Arkham Asylum has been a fixture of the Batman mythology for years. As a home to the criminally insane, Arkham has housed the likes of the Joker, Two-Face and Killer Croc amongst others, and often features in comics, TV shows and games.
In terms of comics, one of the best stories about the asylum is Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth – a fan-favourite tale from 1989, by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Meanwhile, back in 2009 gamers heaped universal praise on the console game, Arkham Asylum for its creepy depiction of the facility.
But what of the movies? Does Arkham feature heavily in Batman films, and when did it make its first appearance on screen?
Arkham Asylum in the Batman movies
In terms of its presence, the asylum has appeared with regularity across a number of Batman movies. Arkham doesn’t feature in every film, but it has popped up in movies such as Batman & Robin (1997) and Batman Begins (2005).
In fact, both of these movies featured significant scenes set in Arkham Asylum, offering audiences a closer look at the facility. Batman & Robin even included a fairly lengthy scene in which Poison Ivy and Bane break in to Arkham, in order to break Mr. Freeze out.
But neither, Batman & Robin nor Batman Begins provided Arkham Asylum with its movie debut. That little milestone goes to 1995’s Batman Forever, which introduces Arkham during the film’s conclusion.
As the film enters its final moments, Arkham is introduced as the new home to Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler. After terrorising Gotham City, Nygma is captured and taken to Arkham to be rehabilitated, and it is here that he is to remain.
Now although Arkham makes its first appearance in Batman Forever, the asylum is not shown in great detail. Audiences are only given a brief look at the facility, and one of its medical staff – Dr. Burton.
But what is perhaps important to note is that Arkham was supposed to have a slightly larger role in Batman Forever. The movie was originally set to open at the asylum, with a scene featuring Two-Face.
In the scene, Two-Face would have broken out of Arkham, leaving a note for Batman – written in blood across the wall. The note would have said: ‘The Bat Must Die.’
This scene was not included in the finished version of the movie, but it was written into the novelisation of Batman Forever, and was included in the official sticker album. The scene was not especially long, but it would have given Arkham a little more screen time, so it is a shame it was cut from the movie.
I hope this information on Arkham Asylum has been useful. Be sure to take a look around I’ll Get Drive-Thru for more posts about the Batman movie series.