When Henry Jekyl was young, he caught his father cheating on his mother in the barn. Caught, he was beaten by his dad as the half nude woman laughed at him, forever intertwining sex with violence and repressed sadomasochistic longings.
Welcome to a totally different take on the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Many years later, Dr. Jekyll is experimenting with the human mind, but really he’s just mixing ether with cocaine, which drives him insane and transforms him into Mr. Edward Hyde. Actually, it goes even further than that because it turns him into Jack the Ripper, a killer of women of the night who look just like the woman his father slept with all those decades ago.
That mix of ether and cocaine also allows him to play master to prostitutes and their clients where they lose their inhibitions and end up murdering one another. Meanwhile, his wife Elisabeth (Glynis Barber) begins to suspect that perhaps her husband has something to do with all the Whitechapel murders.
Director Gérard Kikoïne also made the 1989 version of Buried Alive (with Ginger Lynn, Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine), Lady Libertine, the Cannon film Master of Dragonard Hill and Love Circles. It’s a strange movie, as the costumes and money seem to be modern, yet it’s set in the Victorian era. Perkins doesn’t make the full makeup transformation as most actors do, but goes wild in the way he carries himself, adding another different killer to his career of odd characters. It’s definitely not for everyone — it mixes huge doses of sex with violence, which always seems to upset people — but for those ready for its surreal take on Jack the Ripper and a classic horror novel, there are plenty of rewards to be had.
Leonard Maltin said that it was, “Tasteless, pointless, and unpleasant.” That’s a standing ovation where I come from.
The Arrow blu ray of Edge of Sanity has a new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative by Arrow Films, as well as brand new audio commentary by writer David Flint and author and filmmaker Sean Hogan, interviews about the movie with Stephen Thrower and Dr. Clare Smith, author of Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture, features on director Gérard Kikoïne’s career and him discussing the film, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jon Towlson. You can order it from MVD.