The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne
directed by Walerian Borowczyk
starring Udo Kier, Marina Pierro, and Patrick Magee
I set out to count the Dr. Jekyll movies on IMDB, and got bored at 50 plus. It just goes to show how much mileage you can get out of a good public domain horror story, and this version adds torture, sex and blood than many others. Elegant and professional Dr. Henry Jekyll (Udo Kier) is getting married; the “lucky” girl is Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro). Set in a Victorian house of money filled with servants and secrets this story begins conventionally but soon spirals down in to the gruesome and hideous. If your cool with that, read on. Dr. J is doing some medical experiments, and discovers a transformative potion. In the grand Victorian tradition he experiments on himself, and the only ethical consideration is who will control his estate. He signs some papers, makes some lies, and soon we are visiting Splatterville, WC 1.
A master of over the top violence Kier fills meat hooks with bodies dripping with blood from violated genitals. You’re disturbed but not surprised, Mr. Hyde goes to a level of violence beyond aggressive and enters the Texas Chainsaw-meth head zone. When Hyde attacks Jekyll’s social network, it’s like Krystal Nacht for everyone. His fiancé catches wind of the transformation and seems intrigued by the heavy duty S&M joys Hyde torques off on. And here’s the bender: she grabs his mystical chemical powder and does her own transformation. As they say: it’s a wedding made in hell, and both seem to enjoy the result. You mileage may vary; I personally had to take a cold shower and a few Clopamine to come down off this bloody jag. Even my DVD player hasn’t been the same since.
As all Arrow re-issues, this one is packed with special features. Rather than a director’s commentary we can eavesdrop on an interviews by the principles from the crew and get some insight into this troubling “process.” A pair of short films were tossed in, they have nothing to do with the main feature but these are fun but not enough to sugar coat the feature gore. This is not film for everyone, but if 50 Shades isn’t enough, perhaps this is.