Saturday, March 13, 2010

Edge Of Sanity (1989)

Reviewed By: Billy

Wow...this movie is totally gross.

I guess I should’ve known when the back of the box featured a quote proclaiming Edge of Sanity as “stylish” that it would be hard to watch. After all, “stylish” is basically critic-code for “it sucks…but the colors are pretty” – like how “stylish” is the only the nice thing anyone can say about Dario Argento’s post-1982 output. In the case of Edge of Sanity, we get turn-of-the-century prostitutes wearing metallic cone bras a la “Vogue”-era Madonna…which, as I mentioned before, is totally gross and hard to watch…and therefore, apparently “stylish.”

The plot of this film is totally nuts, casting Anthony Perkins as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…and maybe Jack the Ripper, too. Let me just say that I love Anthony Perkins (especially as the impotent photographer in Mahogany – a performance you must see immediately)…but one thing Anthony should never, ever have done is play British. His accent here is reminiscent of something I would have done in a high school play. If I was drunk. But what he lacks in speech patterns he more than makes up for in hammy overacting; his scenes as Mr. Hyde are a masterwork of funny-face-making and caked-on lipstick.

Interesting tidbit: Did you know that English "ladies of the night" in the late 1800s dressed like this?
Here’s where that damn “style” takes over. You see, director Gerard Kikoine makes the bizarre choice to keep the Dr. Jekyll scenes in somewhat-authentic period detail, while modernizing the Mr. Hyde scenes so that everyone looks like they’ve just stepped out of a terrible Billy Idol video. Speaking of…this is Billy Idol's twin, right?
Anyway, Anthony starts to realize that life as Dr. Jekyll, which includes playing chess and dealing with a dull wife, is way less fun than being Mr. Hyde, who gets to pick up trashy women and rub their butts…so, he becomes addicted to the drug that causes him to change personalities. And, well, I guess I can understand that. What I can’t understand is how the prostitutes could be so desperate that they’d want to sleep with Anthony…whose Mr. Hyde starts looking more and more like a cracked-out Liza Minelli:
So, after a few ladies show up dead, Scotland Yard gets involved and I think we’re supposed to assume that the Jack the Ripper scare has begun (at least, the DVD box mentioned Jack the Ripper, so I’m gonna go with that). Personally, by this time I’d totally stopped paying attention to the plot and was way too fixated on Anthony’s increasingly alarming makeup to even care about anything else. There is a lot of gratuitous male and female nudity thrown in to pad time and keep our attention…so that’s appreciated.

Things finally come to a bizarre climax involving Dr. Jekyll, the dull wife, Billy Idol’s twin, and a prostitute – who all somehow manage to end up together in a bell tower. And it all culminates in Billy licking the wife’s face before he’s attacked by Mr. Hyde. Or Dr. Jekyll. Or Jack the Ripper. Oh, hell, I have no idea what’s going on here.
Look, after years of wanting to see this movie (thanks to the great VHS box cover which graced the store shelves of a Muncie, Indiana Marsh supermarket), I guess I can’t really say I’m that disappointed. Anthony Perkins gives one of his patented late-1980s unhinged performances, and the idea of modernizing many of the hooker costumes and hairstyles results in some really satisfying belly laughs. Oh, and speaking of the prostitutes, just wait until you get to the scene where Anthony does really naughty things involving his walking stick to a topless woman on a rooftop. Ewwwwwww. There’s only one word for a scene like that: stylish!



  1. Wow, this sounds like a must-see, if only for the "car-wreck" aspect of the whole thing.

  2. That first screen shot pulls you right in! I love how gross and stylish this film sounds...haha. And Anthony Perkins? Well that just pushes it over the top!

  3. And isn't it a blast that he gets away with it at the end? That shot of him peeping through his curtains at the clueless cops - just great. Sorry: I meant 'stylish'.

  4. I love how gross and stylish this film sounds...haha. And Anthony Perkins? Well that just pushes it over the top!
    data entry work from home

  5. this was an over the top, garish, and kinky take on the robert loius stevenson classic, the scenes showing perkins whacking off during bdsm orgies and groping sexy hooker buttocks was worth the watch!