first official session as a doctor, with a patient by the name of Jackson. Sadly, Jackson is dead, an apparent murder victim. Bishop discovers him in aa therapy tub, with massive wounds all over his chest.

Bishop tries to call the cops to report the murder, but Dr. McCort stops him before he can complete the call. He tells the younger man that the best thing that they can do for the patients is to just keep them heavily sedated. He also sees the facility as a personal crusade, calling it his "destiny".

Bishop talks to his wife from his office(Yup, back in the day, we had to go where phones were in order to call folks!), and he promises her that they can someday have a more stable life at a regular hospital. Then he sees a death threat written in blood above his desk.

At breakfast, Bishop asks Smithy where he could locate a custodian to clean up his ceiling. The blind orderly tells him that there's an older patient by the name of Que, and that he does most of the janitorial duties. Also, according to Smithy, the only people that have keys to that office are Bishop and McCort. Hmmmm....

Que swings by the office, verifies that the message was written in actual blood, then he tells Bishop that he reminds him of a previous doctor by the name of Kloves. Kloves died under mysterious circumstances, leading Bishop to ask Que if there were any similarities between him and the manner in which Jackson died. Que doesn't know,but he says that Jackson was into some weird cult activity.

Bishop talks to one of the patients in "A" ward, and discovers that the man was awake the night that Jackson died. He says that a couple of employees took Jackson to the basement, and that people who go to the basement always wind up dead. Before Bishop can get any further details, the nurse tells him that Dr. McCort needs to see him about an urgent matter.

Dr. McCort pretty much just wanted to bitch and moan about all of the trouble Bishop is causing with his investigations. He orders Bishop to simply do the bare minimum to help the patients, and nothing more. If not, then he threatens to destroy Bishop's future as a doctor.

Later, Que shows Bishop that he was able to clean most of the blood away from the ceiling. They talk, and Que tells the doctor that he was committed after he stabbed a little girl to death. Que is troubled by the memory, and he admits that he thinks that he has something evil inside himself that made him kill her. After Que leaves, Bishop finds a note on his desk, asking him for a meeting later, in the boiler room.

The sender of the note is Mark, the patient who saw Jackson the night he was killed. He convinced one of the nurses to undo his straps for a short break, so he arranged for the meeting in the boiler room. He warns Bishop that someone at the hospital is killing patients, but he doesn't know who it is, nor does he know their motive. He warns Bishop to be careful about who he trusts.

After seeing and hearing Smithy being verbally abused by evil Nurse Helen, Bishop finds a patient invading his office. It's Hadley, the man who frightened him at the gas station, and he reveals that he has a skeleton key for the entire hospital. Hadley tells Bishop that he works on bodies in the morgue, cleaning them up. When asked if he knows about the condition of Jackson's corpse, he says that he doesn't know how the bodies get so badly damaged.

Bishop then visits the kindly Nurse Wells. She was the one left the bloody message in his office, in an attempt to scare him into quitting. She can't tell him anything else, out of fear that someone might hear her and then try to kill her, but she suggests that Bishop might find some answers in the file room. Intrigued, Bishop decides to have a look, and he forces Hadley to tag along.

Bishop locates the files of the deceased staff members and patients, and realizes that all of them supposedly died from heart attacks. The evil nurse Helen then comes into the room, so Bishop hides under a table. For some reason, this actually works.

He waits until the coast is clear, leaves the file room, then has Hadley take him to the morgue. They travel through a maze of tunnels, stopping once so that Hadley can show Bishop the secret passage he uses when he escapes. Then they arrive at the morgue, where there are about 3 or 4 bodies, all with the strange chest wounds and markings on the bodies,  and a drug that causes heart attacks laying around nearby.

Bishop recognizes one of the corpses as Mark, who actually wakes up. He begs the men to rescue him, but they hide, mere moments before a couple of men in hooded white robes enter the morgue. Hadley whispers to Bishop that the bodies are being delivered to an area used for human sacrifices.

The opening scene plays again, only this time the demon is just a guy in a robe wearing a cheesy-looking white mask. Wait, no, the demon's there as well, standing with the Fake Jason Voorhees. Fake Jason sees a glint of metal on the ground while the demon is electrocuting one of the victims, and recognizes the medal that Bishop was wearing earlier. A chase begins!

