The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne aka Blood of Dr. Jekyll – France/West Germany, 1981

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‘Recourse to evil runs rampant against the laws of human restraint’

Docteur Jekyll et les femmes – also known as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne – is a 1981 French–West German erotic horror film directed by Walerian Borowczyk (The Beast). It has also been released as Blood of Dr. Jekyll, Bloodbath of Dr. Jekyll and The Experiment

The film is a variation on Robert Louis Stevenson’s story Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and stars Udo Kier, Marina Pierro, Patrick Magee and Howard Vernon. Electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani provided the score.

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Plot teaser:

The film takes place before, during and immediately after the engagement party of Dr.Henry Jekyll and Miss Fanny Osborne, attended by numerous highly respectable guests (a general, a doctor, a priest, a lawyer), the last of which informs the company that a child has been murdered in the street outside. While the others watch a young dancer perform, Dr.Jekyll instructs the lawyer to alter his will, leaving everything to a certain Mr.Hyde. Shortly afterwards, the dancer is found murdered, and the guests realise that one of their number must be a maniac with a prodigious sexual appetite…

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The film was released in France in 1981 and won the award for “Best Feature Film Director” at the 1981 Sitges Film Festival for Borowczyk.

Buy on Arrow Video Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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Reviews:

“The film’s visual style is very well in tune with Boro’s previous works which, of course, throws it out of sync with other early ’80s horror pictures. Many static camera shots, expressionistic compositions, and non-linear editing designed to mimic foreshadowing succeed in throwing the viewer off kilter perhaps more often than many viewers would be comfortable with. However, the ethereal nature of the film’s narrative style and languid shooting, along with the arch performances from Kier and co-star Patrick Magee, turn the film from a straight forward horror film to something much more challenging and interesting to the curious viewer.” Charlie Hobbs, Twitch

 

‘This is utterly brilliant filmmaking that packs a tremendous wallop. In its sheer unleashed anarchy, Jekyll bests anything Godard came up with to suggest the crack-up of Western civilisation in Week-End (1967).’ Ferdy on Films

‘It’s obvious here that Borowczyk wanted to push some ideas he had explored in his previous films, most notably the celebrated blood bathing scene in Immoral Tales and the entire storyline of The Beast (which similarly dealt with a house filled with eccentrics celebrating an upcoming wedding, an engaged woman hiding a sensual side to her personality, and a groom with a grotesque secret). However, this was his first real foray into full-blooded horror territory, and he proves more than up to the task right from the eerie opening sequence.’ Mondo Digital

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‘Though its weird, flowing cinematic style makes it a little difficult to follow at times, I think it actually does an interesting job of updating the story for more permissive times, and it actually has a enough real horror and shock to make it not seem like a literary adaptation.’ Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

‘Borowczyk’s take on the Robert Louis Stevenson story, translated and infused with the director’s unique brand of visually perverse surrealism, unwinds with the dual-sided Dr. Jekyll and infamous alter-ego bringing misogyny, sex, murder and an over-sized ostensibly fake penis into sweaty focus! The Blood of Dr. Jekyll represents a milestone in sleazy filmmaking – showcasing the extreme nihilism of Stevenson’s infamous character…’ Pre-Cert.co.uk

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Artwork by Martin Buchan

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IMDb | Image thanks: Pre-Cert.co.uk |

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4 Comments on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne aka Blood of Dr. Jekyll – France/West Germany, 1981”

    1. i think the first time i saw Dr Jekyll on video it was via one of those dreadful ‘special 1 hour edition’ releases that were around back then, where someone had chopped about half an hour out of the film in order to fit it onto a cheap 1 hour tape (House of Whipcord, Day of the Triffids and Frankenstein’s Island were some of the other films that got this treatment). if i remember rightly the ‘special edition’ jumped from Hyde’s murder of the child to the disscovery of the dancer’s body, eliminating the introduction to all the main characters in the process!!, amazing some of the crap horror fans had to put up with back then.

  1. Those 1980s video covers are a even bigger eyesore than I remember, saying that the bargain basement video releases of this and The Beast deserve some credit for bringing his work to a wider audience in Britain. I do suspect many people will have picked up the Arrow release of this and the Camera Obscura box set on the basis of 1980s encounters with ‘The Bloodbath of Dr Jekyll’ and ‘Death’s Ecstasy’. To misquote Jim Bowen “You can’t beat a bit of Borowczyk”.

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