Doom Asylum (1988)

A charmingly ramshackle horror comedy that never really works as either. Shot on film but finished on video – no matter what format you watch it on, the title card will always appear in hazy SD resolution – Doom Asylum is from the pits of the DTV horror hey-day. Regardless, the film has enjoyed a resilient shelf-life, no-doubt due in part to an early performance from Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis and a few other familiar faces from the annals of horror, but also because rubbery make-up, silly gore gags and a compromised production tale will never not find an audience.

Shot in a genuine abandoned asylum, adjourned with genuine graffiti and mostly shot at day to accommodate the minimal lighting budget. Much of the runtime is also padded out by clips of the killer watching Tod Slaughter comedies as the initial cut fell short of the minimum 77 minutes required to qualify as a feature. Everything here is frugal and skeletal but the wisecracking tone as well as the amount of 80s-era signifiers, pop-artifacts, plus one or two satisfying murder effects, keep it fun and lively.

In broad strokes, there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, over and over again but there’s always comfort in these kinds of silly movies in the same way there’s comfort in Ed Wood’s movies. These movies live on because somewhere at some time, enough people cared enough about this stupid shit to actually make it into a reality. The results aren’t great, nor even good, but you know, bless them, they tried. Kinda.

Watched on Arrow blu-ray

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