• Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: August 18th, 2019.
    Director: Charles B. Griffith
    Cast: Oliver Reed, Sunny Johnson, Virgil Frye, Mel Welles
    Year: 1980
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    Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Charles B. Griffith for Cannon Films in 1980, and clearly inspired by a certain Robert Louis Stevenson classic, Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype stars Oliver Reed as Dr. Henry Heckyl, an ugly podiatrist. A really ugly podiatrist – his face is a mess, covered in boils and lumps, his skin is all grey, he looks like a monster and he’s got terrible hair. As such, nobody will go near him and for that reason, he’s never been able to find the love his heart so strongly desires.

    Then one day a friend of his, Dr. Hinkle (Mel Welles), comes up with a solution kind of by accident. He’s been working on a weight loss formula and created one with an interesting side effect – when you take it, you turn into what you want to be. This allows the user to turn into their physical ideal, simply by taking one single drop, and if can make ugly, overweight women then and beautiful, maybe it can make a troll like Heckyl into a Romeo. And it does, but he drinks not one drop but rather the whole bottle, turning him into Mr. Hype, the physical manifestation of his id.

    Hype proves an instant it with the ladies, and before you know it, he’s lined a not insignificant number of sexual conquests – and then killed them. When Hype reverts back to Heckyl, he has no idea what his alter ego has been up to, let alone that he’s been dumping their corpses out behind his home. Lt. Mack Druck (Virgil Frye), however, has been paying attention, all while Heckyl hope to win the heard of one of his patients, the lovely Coral Careen (Sunny Johnson).

    Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype is a weird film in that it’s so painfully unfunny that it is somehow quite amusing. Your mileage may vary, of course, but there’s something endearing about a movie that is such an obvious train wreck in so many ways as this one is, making you wonder who made the decision to bankroll this and why. It obviously had a bit of a budget behind it and Griffith had, prior to this film, proved quite adapt at creating enjoyable and sometimes legitimately great cult movies (his work with Roger Corman are proof of this fact) but this one is a big ol’ stinker in more ways than one.

    Reed’s a great actor, few would argue this fact, but casting the man who played Dr. Raglan in The Brood and Grandier in The Devils in a cornball roll is a pretty odd choice. Not that Reed isn’t versatile, because he most certainly is, but few would argue that comedic acting was the man’s strong point. That said, he gives it his best shot here, even while looking remarkably awkward under the heavy makeup appliances. Welles is also kind of amusing to watch, while Sunny Johnson makes a likeable, if vapid, love interest.

    The movie is also surprisingly stylish at times. It is quite well shot and the use of color in the picture is really nicely done. There’s a bit more technical polish here than you might expect to see. It doesn’t make the bad jokes any less bad or the awkward vibe of all of this any less awkward, but if nothing else, this is an interesting, is completely misguided, curiosity item.

    Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype – Blu-ray Review:

    Scorpion Releasing brings Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen taken from a ‘new 2019 master.’ Overall, it looks quite nice. Colors are reproduced very nicely, the reds and greens and other primaries in particular are bright and bold and often times quite impressive. Detail is pretty strong throughout and there’s nice depth and texture as well. There are no noticeable problems with compression nor are there any issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement issues.

    This disc offers up an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track with optional subtitles available in English only. No problems here, the track is clean and nicely balanced, with perfectly audible dialogue. Range is a little limited, which makes sense given the fact that this is an older single channel track, but there’s a reasonable amount of depth here.

    Extras are slim, limited to menus and chapter selection as well as bonus trailers for 3:15, Night Visitor, The Cycle Savages, P.O.W. The Escape and Act Of Vengeance (aka Rape Squad!).

    Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype – The Final Word:

    Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype is patently ridiculous, but Reed is a lot of fun here in a really odd way, and the movie is occasionally quite stylish despite its inherent goofiness. Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray debut is light on extras but it does look and sound quite good strong. A fun watch, overall, but you have been warned – it’s legitimately terrible.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype Blu-ray screen caps!