Edge of Sanity (1989) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
32 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Very interesting...to say the least
preppy-329 October 2006
In Victorian London Anthony Perkins plays shy but brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll. He has a loving wife (Glynis Barber), a beautiful home and is a respected man. One night he accidentally ingests some vapors from alcohol mixed with cocaine and becomes evil, vicious, sex-obsessed Mr. Hyde. Also around this time Jack the Ripper is killing prostitutes. Is it Perkins...or someone else?

This came and went VERY quickly in 1988. It was cut to ribbons by the MPAA and the critics called it a sick, unpleasant piece of trash with Perkins at his worst. While I agree it's no classic it's not the disaster I heard it was.

It's a very sleazy movie and makes no apologies for it (which is sort of refreshing). It's full of female nudity and even full frontal male (which was cut out of the R rated version). It is unpleasant with graphic stabbings but it's shot on elaborate, beautiful, expressionistic (check out Perkins' lab) sets. It's obvious a lot of money went into this. The script is also quite interesting getting into Jekyll's mind about what's going on.

Good acting all around helps. Ben Cole (looking like he came from "A Clockwork Orange") plays a male prostitute and is good. Barber is excellent as Jekyll's wife. All the ladies playing prostitutes are actually pretty good actresses--they're beautiful and have no trouble taking off their clothes. However Perkins holds this movie together. He does overact as Hyde but in a good way. When he's on screen you can't take your eyes off him.

The MGM DVD released a few years ago is the unrated version, not the R one as is advertised---not that I'm complaining. So it is graphic and unpleasant but also very interesting and well-made. Worth seeing if you're not easily offended. A 7.
21 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lavish take on the Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde and Jack The Ripper tales
hippiedj29 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers

Those who have been dogging Edge Of Sanity should have known what they were getting into before they watched this film -- the film summaries on the video packaging alone gave enough warning that this was going to be a twisted story full of perverse material. I for one am not afraid to say I really LIKE this film! I first saw it in an "unrated" edition on VHS back when it was first released on home video in the late 1980s, and I was enthralled. Now, MGM has released it on DVD in what I think is the closest to that unrated version there is, if in fact it is "re-edited" like the notice on IMDb. I wouldn't be surprised if this DVD edition was actually that original unrated version, as many titles have been showing up on MGM DVD in uncut editions with the original MPAA rating on the cover.

While experimenting with anesthetics, Dr. Henry Jekyll accidentally inhales fumes from an altered drug. This unleashes not only ability to act out his inhibitions, it unleashes repressed sexual feelings he had experienced as humiliation during his childhood. He then goes on a killing spree, murdering prostitutes in the area (possibly to get back at the woman who laughed and taunted him in his childhood?). He also obsesses over a prostitute named Susannah that looks just like that woman from his past, and rather than kill her he relishes in her similarly shared dark nature when he gets her to inhale the drug. Note that near the ending, Johnny is hanging upside down while Susannah laughs maniacally, mirroring the opening scene. This brings the film full circle. It's a fascinating idea that Henry Jekyll/Jack Hyde is also Jack The Ripper.

Yes, Edge Of Sanity is sinister, twisted, perverse, and trashy. It's also lavish, elegant, and beautifully done, and downright intriguing. The cinematography is excellent (the DVD is a vast improvement over the old VHS of Unrated and R versions), the costumes are a wow, and the music score is superb as well as appropriate to the scenes it enhances. A lot of imagination went into this production, and it's unfair to say it's an inappropriate film. I found it to be more disturbing and wickedly fun than the more recent FROM HELL (which was more a CGI visual feast) and more sexually appropriate than the grandiose arthouse T&A of EYES WIDE SHUT.

There's a fair amount of sex, nudity (more full frontal male nudity in a bathhouse scene than the topless prostitutes combined), and even a hint of male bisexuality during Hyde's tryst with Susannah and Johnny. It also says a lot about how things haven't changed so much in society's decadence in issues of drugs and sex. The only thing that I found distracting was that during the rooftop scene, the actress playing the prostitute seemed to have breast implants, something I'm sure that is quite wrong in the context of the time the film is taking place!

Anthony Perkins chews the scenery well, playing his part of Jack Hyde to the hilt. It would be hard to think of any other actor that could have carried this part so well. Those who adored him in Psycho, Pretty Poison, and Crimes Of Passion will find a lot to love about his role in Edge Of Sanity. For film collectors of the dark and sinister, this is a nice addition and I am happy that MGM has rescued this film from obscurity for a whole new audience to discover as well as make established fans like myself very, very happy.

Call it trash if you want to, but it's quality, wicked, ELEGANT trash!
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Anthony Perkins at his lunatic best!
Smokey-1318 February 1999
Anthony Perkins gives a bizarre and unhinged performance in this gothic style adaption of the Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde story complete with elements from Jack the Ripper. This time it's a cocaine-like substance which causes the good doctor to metamorph into the uncontrollable Jack Hyde. When Perkins is transformed into the savage beast he decides to make slashing the throats of prostitutes a hobby. Intriguing take on the over-played Jekyll and Hyde story with some twists and turns thrown in to keep the viewer interested. Also an excellent performance from Glynis Barber as Mrs.Jekyll. Atmospheric settings, weird situations, and over the top performances make this one an eye opener for anyone looking for something a little different. And when it comes to the role of Perkins, Edge of Sanity is a more than appropriate title.
18 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Jack-on-Crack: A Tony Perkins High-Point
myboigie11 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I've been obsessed with the story of Jack the Ripper since I was a little-kid. Every-other-year, some idiot THINKS they've discovered who it was, and why-it-happened--they never will (cold-case, duh), but we can gain-insight into some areas of it simply by exploring the darkness-within. This film does that, and sometimes even goes-too-far, but it's all-fun here. The real--and only--reason to watch this movie is for the excellent-performance by Anthony Perkins, period. Everything is a setup for him to come-on screen, it's his baby, and I'm sure producer-Towers knew this was only going to be memorable because Perkins was in it. He was right.

