A throwaway sequel if there ever was one, 1998’s I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER attempts to contend with some of the guilt that carries over from the 1997 original but finds little down the line. Directed by Danny Cannon, who helmed 1995’s JUDGE DREDD, this slasher picture isn’t a travesty but it’s not memorable. It follows the formula of its predecessor pretty well and features enough of those good old workable parts, but something’s missing.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is back as Julie James and she’s haunted by the events of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. She doesn’t want to return home, so she’s hanging out at college in Boston. After a friend (Brandy) wins a vacation to the Bahamas, Julie invites her boyfriend Ray (Freddie Prinze, Jr.). She’s upset when he declines in order to serve a plot twist. Two other dudes (Mekhi Phifer and Matthew Settle) go with the two girls and the party’s on, at least until Julie starts freaking out and people start turning up dead.
Hewitt is a good screamer, capable of hitting these little shrieks that staccato their way through the floorboards. She’s also featured on the soundtrack, with her song “How Do I Deal” showing up briefly. She’s not exactly the Monica to Brandy’s character, however, and there is a distinct lack of chemistry between the two leads. The longwinded path Ray takes to get to the proceedings is likewise lacking in tension.
Atmosphere is supposed to matter in I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and that’s why the Bahamas resort is staffed by a series of weirdos. There’s also a hurricane approaching, which explains the lack of other guests. Imagining the possibilities is frustrating: try a pillaging teenager-addicted monstrosity stalking through a fully-stocked resort in search of prey, including a springy Hewitt. Sadly, the potential is lost along with Jack Black’s dignity and this lukewarm movie just fades away.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER is the sort of movie that airs on television about 1,053 times a year and carries with it a few simple rewards, few of which are related to its quality or capacity. This 1997 slasher is evidently (and loosely) based on a 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan, with a screenplay by SCREAM’s Kevin Williamson. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER isn’t as clever or knowing as SCREAM, but it unpacks in a reliable fashion and features quite a few workable parts.
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze, Jr., and Sarah Michelle Gellar are the most workable of parts. They play a group of teenagers and they’re graduating high school. One night, they run someone over and get rid of the body because a little unintentional murder is always devastating to young lives. A year later, someone starts pestering the group about the killing. There are a few suspects and paranoia grows. Soon, the bodies start piling up and a murderer with a rain slicker is on the loose.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER is the function of formula, but with a hook. There is a crime, a coverup. There is reprisal, but the audience sides with the original sinners because they’re just a bunch of well-meaning, doe-eyed kids. By the time the picture ends, a cop asks Prinze, Jr.’s character if he has any idea why the slicker-wearing executioner would want the group dead. Holding his girlfriend in his arms, he poker-faces ahead and tells the truth. “None,” he says.
Leaving aside questions of morality and sin, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER runs the gamut of teenage slasher fare. The killer chases around some attractive youths, with the pliable girls and muscular guys providing plenty of pre-vampire eye candy. There’s a lot of screaming and chasing and jump scares. Anne Heche shows up as a distant lady whose entire life is a jump scare. And Johnny Galecki, a red herring in a fishing town, is obviously the better fit for Julie (Hewitt). Right?
In the oeuvre of Jean-Claude Van Damme, NOWHERE TO RUN is spectacularly generic. This 1993 actioner is akin to a made-for-TV movie and would pass as such were it not for a few moments of resilient nudity and a touch of violence. What makes this effort distinctive is that it features writing by Joe Eszterhas, who penned screenplays for BASIC INSTINCT, SHOWGIRLS and FLASHDANCE. NOWHERE TO RUN is nothing like the aforementioned.
Van Damme is Sam, a convict from Quebec serving time somewhere in the United States. He escapes custody and goes on the lam, where he winds up at a farmhouse owned by Clydie (Rosanna Arquette). She’s a widow with two kids (Kieran Culkin and Tiffany Taubman) and she’s got trouble in the form of a property developer (Joss Ackland) who wants her land. This leads to a few physical run-ins with Sam and some thugs, with the criminal’s real identity stirring up even more trouble.
