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August 31, 2015, 05:54:19 AM
553539 Posts in 42186 Topics by 5417 Members
Latest Member: xcooler2 Forum  |  Movies  |  Bad Movies  |  The Asphyx (1973) « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Asphyx (1973)  (Read 303 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: July 10, 2015, 09:32:40 PM »

In 1800s England, a rich man has taken up photography as his hobby.  For some reason, his favorite subject is people who are about to die.  He's noticed that there's a smudge near the dying people in each and every one of his pictures.  He assumes this is the soul leaving the body.  The man invents a moving picture camera and a powerful spotlight (powered by "crystals") to further his hobby.  He ends up filming his son and his daughter-in-law on a punt boat.  The son cracks his head on a low-hanging branch and the boat capsizes.  The daughter-in-law's body is never found.

Overcome by morbid curiosity, the man develops the film in hopes of catching a glimpse of his son's soul flying away.  The smudge is there but it's moving toward his son.  The hell?  No sooner does the rich man (look, I watched this like a week ago, I can't remember any names) discover this than he is asked to film a public execution.  Evidently, this guy belongs to a charitable organization that seeks to ban capital punishment.  A moving picture showing the suffering of a hanged man would do wonders to swing public opinion to their side, no?  The man sets up his camera and spotlight at the execution site.  When he switches on his spotlight, he inadvertently captures a hideous creature in the beam!  When he notices the hanged man isn't dying, he shuts off the light, freeing the creature.  The hanged man immediately dies.


After some experimentation with a gerbil (or rat, depending on the shot), and a dying man, he susses out that the creature(s) seek out every living thing upon death and ferry the soul, life force, whatever, to the afterlife.  If the creatures (which he dubs "Asphyx") are contained, the death of that particular being will be postponed until, well, maybe forever.  Working along with his assistant and his assistant's fiancee (who may be the rich guy's daughter, I never was sure), the man builds himself an electric chair and has his assistant shine the spotlight on him as soon as he throws the switch.  They manage to capture the Asphyx in a coffin-looking thing.  Ha-ha!  Immortality!

It takes some persuading, but the man manages to convince his assistant and his remaining daughter to let him immortalize them, as well.  Things go horribly, horribly wrong.

I wanted so much to like The Asphyx.  It's certainly an unusual film and is actually fairly thoughtful in its characterization of the main character as a compassionate man who starts out opposing violence and capital punishment yet ends up building death machines to kill himself and his family.  Unfortunately, it is also extremely stupid in almost every other aspect, particularly in the ultimate fate of the rich man.  Not to be too spoilerific but I'm sure that he could have managed to find himself a decent pair of bolt cutters at some point, you know?  The most damning problem The Asphyx has, however, is that it's just plain boring.  No matter what's happening (public execution interrupted by monster, electrocution, decapitation, etc.) there's never any sense of urgency, or even basic energy.

If you enjoy off-beat films, you should definitely give The Asphyx a watch, but you'll probably end up wanting those 85 minutes back.

Kneel before Dr. Hell, the ruler of this world!
B-Movie Kraken

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"Charlie,we're in HELL!"-"yeah,ain't it groovy?!"

« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 09:29:38 AM »

I saw it-or tried to-it was very talky-if yer alone and sober its an ok watch-defintly not a party film-actually-kinda a snoozer. I WANTED to like it-but--I could have watched a Godzilla movie.
Its like one of those dreams that when you wake-up-you already forgot what you just dreamed about minutes ago. Forgetable time waster...and I spelled forgetable wrong.Forget -able-forgetable. Forgotable No-For-
I forget. f**k it.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 09:35:34 AM by RCMerchant » Logged

\"Supernatural?...perhaps. Baloney?...Perhaps not!\" Bela Lugosi-the BLACK CAT (1934)

Interviewer-"Does Dracula ever end for you?"
Lugosi-"No. Dracula-never ends."
zombie #1
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 11:12:44 AM »

yeah I caught this on very late night on TV probably in the early 90s. agree with yur assessment, from what I remember it was pretty boring.

am a fan of a lot of these kind of early 70s hammer-esque type films though

"A whale's throat and blow hole are not connected, therefore escape is impossible.  "
Bad Movie Lover

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Posts: 817

« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 12:04:54 AM »

TOTAL disagreement here. i LOVE this movie! i first saw it at the drivein when i was 11 or 12, along with the original carnival of souls. both are still huge faves!
  i think too many peope had trouble with the truly bad dubbing( like at my drivein), and even now, WAY too many people can't deal with subtitles...that has to suck a whole lot,really. i would miss out on so much stuff if i couldn't have subtitles!

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 05:13:02 PM »

Have to the title pronounced like what a Proctologist does for his patience's?

"Aggressivlly eccentric, and proud of it!"
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