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The Asphyx (1973)

Robert Powell , Robert Stephens , Peter Newbrook  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.95
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The Asphyx + Nothing But the Night (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) + The Blood Beast Terror (Remastered Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Powell, Robert Stephens, Jane Lapotaire, Alex Scott, Ralph Arliss
  • Directors: Peter Newbrook
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Redemption
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0074V617E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A philanthropist and amateur psychic researcher embarks on a fateful quest for immortality. Hugo Cunningham (Robert Stephens) has a morbid hobby of taking photographs of dying people, and this leads to his discovery of a nebulous spirit of the dead--known in mythology as the Asphyx--that appears (only visible on photographic plates) at the moment of death. Hugo becomes obsessed with capturing his own Asphyx and thus ensuring that he cannot die, but of course this is an ill-fated ambition that puts him on a ruinous path to destruction and death.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Ironic British Horror Gem December 2, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The Asphyx" a/k/a "The Horror of Death" is one of the most original and yet most unheralded English horror films. Set in 1870's England, aristocrat Sir Hugo (Robert Stephens) accidentally photographs an entity (mythological name Asphyx) entering a person's body at their death. Sir Hugo theorizes that each person has their own Asphyx and that if the entity can be imprisoned outside the body, the person will be immortal. Guess what happens next.

From the physiological standpoint, the concept is not that different from the idea of vampires and zombies; with the same need to suspend disbelief to really enjoy things. Although like the implications of time travel, half the fun is speculating on the ramifications of the idea.

There is a pleasant and very haunting score and the story has a nice touch of irony as Sir Hugo's first experimental subject is his eventual downfall.

The real strength of this film is the production design. Considerable effort went into the meticulously constructed sets and there was much attention to detail in the various scientific apparatus and instruments. While the historical accuracy of these advanced devices is suspect, they are certainly no harder to accept than the basic premise. All looks great on the big screen and is probably fine on the letter boxed DVD, but the VHS tape is of marginal quality and the 4x3 aspect ratio does not do justice to the frame.

Few films from the era that did a better job of filling their frames than "The Asphyx" (credit to Academy award winning cinematographer Freddie Young), but this just magnifies the problems of the full-screen version. It appears that the 1989 Interglobal Home Video trimmed nine minutes from the film and was recorded at the LP speed, so you should avoid that one if possible.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-made nonsense, earnestly performed. June 15, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
In 1870's England a scientist discovers that the spirit of death - "The Asphyx" of the title - can be trapped as it tries to enter the body at the moment of death. Using primitive photography and a chemical spotlight, he attempts to immortalise his nearest and dearest by trapping their individual asphyx as it appears. A thoughtful,and for the most part effective tale, with some genuinely ghoulish moments courtesy of the impressive (for their time) special effects. Robert Stephens gets a little frantic at times, especially in the last half-hour, but the original plot and a sinister twist in the tail raise a smile and ensure that the film won't be easily forgotten.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Asphyx - Henstooth Video (2009) Edtion February 26, 2010
Format:DVD
This is a review of the Henstooth Video (2009) Edition
This movie is very unusual and is well worth watching. I would highly recommend it to people who enjoy Hammer or similar movies. Please see other reviews for a full plot out line.
The main point of this review is to report on the quality of the new DVD edition. It has both bad and good points.
Bad point:
1. No extra's apart from chapter selection.
2. The picture is not restored and has a number of blemishes.
Good Points:
1. This is the full length 99 minute uncut version of the film.
2. The video has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 which means that you actually get the full picture on this edition.
3. Although the picture is not restored it is not that bad and is quite watchable.
Overall I recommend this DVD. It is much better then previous editions and I highly recommend it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate sci-fi horror film for thinking people. February 2, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This relatively unknown film is superb, and is a must-see for anyone who enjoys an interesting and original premise, solid acting and a satisfying viewing experience.

The story is set in 1870 London, where a physician accidently captures a photograph of some type of entity entering a person upon their death. He concludes that if this entity (known as an `Asphyx') can be captured before it enters the dying person, immortality will result. He pursues this idea, with unintended consequences.

Everything about this film is top flight. Excellent cinematography, spot on costumes and period sets, very solid acting and an intriguing storyline characterize this highly entertaining film. Those who have sufficient depth to appreciate well-crafted and thoughtful sci-fi/horror films will enjoy this movie; especially those who like the early Hammer films and other `thinking person's" British sci-fi films.

It's a shame that two non-reviews sullied the film by giving it one star, when neither non-reviewer actually watched it. Ignore them and treat yourself to a really well done film. And if you do watch it, pay particular attention to the first few minutes; it seems to have nothing to do with the film, until the shocking ending. Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable treat. September 27, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
A co-worker and I were just discussing unusual films last week, and I immediately thought of "The Asphyx", though no one else in the office had even heard of it. They're all younger than me so I guess it's excusable. I haven't seen this on the small screen yet, but did enjoy it during its initial release in 1972 on the big screen. I thought it to be thought provoking in the way of classic horror films, when the protagonist discovers (too late) that he shouldn't have been messing around with things like immortality. I've not seen or heard of it since then but I haven't forgotten it either, nor will I. A genuinely scary, gruesome movie with a moral comes along not too often. I highly recommend it and intend to buy it on DVD when it's released!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Old as methusala
Ugh. I don't watch poor effects sci-fi anymore. This is the year 2014. Get some better stuff. The days of Boris Karloff are over. This movie could of easily been black and white. Read more
Published 8 days ago by zibblebeeboobop
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Bad
Plot makes no sense, but worse than that is, WHY in the world didn't they just

Spoilers ahead

use poisen, with an antidote handy, instead of electricity and... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Violets
3.0 out of 5 stars "Horror" for interior desigers.
Really plods for the 1st half.
Video quality is generally poor (Amazon Prime Video). Glad I didn't buy it.
Gets to the horror after awhile. Read more
Published 26 days ago by tuned
1.0 out of 5 stars Animal cruelty.
This older movie has real animal cruelty--the animal(s) are not fake. For that alone it gets one star, and I turned it off. Enough said.
Published 2 months ago by requin
1.0 out of 5 stars Are you joking?
Is this typical "Prime" fare? so far, you're batting WAY below Netflix. I will be weighing that $79.95 carefully. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Richard A Ohge
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best horror flicks.
I saw this at the theatre in 1973,and saw the exerocist,where the exerocist was more showey,and had more file lang.this was a better movie to me.It was org. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J.R.Love
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic That Holds Up Well
Though an older film, I thought this period thriller/horror piece is one to be put down as a classic that holds up quite well. Read more
Published 4 months ago by William E. Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable movie of a kind not made anymore
A classic piece of british horror, where the horror is in the ideas not the actions. That it is fairly predictable is a minor flaw as gothic horror generally is fairly... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jeffrey P. Kesselman
4.0 out of 5 stars Sort of a Hammeresque take on "The Eye"
It's nice that this formerly obscure movie is getting some attention, in it's complete form. The crew that restored this movie clearly cared about the film, it's never looked... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Giant Behemoth
4.0 out of 5 stars A Horror Movie For The DOWNTON ABBEY Set.
There were so many horror films that I first saw at drive-ins in the 1970s, that one needed to be rather special in order for me to remember it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chip Kaufmann
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