Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, which opens this weekend, revolves around a group of young women who are patients at the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane. And while the film clearly attempts to portray the asylum as a creepy location, it fails. Sure, it looks the part, but any building that is home to that much hot T&A can’t be all bad. I’ve personally been to strip clubs that, minus the girls, would give the Bates Mansion a run for its money. However, the following nine movie mental asylums don’t suffer from the same problem as the Lennox House.
A lot of creepy stuff goes down at the asylum in this film…sort of. I don’t want to say too much, since it will spoil the twist ending. In fact, this film is often cited as the first example of a twist ending in cinema. So, at the end of the day, if you hate M. Night Shyamalan, you have no one but director Robert Wiene and the German Expressionists to blame.
Compared to the other entries on this list, Pescadero State is pretty tame. The staff members are smug, but not exactly abusive. And there aren’t any ghosts or ghouls to speak of. In fact, it’s just your average mental hospital. But then the killer cyborgs from the future show up, and all hell breaks loose. Once you’ve seen a “cop” walk through a locked prison gate, the location’s creepiness factor shoots up at least ten fold.
Imagine you’re a psych doctor who gets into an auto accident. When you wake up, you’ve been interned at your own mental hospital for supposedly murdering your husband. To make matters worse, you’re also being visited by a goddamn ghost. This movie might not have received the best reviews, but you’re lying if you say its asylum isn’t creepy.
The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane is not a place you’d ever want to visit. There’s nothing supernatural going on here, but the residents within are enough to creep out even the most hardened moviegoers. Aside from its most famous resident, Hannibal Lecter, it’s home to a whole host of other murderers and perverts who are just waiting for the chance to throw semen on you.
Being locked in a mental asylum is creepy enough. Now imagine that a dead guy is trying to murder you via your dreams every time you fall asleep. Yeah, good luck trying to explain that to your “mental health professional,” ya nut bag.
Anytime Batman catches a sociopath like The Joker, they send him to Arkham Asylum. This turns out to be a really bad idea. Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” Apparently, no one in Gotham City has. To make matters worse, the place is run by Dr. Jonathan Crane. Let’s just say that if an asylum is being run by a guy who secretly calls himself “The Scarecrow,” it’s going to get creepy.
What’s creepier; a mental hospital filled with nut jobs, or an abandoned mental hospital filled with the ghosts of departed nut jobs? Session 9 makes a case for the latter with a tale of an asbestos removal crew working at the now defunct Danvers State Hospital. As you can imagine, it gets a little crazy.
There’s nothing criminal or supernatural going on at the Oregon State Hospital. What makes this place so creepy is the pure, run of the mill sadism and humiliation dished out by the staff. Nurse Ratched’s need to control the patients is all the more disturbing considering the main character, Murphy, might be an asshole, but he’s perfectly sane. Hell, I’d be in danger of a lobotomy there.
Much like with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, I can’t go into details about this film for fear of spoiling it. That being said, take one look at the creepy old broad in the picture above, and tell me this is a place you’d like to stay overnight.