"Edge of Sanity" is a melding of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and some elements of the Jack the Ripper story, with an added-dash of exploitation-fare (boobs, drugs, stylized-violence, and psychosexual-excess). As entertainment, it cannot-be-beat, it's a very-satisfying-romp, with lots of decadence to it. The main-problem with the film comes in the production-design, as it really looks like the late-1980s to-the-hilt, but this is not meant to be a solid period-piece, anyway, and more a fantastical film-reality, just a pure-genre affair.

But Edge of Sanity really has a passion to it--you see, the Perkins protagonist/antagonist is an unwitting-inventor of crack-cocaine, thus explaining the metamorphosis from his daily-life as a Doctor who bases his life on reason, to the base Mr. Hyde. It sounds nuts, but you knew this coming-in from the title, right? It's a bold-stroke, and a risk in the writing, but I think it paid-off in a way that resonates with our current "drug-problem". The Victorian era was also rife-with drug-abuse, though it was basically-invisible. People took-tinctures of Opium and Hashish as daily-tonics, and even gave Opium to crying-babies so-as-to-quiet-them. Everyone was "hooked", and that is sorely-missing in this tale, unfortunately, but Mr. Hyde DOES go generally-unnoticed until he gets-violent! The MGM DVD is pretty-good, and is widescreen with a solid-transfer and audio--it's never looked-better. People forget that just getting a good-copy of a film like-this was very-very-difficult until-recently, especially in the original aspect-ratio. The film shines, and it has some wonderful-moments of visual-beauty to it, as well as some incredible-makeup on the late Mr. Perkins, probably one of the best American movie-actors ever, and one of the horror's greats. This can only be a film about addiction.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perkins in near porn masterpiece
Judexdot121 May 2004
I've had the unrated version for this, since about the time I started buying tapes. Gerard Kikoine (once a Jess Franco disciple!) really cuts loose with this one, and he brings Anthony Perkins along for the ride! Despite ubiquitous art direction that sacrifices much for the "look" ( the lab has numerous beakers, all filled to the same level, with blue liquid. What it is, I don't know). Perkins really goes off as the respected scientist, who unleashes his inner self through experiments with the new drug, cocaine. He even somehow, apparently creates some sort of Crack, that can be lit with a wooden fireplace match!?! Production values are surprisingly high! Like a friend of mine said, I could almost buy into the idea, that Jack The Ripper was a sexually frustrated scientist experimenting with new drugs. Lush, often restrained, but also often quite gory. Probably more in tune with 70's arty euro-porn, than the history of horror films, this is often quite disturbing, and Perkins is at his best. Almost assured of a better reputation as time goes on. Don't miss, at least once.


16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The bizarre perversions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - not to be missed!
Cowman26 June 2001
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meet Jack the Ripper in this sleazy foreign-produced film. After being plagued by visions of a sexual childhood trauma, Dr. Henry Jekyll becomes addicted to cocaine and transforms into an 80's punker (Jack "The Ripper" Hyde) with an insatiable lust for blood, hookers, and bare asses. Surprisingly tasteless, graphic, and shocking--especially for an Anthony Perkins movie! This is one of those flicks that fall into the category of being so bad it's good; so if you can get ahold it, I'd recommend it.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wonderfully twisted take on Jekyll&Hyde, that's an underrated gem, with an imaginative story and an amazing performance from Anthony Perkins!
callanvass25 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a wonderfully twisted take, on Jekyll&Hyde, that's an underrated gem,with an imaginative story and an amazing performance from Anthony Perkins!. All the characters are just great, and it's also very sleazy as well, plus Anthony Perkins is simply amazing in this!. This has to be my favorite Jekyll&Hyde movie, and I thought it was very well made and written, plus this is one of Perkin's most underrated movies. Anthony Perkins is at his most bizarre here, and I absolutely loved it! and it does not have your usual type ending for a Jekyll&Hyde/Jack The Ripper type film, plus the makeup on Perkins was really cool. A lot of people complained this was too unpleasant and sleazy, however I disagree completely as it's refreshingly different for a Jekyll&Hyde film,plus this should be higher then 4.6 in my opinion. It also has a lot of creepy atmosphere as well, and the stalking scenes were great, plus the death scenes are very brutal and gory as well!. This is a wonderfully twisted take on Jekyll&Hyde, that's an underrated gem, with an imaginative story and an amazing performance from Anthony Perkins, and I say it's a must see!. The Direction is awesome!. Gérard Kikoïne does an awesome! job here, with excellent camera work, great use of colors, adding lots of creepy atmosphere, using effective stalking sequences, and just keeping the film at a very fast pace.

