“Asylum – II: Re-runs of Freedom” / A Memorable Fancy #291

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]


It’s me. I’m back in the psych-ward dayroom with its everbooming TV. It’s showing two-dimensioned people agitated over really small things, not should I take a razor to my wrists again but what laxative to use, why you really need a new car you can’t afford, how to convince your doctor you need the newest unpronounceable drug and swear not to O.D. while you search for God – and they call us crazy!


Sometimes there’s a movie. Our keepers are supposed to be alert for any TV show or movie about INSANE ASYLUMS and quickly change the channel, but usually they’re busy wasting time on something else. Today, for instance. So we were privileged to watch a re-run called …


“Murder in the Madhouse”

     “In this horrifying film, set in a foreboding mental hospital on a hill, a naïve psychiatry intern, under the illusion that he is there to help people, finds himself in the middle of a mystery in his new job at Bad Shepherd Asylum. When there is a murder, the intern investigates and encounters a cover-up apparently orchestrated by supernatural forces including the hospital administration. To solve the crime, he pretends insanity and is locked up with fifty other patients in the infamous Ward H. One of the patients, or the intern, must be the killer.”


And then reviews and comments, contributed by us around the dayroom and solemnly collected for our charts by the keepers when they find our slips of paper, pencil-gouged and toothmarked or franked with our official fluids:


“A really spooky movie. I want to watch this movie every day from now on forever.”

“There are the usual clichés that one finds in every one of these psychiatric hospital horror movies: the evil nurse, the sadistic orderly, the corrupt hospital administrator, but since all these clichés are true, the film is highly realistic.”

“This movie has more Freudian insights to offer than most mothers of its type.”

“People run, people scream, people die, mostly in that order. Great!”

“1 out of 0 people found this review helpful.”


The dayroom has windows and the patients here can actually look outside before or after the daily movie, green grassy grounds like a cow’s dream of heaven. I stare out the window cleansing my mind from TV, the lawn sloping downward at first gradually, then more steeply toward the city below whence comes a raucous hum like a broken kazoo. I study the scene wishing I were out there, outside; but the courts will not have it so. Only on television are there re-runs of freedom.

[To be continued –]


 00 Seventh Effect front cover small image

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