Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde
Horror / Sci-Fi
Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde
Horror / Sci-Fi
In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll attempts to create an elixir of life using female hormones stolen from fresh corpses. He reasons that these hormones will wipe out all common diseases and extend his life since women live much longer than men. However, once Dr. Jekyll drinks the serum himself, he transforms into a gorgeous but evil woman. He soon needs female hormones for his serum to maintain, so a number of London women meet bloody deaths.
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Things most foul to do while in foggy old London
The stiff upper lip and jaw of Ralph Bates finally come into their own in this nice variation of Jekyll and Hyde, which also mixes in good quantities of Jack the Ripper myth and the famous 17th century grave robbers Burke and Hare. Considerably less stiff is Martine Beswick as the doctor's female alter ego. She is absolutely too loose in her ways, but I am certainly not complaining! Both are just the right persons for their clashing roles and superbly so. The actual physical change between the two supreme parts in one person is shown in subtle manners and without great special effects, which not only was cheaper to do, but also leaves a lot for a viewer to imagine and so makes it in a way easier to accept. A wise decision from the makers.
The plot idea of unifying the two main story lines of such classic origins is nothing short of brilliant. The invention of elixir of human life using female hormones and how to get it by "uncanny goings in late hours" really does the trick. So does the fascinating and at the same time foul results of the experiment, the mixing of selves and struggle for dominance. Of course much more could have been built in and deepened in the script making the story more intriguing and disturbing. Some needed romantic and freshening humor aspect comes from the continuously snooping neighbors with their funnily pretentious "it doesn't concern us" attitude.
In all, this is once again a fun and stylish horror movie from Hammer studios. The bolder style of company's early seventies film is very much present with some slight gore and nudity added in the proceedings. So, now everyone hurry up and see it.
Superb variation on the classic tale!
First of all, the tagline and the claim in the trailer that you will actually see a man transform into a woman before your very eyes isn't exactly true. A man does change into a woman in this film; but the change doesn't take place 'before your very eyes'. That being said; this is still a great horror film. Hammer studios have done some great variations on classic tales, and this one stands up as one of their best. The story follows Dr Jekyll, a scientist that, when trying to find cures to every disease going realises that his efforts to prolong life will, ironically, be beaten by death. This then leads to him trying to 'beat' death with the use of chemicals, but somewhere along the way, as his experiments are oestrogen based, he ends up turning himself into a woman. Oops!
As you might expect, this isn't an entirely serious horror film. However, there are more than enough moments of horror: the scenes where Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde battle for 'control' of their body is a brilliant piece of psychological horror, and the parts where Sister Hyde goes out to kill women in order to get more oestrogen are gratuitously bloody and should delight any horror fan. The film is also very atmospheric; the scenes on the streets are filled with smoke and are very gloomy in the way that they are filmed, which makes for a delicious setting. The cast is also brilliant; Ralph Bates is sublime as Dr Jekyll; he creates just the right mood for his character and is very believable, particularly during the split personality scenes. Martine Beswick, whom you might remember as the Bond girl in "From Russia With Love" is both sexy and sadistic as the evil Sister Hyde. She is the stand out of the movie for me. And most other men. Also in the cast is the lovely Susan Broderick, and the competent Lewis Fiander as brother and sister duo; Howard and Susan, who make for an interesting sub-plot when they both fall for Dr Jekyll. If you haven't realized already; Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde is a great horror film, and therefore comes with the highest recommendation that I can muster.
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Spooky and funny at the same time. This is GREAT Hammer entertainment!!
The story is well known, but the Hammer computation of it is pure fun like you've rarely seen it before! The re-writing of the ancient fable by Robert L. Stevenson is dared and perhaps a bit silly, but it never loses the power of the classic version. You simply can't but love this film as it combines good laughs, a few shocks and terrific acting performances. Roy Ward Baker also did a sublime job as the director. Since the year of release is 1971, this one certainly belongs to the better ones of the late Hammer efforts, if not one of the best in the entire history of the British production company. The largest praising goes out to the cast. I've seen Ralph Bates before, as the vicious Baron in The Horror of Frankenstein, but I didn't like him that much at that time
neither did I like that whole film, by the way. But he certainly does a great job here, as the dedicated scientist Dr. Jeckyll who is about to discover the secret to everlasting life! The intense work and dedication he puts into his research is spooky and funny at the same time. A pure joy to observe and a very bright performance. As an important substance of his experiments, he tests the effect of female hormones on himself, which makes him turn into his alter ego, Sister Hyde. He then becomes a stunning beauty, walking and talking through the body of the absolutely gorgeous Martine Beswick! This former Bond-girl (From Russia with Love) could be described best as every man's wet dream. As a cover for Dr. Jeckyll, sister Hyde goes out on the streets at night for killing new hormones! The alter ego slowly takes control over Jeckyll's manhood, which leads to a couple of hilarious and well-portrayed situations. As said before, the screenplay of this film is one you've got to love! Enormous fun! The Jack-the-Ripper settings and atmosphere are terrific and there even is some good bloodshed to enjoy for the real horror freaks! Highest possible recommendation for this one!