There is tons of blood and violence. We get a nasty eye gash,bloody whip marks,bloody slit throats, slashed throats,bloody stabbings, stabbing in the forehead,bloody corpses,sink full of blood, slashing's,and lots of blood!.

The Acting is wonderful!. Anthony Perkins is amazing as always and is amazing here, he is at his most bizarre, was wonderfully intense, had some great lines, played crazy like no one can, and as Hyde he is actually somewhat frightening, as Jekyll he is likable and innocent, and gave two really commanding performances, this is one of his best roles as far as i'm concerned! (Perkins Rules!!!!!!!). Glynis Barber is beautiful and does excellent as the wife, she was very likable, and handled herself very well, I liked her lots. Sarah Maur Thorp is just plain creepy as Susannah, and gave me the creeps, she was very convincing. Rest of the cast do fine. Overall a must see!. **** out of 5
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting take on "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" story
KGB-Greece-Patras13 November 2003
To be honest, I have never seen or read the original story. Maybe this is a good thing, I don't know. As far as I can understand it gets the basic idea and only harshly does it re-make previous versions. Performances and film pace is overall OK. No stupid subplots and all, even some smiles raise from time to time. Due to some erotic scenes involving prostitutes, it can easily be characterized sexploitation, and as far as erotic stimulation is concerned, it scores quite high. Moreover having Anthony Perkins starring in it, it could easily be loved by horror completists or cultists. All in all, I had a nice time.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Anthony Perkins shines in this movie.
insomniac_rod5 July 2004
Excellent performance by none other than Anthony Perkins.

This 90's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is impressive for it's high graphic content of sex and gore. Surely a delightful for horror fans who enjoy little known horror movies.

Mr. Perkins' character is shy, and sexual repressed, similar to Norman Bates from "Psycho". But this time Mr. Perkins' great performance is mainly because his character is similar to Norman a shy sexually repressed man), which is Anthony Perkins' most recognized performance ever.

The cockaine connection with the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is interesting and even uses slasher elements. The result: a wicked movie only for horror fans.

11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perkins is Great, the Rest I Hate.
dmc10229 August 2005
This dreary film based on an intriguing concept which cross-contaminates the Jack the Ripper murders with the "Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde" story. For such a far fetched idea, the script is painfully grim, with Perkins seemingly reveling in his relentlessly character. The film feels European in its pacing and photography, with the Budapest locations filling in for 19th century London.

Director Kikoïne plays the film completely straight, the moody script offering no respite from the tedious reel of violence and perverse sexuality. Other than Perkins, the supporting cast is forgettable, much like the film itself. Failing on the level of being scary, or entertaining, it is hard to recommend anything about this. Perkins shows his talent, playing two vastly different characters without the aid of radical make-up effects.

Like a nightmare, this film feels so much longer than it actually is. It is perhaps the longest 85 minute film ever made, which is no compliment. The story does not seem to progress anywhere, the film relies entirely on violence and sex - and frankly, there is too much of each. Anthony Perkins is acting below his level here, which is a terrible shame considering his talent. It is quite amazing that he still shines even in this piece of traumatic drivel. This surely is no "Psycho".

In conclusion, "Edge of Sanity" is neither enjoyable or scary, which one would suppose makes it a poor attempt. This is a wasted concept, the possibilities for such a story are almost endless, so why is this film bogged down with it's long, boring script? Die-hard Perkins fans may draw something from this, but for the average movie goer, give it a miss.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Surprisingly perverse and unpleasant thriller.
HumanoidOfFlesh30 March 2002
I am not really surprised that "Edge of Sanity" has only a few reviews.This film is pretty tough to find,which is no bad thing.Anthony Perkins plays here Dr Jekyll/Jack Hyde,who as a Hyde murders and mutilates hookers in Jack the Ripper style.The acting from the supporting cast is diabolical,only Perkins proving effective,mainly due to his cadaverous features and tormented demeanor.The idea of a split personality with a particular sexual dysfunction also works with this material.Unfortunately the killings are mostly off-screen,but still "Edge of Sanity" has a pretty disturbing and sleazy quality to it.Some scenes are downright weird and rather unpleasant,so be prepared.Check it out,if you're curious.6 out of 10.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Edge of Sanity
Scarecrow-8825 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Perverse, ugly, extremely dark variation on Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper with Anthony Perkins once again summoning the dark side of his character to bring to life an evil psychopath deriving from a form of anesthesia, accidentally unleashed on Dr. Henry Jekyll while in his laboratory by a monkey test subject who spilled a bottle of solution into the powdery substance the scientist used to create his breakthrough in resolving pain during surgery. Smoked through an opium pipe, Jekyll loses his personality and morality as his dark half, Mr. Jack Hyde, surfaces to prowl White Chapel's lurid streets for prostitutes to slice up.

"Edge of Sanity" is practically wholly an unpleasant excursion into depravity and sadism as the movie stays mostly in the seedy underbelly of the dark section of London, rarely ever do we spend time with the "better" (although I felt even Jekyll, presented here, wasn't exactly free from the darkness that plagued his soul, as we see nightmares of a lustful hooker taking the rod from a local farmer who, after the doctor, as a child voyeur looking from the loft, slips, hooking himself upside down in the barn, takes a whipping on the tush from said farmer) half of the scientist. Since the Ripper was never caught, this film has perhaps the obvious outcome, but a certain incident which closes the film, involving Jekyll's morally upright wife (Glynis Barber), helping a church outreaching to prostitutes and the downtrodden, is rather unsettling.

