When Amanda Hess began researching the B-movie film company Asylum (the company behind movies such as Sharknado, and tonight’s Sharknado 2), for her story “Escaped From the Asylum,” she got in touch with Executive Director Courtney Hagen. (Although she thought she was reaching out to someone lower on the totem pole—perhaps as a tribute to how quickly one can advance in this end of the film industry, the Asylum website still lists Hagen as an administrative assistant.) In an email introducing Hess to a young Asylum film producer, Hagen wrote: "Devin Ward is amazing. He is producing a feature called Bone Alone. It is not a fap film, but a movie with puppies. Oh, I guess it's called Holiday Heist now—thank God." Most of that quote made it into the piece, except for the little note, “It is not a fap film.” Hess tells us, "I liked this quote because it was my first indication that the people who work for Asylum think this stuff is just as funny as the viewers do."
Inside the Asylum, the Most Successful Low-Budget Studios
Bottom-of-the-barrel creature features. Topless-teen comedies. "Mockbuster" rip-offs. In Burbank, California, one low-budget studio cranks out whatever Netflix wants.