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Date: 29.08.2017

Edge of Sanity (1989)

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Hyde is not only a serial killer, but quite possibly Jack the Ripper. A pre-credits prologue shows us Henry Jekyll as a child witnessing a couple having sex in a barn. We then move to a grown Dr, Henry Jekyll who is experimenting with what looks like cocaine as an anesthetic. In a freak laboratory accident, the drug spills and Jekyll transforms into the sadistic Mr.

Hyde called Jack in this version, instead of the traditional Edward.

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He immediately begins prowling the brothels of London and viciously murdering prostitutes, as well as anyone else who gets in his way. Not even Scotland Yard can stop this new serial killer, who soon becomes known as the Ripper.

One of the better aspects of the film is the performance of Anthony Perkins. I can think of no other actor who better portrays twitchy nervousness. Hyde is a character that can only experience sexual pleasure by watching others have sex a result of the silly Freudian opening to the film.

Walking like Count Orlock from Nosferatu , he effectively portrays Hyde as someone who is obviously under the influence of a drug. His acts of violence come suddenly, and Perkins shows us Hyde as somewhat conflicted about his murdering of prostitutes. Jekyll is often presented. Affecting an unconvincing English accent, Perkins walks with a cane and a limp, yet we are never told why he is limping.

Jekyll fails to present an effective counterpart to Mr. The other characters often say what a wonderful and maverick doctor he is, but the acting leaves this claim unsupported.

In Edge of Sanity, one feels no sympathy for Dr.

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Apart from Anthony Perkins, the cast is bland and anonymous. Sarah Maur Thorp plays Susannah, the prostitute with whom Hyde becomes enamored, but does little more than look tempting and laugh maniacally.

Neither of these women are portrayed as real people with real desires. The rest of the cast is equally forgettable, leaving Perkins to shoulder the weight of the film. Despite the lackluster acting in Edge of Sanity, the camera work and set design are surprisingly adept. The brothel that Hyde often visits is almost exclusively red, while the place where Hyde murders his first victim is blue.

These bold colors are usually seen when we are watching Hyde-- they reinforce his simplistic, unambiguous way of looking at the world. When he is in the brothel, he sees smoldering eroticism, and when he is murdering prostitutes, he sees icy cold death.

It is covered in white tile and is very large and roomy. Near the end of the film, Dr. Finally, the film also uses bold religious images, such as a prostitute masturbating before a crucifix in the brothel.

Sadly, this imagery is only used to shock Mr. Hyde and presumably the more conservative members of the audience. It has no other significant function in the film.

Edge of Sanity needs more than just superior art direction and set design. It needs a solid foundation for its ideas and a clear voice about what it is trying to say. Sadly, Edge of Sanity is a movie that does not seem to know what it is saying. Rather than explore its darker themes of drug abuse and serial killers, the director decides to thrill and shock the audience. London as depicted in the film seems to be inhabited by nothing but hookers and criminals.

There is not a single prostitute in this film that is not visually appealing.

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Nevertheless, soft core pornography interrupted by grisly slashing does not make a good horror film. The biggest problem with Edge of Sanity is that it wants to be everything at once. On one hand it wants to be a splatter-gore-fest with an over the top killer sadistically dispatching beautiful women. On the other hand it tries to be taken seriously as a study of good and evil.

Additionally, the child abuse scene in the beginning of the film tries to engender pity and understanding, but since we know nothing of who these people are or their previous relationships with Jekyll, it feels more like a tacked-on after-thought. Wanting to combine the wild, over the top violence of a film like The Evil Dead with the serious introspection of a film like The Silence of the Lambs , Edge of Sanity ends up doing neither very well.

Historically, the implication that Hyde is Jack the Ripper is interesting, because of modern speculation that the Ripper may indeed have had medical training. The film attempts to equate the fear caused by Hyde with the fear caused by the real Ripper. Hyde, but also the infamous killer of Whitechapel. We see people shrieking as they recognizing who he is, and a dogged but ineffectual Scotland Yard inspector who is unable to apprehend the fiend.

It would have made Edge of Sanity a much more engaging experience. However, rather than developing its potential, Edge of Sanity constantly takes the cheap and easy path to accomplish its goals. Edge of Sanity is not much more than a cheap exploitation film that unsuccessfully tries to be taken seriously.