This film spends a lot of time, unlike many other versions of the Jekyll/Hyde story, with Hyde instead of Jekyll, but we see, through Perkins, that battle within as the evil side of man's soul begins to control the personality, leaving a decent man adrift as darkness reigns. I guess the filmmakers decided that since Perkins is recognized as the kind of actor known for primarily showing the darker side of man's character, we should spend a great length with a really disturbing individual largely guided by a carnal incident from his childhood. The horror on Jekyll's face as that childhood memory emerges and Hyde is seeping into life, Perkins shows us a man run amok by dark forces he cannot control. To be honest, I can't imagine that many people finding this an experience worth taking, but I did think Perkins does an incredible job conveying pure evil, a true madman in search of a fresh victim worthy of destruction. The evocation of Period London (both the Victorian and especially the red light district of White Chapel where Madam Flora(Jill Melford) has a colorful house of ill repute) is affectively brought to life and director Gérard Kikoïne incorporates a visual style that allows madness to hit us right in the chops. Is this movie fun? Umm, not really. Is it good at what it does? If you mean, bringing to us a maniac on the loose in London slashing the throats of prostitutes after a few minutes of warped carnal activity (like Hyde masturbating a slut, on the roof top of a boardinghouse, with his cane as an apartment dweller looks on from his room, or slapping the ass of a tramp, putting her up against a wall on his knees, his face pressed up to his crotch, praying to God), then, yea, I think that is done with skill and ability. Included as a primary plot device is a prostitute in Madam Flora's den of hedonism, named Suzanna (Sarah Mahr Thorp), who looks exactly like the barn whore that haunts his nightmares, laughing and teasing. There's lots of that sort of thing: mocking and laughing, a tormented Jekyll unable to be separate from the woman that has continued to torture him, often in the guise of other women, remaining ever-present in the good doctor's fractured psyche.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
* *1/2 out of 4.
brandonsites198116 September 2002
Anthony Perkins finally stars in remake of the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde story about a timid sexually repressed doctor who is transformed into a vicious, sleazy killer from time to time slashing the throats of hookers. This film is only of interest for yet another one of Perkins truly demented performances, some fine costumes & sets, and a few nice directorial touches. Be forewarned though, this remake is very graphic both sexually and violence wise.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
think I was dead?.....
FlashCallahan10 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When Henry Jekyll's experiments with cocaine have gotten out of control, he transforms into the hideous Jack Hyde.

As Hyde he searches the London streets at night for his prey in whorehouses and opium dens.

The police can't catch him, he has nothing to lose but his mind.....

The illness wasn't doing Perkins any good at this late stage in his life, but thankfully he puts i a grandeur performance in what other wise is a film with all style and no substance.

By day, Perkins is the mild mannered doctor, just him, his wife, and a monkey in a cage with a shed load of coke.

By night he turns into some sort of New Romantic anti hero, Lipstick and all, and the film turns into some sort of Hazy Fantasy Simon Le Bon would be proud of.

And this is where it loses it's way. There s no real back up as to why the doctor sees that woman from the beginning. There is a hint that he is sexually repressed, but it's never really explored enough.

We are just treated to the fact that Jekyll hates women due to something that happened to him, so when he turns into Phil Oakey from the Human League, he can unleash the beast.

It's not a bad movie, just too eighties, if something could be that.

Worth watching for Perkins.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Drugs are bad mmm'kay!
Boba_Fett113825 October 2010
While watching this movie it's quite apparent that somewhere deep down in it there was a good movie and a good idea behind it all. However the overall end result it's pretty poor and really not interesting and exciting enough.

It does sound like a good main premise; Combine the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story with the London killings done by Jack the Ripper, at the end of the 19th century. Yet the movie its concept and story never seems to get off the ground. It's mostly because of the dull and uninspiring storytelling that the movie and its concept fall flat. There is rarely anything good or interesting happening in this movie and it's a real problem that the movie is lacking in some good decent mystery and tension.

The movie also fails to create a good atmosphere for its story. It seems so easy to create a dark and moody atmosphere, set in dark and moody London after midnight. Yet the movie is often too bright with its colors and everything is too smooth and perfect looking.

Lets take the victims for example. They are all perfectly figured young girls, who are real natural beauty's, with perfectly smooth faces and hair that obviously gets treated well on a daily basis. Not very convincing, considering that these girls are supposed to be 20th century prostitutes, who were considered to be the lowest of the lowest.

The story itself is also far from convincing. It's one thing that Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde, due to the use of cocaine but this doesn't really explain his odd and sudden transformation into a completely different looking person. It's also quite amazing that no one ever suspect this aggressive and creepy looking guy to be perhaps in some way connected to any of the murders of the prostitutes, that he himself was also often seen involved with by many others. no wonder that the police never caught the ripper, if they really were this stupid as well in real life.

What makes this movie even more a weird watch is the fact that it can also definitely been seen as a soft-core-porn flick. There is really quite a lot of nudity in it and lots of different sexual acts get explicitly implied.

It's interesting to see Anthony Perkins in this type of role but he basically gets far too little interesting or new to do with his character. Nevertheless, he was a more than great actor, so it's still a bit of a pleasure to watch him in this. He was actually a very underrated actor in my opinion and it's a bit of a shame that most people only know him for his iconic "Psycho" role, while he was much more versatile as an actor. It's still a wrong move by this movie to only purely focus on his character, while things could had been given more depth and tension if it had some other strong solid characters in it as well.

