Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Edge of Total Confusion

I’ll admit that the only movie that I ever saw Anthony Perkins in was Pyscho. I saw none of his other films or any of the sequels to Psycho… until now. I came across a movie called Edge of Sanity in which Perkins plays Dr. Jekyll and Jack Hyde in a new twist on the classic story. Since this is the first non-Psycho film that I ever saw in him, you could imagine my inner delight to see Perkins outside of the Bates Motel. I’m not too familiar with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (mainly because I’ve never actually read the book) but I don’t think Edge of Sanity fully utilizes Perkins’ Mr. Hyde. In fact, I’ll go further to say that every time Perkins went Hyde he acted and looked as though he was suffering from some kind of dementia. It looked like he wanted to inflict harm and brutally murder his victims but he didn’t know how. It seemed like he needed to his bearings straight and even as he was “murdering” his victims, he did it in a manner that seemed too… weird.

The main point that I’m getting at is simply: what was going on through half of the movie and why was Jack Hyde doing things the he was doing. When we are first introduced to Hyde he gets a streetwalker to take him home with her, and her home is apparently in an attic or something. Anyway, Hyde begins to mumble a bunch of cryptic sentences and ultimately kneels down to the hooker and beings to ask her, angrily, if she loves him. She replies with a yes and he grabs her waist, hugs it, and begins to pray for some reason. Somehow this leads to him strip-cutting her dress up only to grasp the hooker’s ass and marvel at it’s beauty. By this point I don’t know what’s going on and what Hyde is thinking; maybe he was trying to be sexy or creepy but he just didn’t know how. Finally he slices her throat open. This is just one of the many scenes where Hyde tries to be sexually deviant but instead acts like a child who just found out what sex is.

Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Hyde supposed to be a very dark, cold-blooded sociopath that brutally raped or killed women of London? As far as I know, I don’t believe there were any sexual exploratory qualities to his persona, meaning that I don’t think Hyde looked at women as though he just saw them for the first time. I do like how the story blends both Mr. Hyde with the real life London killer Jack the Ripper and I think those two combinations should have spelled a very brutal killing machine. Questions like “Why is Hyde making a girl masturbate with his cane for some pedestrian?” began to pop up in my head. I honestly couldn’t believe that was happening and more importantly I couldn’t believe that Anthony Perkins was the one doing it.

Strangely, rubbing canes against a woman’s private area isn’t the strangest and mind-baffling thing that happens. It’s actually a series of visits that Hyde makes to some strange perverted brothel or whatever you want to call it. There are half naked girls dressed as nuns, half naked girls tied to crosses, an overly flamboyant male escort, old men fondling women’s breasts and crazy head mistress. What does any of this have to do with Jekyll and Hyde? Hyde gets his thrills by dragging hookers out of this brothel to kill them and in one visit he gives his crack pipe to a hooker and they both decide to force the male escort to take drugs. I don’t see how any of this has to do with alternative personalities and the way I see it is that it’s a experimental way of showing breasts and ass. There’s actually a scene where Hyde gets angry that one of his favorite hookers, I assume, is dressed like a nun so he throws a chair at the head mistress and yells. I left these scenes scratching my head and wondering what just happened?

Perhaps I don’t quite get it because the entire sequences with Hyde felt very experimental with heightened sexual tensions. The way that I see it is the cocaine makes Hyde hallucinate things that may not be there, so all the weird sex scenes and drug abuse scenes may have all been hallucinatory. In that respect, maybe it was the filmmakers’ intension to show men in a foul way when exposed to psychotropic drugs. The drugs may have let out Jekyll’s suppressed demons and they took the form of Jack Hyde. Or maybe and probably more than likely, none of this is true and the scenes were just experimental mumbo-jumbo that they used for filler. I do agree with the title of the film. The movie pushes any sane person to the edge of sanity trying to make out what the story is about and what do nuns have to do with a brothel.


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