The Curator of Schlock #64 by Jeff Shuster

Asylum

Robert Patrick vs. Malcolm McDowell

Your Curator of Schlock is still stuck in the asylum so to speak. It would seem there are many movies that go by this title. Since it’s still a couple weeks until this year’s Thanksgiving movie, I’ll be reviewing more Asylum movies. This brings us to 1997’s Asylum, from director James Seale. I’m very suspicious that this was a made for home video deal, and a late ’90s Canadian production at that, but we’ll pull though.

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Robert Patrick plays Nicholas Tordone, a private investigator with some psychological problems on account of his father blowing his brains out in front of him when he was just a little boy. This might explain why he carries on conversations with his little plastic dinosaur. Tordone also dreams of standing in front of a moving subway train, and playing around with loaded pistols during his improv acting class. I guess he’s still seeing his old shrink, Dr. Meyers, who is currently running Fallbrook Mental Hospital. Dr. Meyers tells him there’s always “another next time,” and give him a pair of goofy, hologram glasses. All is well until Dr. Meyers decides to hang himself.

Tordone suspects foul play on account that Dr. Meyers left him a message asking if he’d investigate some strange goings on at the mental hospital.

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He gets himself admitted to the asylum by saying he dreams of standing in front of moving subway cars, and the fact that he talks to plastic dinosaurs. We’re presented with different kinds of mental patients. There are the kind that scream about people coming to get them, and the kind that refuse to take their meds unless God tells them too.

We meet the delightful Tommy Baylor (Jason Schombing) who says he’s actually Captain Destructo, a comic book super hero, in disguise. Baylor also has the habit of talking like Humphrey Bogart, and lip sinking The Marriage of Figaro for the amusement of the staff. That’s the nice kind of crazy that I can deal with. The not so nice kind of crazy is Sullivan Rane (Malcolm McDowell, obviously) a psychopathic serial killer that managed to escape from Fallbrook Mental Hospital not so long ago. He killed like eleven people by bodily dismemberment, and makes wild claims about he knows the truth, and ridicules the keepers of public morality. Rane says he’s really no crazier than people who haven’t murdered at all.

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This is when you stop listening to the serial killer. They have the habit of getting into a person’s head. Must fight the urge to dismember!

Mental patients keep going missing from Fallbrook, there’s a mysterious doctor who always wears a surgical mask and sounds an awful lot like Malcolm McDowell, and Tommy Baylor ends up running around in a Captain Destructo costume. Okay, if I haven’t sold you an Asylum, at least let me sell you on Robert Patrick. Most of you know him from his role in Terminator 2, but he’s had many television roles on series such as The X-Files and The Sopranos. You can currently catch him as Agent Cabe Gallo on the CBS drama Scorpion.

This is the second Asylum in a row featuring a cast member from A Clockwork Orange. Coincidence?

There’s no trailer available for Asylum so here’s a random Robert Patrick trailer:

Five Things I Learned from Asylum

  1. Goofy, hologram glasses make the perfect gift.
  2. Robert Patrick is a master of disguise.
  3. Malcolm McDowell is not a master of disguise.
  4. Death is a surefire way to cure insanity.
  5. It would seem there are some DVDs with only four chapter stops.

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102, and episode 124) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.

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