NOWHERE TO RUN is disappointingly typical. It dawdles like a modern western, with Van Damme eschewing some of his more electrifying momentum in favour of less primitive confrontations. The fight scenes are forgettable, especially as we are to believe Ted Levine as a match for the kick-ass rebel who likes to bathe in the river. Van Damme’s Sam is heavy on the conversation here, which is a problem because Van Damme’s Sam isn’t too good at the conversation here.
NOWHERE TO RUN is too elusive for its own good. The movie has no guts. There is a swipe of salaciousness when Sam peeps on a stark-naked Clydie, plus a love scene suggests something more virile in the mix. But Eszterhas’ screenplay, also written by Les Bohem with story help by RETURN OF THE JEDI director Richard Marquand, is a blunted blade. The writer has all but disowned NOWHERE TO RUN. Van Damme, too, is dismissive of this whole affair and that, as you might imagine, is for the best.
Tom Shadyac’s ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE is obnoxious. It’s joyfully bothersome and that’s a big part of its crude charm, with Jim Carrey turning in a peculiar performance as repellent as it is animated. In some sense, this 1994 comedy maybe ought to be strictly for a young audience. But that’s offensive to children and young audiences, who are (and were) just as likely to find these unwell antics off-putting. ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, then, exists in a kind of comedic Gehenna.
Carrey is the title character and he is indeed a pet detective. He is pressed into the biggest case of his career when the Miami Dolphins’ mascot is hijacked. Ventura teams with the publicist (Courtney Cox) of the football club to track down the actual dolphin. This leads to a series of adventures and comedic situations, like when Ventura invades a billionaire’s posh party or when he narrows the lens on a football rivalry that may have serious implications for one Dan Marino.
Nothing about ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE is taken the least bit seriously, which can be maddening for those looking for lucidity. This is a self-destructive mainstream comedy. It plays from a character with no ability to maintain propriety, chomping on extraneous matters like plot and continuity with an open mouth. It burps, farts and talks with its own ass. It moves sideways, a slick and stupid pompadour pointed scathingly at polite society. It’s hard to imagine such a thing being popular these days.
Calling Carrey’s character annoying goes without saying. There’s no indication that the comic actor isn’t trying to be desperately exasperating, so the mission is accomplished with happy vigour. One of the only (slightly) comparable characters in modern cinema seems to be Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, a character also immersed in the energetic problems of the 1990s. In ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, Carrey is the superhero in the Aloha shirt, a boot up his own talking ass. A brassy, hideous joke at everyone’s expense.
By his standards, Michael Bay’s BAD BOYS is rather quaint. It’s a typical 1990s-era actioner, a buddy comedy built on two solid stars and bolstered with the slippery movement, coiling overheads and obnoxious theatrics that would make the director infamous through subsequent entries. It’s also an amusing trifle, a mostly innocuous prod at masculinity and “cop stuff” that runs the gamut of chases, explosions and misunderstandings.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star as Miami cops Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett, respectively. They’re tasked with tracking down whoever pinched a pile of drugs from the police vault. IA believes it’s an inside job and the plot establishes the need to seek out informants and other shady characters. Meanwhile, the bad guys bust up a party and kill one such informant. This leads the informant’s pal Julie Mott (Téa Leoni) to require police protection, which in turn leads to one of those misunderstandings.
BAD BOYS is the product of an enthusiastic sense of action and that works for its boyish target audience. There’s plenty of good laughs for those in the mood, but further examination reveals that this thing really is a muddle of clichés and riffs. Like most Bay outings, there’s nothing intricate about the plot or the characters. Things balance on a shoestring of foreseeable reactions, like how there’s some confusion from Marcus that Mike is getting it on with his wife (Theresa Randle) or how the captain (Joe Pantoliano) yells a lot and smokes a cigar when he shoots hoops.
The lensing by Howard Atherton is sun-kissed and saturated in every ounce of filter that can be mustered, which gives things a cinematic feel and allows Bay confidence. There neat angles, like little curls down a staircase or overheads that show just how packed the aptly-named Club Hell is. The finale is likewise confidently shot, with a big X marking the spot for action as though things need to be more on the nose. This cements BAD BOYS as exactly what it is: a big, raucous, entertaining brick of a movie.
Directed by TOY STORY 3’s Lee Unkrich, COCO is a stunning vision of beauty and life. This 2017 Pixar picture is the stuff of cinematic wonder, with a screenplay by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich. It weaves a timely and timeless story that explores the Mexican Día de Muertos and notions of memory, family and life. It is an expressive and sometimes dark movie, with confident humour and warm voice performances.
The story focuses on 12-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), an aspiring musician living with his shoemaking family in Santa Cecilia. His grandmother (Renée Victor) is upholding a familial ban on music and prohibits Miguel from playing his guitar. The boy is undaunted and wants to be like the famed Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), a captivating idol revered the world over notwithstanding his untimely death. Miguel’s journey to understand his family and his love of music reveals the truth about his hero and takes him all the way to the Land of the Dead itself.
COCO thrives with gorgeous music and colour, celebrating the worlds of the living and dead. The early images of Miguel’s home are profuse with flavour, with Pixar’s animation team paying careful attention to the slightest of details. There is always food and movement. With the Day of the Dead approaching, there is also festivity and tradition. Miguel’s family is, like so many fabled clans, reverent of traditions and yet in need of revelation.
At the heart of COCO is what could be termed a misinterpretation of events. The grudge against song is unspoken in a broken heart, in a mislaid life. Gael García Bernal gracefully draws Héctor as the hinge of this fallacy and his affection for Miguel leaps for joy. The title character, a woman (Ana Ofelia Murguía) slipping away, is characteristic of how the living maintain a grasp on the lost and how the lost are left with a place in the here and now so long as they are remembered. And in the face of doubt, sorrow and despair, COCO’s message is beautifully important.
Every so often, a movie comes along that almost prods one back to life. Rino Di Silvestro’s WEREWOLF WOMAN isn’t necessarily that movie, but this 1976 Italian horror picture does pack enough punch to warrant a mention. This is almost entirely the project of Di Silvestro, who’s also blessed the cinematic world with such outings as WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 and THE EROTIC DREAMS OF CLEOPATRA.
WEREWOLF WOMAN is the tale of a young woman named Daniella (Annik Borel). She is, to put it plainly, going through some stuff. She has what some hirsute clinicians refer to as a “sexual phobia” and it’s not hard to determine why given the way men have treated her. This phobia branches out into what could best be described as a lycanthropic fixation, which is to say that poor Daniella imagines herself to be a werewolf. This is based on an ancestral legend and subsequently leads to a trail of blood, murder and nudity.
In a sense, WEREWOLF WOMAN runs like a road movie with flavours of revenge. It commences with a woman dancing around in a fire circle and ends in similar fashion, so everything burns in Di Silvestro’s pseudo-academic universe. Daniella moves through various episodic plot points, from a stay in an institution to a relationship with a stuntman (Howard Ross). Nothing overly goes well for the heroine and few encounters end without someone gnawing on someone’s throat.
Lest it be though that WEREWOLF WOMAN is not a semi-serious study of serious matters, Di Silvestro’s casts things as more psychological thriller than horror. That calls Mario Capriotti’s lens to commit to all sorts of tricks, including rapid zooms and befuddling wheels. It’s all part of the fun of putting the viewer inside Daniella’s righteously warped mind. The best and most troubling scenes toy with how quickly the sexual can become violent. And, truth be told, vice versa.
To say that THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES, the ninth and final movie in Hammer Film Productions’ DRACULA series, differs from the rest would be the ultimate understatement. This 1974 outing is a joint production between Hammer and the venerable Shaw Brothers Studio. Roy Ward Baker is credited as the director, but Chang Cheh had a hand in things as well. The screenplay is the work of Don Houghton.
The movie opens in Transylvania circa 1804, with a shaman (Chan Shen) summoning Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson). This pisses off the vampire, but he inhabits the body of the shaman and heads for China. A century later, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is trying to convince the Chinese intelligentsia of the existence of vampires. Only Hsi Ching (David Chiang) believes him. Ching tells Van Helsing about vampires in his village and the fight is on.
THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES is about as good as it has any business being. It manages a rather sophisticated meshing of worlds and cultures, with the Westerners admiring the martial arts displays of Ching and his siblings and the Chinese surprised by the starchy brainpower of the Brits. One character, the well-heeled Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege), seems to straddle the line. She eschews the anticipated “fragility” of the Western woman while craving adventure.
Also shunning the notion is Mai Kwei, played by Shaw Brothers stalwart Shih Szu. She draws the eye of Van Helsing’s son (Robin Stewart) and holds her own against the vampires and gangsters of the unknown. She is as tough as the rest of the characters, which leads things back to Cushing and his brain. He delivers the final blow, both to the Count and to the series, and his command is as assured as ever. It’s a remarkable conclusion to a remarkable series.
FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL has the distinction of being the last of Hammer Film Productions’ FRANKENSTEIN series and the last movie directed by the great Terence Fisher, who helmed THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1957. The journey from there to here passed through a great many brains and body parts, but FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL seems a significant if not particularly final turn of the screw.
The movie opens with Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) taking a great interest in the work of one Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing). He’s busted for “sorcery” and sent to an asylum, where he draws the attention of the depraved director (John Stratton) and his malevolent staff. But as luck would have it, the asylum has the one and only Baron Frankenstein serving as its medical director. And guess what? He’s still doing experiments. Helder and Frankenstein work together to once again create a monster.
FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL comes on the heels of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, which is the most brutal of the series. It found its Baron in an almost incorrigible place, so it stands to reason that he’s in the margins now. And while this 1974 picture does find Cushing’s character enjoying a modicum of success within the borders of an asylum, there’s sure darkness to the possibilities and blackness to the academic comedy. How seriously his science will be taken in the land of the insane is up for grabs, especially with his hands on the fritz.
Of course, it’s hard to entirely respect the Baron. In this instance, he’s yanking the body parts of the criminally insane patients of the asylum. He’s a moral individual in contrast to the director, who takes sexual advantage of the patients, but that’s not saying much. And when his latest conception is born a shaggy man-beast with generous lips, he’s a little disappointed it doesn’t quite catch on intellectually. But as anyone who’s been following the script so far is aware, a more suitable brain is always right around the corner.
Hammer Film Productions takes a swing at a franchise with CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER. This 1974 outing was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who made a lot of hay in the 1960s with THE AVENGERS on television. In many ways, CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is suggestive of the TV show, with its handsome hero and sexy sidekick and know-it-all buddy. But in many other ways, this movie is a bore.
Things begin in a village where people are being drained of their life essence. Dr. Marcus (John Carson) summons Captain Kronos (Horst Janson), an old pal with a specific set of skills. Kronos shows up with his hunchback Hieronymus Grost (John Cater) and it is determined that a different sort of vampire is responsible for the terrible events. Kronos, Grost and the gypsy Carla (Caroline Munro) get to work at overcoming the profound, youth-loving evil.
While CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER has the pieces to function as a brisk, pulpy vampire movie, it’s a tough sell. The biggest problem lies with the title character and Janson, who occupies the role with negligible charm. He’s a granite-carved dope, a mimbo with wooden delivery. He lacks the swashbuckler appeal his character requires and the film blunders around him. Even Munro’s Carla fails to slog much out of his tank.
There are some decent details on the periphery. Munro is nice to look at for those so inclined, while Grost is an entertaining character with a love for chess and esoteric knowledge. Clemens isn’t afraid to pop in a droll line or two and there’s some good stuff involving the village tormenter (Ian Hendry). The vampires come together in the context of the Durward’s youth obsession, but the circle drifts back to the Captain. Thusly considered, it’s probably a blessing that the franchise hopes for CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER withered on the vine.
