February 21, 2012

Why do I have two copies of Asylum on VHS?


"A young psychiatrist interviews four inmates in a mental asylum to satisfy a requirement for employment. He hears stories about 1) the revenge of a murdered wife, 2) a tailor who makes a suit with some highly unusual qualities, 3) a woman who questions her sanity when it appears that her brother is conspiring against her, and 4) a man who builds tiny toy robots with lifelike human heads."

"Asylum" (1973) isn't exactly my favourite Amicus film or anything. In fact, I've fallen asleep three times trying to get through it because it's actually rather boring. Not even Peter Cushing can save this one.

I just have two copies because I bought one from the local pawn shop and somebody where I used to work gave me their copy. I'm not surprised that they didn't want it either. The rating on the IMDb is 6.4 but I would only give it half of that.

Amusingly, the second copy starts by announcing that it is a Criterion release. As somebody who has never bought into those overpriced Criterion DVDs, I now own a Criterion VHS tape. I have no idea if it's the same company or not though. It says "Interglobal Home Video" on the box and my research shows it to be from a Canadian company which was notorious in the '80s for badly transferred, low-budget films.

I have a suspicion that the Prism version may actually be some kind of collectible due to its artwork having virtually nothing to do with the movie itself. It can't be worth more than the $1 that I paid for it though as the cardboard is creased and torn. I still can't get my head round why American VHS tapes came in such ridiculous and easy to damage packaging rather than the proper plastic cases like we had in the UK.

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