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I, Monster

UK 1971
produced by
Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky for Amicus
directed by Stephen Weeks
starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall, George Merritt, Kenneth J. Warren, Susan Jameson, Marjie Lawrence, Aimée Delamain, Michael Des Barres, Lesley Judd, Ian McCulloch
screenplay by Milton Subotsky, based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, music by Carl Davis

Jekyll and Hyde

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Based on the teachings of Sigmund Freud, Doctor Marlowe (Christopher Lee) develops a serum that seperates the id, ego and super-ego and turns its recipient either into a wimpering idiot (no idea what that has to do with the super-ego) or a really evil person who enjoys evil for its own sake. After experimenting on animals and patients for a while, he tests the serum on himself, and experiences the pleasures of being plain evil. For his evil side, he has even created a new, seperate character, Mr Blake - but this Mr Blake gets uglier with each crime he commits ...

Eventually, Mr Blake can be traced down to Dr Marlowe, and his mentor Lanyon (Richard Hurndall) and especially his friend Utterson (Peter Cushing) grow increasingly worried about the situation, believing Marlowe is blackmailed. Then Blake is even linked to a murder ...

With the murder, Marlowe knows he has crossed a line, and he vows to never take his serum again - but then again he no longer has to, he now turns into Blake just like that, and all his efforts to suppress his evil self lead to nothing, nothing but the murder of his mentor Lanyon.

Eventually, Blake figures Utterson knows way too much about him (including his actual identity, possibly), so he decides to murder him as well, but Utterson puts up resistance, sets Blake on fire and throws him down a staircase to his death. It's only then that Blake turns back into Marlowe, revealing his terrible secret to the world.

 

Blending the often-told tale of Jekyll and Hyde with Sigmund Freud's theory might sound rather interesting (if not exactly far-fetched) in writing, but on film it amounts to little more than another retelling of an old tale with some scientific mumbo-jumbo thrown into it. The scientific stuff is not the problem though, it's the film's total disregard of story buildup, decent pacing, sucpense and scare tactics and the like, turning its rather well-written source novel that's full of possibilities into a piece of genre cinema that's definitely less than great, in fact it's rather boring. Not even Christopher Lee giving one of his more interesting performances and the always dependable Peter Cushing can save the film - and it's not for their lack of trying ...

 

By the way: Why the names in this film were changed from Jekyll and Hyde to Marlowe and Blake is left at anybody's guess, especially since even the credits identify Robert Louis Stevenson as writer of the source material (while not calling the book by name though).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD