Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde (2000)

Despite anything that full-frame pundits might say, when you watch a lot of DVDs, you begin to ignore the letterbox framing and you usually don’t notice the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. So, I was about 20 minutes into the Vivid release "Jekyll & Hyde" when I said to myself, "Hey, this movie’s <$PS,letterboxed>!" And sure enough, the film is <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.66:1. I guess that this is another step forward by Vivid to make their product indistinguishable from other DVDs… except for all of the naked people.

"Jekyll & Hyde" is yet another re-telling of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale, but this time it has an erotic twist. The film is set in Budapest in the year 1887. Taylor Hayes stars as Molly Jekyll, a young woman who has come to Budapest to investigate the death of her father, Dr. Jekyll (Mike Foster). Molly is assisted in her search by Jack (Julian). Molly discovers that her father had been working on a potion, that when ingested, gave the subject great strength and a strong sexual appetite. Molly takes the potion and becomes a sexual predator named Flora, who has cat-like eyes and black fingernails. In the meantime, Dr. Jekyll is still stalking the streets of Budapest, and his sexual appetite hasn’t diminished. Can Jack help Flora revert back to her normal state?

Besides the aforementioned letterboxing, "Jekyll & Hyde" is unique for several other reasons. For one thing, this film was shot as a fairly serious period piece. It features tons of costumed extras, horse-drawn carriages, and appears to have been shot on location. It’s obvious that the film had a higher than normal budget. Also, there is actually special-effects make-up in "Jekyll & Hyde". When Taylor Hayes becomes Flora, she wears cat-like contact lenses and Dr. Jekyll is wearing a facial make-up appliance. "Jekyll & Hyde" certainly doesn’t look like your stereotypical "porno" film.

But enough about the look of the film, is it sexy? The answer to that is yes and no. There is an overall element of kinky fetishism running throughout "Jekyll & Hyde" and this is best represented in the two orgy scenes in the film. In these scenes, we witness various forms of BDSM, as we see people being whipped, hung from their arms, hung by all fours, and tied down. Aside from this bondage, these scenes contain mostly straight sex. Think of "Jekyll & Hyde" as being BDSM-lite. There’s an element of bondage and pain, but it never gets too serious.

Given the subject matter of "Jekyll & Hyde", there is an element of horror in the film as well. This brings us to the problem with the film. When Taylor Hayes becomes Flora, she takes on a different appearance, with her contact lenses, black fingernails, and somewhat paler skin, but she is still sexy. We understand that Flora is the sexual side of Molly coming out, and these scenes retain all of their eroticism. The problems arise with the two scenes featuring Dr. Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll’s face is horribly scarred and he has a very grotesque appearance. (The make-up is surprisingly good for an adult movie.) Basically, these scenes feature women having sex with a monster. Now, there are plenty of horror films that contain sexual elements, but an adult film with horror elements is a risky venture and the two scenes with Dr. Jekyll (and his nasty black fingernails) are a total turn-off.

As mentioned before, "Jekyll & Hyde" is <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.66:1. The image is clear and sharp, but shows a moderate amount of grain. It’s obvious that this picture was shot on film. The colors are a bit muted at times, but the nighttime scenes offer us true blacks and look quite nice. Overall, for an adult film, "Jekyll & Hyde" offers a very nice visual presentation. The audio on the DVD is a <$DD,Dolby Digital> <$5.1,5.1 mix>. But, like most recent 5.1 offerings from Vivid, the "dialogue" stays in the center channel speaker, while only music comes from the rear channels.

Being a Vivid DVD, there are plenty of extras on "Jekyll & Hyde". In the section called, "Menage a Taylor", we have two additional scenes featuring Taylor Hayes. This section is complemented by a few others, featuring all sorts of sexual acts. Rounding out the special features are previews for three other Vivid releases and brief profiles for six of the Vivid Girls.
If you are looking for an adult movie that offers an alternative to the "cheap" look or you want to try something that has a slight fetish angle, than "Jekyll & Hyde" may make for perfect late night viewing. But, be ready to fast-forward through the Dr. Jekyll scenes.