Original Written Content Copyright 2001 P. Breen
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  Elsewhere, Nick Jolley arrives at the Louisville police station. We should pause at this time to make a special note of the next scene. The following exchange is a stellar early example of Girdler's patented "over-reactive male lead" approach to character development. If you watch Bill's movies closely, you'll notice that nearly every flick features one macho male who manages to behave like a combative spaz when faced with every minor plot twist. In Asylum of Satan, we are treated to two over-the-top hotheads. Maybe this was Bill's idea of acting 'tough,' but it usually leads to irritating characters the viewer wouldn't mind seeing dead.

Chris waltzes into police headquarters and announces that he needs to speak with a detective. He is directed to Lt. Tom Walsh (played by Lou Bandy, famous for dressing as Ronald McDonald during Louisville parades). Walsh asks Chris to describe his dilemma. "It's hard to explain. I don't know where to start " stammers Chris. "How about at the beginning?" Walsh retorts sharply for no particular reason (unless he has something against men in plaid). Chris' temper boils but he struggles to keep himself in control. "OK. Have you ever heard of a place called Pleasant Hill Hospital?" asks Chris. "No." Walsh replies with a hint of derision. Chris continues, "Well, Lucina was admitted to the hospital a few days ago and no one can get in to see her. I think I'm here to report a kidnapping." Lt. Walsh snaps at Chris with pure contempt. "What's so strange about that? Lots of times they won't let a patient have visitors. And you say she was admitted, so how do you get a kidnap charge outta that? Forget it , Mr. Duncan. Unless you've got more facts than you've already given me, I don't even have a reason to start an investigation!"

Chris flies into a rage. He hollers, "There are more facts! There's a hell of a lot more facts! There's something wrong with that whole damned place... you feel it!" Strangely, he doesn't cite any actual facts. Like the fact that someone impersonated Lucina's dead father. Or the fact that Dr. Noland can and would back up Chris' entire story. No. Chris substantiates his allegation by saying the house "feels" wrong. Polyester "feels wrong" too, Chris.

Walsh makes no attempt at disguising his scorn. "Surely you don't expect us to go out here and raid a place simply because someone has a strange feeling about it. C'mon Mr. Duncan, we'd be raiding every church and funeral parlor in town if we used that philosophy!" Chris delivers a final verbal blow. "All I'm asking you to do is come out there with me and take a look for yourself. Somehow I don't think your damned time is that valuable!" *Sigh. No one says "damned" quite like Nick Jolley* The Lieutenant is steaming. "You don't come into my office telling me how to run it! I'll take you out to your Pleasant Hill. I want you to see just how ridiculous you really look!" brags Walsh. Though it would have been easier for Walsh to show Chris how 'silly he looked' by mentioning his plaid pants, the two men leave for Pleasant Hill instead.

They ride in the cop's very unsexy heap of a car as opposed to Girdler's cute yellow Porsche. The two 'anger management' flunkies approach the mansion. Unlike Chris' previous visit, the property is covered with overgrown weeds and aged litter. It looks as if the asylum has been abandoned. Loud thunderclaps signal an approaching storm. Walsh declares, "I have a strange feeling you want to play haunted house. I think this is the Land of Oz and you're the wizard!" As the two men search the grounds for any sign of life, an old man approaches them. Chris recognizes the man as Dr. Specter sans goatee. The old man explains to Walsh that the mansion has been deserted for years. Chris insists this is the same suave goateed man he met the previous day, but Walsh brushes him off. "Boy, this is gonna look great on my report. 'Visited a haunted house looking for a doctor named Specter.'" Chris can't take any more of Walsh's ribbing. His anger boils over. He lunges at the incognito Specter and punches him. Walsh tears the plaid avenger away from the 'frightened old man' and leads Chris back to the car.

It's now nighttime. We see the balding mute man strolling around a wooded area, followed closely by clandestine torch-bearing people in robes. They eventually reach a clearing and encircle him. As they lower their torches threateningly close to his skin, the man's eyes widen with terror. He can only utter pathetic grunts as his flesh is scorched; he cannot scream. Sadly, all the viewer gets to see is a long shot of the murder, which might as well be a marshmallow roast from this angle. Girdler did not attempt my favorite horror movie device in Asylum; a technique I affectionately call 'The Token Flailing Man On Fire.' (3) Regardless, the viewer gets the distinct impression that the mute dude is dead.

