Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Movie Review: Asylum Erotica

 I know that people will be shocked by the following statement; I was interested in this film because it stars Klaus Kinski, a German actor famous in Europe for his performances in a number of films but almost unknown by those of us in the US (which is typical).  I was not initially attracted by the title, Asylum Erotica, or the premise; a killer is stalking female patients in an institution for the mentally and emotionally disturbed. 

 I mean, sure, sounds right up my alley, but Kinski is why I watched.

  I first saw Kinski in a Alien rip-off, Creature.  That film I also watched because I had heard of Kinski's tremendous talent.  I was very disappointed, both in Kinski's performance and in the film in general.  Asylum Erotica is also disappointing on both counts.  Perhaps horror is simply not Kinski's genre.  I will reserve my final judgement on that point until after I see Nosferatu the Vampyre. 

 Director Fernando di Leo, an Italian director and script-writer known for his "poliziotteschi" crime films and was an influence on Quentin Tarantino (one of my favorite directors), admitted in one interview that he did no research about mental institutions or disorders for this film, and it shows.  The film takes place in what must be one of the most uniquely specialized mental institutions in the world; focusing strictly on young, attractive, wealthy women who have disorders of a sexual nature.  The institute is situated in picturesque and lavishly furnished European Castle, complete with suits of armor. 

 The film has almost no blood, gore, or even remotely frightening scenes.  Instead, the film is mostly a series of soft-care sex-scenes; a woman masturbates in bed, another dances nude before having sex with a female nurse (homosexuality here is being treated as a disorder), a third is a nymphomaniac who has sex with a gardener, and so on.  The women are being stalked in their rooms and on the grounds by a masked murderer clad entirely in black (and wearing a cape!).  The doctors and staff and distraught and confused by this turn of events, but do little to secure the grounds or protect their charges.  Having orderlies about might make chance sexual encounters less likely.

 The ending is tact-on to the film, one of the women's jealous lovers himself has gone manic.  He is quickly dispatched after being discovered in the last few minutes of the film.  Scooby-Doo cartoons feature a better build-up to the reveal at the end.  

 Asylum Erotica isn't a very good horror film. It not even entertaining as soft-core porn.  Mostly, it is 86 minutes of your life that, if you watch the film, you will never, ever, get back. 

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