I, MONSTER (1971)
Article 3225 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-17-2010
Posting Date: 6-13-2010
Directed by Stephen Weeks
Featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven
What it is: Jekyll and Hyde by another name
A psychiatrist develops a drug that is capable of suppressing the superego. His experiments on himself begin to turn him into an increasingly ugly psychopath.
There are some interesting changes to the Jekyll and Hyde story in this version. I do like the fact that in this one, the Jekyll character (here named Marlowe; for some reason they change the names of the title characters but leave the names of the others untouched) is an early follower of Freud, which underlines the psychological subtexts of the story. They’ve also increased and fleshed out the character of Utterson, making him more prominent and less of a literary device; in the original novel, he was telling the story. The movie is enhanced by very good performances from Christopher Lee (as Marlowe/Blake) and Peter Cushing (as Utterson), and the movie itself keeps fairly close to the original story. The biggest problem with the movie is the lifeless direction; if the performances were less accomplished, this movie would have been a major snoozefest. The movie came from Amicus, and was originally intended to be viewable in 3D through the use of the Pulfrich effect, which requires careful choreography and camera movement in order for it to work; that may explain why some of the scenes seem so oddly directed, particularly a tavern scene in which the movement really calls attention to itself.