A failed attempt at a potentially interesting and refreshing idea.


3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dr. Jekyll and Hyde 1989
Petey-1014 December 2009
In the beginning a boy witnesses a sex act between a woman and a man who may be his father.He gets a whipping from him and the woman laughs diabolically.Then her face turns red of blood.Henry Jekyll wakes up next to his wife.This man is a doctor who does experiences with cocaine, and this drug turns him into hideous Jack Hyde.The whores of London become his victims.Edge of Sanity (1989) is directed by Gerard Kikoine.This movie is a modern take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.I've read the chilling novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and seen a few movie versions of the story.This works nice.It shows us a possibility if Jekyll and Hyde were implicated in the crimes of Jack the Ripper.Anthony Perkins is very convincing as both the doctor and his evil version.Glynis Barber plays Elisabeth Jekyll.Sarah Maur Thorp is Susannah.David Lodge is Underwood.Edge of Sanity mixes horror with erotica.In one scene we see Mr. Hyde masturbating a woman with his cane before slashing her throat.The old tale has gotten a new look.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A weak movie worth seeing only for Perkins' performance
whiplash-614 February 2001
"Edge of Sanity" is an attempt to spice up the Jekyll and Hyde story by intensifying the risque elements which were only hinted at in the novel, as well as combining it with the true life story of Jack the Ripper. While it is clearly not intended as a straight adaptation of the book (the credits don't even MENTION Robert Louis Stevenson!) the story, of a warped Mr. Hyde who prowls round London seducing and then killing prostitutes, seemed to have prospects of being a classic, especially with the great Anthony Perkins playing the main role(s). Sadly, poor directing and a weak script let this film down badly, making it quite a disappointment.

The first time I watched this film I was struggling to stay awake, nothing in it grabbed me, and I remembered little about it afterwards. I assumed this was just because I was tired anyway, so I watched it again when I wasn't feeling so tired... and I got almost just the same feeling. The film is little more than a monotonous bore.

The plot, although interesting in concept, lacks any real depth or suspense. It feels so empty that a brief synopsis would basically sum up the whole film. It just feels like the script could have been put together in half an hour, without any real thought. And the lacklustre script isn't helped at all by the lazy and unenthusiastic directing. The film has a profoundly dull, monotonous atmosphere the whole way through, and simply plods along without any particularly striking moments. The attempt at a dramatic climax is feeble, the film seems to have no sense of suspense or any remote feeling of horror, and the ending is so weak that you're just left wondering what the whole point was in the first place. I have nothing against the erotic elements or the frequent scenes of nudity- it's just that the film is handled so badly.

But having said that, "Edge of Sanity" is saved from being a truly bad movie by Anthony Perkins' fine performance. He was the perfect actor to cast as Jekyll and Hyde in this film- if anyone else had played the role, the film would probably have been consigned to the dustbin of true trash. Perkins tries his hardest against the dire script to give his character some real development. The sad point is, Jekyll/Hyde is written in virtually no depth at all. It seems that Hyde, rather than being an evil side of Jekyll's character that has been released by the experiment, is more or less Jekyll himself. Jekyll and Hyde seem to have no difference in personality- it seems more like Jekyll IS Hyde naturally, but feeling his respectable position prevents him from committing the crimes he desires, he simply assumes an alternate form in which to be his true evil self. He gets little screen time as Jekyll, and we learn little of his character. And the fact that the reason why he possesses such evil desires is never really explored in any depth only serves to make his character pitifully shallow. We see a flashback to an incident from his childhood which scarred his mind, in one of the movie's few good scenes, but other than that he gets no development. Anthony Perkins tries hard to make his character seem convincing against the poor scripting, and he does a good job because while the film is mostly forgettable, Jack Hyde is a truly memorable character who should have been a classic villain. He looks brilliant (although it has to be said that there is little physical difference between Jekyll and Hyde, but I get the idea this is intentional) and Perkins plays him strongly enough to make him an overall impressive character, if flawed by his lack of development. He is the film's only strong point, and deserved to be in a better movie than this.