Hadley and Bishop get away, but Hadley refuses to go any further. He lets Bishop keep the skeleton key, and the doctor rushes to gather up some incriminating files and escape the premises. Before that can happen, Bishop is interrupted by Smithy, who tells him that he has a female visitor waiting in the cafeteria.

It's the wife/girlfriend/whatever. She's being questioned by Dr. McCort when Bishop walks into the room. McCort manages to manipulate her into spending the night, then he sees the files that Bishop took. As Bishop hurries to escort his beloved away from the evil doctor, McCort taunts him by revealing that he found the medallion. D'oh!

Bishop drags his wife to the nearest exit, but his security card suddenly won't work. Then McCort pops up, He makes up a story about the electricity in the building not working properly, and Bishop warns him not to try to hurt them. McCort tells the confused love interest that Bishop has started to exhibit signs of madness himself, brought on by the stress of dealing with so many new patients and challenges, in such a short time.

They escort their new prisoners to an isolation ward, where Smithy has been told to expect them. As McCourt reveals that Nurse Wells has also been captured, Smithy suddenly attacks the security guard, then pushes McCourt into the nearest cell. He helps our young heroes escape, leading them down another endless maze of corridors.

They end up in a badly lit room, and Smithy wanders away to find a light switch. When the lights come on, they realize that they've wandered back into the morgue, and the girlfriend screams when she sees the mutilated bodies around her. An alarm light begins flashing, and Bishop realizes that they need to hurry to the escape tunnel if they don't want to die.

McCort and evil nurse Helen are busy scouring the halls for the escapees, who have reached a dead end instead of the tunnel. Luckily Hadley shows up, and he offers to show them the right path. Just as they arrive, Bishop realizes that he somehow managed to leave behind all of the evidence. What na freakin' putz this guy is! He actually decides to go back for the files, but tells his wife to escape with Hadley and Smithy. Dumbass.

Bishop runs back down the hallways, and Dr. McCort ambushes him. When Bishop regains his senses, McCort is preparing him for the arrival of the demon, which will harvest his soul and bring it back to Satan. The demon is summoned, then McCort turns to grab the syringe needed to make it look like Bishop died from a heart attack.

Somebody knocks the evil doctor out cold! Oh, Bishop's wife returned to help him. She unties Bishop, and they leave McCort there for the demon to feed on. The evil doctor tries to crawl away, but the creature kills him.

After they escape, Bishop gets the cops and an ambulance to meet them in the parking lot. The cops ask Bishop to answer some more questions, while the love interest waits in the ambulance. Too late, Bishop sees the evil  Nurse Helen driving the ambulance, and the pair of cops also appear to be part of the cult.

The film ends in a hospital room, where Bishop is screaming for help from a bed. A young nurse tries to calm him down, and an elderly doctor arrives to meet Bishop. He dismisses the pretty nurse, then reveals that he's part of the cult as well, as growling noises are heard from a nearby demon somewhere offscreen. THE END It did have an interesting concept, granted, but there were holes in the plot big enough for that demon to stomp through. I mean, what happened to Hadley and Smithy, for example? What would be the point of the cult existing if their leader was dead, since he was the only one who could summon the demon? Wouldn't it have been easier to simply fire Bishop early on, destroy the evidence, THEN discredit him in the medical community? I mean, that HAS to be easier than trying to hide an ever-growing list of dead bodies! 2 killer trees out of 5, for at least not making me fall asleep.

And what did I learn from Asylum of the Damned?

-Some guys are willing to go a loooooong way to commute to work!

-Blind guys are commonly trusted to handle mental patients.

-When summoning a demon, try to make your sacrifices look like they died of heart attacks, even if you don't ever plan to let anyone see the bodies of your victims. Yeah, and amke the explanation really elaborate and dumb.

Next up on my queue: the delightfully kooky alien-in-an-underwater-lab movie Deepstar Six. It was one of several movies that all came out within a year or 2 of each other, about people being killed by water-monsters. Weird trend. Also, sometime soon, I have the cult classic All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which is also now on Netflix Instant. Cool! See you soon!