Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976)

DR. BLACK, MR. HYDE (1976)
Article 3527 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-17-2011
Posting Date: 4-11-2011
Directed by William Crain
Featuring Bernie Casey, Rosalind Cash, Marie O’Henry
Country: USA
What it is: Blaxploitation horror

A black doctor works on a serum designed to rebuild damaged livers, but is unable to solve the problem of its side effects without human guinea pigs. He tries the serum on himself, and turns into a superhuman crazed white man with a penchant for killing hookers.

Well, the movie is sincere, features some authentic locations, has some good acting moments from Bernie Casey, and has one good jump scene. The script, however, is horribly uneven and inconsistent, particularly in its portrayal of the Mr. Hyde character and the nature of his powers. For one thing, the movie is simply not consistent in just how much in control of himself Hyde is; sometimes he seems coherent and focused, other times he seems like an inarticulate animal. Furthermore, the side effects are way over the top; having him turn white and become a crazed killer is one thing, but endowing him with superpowers really strains credibility. And they aren’t even consistent with that; sometimes he’s invulnerable to bullets, other times not. When the script actually gives Bernie Casey something to play with (such as when he tells the story that explains his desire to cure liver ailments AND his distrust of hookers), he does a fine job, but the script all too often leaves him foundering. Somewhere in here, there’s a better movie waiting to get out, but the script was in need of a few more revisions.

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