The admired and respected Dr. Jekyll is on the verge of creating a new drug. A drug that will eradicate the evil behavior that dwells deep within each man. Driven by success and love for his fiance, our Dr. urgently uses himself as a test subject. Doing so unleashing a terrible evil within. An evil hellbent on destruction and murder.
Adapted from the 1886 story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson; this 1931 horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March is one of my favorite classics from the golden age of horror. If you claim to love horror films and haven’t seen or heard of this film then you’re missing on an amazing portion of horror history. Watch the transformation scene in the video above and it will BLOW your mind. No CGI, just great makeup and lighting effects. This is truly a work of genius and craftsmanship in the trade of makeup. Fredric March plays both Dr. Jerkyll & Mr. Hyde and he’s amazingly brilliant. This film eventually won him an Academy Award. Those were the days, when actors in horror films won awards! That doesn’t happen a great deal and I think the last was Kathy Bates from Misery. That makes sense, Kathy Bates is such an awesome actor. She’s also a babe.
When Hyde makes his appearance, he is pure monster. He kills and pillages wherever he pleases. For a film from 1931; you have to admit its pretty bold and gruesome. At one point Hyde literally takes a woman hostage in her own home. He continually forces himself on her and abuses her like a dog. Eventually kills her and he has absolutely no remorse. WOOOO! Not even Jason Voorhees or Freddy Frueger does that kind of stuff.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a great story. I know it dwells in the same realms of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Pushing the boundaries of scientific research and the folly of man trying to play God. But I believe Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde means a little more than that.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde represents the evil within ourselves. The things about ourselves that we truly don’t understand and those things possibly coming out. Dr. Jekyll was a well regarded physician. Rich and powerful. Women craved him and young men wanted to be him. Yet within him is a terrible person. Like all of us. I believe we are like Dr. Jekyll, with some glimmer of Mr. Hyde deep within us. Beggint to be let out to do the deeds that would bring us nightmares. Or maybe not.
I believe this film perfectly illustrates this point. I know many people are fond of the 1941 adaptation starring Spencer Tracy. But this 1931 can’t be beat. Fredrick March’s approach on both Jekyll and Hyde is so well done that it kind of ends the argument.
Along with the brilliant performance, spectacular effects and great story, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has that classic film effect that is great for a late night viewing when the lights are out. For any horror historians, then this movie is sure to impress. Go check this movie out and enjoy.