Inside the asylum, Martine is putting Lucina to bed. As Martine motions to leave, her attention is seized by a loud female scream. Martine scampers off to find the source of the wail, neglecting to lock Lucina's door behind her. Lucina tries to sleep but she is kept awake by an irritating creaking sound coming from the room above her. She rises from the bed and sneaks out into the hallway. She slowly ascends the staircase and warily approaches the source of the grating noise. Inside the dark room, she can make out an image of a rocking chair swaying by itself. While I, personally, would find a self-propelled rocking chair highly eerie, Lucina just casually turns her back to the chair as she decides on which potentially upsetting location she'll visit next. Maybe she's not scared because she noticed the strings tugging on the rocking chair. For whatever reason, her back is to the action, so she cannot see the ghoulish form of future Three on a Meathook star James Pickett emerge from the shadows. His complexion is a pasty blue, with hollowed eyes and blood-smeared skin. He opens his mouth to reveal gross brownish plastic teeth which promptly fall out when he draws his lips back (no, it's not intentional)!! He creeps closer to Lucina as she stands around waiting for something scary to pop out at her. Finally, the Pickett zombie grabs her and she runs away near hysterical. She pinpoints the spookiest room in the building and promptly locks herself inside it. She tries to phone out, but she can't make a call. Lucina spies a plaque on the wall with an inscription dated 1803. Suddenly, baleful pipe organ music breaks the silence. Lucina turns to flee but Dr. Specter materializes from nowhere to block her exit. Things get very RED, swirly and blurry. Somewhere during this psychedelic display, Dr. Specter bites Lucina on the neck (!?!).

The next thing you know, it's the following morning, and Lucina's staring mournfully out her window at the rain. Martine enters the room. Lucina asks about the dead body on the third floor. Martine acts perplexed, but Lucina will not let the subject drop. She tells Martine of her adventure from the previous night. Martine assures her she was locked in tight. Lucina must have dreamt everything. "But the organ .. Dr. Specter ... {The Cowardly Lion] they were all there!!" insists Lucina. "There's no dead body on the third floor," croons Martine. "It was your imagination. You've been very ... tense ... since you arrived here. You're working yourself up over nothing." Martine leaves the sullen Lucina to sulk alone.

Lucina returns her gaze to the falling raindrops. She becomes consumed by a romantic flashback of her and Chris strolling through a park on a snowy afternoon. The flashback turns from innocent snow frolicking to steamy bed romping.

Now remember back on page two when I mentioned that half of Asylum's viewers deem Nick Jolley's plaid daywear the scariest part of the film? Well, the other half thinks that a partially naked Nick Jolley rolling around in bed with the very beautiful Carla Borelli is the most disturbing moment in Asylum. One thing's for sure, the flashback love scene is entirely too long, almost to the point of being grotesque. Because of its startling nature, many viewers immediately block this scene from memory. As we shall soon see, the 'love scene' is actually the most important endless moment of the entire movie.

While Lucina flirts with her perverse reminiscences, a pair of orderlies leads the blind Sherry Steiner to an indoor swimming pool. They leave her alone in the water. As she swims around, she hears a strange splashing noise. She calls out to see if someone is there, but no one answers. We see a swarm of snakes stealthily approach the blind girl. She screams as a rubber snake clamps it jaws around her hand. In a matter of seconds, she has rubber snakes hanging from her face and arms. The weight of the plastic serpents forces her under the water. We presume she drowns.

Meanwhile, Chris returns to the Detective Walsh's office to make a final desperate plea for assistance. He arrives to find Walsh loading a pistol just for the hell of it. Chris pleads with Walsh, but the Lieutenant won't budge. "You come to me with a hospital I can't find. A doctor nobody knows. And a kidnapped girl who doesn't exist!" Chris realizes he's wasting his time and storms off. After he leaves, the detective telephones someone named Ed and asks him to look into Chris' story. "It doesn't hold water. But run a routine check on him. Just the particulars. He's just so sincere "

At the asylum, Specter meets with Lucina again in his office. He declares that Lucina can leave after one final treatment. She asks, "What kind of treatment did you have in mind, Doctor?" He laughs, "I'd rather see you in front of an orchestra instead of my desk." He asks that she return to meet him later that evening and she agrees without any additional scrutiny. Claude takes her away to 'prepare' for the treatment.

Unbeknownst to Lucina and Specter, Chris returns to the asylum property and begins combing through a wooded area situated close to the main building. He finds a greenhouse near the hospital. He enters and sees something that makes Chris recoil in disgust. We cut back to Walsh's office. Chris strolls in and plops the severed head of Sherry Steiner on the detective's desk. "Here's your proof," he snarls. Walsh seems sickened, but not surprised. He reveals that Ed came across some odd information pertaining to Dr. Specter. "Your doctor died twenty years ago. He was picked up several times for devil worshipping. Couldn't prove anything on that but he was suspected of murder. The doctor died before they caught him. We can't go around arresting people for devil worshipping these days." Chris is so furious, he curses some more. "You wake up the judge or whoever it is in this town who makes out search warrants and you get it tonight! Specter could kill Lucina before morning ... now let's go." The two leave the office without the detective phoning in a call to the judge.

(3) The only 'Flailing Man On Fire' that appears in a Girdler movie can be found in Project Kill.

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