Therefore, aside from Perkins' excellent performance, "Edge of Sanity" is a real let-down that could (and should) have been a classic, but failed to reach this status. It's worth watching for Anthony Perkins alone, but aside from that, only a few scenes in the brothel (brilliantly designed) provide any real interesting moments. This is a weak effort, and there are plenty of better Jekyll and Hyde films.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Putrid and deeply unpleasant movie.
Coventry19 October 2008
The umpteenth adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and probably one of the worst and most clueless versions ever made. In fact, the only one I can recall that is worse is "The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hyde", but that was a no-budget sex movie and constantly showed an ugly naked fat guy on the screen. This movie had sufficient budget and even managed to attract "Psycho" star Anthony Perkins, but notwithstanding it remains a terrible waste of time. The synopsis caught my attention, as the plot attempts to link the Jekyll & Hyde saga to the notoriously unsolved Jack the Ripper murder-spree. Hammer Films accomplished something similar during the early 70's with "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde", and the result was a sublime and hugely inventive horror movie. A hybrid between Jekyll and Hyde and Jack the Ripper must be a thrilling and intriguing concept, but unfortunately "Edge of Sanity" is a dud of a film. "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a traditional and mostly psychological tale of terror, whereas this is an ordinary 80's slasher movie. It's supposed to revolve on the inner battle between good and evil, but "Edge of Sanity" is simply an excuse to depict vile and misogynist murders, pseudo-pornographic sleaze footage and drug abuse. Dr. Henry Jekyll is a happily married and brilliant medical scientist working on the development of a new and groundbreaking anesthetic. When his lab monkey knocks over some test tubes, Jekyll inhales the fumes and transforms into his malignant and depraved alter ego Jack Hyde. Hyde vividly remembers Jekyll's Freudian childhood traumas and uses them as an excuse to go out on the lurid London streets and sadistically butcher prostitutes. And when we say "sadistically", you may take this very literal. The murder sequences are extremely perverse and repulsive, with loads of hideously slit throats, mutilated corpses and nasty S&M attributes. It's also more than obvious that director Gérard Kikoïne has a past in the adult film industry. The sex scenes leave very little to the imagination and the orgies and hallucinations are even downright sordid, including bits and pieces of cane-masturbation, voyeurism, the Oedipus complex and crucifixion. It's truly revolting to witness how such a classic and brilliant story of genuine horror receives such a cheap and exploitative makeover! Shame on you, Mr. Perkins!
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Anthony Perkins invents crack cocaine and goes psycho once again
Woodyanders16 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Prim and respectable physician Dr. Henry Jekyll (the late, great Anthony Perkins in sterling eye-rolling wacko form) transforms into the evil and deranged pasty-faced fiend Mr. Jack Hyde after a disastrous lab experiment inadvertently creates crack cocaine. Hyde terrorizes Victorian era London, England by savagely slaughtering prostitutes in the White Chapel district. Director Gerard Kikoine, working from a deliciously deviant and depraved script by J.P. Felix and Ron Raley, brings a genuinely shocking and surprising kinky sensibility to the familiar premise: The oodles of tasty female nudity (there's some male frontal nudity, too!), the startlingly raw'n'ribald perversity (a man watches from a window as Hyde pleasures a hooker with a cane in one especially lurid sequence), and the sizzling erotic sexuality all ensure that the incredibly seamy atmosphere reigns supremely sordid throughout. The sturdy acting from the capable cast rates as another major asset: Perkins has a histrionic field day in his juicy dual role, Glynnis Barber lends sound support as Jekyll's concerned wife Elisabeth, the fetching Sarah Maur Thorp vamps it up nicely as saucy tart Susannah, and Ben Cole positively oozes as slimy male hustler Johnny. The opulent set design, Tony Spratling's lush cinematography, the flavorsome evocation of the repressive Victorian period, and Frederic Talgorn's robust orchestral score give this picture an aura of class while the brutal killings draw a neat'n'nasty parallel to Jack the Ripper's notorious exploits. Good decadent fun.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What the World Has Been Waiting for : a T & A Jekyll & Hyde !
Nodriesrespect9 January 2009
One of the brightest directorial talents in French fornication films, Gérard Kikoïne all but disowned his "shameful" past – encompassing such genre classics as ENTRECHATTES, CHAUDES ADOLESCENTES and BOURGEOISE ET…PUTE! – when introduced to the comparative glamor of globe-trotting producer Harry Alan Towers whose dedication to the cinematic adaptation of erotic literature since the '60s (with particular attention paid to the writings of the Marquis De Sade, along with Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu and Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, of which he commissioned several randy revisions) had him consort with trash flick royalty like Jess Franco, Massimo Dallamano and the late Joe D'Amato. Having had a taste of the life outside the ever restricting confines of carnal cinema when Towers funded his coy but cute LADY LIBERTINE, adapting anonymously penned erotic novella Frank and I, Kikoïne was to burn his bridges with the intimate industry soon after, perhaps not the wisest of choices from a quality point of view, his latter-day filmography including underwhelming straight to cable fare as the ludicrous bodice ripper MASTER OF DRAGONARD HILL and the phony Poe adaptation BURIED ALIVE, the latter somewhat ironically featuring American porno princess Ginger Lynn (Allen) in a similar attempt to "go straight".

Arguably the best of a sorry lot, EDGE OF SANITY proves a confusing rendition – bearing the imprint of no less than three screenwriters, rarely a good sign – of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, offering up the dubious theory that the (fictitious) good doctor's dark side and the (historical, though shrouded in larger than life myth) figure of Jack the Ripper might be one and the same. Be that as it may, the good news is that Kikoïne plays fast 'n' loose with this unnecessarily muddled narrative, largely reducing it to the framework for a multitude of cinematic references and outrageously baroque erotic tableaux, occasionally elevating its undeniably kitsch components to sublime status through sheer force of will and characteristic daredevil effrontery. One wonders whether the late Anthony Perkins had an inkling what sheer lunacy he had signed himself up for, though his previous turn in Ken Russell's equally outlandish CRIMES OF PASSION should have prepared him for just about anything. Not that there's much competition, mind you, but his over the top thesping in the classic dual role provides the movie's acting highlight, at least in a car crash sort of way. Playing things relatively straight as the earnest medic, exploring the possibilities of cocaine as an anesthetic, he cuts loose spectacularly once said experiments go awry and his suppressed alter ego rises to the occasion, with make-up and lighting subtly recalling Conrad Veidt in Robert Wiene's CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. Unbeknownst to loving wife Elisabeth (Glynis Barber, who will be forever remembered as TV's Harriet Makepeace, doing what she can in a traditionally thankless role), Doc goes out and literally paints the town red with the blood of prostitutes, making himself known to them as "Jack Hyde" moments before slitting their throats. Lured to the plush brothel of Madam Flora (veteran actress Jill Melford from John Dexter's way ahead of its time sex change drama I WANT WHAT I WANT with Anne Heywood) by the sexually ambiguous Johnny (Ben Cole, also in HOWLING V : THE REBIRTH, one of the most useless sequels ever), Hyde falls hard for sultry strumpet Susannah (alluring Sarah Maur Thorp, who was in the Towers-funded Agatha Christie adaptation TEN LITTLE INDIANS by Alan Birkinshaw) who showed up battered 'n' bruised at the doctor's office earlier and unwittingly triggered a traumatic childhood memory, which the writers predictably enough attempt to pass off as motive.

