Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype 1980

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The opening credits of Mr Heckyl and Mr Hype offer ‘apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson’; it’s fair to say that writer/director Charles B Griffith has some apologising to do. This astonishing in all the wrong ways comedy sees a game Oliver Reed in a modern reworking on the old story; Dr Heckyl is a podiatrist who is thwarted in romance by his hideous looks. A potion offers him a chance at the different life, but his appearance, as the saturnine Mr Hype doesn’t make life much easier. Not a straight horror, Griffith’s film has a wildly uncertain tone, aiming for some kind of Mel Brooks chaos but falling on the wrong side of Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor; in a career of butch, taciturn performances, Reed’s comic turns are an unfortunate departure; the imdb notes that he won best actor at the 1983 Fantafest, which makes you wonder what the competition was like.

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