While the majority of film adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's literary classic, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", tend to center their attention on the story's memorable portrayal of a duel persona split in two, others have elected to rework the material for comedy, with a tendency to focus on the underlying sexual connotations. Jerry Lewis famously got the ball rolling with THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, in which the meek and awkward Professor Kelp uncovers a formula that allows him to transform into ladies man, Buddy Love, setting a comedic blueprint that would be copied and remade time and again. While most comedic interpretations of Stevenson’s classic would fail to hit their mark, (Sean Young and Tim Daly in DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE comes to mind as being particularly tragic) JEKYLL AND HYDE... TOGETHER AGAIN is one of the few that delivers on both laughs and ingenuity. It's a clever and fast paced farce that is sure to find a welcome position next to such similar fare as TOP SECRET! and HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART 1.
Finding residence at Our Lady of Pain And Suffering, Hubert Howes (Peter Brocco, THE KILLING KIND) is in dire need of a complete transplant -- heart, lungs, kidneys, testicles, the works. With unlimited funds at his disposal, Hubert has specifically requested that Dr. David Jekyll (Mark Blankfield), one of the world’s leading surgeons, be scheduled to perform the risky and demanding procedure. Unfortunately for Mr. Howes, Dr. Jekyll has decided to turn his back on surgery and instead focus his attention on pharmaceuticals. Dr. Jekyll’s ongoing research in creating a drug that would enhance one's natural animal instincts has yet to produce any positive results, but Jekyll has proven steadfast in achieving his goal. Not even Jekyll’s boss Dr. Carew’s (Michael McGuire) empty threat of intervening in the young doctor's engagement to daughter Mary (Bess Armstrong, JAWS 3-D), will stray him from turning his back on surgery. After a long night of cataloging earlier failures, Jekyll inadvertently snorts a powdery concoction that transforms him into the spastic, gyrating Hyde. Sprouting chest hair, jewelry, a gold tooth and an unruly head of hair, Hyde gathers as much of the white powder as he can and heads out into the night in search of a good time.
Smitten by call girl Ivy (Krista Erickson), Hyde tracks the young gal down at the local sushi parlor/punk rock club, Madam Woo Woo's, where she is performing with her new wave band, The Shitty Rainbows. The smooth talking Hyde takes little time to converse himself into Ivy’s bed but the following morning, it’s Dr. Jekyll who awakens to clean up the mess. Guilt ridden, Jekyll tries to spice up his relationship with his fiancée, but the feeling of freedom and sexual empowerment that Hyde has introduced to him becomes more addictive by the hour. Eventually agreeing to perform the surgery on Mr. Howes, Jekyll attempts to break free from his alter ego once and for all by flushing the remaining powder down the drain. However, Hyde has gotten a taste of the pleasures and excesses that the world has to offer and is not about to go without a fight.
JEKYLL AND HYDE... TOGETHER AGAIN is an unmistakable byproduct of the 1980s. Unconcerned with any notion of political correctness, the film pokes fun at many of the touchstone issues of the time, such as the increasing popularity of cocaine, and fully exploits such trends as video arcades and the emerging hardcore punk scene. Mark Blankfield has a tremendous amount of fun with his dual role, contrasting Jekyll's deadpan delivery with an over the top performance as the enigmatic Hyde. Impressive special effects hearten Blankfield’s performance and transformation into Hyde and provide for some of the film’s largest laughs. Several years later, Mark would play the lead in the televised sequel to Steve Martin’s THE JERK, THE JERK, TOO, and would continue to work regularly in television on a number of popular shows. Mark is however most recognizable from Mel Brooks ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS, where he steals the show as Robin's blind advisor, Blinkin.
Produced by Joel Silver, most noted for producing THE MATRIX and LETHAL WEAPON films, JEKYLL AND HYDE is peppered with a number of familiar faces, most of whom have less than two lines of dialogue, if any. Tim Thomerson (TRANCERS) plays cross-dressing plastic surgeon Dr. Lanyon, and is a key player in one of the film's many unforgettable scenes. Distracted by collogue Jekyll’s emotional confession, Dr. Lanyon botches a boob job to epic proportions, although the surprisingly thankful patient doesn’t think her husband will mind. Lin Shaye has a brief scene as a nurse opposite the spastic Hyde. A noticeable face from CRITTERS and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, she is probably most recognizable from her often vomit-inducing roles in the Farrelly brothers comedies KINGPIN and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. A quick eye will notice a young Barret Oliver getting an egg smashed into his hair at a supermarket. In a few short years, Barret would become a popular child star with roles in D.A.R.Y.L. and COCOON. George Wendt, Norm from the television show "Cheers", plays an injured patient wary of Dr. Jekyll’s peculiar behavior, but look quick because he is only briefly heard and seen in profile. Poor Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), who plays Dr. Jekyll’s right hand nurse, has a number of scenes but wears a face mask with a lipstick kiss imprint throughout her screen time that completely covers her lovely face. If not for her distinctive voice and recognizable cleavage, you'd never know it was even her. Robert Louis Stevenson even makes a brief cameo just before the end credits.
Legend Films’ release of JEKYLL AND HYDE... TOGETHER AGAIN is a bare bones affair, but what's lacking in special features is made up for in presentation. On hand in an anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, JEKYLL AND HYDE is bright and clear in both sound and image. With only a minimal amount of speckling found over the opening Paramount logo, picture quality is sharp and colors pleasant. The mono sound is clear and overall there’s very little to nitpick in regards to the film's presentation. JEKYLL AND HYDE’s small but strong cult following can finally put to rest those fading VHS tapes and fond memories of late night airings on USA Network's “Up All Night”, and fans can take solace in finally being able to add this little seen gem to their DVD collection. (Jason McElreath)
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