The film's overriding style is that of late '60s/early '70s Hammer, meaning lots of velvety scarlet set off by sparkling gold in the color scheme whenever the naughty stuff's about to start. DoP Tony Spratling – who shot Gerry O'Hara's surprisingly effective FANNY HILL as well as Basil Dearden's massively underrated MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF with a career performance by Roger Moore – has a field day in those eye-popping sequences, employing Kikoïne's trademark wide angle lenses to emphasize the distortion taking place within the doc's mind. Another Hammer trademark carried over, unfortunately, is the dreary dullness of its police procedures. A CARRY ON veteran, frequently cast as constable, late character actor David Lodge is stuck asking questions the audience has just seen the answer to as chief of police Underwood, given zero opportunity to shine next to Perkins' feverish scenery chewing. Thanks for the mammaries then ! Barber keeps 'em buttoned up, though she enthusiastically whipped them out in Michael Winner's priceless WICKED LADY. Still, lots of lesser lasses gamely bare all for their art. One indelible set piece has bleached blond Carolyn Cortez (who had a bit part in Alejandro Jodorowsky's characteristically mind-boggling RAINBOW THIEF) lured to a hotel roof where Hyde lewdly has her displaying her wares for a timid peeping tom's benefit. Look for Canadian cutie Claudia Udy (hey, it rhymes !), who was the star of Sergio Bergonzelli's exotic post card porn JOY half a decade prior, as one of the fallen women seeking sanctuary from the ripper's rampage at the local church. French composer Frédéric Talgorn, recently responsible for the sterling soundtrack to Jean-François Davy's return to respectability LES AIGUILLES ROUGES, crafted a score that's suitable opulent and ominous in keeping with the film's general mood of decadent dementia.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting adaptation of the Jekyll/Hyde story
dworldeater7 October 2018
Edge Of Sanity is a dark thriller/horror movie and is an interesting and sordid, sleazy take on the Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde story with nods to Jack The Ripper spliced in as well. Anthony Perkins is up for the task and delivers a solid and very creepy performance in this film. His experiments with cocaine, bring to life evil persona Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde has a lot fun serial fornicating and slashing the throats of beautiful hookers across Victorian era London. The story is not always cohesive in the way it is told, but it more than makes up for it with stunning cinematography and stunning actresses that have no problem disrobing for this film. The film has a nice score and some Gothic atmosphere as well. As Mr. Hyde, Anthony Perkins looks like he would blend in easily at a Sisters Of Mercy or Bauhaus show. The supporting cast is good, but the visuals and Anthony Perkins performance are what most commands the audience's attention. The film here is pretty grim and violent as well, this is not recommended for the squeemish. Edge Of Sanity is a depraved, unhinged and highly erotic, if that sounds good to you, I doubt this flick will let you down.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Another psycho
Hellraiserdisciple19 August 2010
Anthony Perkins plays Dr. Jekyll who after a lab incident caused by his guinea monkey turns him into the sinister Mr. Hyde. Soon the bodies start popping up all over London.

The story is well known, but we get a little twist here. The twist being that Mr. Hyde is actually Jack the Ripper. I really liked the fusing of these two stories. It gave the film another dimension to it. Edge of Sanity is a surprisingly sleazy film too, thank goodness. One J.P. Félix is one of the two writers credited with the screenplay. This Félix is apparently actually one of smut peddler Jess Franco's many pseudonyms. It's hardly surprising then that we get regular doses of nudity and some not overly gratuitous violence. We even get the odd humor on occasion. Just watch as the rabid Mr. Hyde has bent a prostitute over the table inspecting her butt and we see her bored face. He's just another weird customer with a fetish. The script is pretty good, but without knowing exactly what, I still felt that a certain something to put it over the top was missing.