Perhaps best known for being the final cinematic smackdown between Christopher Lee’s Count Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA is a pretty decent effort from Hammer Film Productions. This 1973 outing is directed by Alan Gibson and features a screenplay by Don Houghton. It comes on the heels of DRACULA A.D. 1972 and likewise utilizes a contemporaneous setting in which to work its dark magic.
After an undercover agent (Maurice O’Connell) flees the scene of some Satanic rituals, the Secret Intelligence Service has some questions. They’re most interested in why four prominent members of British society have been taking part in such rites, so they ask occult expert Lorrimar Van Helsing (Cushing) for assistance. The spies and the vampire slayer put together the clues and determine that Count Dracula (Lee) is alive and well and scheming to bring back a dastardly version of the Black Plague.
There is a method to the Count’s madness in that he palpably opposes the “decadence” of modern society and wants to cure its ills by wiping it the hell out. He dispatches a government official and a biochemist (Freddie Jones), among others, and promises them power in exchange for their vassalage. This intermingling of occultism and vampirism seems to strike these sophisticated men right where they itch, speaking power to power in a livid amalgam of all that’s evil.
In THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, the Count becomes the villain in a spy picture and one almost imagines 007 crashing through a nearby doorway to save the world. Not only does Lee’s character establish a supervillain cadre, his designs on domination are more explicitly stated than his other impetuous, blood-driven schemes. When he and Van Helsing face off across a desk in a chatty confrontation, it feels almost official and the two share transitory respect. As usual, it doesn’t end well.
DEMONS OF THE MIND is, bluntly, a madcap movie from Hammer Film Productions. This 1972 outing is directed by Peter Sykes, with a screenplay by Christopher Wicking. It is sometimes a rebellious tale of psychological profundity and inner sanctum horror, but it is also a hare-brained piece of work beset by breath-taking accents and thick overacting. Stringing the plot together, such as it is, remains an exercise in futility.
Nevertheless, the tale begins and ends with Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy). He’s living with his two adult children. His daughter is Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) and she keeps running off, only to be brought back to the manor and drugged. His son is Emil (Shane Briant), who remains at the house but trudges around in a daze. Baron Zorn is infatuated with the idea that something is wrong with the blood of his line, so he calls Dr. Falkenberg (Patrick Magee). Also, people keep getting murdered in the forest.
When the film begins, Elizabeth is returned home after yet another jaunt and Baron Zorn is overheard reading Psalm 38. The passage finds David contending with God’s fury, so its suitability in DEMONS OF THE MIND is compelling. Baron Zorn is bathed in guilt and he is as obsessed with blood purity as certain modern polo shirt fanatics, which puts him in a rather unsteady mental state. What’s more, he buries the odd body in the water.
How the elements come together is the weakness of DEMONS OF THE MIND, but it also sets up the ornate and nutty conclusion. For all its talk about blood, virginity, incest, impotence, and suicide, Sykes’ turn for the worst involves some hypnosis and an ill-advised game of dress-up. There’s an angry mob to head things off at the pass, too. Hammer kind of recovers this endeavour with its commitment to mania and Arthur Grant’s lush lensing, but there really is no soundness in the flesh. At all.
There’s something decidedly far out about DRACULA A.D. 1972, a movie so hazy and nebulous that it feels out of time. The Hammer Film Productions effort from director Alan Gibson tries to resuscitate the DRACULA legend in a modern context, with Don Houghton’s screenplay providing the foundation for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to renew their classic enmity. But this picture is far removed from their bloody good HORROR OF DRACULA smackdown in 1958.
After a brief introduction that illustrates a skirmish between Count Dracula (Lee) and Van Helsing (Cushing), the action flings forward a century. A group of London “teens” is seeking a new thrill and they turn to Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) for help. He drags them to a shadowy castle, where he performs a ritual to summon Satan or a reasonable facsimile. The sacrament brings Dracula back to life instead. Meanwhile, Van Helsing’s relations are battle-ready.
