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    By Dylon Jones and Josh Moss

    Forty-seven years ago, on Sept. 26, 1972, Asylum of Satan premiered at the Vogue Theater in St. Matthews. The movie, shot by the late Louisville filmmaker William Girdler at a Glenview estate, riled up Courier-Journal critic William Mootz. In his review, Mootz wrote: “It was the kind of film that made your average homemade movies about kiddie birthday parties look like high art.” Oh, and also: “wretched movie,” “abortive attempt,” “trash,” “isn’t likely to replace bourbon, horses or” — remember, this was the ’70s — “beautiful women as one of Louisville’s principal tourist attractions.” (Another reminder that Asylum of Satan came out almost a half-century ago: “Blind Girl,” “Cripple” and “Mute” appear as character names during the credits.)

    The guess-you-could-call-it-a-plot: A woman arrives at “Pleasant Hill Hospital” (spoiler: IT’S ACTUALLY THE ASYLUM OF SATAN) and her fiancé attempts to rescue her. Highpoints include sinister air vents, sinister pipe organs, sinister goatees, sinister French accents, sinister close-ups of candles, sinister cross-dressing. And the calmest reaction in the history of motion pictures to a severed head being delivered on a police detective’s desk.

    You can watch Asylum of Satan on YouTube. Or just read this nine-scene recap below.

    This originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Funning With the Devil.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo: Asylum of Satan // IMDB


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