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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: The Loony Bin of Edgar Allen Poe

Stonehearst Asylum is Gothica with creds. It's based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, "The System of Dr Tarr & Prof Fether." Loosely adapted as in all Poe-daptations; as in "inspired by an idea from.... kind of."

With more elements of drama and suspense than horror, this is a handsomely mounted film with plenty of exploring dark rooms with only a gas lamp in hand to light the way. It's 1899, after all!

Kind of Roger Corman on a big budget, with touches of Marat/Sade and a nifty twist ending, the set designs, costumes, editing and direction (by Brad Anderson, an American from Connecticut) are all very tiptop as is cinematography in the dark palette vogue of the day.

The very accomplished cast features Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess, both very talented and attractive new stars, and includes Ben Kingsley (very prominently), Michael Caine, David Thewlis and Brendan Gleeson.

But who's sane and who's crazy at Stonehearst Asylum will keep you guessing and giddy with amusement through this film's web of illusions. Barely released theatrically in 2014; now available on dvd and Blu-ray. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this at night, home alone but, then, I might just be crazy.

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