DRACULA A.D. 1972 is very much about ritual. The film exists in a ceremony of the 1970s, with the teenagers focused on partying and causing mayhem. They throw a party in a mansion. One of them dresses up like a monk and Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham) is doing her best to get along. Alucard, along with hoping nobody pays attention to how his name reads in reverse, is dreams of distant, gloomy power.
The rituals draw on a Count Dracula who, like the rest of the picture, is out of time. Lee’s intimidating aura is a perfect blend with Mike Vickers’ wacky score, which is likewise out of place. The gallant rancour that spills from the lead vampire is thrust upon the world and patent as a man waiting around for teenagers to provide his nourishment, like a rapacious agent without the will to go outside. Van Helsing is likewise stuck, at least until the end, and the promise of final peace is again thrown to the wind.
It may be a form of sacred justice to visit the iniquities of the fathers on the children and even the children’s children, but this conception bears particularly ruthless fruit in Hammer Film Productions’ VAMPIRE CIRCUS. This 1972 movie by director Robert Young is a vicious piece of work and it carries a mind-altering quality that stems from the Judson Kinberg screenplay. This outing is one of Hammer’s darkest and most portentous productions.
After denizens of the Serbian village of Stetl kill the vampire Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman) and burn down his castle, he swears revenge. That comes to fruition in subsequent years as Stetl is thrust into disease. The neighbouring villages have even constructed a barricade to ensure absolute isolation. One day, a circus gets through the blockade. But there’s a problem: the circus performers are tasked with visiting the fullness of Mitterhaus’ curse on the villagers.
Young’s interest in generational blame is taken to some disturbing places and he does not spare the gruesome details. Children are attacked by vampires and animals alike. A family is mauled by a black panther in the woods, while the young students at a boarding school meet a grisly end. The vampiric circus is unyielding in its application of vengeance and the older men of Stetl are helpless. Redemption once more falls to the young.
VAMPIRE CIRCUS really is a dark motion picture and Young maintains an adamant tone of misery. The villagers have been through everything in the revenge rolodex, but Count Mitterhaus isn’t done with them. That this reprisal isn’t just from any moral standpoint matters little, as the children are the prime targets for the aristocrat’s cruel retaliation. It is depressingly characteristic that the young pay for the ways of their elders and VAMPIRE CIRCUS draws blood, sinking deep into the vein of morality, punishment and profane evil.
DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE is Hammer Film Productions’ third adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, with THE UGLY DUCKLING and THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL preceding it. This 1971 Roy Ward Baker picture has little to no connection with its precursors, but it does forge a compelling yarn about what happens when scientific research goes too far. The Brian Clemens screenplay adds a fair dose of humour to the mix.
Dr. Henry Jekyll (Ralph Bates) is researching a panacea to cure all disease when his friend and colleague (Gerald Sim) reminds him of his mortality. This leads Dr. Jekyll to switch things up and he begins to develop an elixir of immortality, with female hormones as the critical ingredient. He begins to come up with various ways to acquire these hormones, with a pair of body snatchers doing the job for a while. When the elixir materializes, Dr. Jekyll tries it and experiences a remarkable result.
The Sister Hyde aspect of DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE contends with ideas of sex and gender, with the not-so-good doctor transforming into a beautiful woman (Martine Beswick). This twist on the Stevenson tale contends with the merging of male and female physicality and male and female wants, with Dr. Jekyll’s neighbours providing more than a few romantic opportunities. Sister Hyde begins to manifest herself more clearly, which leads to no end of trouble.
DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE is a film about juxtaposition, so it makes sense that Baker and cinematographer Norman Warwick delves into it with delight. An early scene contrasts the butchering of a rabbit with the killing of a prostitute, while a transformation scene uses the figures of a clock to typify the change. The movie also uses the history of Jack the Ripper and Burke and Hare as context, establishing a further distorting of the lines between fiction, reality and whatever lies in the crimson splatter between.