Written by: Cliff Wood on April 15th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1971 (Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio), USA, 1972 (A Clockwork Blue)
Director: Eric Jeffrey Haims (Both Films)
Writers: Donn Greer, Bonnie Jean (Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio), Eric Jeffrey Haims (A Clockwork Blue)
Cast: Rene Bond, Sebastian Brook, Madyy Maguire, Donn Greer (Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio), Joe E. Tata, Carlos Tobalina, Rene Bond (A Clockwork Blue)
BluRay released: April 8th, 2014
Approximate running time: 81 minutes (Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio), 86 minutes (A Clockwork Blue)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive (Both Films)
Rating: NR (Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio), XXX (A Clockwork Blue)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Films)
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.98
Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, has been made into too way to many films to catalog all of them for this review. And of course it should not come as a surprise that his novella was the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio.
Though it appears that this film was intended for an adult audience, the nudity is sparse in this film and there is nothing remotely hardcore in this film either. With that being said, this is not necessarily a bad thing, since the scenes involving erotica are easily this film’s weakest links. On the other hand the scenes involving murder are actually well executed and sufficiently gory. Then there are the melodramatic moments which make up almost half of the film and though they tend to slow the film down. They ultimately serve a purpose as they help propel the narrative forward.
The film is competently shot and as mentioned before the murder scenes are were things really shine the most. It is also said kill scenes that contain this film’s most interesting visuals moments. Most notably the film’s opening credits where a young woman on a swing is murdered. Another great moment visually is a flashback scene that reveals some of the killers psyche.
Performance wise don’t expect much since the actors are only given so much to work with and the script that have been given does not do any actors any favors. Fortunately this is the type of film that one’s actions are more important then what they are actually saying and in many ways the cast are mere pieces on a chess board.
For a film where it appears that just about everything goes wrong, it somehow manages to be oddly endearing enough is that schlocky cinema kind of vibe that cult cinema enthusiasts have come to known all too well.
Content wise this film is rooted in the comedy genre with its tongue firmly in its cheek. The premise is so absurd that is much easier to embrace this zaniness that unfolds onscreen, that trying to make sense of what you are witnessing will only hurt your brain.
The plots revolves around a nerdy assistant named Homer who one night becomes a reluctant time traveler when he accidentally drops a watch that controls the time travel into water. From there Homer goes on his sexual odyssey. Before I go any further I need to backtrack for just a moment as the film opens with Homer and a black man as they arrive in heaven. And for whatever odd reason this black man gets to watch Homer’s sexual adventures on a TV made out of watermelon. Now back to Homer’s adventure along the way we get to meet his mother who speaks in a speed up / high pitched voice and several historical figures like, George Washington, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, Louis XVI, Maire Antoinette, Caesar and Cleopatra.
When compared to his previous film Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio, one can easily see a marked improvement in his direction. The sets though primitive at times are at least backed up by costumes that leave no doubt where time period Homer is now in. And where his previous film lightly dabbled in soft-core, this film ventures into hardcore territory. Unfortunately most of these hard-core moments are all to brief. Also humor plays a big part in this film and the majority of the time the humor hits the mark.
Performance the entire are all enjoyable in their respective roles as they all dive in head first and fully embrace this film’s outlandish plot. This film’s most surprising asset is its leading man Joe E. Tata who gives a pitch perfect performance as this film’s protagonist Homer. If by now you are saying to yourself that he looks familiar, that is because he is most famous for his portrayal of Nat Bussichio on Beverly Hills 90210. Overall A Clockwork Blue is another classic example of grade Z cinema that manages to pull you into its web despite its massive short comings.
Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio and A Clockwork Blue come on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. Both films are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Both films have been given the red carpet treatment when it comes to this release. A Clockwork Blue has been sourced from 35mm original camera negative, while Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio has been sourced from 35mm blowup negative. Considering the rarity of these two films it is safe to say that this is best these two films have ever looked on home video. This a well authored released, there are no issues with DNR or compression. Of the two films the stronger transfer goes to A Clockwork Blue, which has the stronger color palette of the two transfers and details also look crisper for A Clockwork Blue’s transfer. Also though there is print damage present on both transfers, it is never too intrusive and grain structure looks natural.
Each film comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. Background noise is minimal, dialog comes through clear enough to follow and everything sounds balanced.
This combo release comes with no extra content. Just a static menu that allows gives you the option to play either film or a chapter selection option for each film. Also included with this combo release is a DVD counterpart that contains that same contents present on the Blu-Ray half of this release.
This combo is limited edition release (only 1,000 copies) that contains the hardcore version of A Clockwork Blue and there is also a separate stand alone DVD release that includes both films does not include this hardcore A Clockwork Blue. Overall another exceptional release from Vinegar Syndrome, highly recommended.