A young psychiatrist arrives at a mental asylum to be interviewed for a job. He is met by Dr Rutherford who tells him the original head, Dr Starr, has had a mental breakdown and is now one of the patients. But as the former doctor has adopted a different personality, the psychiatrist is asked to figure out which of four patients is actually him or her. If he guesses correctly, he will be considered for the job.
Each person's story is told through flashback. An unfaithful husband kills his wife, chops her into pieces, and puts her in a chest freezer. A poor tailor is asked by a sad and mysterious man to make a suit from a strange glowing fabric. A woman claims she shouldn't be there at all, it was her friend Lucy who 'did it'. And another man builds miniature robots with lifelike heads and organic internal organs, and plans to transfer his own soul into one. Of course, none of the stories turn out well for the people involved, and so here they are at the asylum.
The individual sections are creepy rather than scary, but the stories are inventive and have fun twists to them. The special effects are simple yet effective, and the creative camera work is interesting, particularly in the second story ("The Weird Tailor"). The first and fourth segments ("Frozen Fear" and "Mannikins Of Horror") border on campiness, but that's not a criticism. I found those to be the most entertaining.
There's an impressive cast of familiar actors, including Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Sylvia Sims, Britt Ekland, Charlotte Rampling and Peter Cushing. The writer is Robert Bloch (best known for writing the book Psycho) who adapted some of his short stories for the segments.
I'm not normally a fan of anthology horror films, but Asylum was a lot of fun and kept my interest throughout. To be honest, I didn't find it frightening or shocking, but I did enjoy the stories and the performances. This is the perfect kind of movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon. All you need is a big, hot mug of cocoa.