Doom Asylum

Doom Asylum poster

With five million dollars in the bank following a successful court case payday, palimony attorney Mitch Hansen and his girlfriend Judy LaRue might be newly wealthy but they have no seatbelts, no sense and no hope as they canoodle in the front seats while speeding down the road, an avoidable collision leaving them both apparently dead on the verge even as the ambulance sirens are heard in the distance.

Ten years later, for no apparent reason Judy’s daughter Kiki and her friends Mike, Jane, Darnell and Dennis choose to have a picnic at the abandoned asylum near the spot of Judy’s death, interrupting the rehearsals of hostile bitch punk band Tina and the Tots, all of them unaware that the building is still haunted by Mitch, risen from the autopsy table and seeking his lost love.

Doom Asylum; with his dying breath, Mitch Hansen (Michael Rogen) seeks solace in the already dead Judy LaRue (Patty Mullen).

To say that Doom Asylum is a mess is a kindness; directed by Richard Friedman and originally released in 1988, it aims for comedy slasher horror but ends up as low budget dog’s dinner, dragging through empty corridors as the mortal coils shuffle towards their fated transitions to match their already brain-dead status, vital signs of wit or intelligence lacking as their numbers dwindle and they fail to either arm or defend themselves or leave and seek competent help.

A hybrid print from different sources of varying screen ratio and picture quality padded with interludes from the films of Tod Slaughter to seventy-eight minutes as Michael Rogen’s decaying lawyer turned killer watches television when the main feature he stars in becomes too insufferable, Patty Mullen takes the dual roles of mother and daughter Judy and Kiki LaRue, the latter adopted as an alias for undercover operations on Firefly, also in a hospital, though fortunately Jayne Cobb dressed more appropriately for the occasion.

Doom Asylum; qualified as an attorney rather than as a doctor, Mitch Hansen (Michael Rogen) nevertheless likes to practice.

One of the very few notable things about a trip to the Doom Asylum, the other is the presence of Kristin Davis, now better known as one of the marginally less unlikeable lead characters of Sex and the City, here playing psychology student Jane who analyses rather than reacts, declaring her confrontation with Mitch to be a delusion and dying of denial, her oversized spectacles presumably intended as some form of compensation for the lack of coverage provided by her swimsuit.

The manic cackling of Tina (Ruth Collins) and the deranged chortling of Mitch conspicuously the only laughter in the film, any attempt at satire in Rick Marx’s script is killed stone dead by delivery as leaden as the direction in a film which doesn’t know what it wants to be and ends up as nothing, with no attempt to conceal the identity or appearance of the deformed killer or generate atmosphere or suspense as the soundtrack tries to cover the absence of horror and lack of comedy, anthems for idiots presenting themselves for undignified slaughter.

Doom Asylum will be available on the Arrow platform from Friday 24th May

Doom Asylum; a self-declared "chocolate single," Godiva (Dawn Alvan) checks herself out of therapy.