The Curator of Schlock #65 by Jeff Shuster


Don’t go to England!

It’s late and I have to write a review about a snooty British movie. I’m sorry. I mean snooty British film. Movies are for troglodytes that like to be entertained instead of being depressed while pondering depressing thoughts. I seem to recall a film by the name of Angels and Insects. That was about a poor naturalist who marries into a well-to-do British family only to find out his wife is having sex with her brother. Then there was Young Adam, where Ewan McGregor’s character gets a job working for a barge operator and ends up sleeping with the guy’s wife. I think McGregor let his pregnant girlfriend drown, and some father of three gets blamed for the murder and is executed for it. Oh well.

Asylum2005’s Asylum showed promise from the trailer. Natasha Richardson plays a bored English housewife named Stella who falls in love with a mental patient named Edgar. Sure Edgar is in the hospital because he murdered his wife, but that doesn’t stop Stella from making mad, angry love to him every chance she gets. Edgar is really just a tortured artist who is imprisoned for his passion. That, and the fact he’s a homicidal maniac.

Asulym 2Edgar escapes, the hospital learns of the affair, and her husband’s psychiatric career is ruined, but we don’t feel too sorry for him since he’s a bit of a stiff.

Asylum 1There’s another conniving psychiatrist played by Sir Ian McKellan.

Asylum 3I guess he’s trying to take over the mental hospital, and it’s alluded that he instigated the affair by seeing it was happening and doing nothing? I think I’ve lost the plot. Stella moves to London to live with Edgar who is now living in a rundown warehouse where he makes head sculptures. Stella misses her son, but can’t bring herself to leave Edgar even after he turns violent and beats her.

Stella is caught by the police, but Edgar escapes. Stella has to move to Wales where they hate the English, but it was the only place her husband could find work. Edgar manages to track them down, but the police catch him before any damage is done. Stella is distraught because she still has feelings for Edgar. She goes on a field trip with her son only to watch him drown as she smokes a cigarette. Stella gets institutionalized at the very same hospital Edgar is confined too. I think McKellan’s character wants Stella to move in with him, but she doesn’t like that prospect so she throws herself off the roof of the mental hospital. The end.

Blah. I was expecting some murders by the homicidal maniac. This is why I don’t review snooty pictures on my blog. What am I supposed to take away from this picture? That having affairs with homicidal maniacs who murdered their wife is a bad idea? Or maybe it’s that passion is like an uncontrollable fire that destroys everything in its path? Hmmm. That last one wasn’t too bad. I think I learned a little bit about myself. Avoid passion at all costs! Live a passionless existence and you’ll have no regrets. Yay.

Five Things I Learned From Asylum

  1. If your two default moods are surly and taciturn, your wife may have an affair on you.
  2. Great Britain in the 1950s was a depressing place.
  3. Teach your kids how to swim.
  4. You can’t trust psychiatrists.
  5. You can realize halfway through a DVD that it will be a future library donation.


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.