I, Monster

Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Mike Raven
Warner Home Video
RRP: 12.99
Z1 39142
Certificate: 12
Available 18 October 2004

Dr Marlowe is experimenting with theories of good and evil in relation to the human psyche. He develops a drug which when administered nullifies the inhibitions of a good, law-abiding nature. It's only a matter of time before he tries it on himself, but each additional injection intensifies the evil and twists the features into an ugly rictus. Marlowe uses a pseudonym (Mr Blake) for his dark alter ego who begins to kill indiscriminately. However, Marlowe's gentleman's club friend, Frederick Utterson, suspects that Blake is somehow blackmailing him. Little does Utterson realise that his best friend could also be his deadliest enemy...

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde gets the Amicus treatment by Hammer stalwarts Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Lee's performance is probably the most animated and adaptable since Rasputin the Mad Monk. Here it's quite amusing to see his character's mischievous smile after his first dose of the drug, looking childlike around his own laboratory to see what he can get up to. This is in complete contrast to his heart-rending sorrow at having to kill his cat, after a violent spell in reaction to the drug.

Like many of the Hammer and Amicus Productions everything takes place with the most gentlemanly behaviour. It's the Sherlock Holmes school of investigation. Somebody's been brutally murdered? Oh, well, never mind; let's all retire to the lounge and take brandy! Still, it harks back to an era when people probably were more civilised - less advanced, but more civilised.

An enjoyable tale from 1971 with no padding.

Ty Power

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