'Asylum' to be released in five cities

Moviegoers will soon have a chance to see just how crazy York County can be.

"Asylum," the horror movie filmed in 2006 at Winthrop University and historic homes in York, will be released Dec. 21 at theaters in Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn.

Park Terrace and Ballantyne Village will show the movie in Charlotte, according to a press release.

In the film, helmed by "Snakes on a Plane" director David Ellis, Winthrop was transformed into the fictional Richard Miller University. The cast includes Sarah Roemer, Caroline Garcia, Jake Muxworthy, Travis Van Winkle and Cody Kasch, who play students who discover their college was once home to the criminally insane.

Right from the start of the film, viewers are given glimpses of several York County landmarks.

Still photographs of the Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. plant and Winthrop's Tillman Hall are mixed into the opening credits. The film opens with a wide angle shot of Mary Beth Tiblier's historic home on Kings Mountain Street in York -- the setting for flashbacks of the main character's childhood home. Then it cuts to a student orientation in Winthrop's McBryde Hall and then a dorm area.

Winthrop alumnus Ryan Hollingsworth looks forward to seeing Winthrop on the big screen. He was an extra in the film and has been checking every couple of months to see when it will be released. He said he plans to see it when it opens next week.

Seeing all the cameras and movie crews on campus was a surreal experience, he said.

"It was really neat watching the transformation of it and just realizing all the main scenes have Winthrop landmarks in it, so it would be hard to miss," Hollingsworth said.

But not everybody connected to "Asylum" is jumping at the chance to buy a ticket for the slasher film.

Al Greene's home on Wright Avenue in York was used for one of the scenes, but the former county manager doesn't have any plans to go see the film.

"I believe I'll probably pass," he said, adding the movie experience was "more trouble than it was worth."

Producers said at the time of production they were drawn to South Carolina by a new state law to allow film companies to use public properties for free for the first seven days.

Winthrop officials were somewhat disgruntled at the time of filming because crews showed up early during the university's preview day. Prospective students were confused by the sign welcoming them to Richard Miller University at Winthrop's entrance, school officials said. Still, the Winthrop community looks forward to seeing their peers perform. Winthrop alumna Karen Collins was an assistant director in the film and about 20 students were involved during the filming, said Judy Longshaw, Winthrop's news service coordinator.

"We're all interested in seeing 'Asylum' to see how many students we can spot in the background and to see what places we can recognize around the campus," Longshaw said.

Asylum publicists still are unsure whether it will go to other theaters or cities.

"Generally speaking, it depends what kind of business it opens to," said Jill Richey, a publicity agent for the film.

Several other films have been produced in York County recently, including "Walker Payne," "Patriotville" and "Gospel Hill."

"Walker Payne" already is on DVD. "Gospel Hill" is still in post production and a release date hasn't been set for "Patriotville," said Kara Borie, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The state will continue to look at drawing film producers to the area, she said.

"I think that it raises the level of awareness in the community where they're being done," Borie said. "We're kind of still in the early stages to see what the true economic benefit is from bringing them in."

"Asylum" will open Dec. 21 in Charlotte at the Park Terrace and Ballantyne Village theaters. Check theaters for times.

The PopCast guys talk about 'Asylum' at