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Gérard Kikoïne
Anthony Perkins, Glynis Barber, Sarah Maur Thorp
Writing Credits:
JP Félix, Ron Raley

When Henry Jekyll's experiments get out of control, he transforms into the hideous Jack Hyde.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 6/21/22

• Audio Commentary with Film Writer David Flint and Author/Filmmaker Sean Hogan
• “French Love” Featurette
• “Staying Sane” Featurette
• “Edward’s Edge” Featurette
• “Over the Edge” Featurette
• “Jack, Jekyll and Other Screen Psychos” Featurette
• Trailer


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Edge of Sanity [Blu-Ray] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 15, 2022)

Not too long ago, I watched 1941’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one of the earliest cinematic adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella. For a more recent take on the tale, we go to 1989’s Edge of Sanity.

Set in Victorian London, physician Dr. Henry Jekyll (Anthony Perkins) performs experiments with the supposed medical applications of cocaine. When an accident combines a solution with the cocaine, Henry undergoes a transformation.

As Henry takes on the alter ego of “Jack Hyde”, he ends up in the seedy parts of the city. Henry finds himself in a spiral of violence and lust as he struggles to cope with his dual identities.

While Sanity takes most of its cues from Jekyll, it comes with other influences as well. Mainly it borrows liberally from the “Jack the Ripper” story, a concept made more obvious by references to “Jack Hyde”.

In theory, this could create an intriguing mix of the two narratives. In reality, though, Sanity becomes a fairly leaden tale without much to sell it beyond its own attempted weirdness.

From the very start, Sanity pushes toward a surreal tone. The flick opens with a perverted dream sequence and comes with other scenes that veer in that direction.

However, Sanity doesn’t use these with any real commitment, and they seem so half-hearted that they only distract. We get the occasional stab at “Ken Russell Lite” but none of it adds much to the tale.

Sanity does attempt some unusual stabs. For one, the Hyde scenes use costumes and fashions much more in line with 1989 than the story’s actual time period, and the movie tosses out some homosexual overtones to add possible intrigue.

Both feel like windowdressing, unfortunately. These decisions can seem clever-clever, as though the filmmakers hope they’ll imply a depth to the material that fails to exist.

This leaves us with the basic horror story, and it doesn’t work especially well either. Some of the issues stem from the script, as Sanity comes with little more than a loose collection of bloody scenes in search of positive plot or character exploration.

It feels like the filmmakers hope the semi-clever mix of Jekyll and Jack the Ripper will carry the load for them. Sanity plods along without enough real development to allow it to prosper.

Perkins’ lead performance doesn’t help. Even if we ignore his feeble stab at a British accent, the actor can’t hold up the role’s demands.

Perkins camps it up as Hyde and feels too silly to swallow as a threat. It doesn’t help that Perkins was painfully thin at the time, so we can’t ever see him as the brutish physical monster Hyde needs to be.

After all, it looks like a light wind would knock over Hyde. How can we believe he could overpower and slaughter so many people?

This leads to a monotonous and not especially interesting update on both Dr. Jekyll and Jack the Ripper. Sanity never turns into a genuinely bad movie, but it also can’t find much worthwhile to do with the plot.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Edge of Sanity appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer captured the source fairly well.

Overall definition seemed appealing. A little softness impacted a few interiors, but the majority of the movie brought appealing accuracy and detail.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain seemed light but appropriate, and print flaws remained minor, as I detected nothing more than a handful of specks.

Colors went for a fairly natural vibe during the “Henry” scenes, but they opted for garish reds and blues in the “Jack” sequences. These came across as largely well-rendered.

Blacks looked deep and dense, while shadows offered good delineation. The image held up pretty well over the last 33 years.

As for the film’s LPCM stereo soundtrack, it seemed more than competent for a film of this sort. The soundscape didn’t impress, but it opened up the material in a moderate manner.

This meant good stereo music as well as a decent sense of movement. For instance, horse-drawn carriages went from one side to the other in an appealing manner.

A few other elements used the channels in a logical way. Again, none of this felt impressive, but the soundfield showed reasonable engagement.

Dialogue felt natural and concise, without issues related to edginess or other issues. Music came across as reasonably full and lush.

Effects had less to do, but they worked fine, as those elements felt accurate and concise. This was a perfectly adequate soundtrack for a 33-year-old horror tale.

As we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from film writer David Flint and author/filmmaker Sean Hogan. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, the source and other adaptations, cast and crew, interpretation and themes, and genre domains.

Expect a decent but not particularly memorable chat here, mainly because Flint and Hogan spend too much time on general opinions of the film and not on clear insights. Though we get some decent thoughts, the commentary feels mediocre to me.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get five featurettes. French Love spans 21 minutes, 12 seconds and brings notes from director Gérard Kikoïne.

The filmmaker examines aspects of his career such as what led him to films as well as some of his creations. Kikoline seems enthusiastic and energetic, but this interview tends to feel scattered and not especially coherent.

Staying Sane goes for 24 minutes, 17 seconds and provides another interview with Kikoïne. From the same session that created “Love”, he discusses aspects of Sanity.

This means the same manic energy seen during “Love”, but at least Kikoline manages to come across as more focused. He delivers a fairly good series of notes related to Sanity.

Next comes Edward’s Edge, a 12-minute, eight-second chat with producer Edward Simons. He covers various aspects of the production. Expect a reasonably informative look behind the scenes.

Over the Edge lasts 26 minutes, 18 seconds and delivers info from film historian Stephen Thrower. He tells us about production details and elements related to the filmmakers. This becomes an enjoyable summary.

Finally, Jack, Jekyll and Other Screen Psychos involves Jack the Ripper historian Dr. Clare Smith and runs 28 minutes, 37 seconds. Smith relates details about the historical Ripper as well as his appearances in films. Smith offers a fine examination of these subjects.

In theory, a mix of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Jack the Ripper could succeed. Unfortunately, Edge of Sanity seems too campy and too purposeless to do much to prosper. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio as well as mix of bonus materials. Don’t expect much from this forgettable flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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