Anthony Perkins shines as the star of the show. He balances nicely between the two personalities. Perkins has a very charming side, as we've seen in Psycho, which can change in an second. In this film his psychotic features are enhanced with make-up, giving him more of a wax figure look. It looks supremely creepy. In several instances he reminded me of the zombified Stephen from Dawn of the Dead (1978). The story is really a sad one. Dr. Jekyll is only a man traumatized during childhood years and his decent into madness starts off as an unfortunate accident. Jekyll is more a victim of circumstance than anything. He accidentally inhales the smoke from the broken glasses unaware of what the mix will do to him. Unfortunately for the good doctor the effects have fatal consequences. Jekyll's smoking device looks like a crack pipe. This film came in 1989, which was at a time when crack was at its height in the US. Edge of Sanity appears to be a cautionary tale covered in layers of filth. We see Perkins trying to resist it, but his demons get the better of him. His spiral downwards is very well depicted. We see the raving madman and a cold and calculating monster that is Mr. Hyde gradually taking over Jekyll. This is perfectly realized in a party scene, where the topic of freedom is brought up. Jekyll wonders what anyone really knows about freedom. "I thought I was free?" retorts one of the posh ladies. The doctor starts talking about freedom to do whatever we feel like. You see something you like and you take it. The other guests are a tad upset by this, but Jekyll rages calmly on. "You all act as if our manners, our morality, were handed to us by God." With skeptical eyes she replies: "But they are." Perkins continues: "No madam, they're not. We made them up by mutual agreement. But what if I don't agree?" He goes from the dinner table leaving the others in shock. There is a distinct flavor of Nietzsche's philosophy here, which is the rejection of morality as an absolute truth. I doubt Nietzsche would have approved Mr. Hyde's thoughts of doing whatever one feels like, but accepting that life is essentially meaningless is key. The other dinner guests' refusal to accept this makes them passive nihilists. The active nihilist on the other hand sees opportunity to build something instead of hiding in fear behind religion. Jekyll/Hyde is somewhere in between. He rejects God and morality, but instead of building he tears the world apart. And, fortunately for him, in a society as judgmental as this, who would expect that any well educated person could possibly be behind such atrocious crimes?

The technical aspects of Edge of Sanity are simply outstanding! The camera-work is impeccable with lots of crooked angels, intruding close-ups of Mr. Hyde and smooth dolly shots. The lighting and use of colors are strong and vivid adding additional delirium. There are gorgeous set-pieces to feast our eyes on. You really couldn't ask for more. In a lot of ways this has an adult Tim Burton feel to it.

Edge of Sanity is a nice and creepy horror film. For some reason, despite all its accomplishments I still felt slightly detached to it all. That however, shouldn't deter anyone looking for a sleazy horror with originality, a menacing Perkins and production values far beyond your normal fright flick.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
EDGE OF SANITY (Gerard Kikoine, 1989) **
Bunuel197627 October 2007
This is the nth variation on the Jekyll/Hyde perennial that I've watched – it's not among the better versions, but nor is it quite as bad as its maligned reputation would suggest!

An unhinged Anthony Perkins (joining a distinguished roster of actors to tackle the dual role) is always worth watching: his disruption of a society dinner is quietly effective – as Dr. Jekyll expounds on his theory about the power inherent in a personality unbound by laws and traditions, and of its imminent emergence. The Hyde make-up does not extend to much other than making Perkins look somewhat younger, rather effeminate and vaguely sinister. The overall look of the film, retaining the period setting of Stevenson's original novel, is fairly pleasing – within the limitations of its budget and the exploitation angle it clearly aims for (what with the presence of blood and sleaze galore).

Unsurprisingly, the narrative attaches a mother/whore complex to the main character – not to mention the fact that Perkins' Hyde adopts the characteristics one usually associates with Jack The Ripper (following in the footsteps of Hammer's DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE [1971])! By the way, the film was co-produced by Harry Alan Towers – with his wife/former starlet Maria Rohm credited as Associate Producer!

I have still another version to check out – the recent 2002 production released on DVD (as a SE no less!) by Alpha, and may even get to MARY REILLY (1996) before the month is out...
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde was never like this.
G.Spider20 June 1999
What could have been a wonderfully sinister adaptation of the famous story 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' is no more than an excuse for wall-to-wall filth, sleaze and pornography. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a serious attempt to adapt the novel - the Jekyll & Hyde element has just been tacked on to help the film sell.

Dr Jekyll (who might as well be Doc Holiday for what it has to do with the film) is experimenting with drugs which bring out the more savage emotions in animals. But after he inhales the vapour in an accident in his lab he is transformed into what looks like a predecessor of Barbara Cartland. From then on it's all just one obscenity after another, the plot terminally dull and slow-moving, the climax (if you can call it that) utterly feeble. Anthony Perkins is at his best but he's just wasted here. Some of the other characters from the Jekyll Hyde novel are included, but blink and you'd miss them.

If you want to see a screen adaptation of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde then you'd be much better off watching the Michael Caine version, or any other version for that matter. This one isn't worth the tape it's printed on.
3 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dr. Jeckyll and Mrs. Bates
JoeB1313 January 2013
The sad thing about Anthony Perkins career is after he did Psycho, he got type cast playing crazy characters. So someone decided that we didn't have nearly enough adaptations of "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and did one with Anthony playing both roles.

Unfortunately, it has about ten minutes of story and 80 minutes of filler involving Hyde slashing up prostitutes . It is sort of implied that Jeckyll's mysterious formula was some form of cocaine, because, hey, it was the 1980's and Nancy Reagan was all over that.

It's actually fairly sloppy in its reproduction of 1880's London, with costumes that are anachronistic.

Gotta talk about the transformation... When he's doing the Hyde-caine, Perkins gets some pasty makeup, they give him some red eyeliner and muss up his hair. Again, the guy was a pretty good actor who got typecast into these kind of roles, which is sad.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed