Hugo is a brilliant turn-of-the-century scientist-loved and respected by his family and friends, admired by his colleagues. But he is a man quickly becoming obsessed with a curious and frightening question... what is the mysterious apparition found in the photographs of his dying subjects? Hugo brings to a family boating party his newest invention-a motion picture camera. The party quickly turns into a disaster as he captures on film the tragic drowning of his wife and son. When the film is replayed later, the same ghostlike presence appears. It flies towards his son, and vanishes inside his dying body. Has Hugo discovered The Asphyx, the spirit of the dead described in Greek mythology? A spirit which lives in constant agony, not finding rest until it takes possession of a human body? Could the spirit, if captured, become the key to immortality? Hugo is compelled to find the answers. It is a ghoulish search, with eternally haunting results.
Directed by: Peter Newbrook
. Starring: Robert Stephens
, Robert Powell
, Jane Lapotaire
, Alex Scott
, Ralph Arliss
, Fiona Walker
, Terry Scully
, John Lawrence
, David Grey
, Tony Caunter
, Paul Bacon
. Music by: Bill McGuffie
Some forces are just beyond our own control, it's just a fact of life unfortunately there are those that choose to defy God and nature because of the deep dark need to be their equals. But like in all Greek Myth those that defy fate and the gods will be punished.
This is another under the radar gem that like any hidden treasure is worth uncovering. To me this is the kind of horror film that you don't see much or at all any more, which is part of what makes it great for me; it's also something really different which is something I always look for in the horror genre.
I really like the production value, it was done on a low budget but it was used really well and right, another example of why these type of budgeted films equal good quality. It really capture a Victorian times long gone, from the buildings, locale, wardrobe, to even certain customs.
The effect I thought was very good, I really like the look of the Asphyx spirit from it's color and the scream it makes which makes it really creepy. It's true that this was a hand puppet (or glove with a really detailed sketch on it) but wow, it was such a simple prop piece that surprising worked let alone it was practical, so it just shows sometimes old fashioned are still the best ways.
I even like the sequences when Hugo shows the photographs and even the film reel of the sightings of the Asphyx, which I think are great they remind me of the kind of photos from some of those unexplained phenomena cases from the ghosts, UFO, Bigfoot, you name it. Despite the detail captured being obscure or incomplete there is no denying there is something there after all film never lies (unless you conduct a hoax).
The music is very good, I like that theme song which is kind of a somber tune which perfect fits because the story is a tragedy as well. But most importantly I just really like the story which is different in horror because it's a supernatural story but with science involved and just a bit of Greek myth since The Asphyx is a figure of it. The story is suspenseful as well, it's true it's kinda a slow burn but you get use to it and the pace does pick up as the story goes a little further. And it wasn't boring it constantly intrigued me which just sucked me in and made me wonder what more happened. The suspense is a different kind not so much worrying if the characters will survive or get far enough away from the monster, but it's really in worrying about the character's state of mind and how far they will go knowing the person is already near or at the point of no return.
Supporting character Giles is solid as he is an assistant and friend to Hugo, but also is in love with Hugo's daughter Christine. For a while Giles does support Hugo's pursuit in this creature. But it's when they start to break a few ethical boundaries and things get very dangerous. He begins to question his friend's state of mind if they should stop before it's too late.
The character Hugo is solid, whom is a Thomas Eddison like inventorscientist. He a character you feel a sense of sympathy as well as concern for because this was a guy with aspirations and a positive outlook on life as he wasn't just successful in career but has a good relationship with both family and friends; so you can say this guy pretty much had about everything in his life until he goes through a terrible loss, which is an awful feeling for any of us to have, having everything in life only for one day, one instant for it all to be taken away.
However it's also lead him to a discovery of the Asphyx. We then see him slowly but surely descend in character as he becomes both fascinated and obsessive with the creature. Though I also think deep down he has a slight rage toward it, since this was the spirit of death that claimed his son and daughter in law as well as wife in the past; and we see him start to get an idea on becoming immortal. Not just as an opportunity to live throughout time but revenge toward the creature that claim part of his family.
Just like in Greek Myth it's the classic case of a mortal's defiance toward fate. And like in those stories it never ends well because fate is a force of nature that can't be beaten, it's impossible. Even when they might find a way around it or succeed, they never really won because there are dire consequences.
This film gets at our scientific fear that what we don't understand or is beyond our control over will destroy us. And why man wasn't meant to overstep their boundaries and should accept the natural order of things, you never really know if the next step could be toward a cliff and if you go around making changes you could make a whole mess of things.
Review by hellraiser7 from the Internet Movie Database.