Ah, we've finally arrived at the climax. Things got a little trippy in spots, in case you didn't notice. If you missed anything, a disembodied voiceover compliments of Dr. Specter should clear it all up. "We are about to meet again Mah-ster. I've kept our pact these many years. The mute was burnt. The blind girl was given to the reptiles and beheaded. The cripple was fed to the insects. Now Mah-ster, you will soon have your sacrifice." We see Specter jamming away on his funky pipe organ, and he's actually a better faux musician than Lucina. Claude interrupts Specter's interlude. He informs the good doctor, "She bit me, but she's been prepared." Specter looks pleased. "I haven't much longer." The doctor leaves to "fetch Martine."
A gagged and bound Lucina (replete with white sacrificial gown) is brought to an ominous red room. She's surrounded by bedsheet warriors armed with lit candles. Claude, wearing a surgical mask, stands near Lucina's helpless body. Martine materializes and instantly becomes the focus of everyone's attention. She delivers a very long-winded diatribe of Satanic, HP Lovecrafted mumbo-jumbo. Martine "calls upon the gates of the dark realm to crash asunder." She mentions "blazing angles of the shining trapezoid." She says that "by the tenth key thy doom has been spoken." She goes on and on, yet Satan doesn't bite. Finally, a good rousing cry of 'Hail Satan!" gets the devil's attention, an event signaled by large suffocating clouds of dry ice.
Martine cackles sadistically. She rips off her face to reveal she is in fact Dr. Specter dressed in drag (which was COMPLETELY OBVIOUS ALL ALONG). The overpowering dry ice gives way to Satan himself, who strangely resembles a woman dressed in a rubber ape suit.
Satan inspects Lucina's helpless form. Lucina squirms and struggles when she sees the rubbery demon, but she cannot escape. Satan remains quiet. Specter asks, "Is my Mah-ster pleased with his virgin sacrifice? Take it in exchange for my continued eternal life!" Claude whips out some ominous shiny metal tools, and Lucina screams at the sight of the surgical instruments. Satan remains unmoved. Specter senses that something is amiss. "What is it, Mah-ster?" Satan warbles in reply, "The sacrifice is unsatisfactory. You have deceived me. Another must now be chosen."
Specter protests, "She has been watched! She has been examined every day since she's been here! Please, Mah-ster …" The robed minions start to close in on Specter. Claude disappears in a puff of Satanic smoke. With arms outstretched Frankenstein style, Satan slinks toward Specter, who melts away into a pool of waxy goo.
Followed by a battalion of police cars, Chris and Detective Walsh arrive at the asylum. The interior looks dilapidated and abandoned. Everything is covered with cobwebs. Chris instinctively leads the police downstairs. They step over the still-smoldering remains of Dr. Specter. Lucina is found lying on the floor in the same outfit she arrived in ... neither bound nor gagged. She weeps when Chris embraces her. The police lead Lucina to their waiting patrol cars, but Chris lingers behind. He briefly examines the dusty, empty basement then begins to ascend the stairs. He turns around for one last glance. He sees Satan standing at the foot of the stairwell, encircled by the robed zombies. Chris screams.
He gets over the hellish vision pretty quickly, though. Because the next thing we see is Chris exiting the asylum as if nothing unusual happened. He enters the police car that holds Lucina, and the vehicle drives away. Chris turns to look out the back window. He is gripped by a quick psychic flashback of a fully operational asylum. He looks away. Nervously, he peers into the rear-view mirror. The driver's eyes glow with a yellow sheen a la Rosmary's Baby. The police car drives off into the night.
THE END (s)?
The Devil's Notebook
Many viewers 'don't get' the ending. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Here's the skinny: Dr. Specter needed to perform a virgin sacrifice so he could keep on living. For whatever reason, he thought Lucina was a virgin. She wasn't, Specter goofed, so Satan killed the doctor for failing to deliver the virginal goods.
Reasons People Misunderstand The Ending:
Why didn't Specter know Lucina wasn't a virgin if he examined her? That remains a mystery. Some people posit that since Specter got a good look at Nick Jolley, he figured Carla would never have sex with 'the plaid love machine.'
- The viewer learns that Carla is not virginal during the extended Nick Jolley love scene. That segment tends to force people to look away.
- Specter only specifically mentions his intended virgin sacrifice once, and he does so at the tail-end of the film.
- The sound is so bad in the scene where Satan tells Specter that the sacrifice in unacceptable, you can't hear what Satan says.
- Was it a dream? Who knows? The ending within an ending within an ending doesn't really tell us much. I just take it that Satan's reach extends to multiple timelines. Or something like that.
Last fall, Pat Kelly unearthed an original 35-mm print of Asylum which now resides in Louisville. Several people have noted that it contains extra scenes not found on the video. I have not yet viewed this print.
However, I can say that alternate scenes appear in each of Asylum's trailers that are not included in the video. The film was originally titled, "The Satan Spectrum." Seeing how the movie becomes very non-linear and disjointed toward the end, I tend to wonder whether the plot was made up as they went along, then edited into the storyline which appears in the final cut.
Alternate Scenes From The Theatrical Trailers Not Found In The Video
Even more revealing is a Courier Journal photograph courtesy of Don Wrege that depicts a scene not found in the movie at all. Nick Jolley is seen pummeling Charles Kissinger inside the asylum. In the final film, Specter is dead by the time Nick makes his way inside the building. Click Here to take a gander.
- Satan is seen with fire shooting from his eyes at a variant angle.
- Extra shots of James Pickett as a ghoul.
- Closer shots of a dead, spasming Claude crushed in the elevator shaft.
- Different views of the live snakes in the swimming pool segment.
- An extra shot of Nick and Carla squirming in bed.
The Rubber Ape Suit
Much has been made of the Satan costume seen at the end of the film. Yes, it was a woman behind the mask. According to Lois Haynie, Satan was standing in a little red wagon, which Girdler himself pulled so it would appear as if Satan was floating. Um, it doesn't look that way on film, though.
Don Wrege was told that the Satan mask was an unused prop from Rosemary's Baby. I have no physical evidence to verify his claim yet, but details shared by others who worked on Asylum back up the assertion. Roman Polanski is said to have designed a Satan mask and costume based on a dream he had as a child. If you watch Rosemary closely during the 'mouse bite/rape' scene, you can see portions of a Devil costume. It looks EXTREMELY similar to the rubber ape suit in Asylum. You can also see a shadow of a devil mask on the wall behind Rosemary's bed. It gets cut off very quickly in the standard VHS version. I'd like to see a widescreen Rosemary's Baby for further research.
Make sure you check out Grip of Satan to read Don Wrege's behind the scenes account of what is was like working on Asylum of Satan.