The late 80s comedy slasher “Doom Asylum” is a silly but incredibly fun film that explodes on screen with absurdist humor and buckets of blood.
The storyline of this film only really matters at the very beginning and the very end — everything in-between is just an excuse for horrific murder.
An attorney, Mitch, and his girlfriend Judy are celebrating a huge legal victory when their car crashes, killing them both. Or, at least, that is what the doctors thought when they did the autopsy on Mitch, only for him to wake up in the middle of them cutting his face off. Now, I am no medical professional, but last I checked they didn’t cut your face off during an autopsy.
Fast forward 10 years, and a group of horror stereotypes come to an abandoned insane asylum for a picnic. There’s Kiki, the stereotypical dumb blonde and her equally dumb boyfriend Mike, who she calls Mom. There’s the stereotypical book nerd, Jane, played by Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame. Dennis is the stereotypical nerdy guy who is more interested in his baseball cards than anything else. And Darnell is basically the same exact character as Demon from Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, but with a big gold necklace that says “Darnell” on it.
Once the group arrives at the abandoned insane asylum, they run into the all girl punk rock band Tina and the Tots, and we now have a full cast of victims for Mitch to murder.
While Doom Asylum may not be the best horror film, you can’t help appreciate the influence it has had on horror and other films.
One of the most famous kills in Jason Vorhees’ career may have been lifted from this film. Of course, I am talking about the scene in Jason X where he dips the lady’s head in liquid nitrogen and then smashes it into itty bitty pieces. Well, in Doom Asylum, Mitch dips a lady’s head in acid over and over again until it melts off, and he smashes her head to bits.
In fact, it’s creative kills like this where Doom Asylum really shines.
The acting? Poor. The characters? Useless cannon fodder. But the way they get dissected and ripped apart by Mitch when he’s not watching old horror movies is absolutely incredible.
The director Richard Friedman was a huge fan of Phantom of the Opera, which is evident by his filmography — including Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge and, of course, this film.
While not completely obvious at first, when the movie reaches its bloody climax, it’s easy to see that Doom Asylum is also an homage to Phantom of the Opera.
You see, Mitch wasn’t just killing just to kill, he was killing because of love. When he realizes that Kiki is his daughter (which shouldn’t have been hard to tell, it’s the same actress), he breaks down and tries to express his love for her. But she just kills him in the bushes and leaves as the credits roll.
This is 100% an unserious movie.
It’s clear the “story” exists only to get teens to a place where all the women can put on bathing suits and they can all be murdered. But sometimes, that’s all a horror movie needs. Sometimes, a horror movie doesn’t need deep symbolism or a moral message. Sometimes, it just needs heads exploding and guts getting spilled.
This is exactly what Doom Asylum has. So if that sounds like your idea of a good time, be sure to check it out streaming now on Tubi.