Friday, October 28, 2011

Horror Fest 6 Day One: Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde

 Dr. Black and Mr.Hyde deserves a longer write up than I'm going to be able to give it, so suffice to say that it's much better than Blackenstein, in part because of two names in the crew. The first is Stan Winston, and if I named nothing other than The Terminator, Predator, and Jurassic Park, I think it would be enough. He was in charge of the Dr. Hyde makeup effects, and while they may not sell the idea that Bernie Casey's Dr. Henry Pride is turning into a white man who loves killing prostitutes, it is a nice makeup effect. The other name is Tak Fujimoto, the cinematographer. Just click on his name to see what he would go on to shoot.

 In brief, the story is... well, it's kind of an adaptation, with some huge logic lapses. Dr. Henry Pride is working on a cure for liver disease, but in addition to curing liver disease, it turns people white, gives them super powers, and a desire to kill. Specifically, Dr. Pride wants to kill prostitutes, including one of his patients from the Watts Clinic, Linda. There's a bunch of superfluous subplot about a pimp named Silky and two cops and Linda's friend or cousin or something to that effect, but mostly it's about the alter-ego of Dr. Pride wandering around and strangling hookers. The first time we see him he gets into a pretty cool bar fight, with one move in particular that left me wondering how the guy on the receiving end even stood up.

 The ending at Watts Towers takes a page right out of the King Kong playbook, which is odd considering how exploitative the rest of the film is in its violence, gratudity, and generally sleazy middle section. I do give the film credit for explaining in a very understandable way why Dr. Pride is so devoted to curing liver disease and why he dislikes prostitutes. On the other hand, it's not necessarily clear whether he remembers what he did as Mr. Hyde or not until very late in the film. I also chuckled that even though he had the same clothes on as the guy who ravaged the bar that Silky and the rest of the patrons didn't recognize Bernie Casey because "some white dude did that." Really?

 Up Next: Piranha (alas, not in 3-D)

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