Edge of Sanity (1989) – Blu-ray review

Sanity Edge1989.

Directed by Gérard Kikoïne.
With Anthony Perkins, Glynis Barber, David Lodge, Sarah Maur Thorp, Ben Cole and Harry Landis.


When Dr. Henry Jekyll’s experiments with using cocaine as an anesthetic spiral out of control, he transforms into the grotesque Mr. Hyde, who has taken a liking to killing sex workers in Victorian London.


An unsung gem of late 80s horror, Sanity Edge is a bizarre retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic short story Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but broken up with the real-life case of Jack the Ripper and delivered with one foot in a Victorian-era drama and the other in a neon-drenched 1980s slasher movie with a few artistic flourishes.

psychology Legend Anthony Perkins plays Dr. Henry Jekyll, a brilliant scientist who experiments with cocaine as an anesthetic so he can perform localized surgery without causing his patients pain. Jekyll also still suffers from the childhood trauma of watching his father have sex with a prostitute, then being beaten when he was caught, and when his experiments culminate in the inhalation of chemical fumes. , this inner trauma manifests in the form of Mr. Hyde, transforming the usually calm and gentle doctor into a grotesque madman who takes to the streets to kill prostitutes. Naturally, the police arrive and Jekyll’s wife starts asking questions, but can the good doctor keep his inner demons in check?


Well, no, he can’t, otherwise there wouldn’t be much to see, and Sanity Edge is a movie that wants you to watch it because visually it’s a fantastic period horror film. This may be because much of it was shot in Budapest rather than London – although there are some shots filmed in London for a bit of authenticity – but this setting is both very familiar and a little alien thanks to the odd camera angles and neon lighting that punctuate nearly every scene Mr. Hyde invades. Add to that some deliberately anachronistic choices—for example, one character uses a one-pound coin, which wouldn’t be in circulation for another century, as are the studded leather belts and various other costume choices sprinkled throughout it— and you have a world that may be Victorian on the surface, but there’s definitely an 1980s aesthetic that bleeds into Hyde’s world and throws your expectations off, letting you know the filmmakers – as well as the characters – don’t live up to it. the rules.

At this point in his career, Anthony Perkins seemed to have accepted that he was always going to be associated with the role of Norman Bates and would always be typecast as playing characters with some sort of split personality about them, and unlike many actors who have been framed to play a certain guy, Perkins delivers a tremendous performance, chewing up the scenery – and there’s plenty for him to binge – and taking on the role(s) with admirable abandon. The nervous stutter that made Norman Bates so endearing is there when Perkins is Jekyll, but when he’s Mr. Hyde Perkins goes into full psycho mode (with a little ‘p’), being confident and terrifying with the help of subtle but scary. makeup and the actor’s own ability to change facial expressions to create completely different personalities. Perkins also has a stunning build when in silhouette, with his shoulder pad shirts and jackets making him look bulkier and more menacing.


With strong support from Glynis Barber as Jekyll’s wife, Elisabeth, and Ben Cole as Johnny, a sex worker who befriends Mr. Hyde, Sanity Edge plays into more slasher movie territory than any Victorian murder mystery – after all, there’s no mystery because we know who does the murders – and watching Perkins stab and slash his victims in a way that much more graphic than in his previous films is hugely rewarding, especially since Mr. Hyde is closer to Freddy Krueger than Jack the Ripper thanks to his twisted sense of humor.

Naturally, with all that neon lighting on display, the picture quality of this Blu-ray is excellent, although Edge of Sanity does look a bit like a TV drama in places thanks to the costumes and sets, but the sharp picture and the bright colors against the black backgrounds are definitely worth the upgrade if you’ve only seen the previous DVD version. Extras come in the form of an informative audio commentary by writer David Flint and writer/filmmaker Sean Hogan, a riveting interview with author Stephen Thrower about the film, an interview with the director Gérard Kikoïne and an interesting interview with Jack the Ripper expert Dr. Clare. Smith, author of Jack the Ripper in film and culturewhich adds context to the movie’s Ripper content.


Globally, Sanity Edge is great fun and delivers a heart-pounding 90 minutes of sordid sex and violence filtered through a lens of Victorian darkness and 1980s fluorescence. Anthony Perkins is obviously the main focus, and he doesn’t disappoint as he gets to gurn, cry and murder throughout the film, managing to be both sympathetic and repulsive, but not just being sweet and gentle Norman Bates in Victorian London and instead really going for it with the characters Jekyll and Hyde . It’s a shame that this movie is often overlooked on lists of 1980s slashers, general horror movies, or as one of those one-off horror movies that never got a sequel (as it might have). do thanks to a gorgeous final shot) but hopefully now it’s released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video it will finally get its due.

Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

Neighborhood Chris


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