I love The Asylum. There's no irony there. I'm one of the few weirdos on this planet who actively embraces a studio that releases schlock after schlock, month after month. To say I have a soft spot in my blackened, cinematic heart for their bottom-of-the-barrel mockbusters would be a lie. More accurately, part of my heart was replaced long ago by a shunt made of bad movies with bad "special" effects starring people who haven't been heard from in a long, long time. If you were to remove said shunt from my system, a little part of me would die inside. Then again, that may not be a bad thing, as clearing my Syfy channel recordings would free up a ton of space on my DVR.

Today marks the release of Princess of Mars on DVD, a landmark of sorts for the low-budget studio. This is the first time they've been able to both piggyback off a current release (the cover claims it is "The classic story that inspired James Cameron's Avatar) and pre-emptively piggyback off a future release (Pixar's John Carter of Mars), which is a coup I can only imagine they are still patting themselves on the back for pulling off. So in honor of their creative apex, I'd like to throw some love/hate to seven of their best DVD covers.

Of course, this being the Asylum we're talking about, best has a whole new meaning.

7. Sex Pot in 3-DDD
The Asylum is stepping a little out of their comfort zone of aliens, dinosaurs, tentacles, and dragons with Sex Pot, but even still, it's pretty clear they know their clientele: complete moron stoners. From the tagline we can surmise that these two brainiacs have either invented or stumbled upon a strain of marijuana that turns all the women who smoke it into nymphomaniacs allergic to wearing anything with sleeves. This, as the art implies, is heaven for a complete moron stoner, as they live in a house that looks like a green (get it?) version of the abode on the cover of The Sims that must only exist in a cloudy utopia of vaguely covered up body parts that can only be viewed with some kind of high tech glasses that see into the hitherto invisible dimension(s) of 3-DDD.

Bong not included.

6. 100 Million BC
I love this cover for their cash-in on Roland Emmerich's 10,000 BC for one reason: an absolute disregard for scale. First, they've completely thrown caution to the wind and just multiplied the title of Emmerich's film by itself, as if to say that their movie isn't just piggybacking off his awful movie but is ten thousand times the awful movie 10,000 BC could over be! Joining the vast increase in the scale of time is the scale of their T-Rex. Even hunched over, this prehistoric monster is the size of an apartment high rise and has teeth taller than a helicopter. With an antagonist like that, surely there is absolutely no way "an elite military team sent back in time" could win. I can't wait to see how they pull this one off!

War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave
What, you didn't know there was a sequel to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds? You idiot! Of course there was! The tripods have grown even harder, Earth is burnt to an orange crisp, and even Mars has completely changed its planetary orbit so as to be visible from the surface of our doomed world. But don't count us humans out yet; the tagline commands that "This time we fight back!" Nevermind the fact that the bottom of the cover art also features a conflicting message by way of a disembodied arm clearly waving a flag of surrender. That guy is a wuss.

4. Snakes on a Train
Looking at this cover makes me want to vomit. Not out of excitement at the prospect of 3,000 venomous vipers preying on 100 trapped train passengers, but because this cover art actually gives me vertigo. I wonder how long it took their marketing department to cook up something this disorienting (seriously, starring at the center of it makes my eyes go cross and my brain vibrate)*. For starters, the train in question barely even resembles a train; it looks like a double-wide trailer sliding into the mouth of a pet snake. And speaking of snakes, are we to believe that Snakes on a Train has topped Snakes on a Plane by featuring a slithering reptile that swallows the entire transport in question?

*This effect is absent in the thumbnail above, so click here for a larger punch to your senses.

3. Monster
A little background information is required to appreciate just how, um, special the cover for Monster is. This was the Asylum's attempt to cash-in on the hype for Cloverfield, so they made a cinema verite movie that was supposed to be footage recovered from a camera found within the wreckage of a major city. However, given the secrecy around Cloverfield, the studio had to roll the dice on a titular monster of their own instead of ripping off a Hollywood design. Unfortunately for them, Clovie didn't actually have any giant pink tentacles, so all Monster was left with was a movie filled with enough shaky cam to kill any newborn children in the room when it is played.

2. The Land that Time Forgot
Eat your heart out, Land of the Lost. You may have Will Ferrell and a big Hollywood budget, but the Asylum has C. Thomas Howell and not a shred of restraint. They've gone ahead and doubled the cast of its theatrical predecessor, which naturally means that they've doubled the body count for prehistoric creatures to munch on. And though I do get a violent kick out of the tiny man being carried away by a pterodactyl in the upper left corner, one must flip over to the back to catch a glimpse of a pissed off brontosaur and a Nazi destroyer. How they all connect together, I have no idea, but I'm sure that Howell will pull it all together. After all, this is his third time directing for the Asylum, the first two being the aforementioned War of the Worlds 2 and the to-the-point The Day the Earth Stopped.

1. Sherlock Holmes
Holy hell, this is without question the greatest cover The Asylum has ever designed. It's jam packed with such sweet, sugary awesomeness I went into a diabetic coma the first time I looked at it. First off, they haven't even attempted to come up with an off-brand title to WB's big budget blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. They've fully embraced the fact that the character of Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain and have decided to run with it. And boy how they've run with it!

A T-Rex standing on a bridge that is being demolished by a tentacled creature hidden in the Thames while London burns in the background at the mercy of a fire-breathing dragon all under that Sherlock Holmes banner. And while I love that genius orgy of absurdity, what really cements this as the most inspired Asylum cover art to date is the tagline: "The world's greatest detective has finally met his match."

Because damn it all, I have got to know what that match is. A sole T-Rex rampaging around London? No problem for Holmes. A single giant squid in the Thames? Makes for a tasty lunch. A lone dragon in the skies? Old hat. But all three at the same time? No amount of deductive reasoning could surely defeat that unholy trinity. How in the world is Holmes going to get out of this pickle?
categories Cinematical