Edge of Sanity – which stars Anthony Perkins and mixes Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Jack the Ripper – will be released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video in the UK on June 20, 2022.
The movie has been newly restored in 2K from the original 35mm camera negative with original uncompressed stereo audio. Special features:
Audio commentary by film historians David Flint (MOVIES and MANIA contributor) and Sean Hogan
Career-spanning interview with director Gérard Kikoïne
Edge of Sanity interview with director Gérard Kikoïne
Interview with film historian and author Stephen Thrower (MOVIES and MANIA contributor)
Interview with Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture author Doctor Clare Smith
A booklet with new writing by Jon Towlson (first pressing only)
New cover artwork by Graham Humphreys with the original art on the reverse side.
Here’s our overview of the movie itself:
‘A ripping good time!’
Edge of Sanity is a 1989 horror film that blends elements of fictional Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with the true crimes of Jack the Ripper.
Directed by Gérard Kikoïne (Buried Alive) from a screenplay co-written by J.P. Félix, Ron Raley and [uncredited] Edward Simons, very loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Produced by Jacques Fiorentino, Edward Simons, James Swann and Harry Alan Towers.
The Allied Vision production stars Anthony Perkins (Psycho 1960; Psycho II; Psycho III; Psycho IV: The Beginning; How Awful About Allan), Glynis Barber, Sarah Maur Thorp, David Lodge, Ben Cole, Ray Jewers, Jill Melford, Lisa Davis, Noel Coleman, Briony McRoberts and Mark Elliott.
” …Perkins positively chews the scenery, mugging and face-pulling and twitching so badly it’s a wonder he can hold his scalpel steady. All this is bad enough, but what’s worse is, he’s cursed with a make-up job that makes him look bizarrely like Herman Munster.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
” …rather than developing its potential, Edge of Sanity constantly takes the cheap and easy path to accomplish its goals. Perkins gives a noteworthy performance, and the film’s compositions are often interesting, but its not enough. Edge of Sanity is not much more than a cheap exploitation film that unsuccessfully tries to be taken seriously.” Classic Horror
“The outstanding feature in this opus is the genuinely creepy performance given by Anthony Perkins. One can only imagine the tremendous effort it must have been for him to appear in this as the final stages of his disease were upon him. He was certainly one of the finest American actors ever, not only for his bravura, unforgettable essay into madness as Norman Bates.” DVD Drive-In
“It is artfully directed and visually interesting but the script isn’t up to much and without Perkins as lead it would just be plain awful. There´s also lots of nudity and a bit of gore but this is really only worth watching for the performance of Perkins.” Eat Horror
“Perkins simply doesn’t know where to stop, and considering some of the peccadilloes he demonstrated in his direction of Psycho III, one can’t help but wonder how much of Hyde’s antics stemmed from the actor being given some wide latitude by Kikoine […] is opulent and ornate, looking deceptively high-end for the in-your-face, late ’80s T&A grinder that it is.” Good Efficient Butchery
“Tasteless, pointless, and unpleasant”. Leonard Maltin
“I found Perkins depraved and creepy as the sinister alter-ego unleashed, the way they weave in elements of Jack the Ripper is also a treat. The movie is set in Victorian-era London but I have to say this is the most ’80s looking Victorian movies I have ever seen, but it worked for me…” McBastard’s Mausoleum
“It is probably the most lunatically over-the-top and trashiest role that Anthony Perkins ever played. (The Hyde part, with Perkins decked out in red eyeliner and jelled cowlick, amusingly seems to have been modelled on Iggy Pop). This version adds absolutely nothing to the Robert Louis Stevenson story…” Moria
[Anthony Perkins] “gives a good, funny, if somewhat lopsided performance as the madman of medicine” The New York Times
“Fast-paced and sleazy enough to hold our attention throughout, this one plays with some oddball themes and ideas in how the events from Jekyll’s past probably shaped him – it never fleshes this out into anything all that substantial but watching it try is still plenty entertaining. It’s a bit dated in its style, very much a product of the eighties…” Rock! Shock! Pop!
” …the only fun or interest here comes from the rather bizarro Hyde scenes that are shot in a kind of 80s New Wave music video fashion […] It’s completely stylistically anachronistic of course, but at least it’s attractive and interesting […] for the most part this thing only wakes up when Perkins is in Hyde mode. The rest is a dreary, dry snoozer.” Shameless Self Expression
“Sadly, it’s all too studied in its attempts to shock, and the elements employed to conjure a sense of delirium are too contrived and in some cases daft […] Even if he isn’t as hyper here as some would say, Perkins was always welcome, and his fans will want to see one of his final starring roles.” The Spinning Image
“Edge of Sanity obviously isn’t meant to be taken seriously, despite its expensive production values and surrealistic photography—both surprisingly good. But the rest of Edge of Sanity (shot mostly in Budapest with some English exteriors) doesn’t measure up to its technical proficiency.” 1/4, TV Guide
“Anthony Perkins had more than his fair share of twisted roles, but this is by far his most demented performance in a surprisingly uber-sleazy movie […] I bet the director knew exactly what he was doing, given Perkins‘s real-life fear of women […] Altogether a surprisingly unpleasant and disturbing one from Perkins.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre
Plot [contains spoilers]:
Henry Jekyll, a young boy, witnesses his father committing adultery with another woman in a barn. His father catches him and violently whips Henry for spying, scarring him for life and leading to repressed sadomasochistic longings.
Many years later, in late 1880s England, the adult Doctor Henry Jekyll (Anthony Perkins) is experimenting with the human psyche when he accidentally ingests a mix of ether and cocaine and goes insane. He transforms into the monstrous-looking Edward “Jack the Ripper” Hyde and murders a prostitute who resembles one that he previously met as a child.
He begins a killing spree using the mixture that was originally meant to be an anaesthetic in order to influence prostitutes. The murders gain the attention of a detective from Scotland Yard as well as Jekyll’s wife Elisabeth, who begins to suspect where her husband is going at night.
As “Jack” Hyde, he enlists two assistants to give out his anaesthetic drug to distribute among the lower-class population of Whitechapel. One night, after he transforms, Jekyll is followed by Elisabeth to a house of ill-repute and then from there to a tryst at a local abandoned warehouse where both of Hyde’s partners go crazy and attempt to kill each other and her.
Elisabeth subdues and kills both and gets away, but Hyde follows her back to her house. He breaks in and murders her before transforming back into Dr Jekyll, thus getting away with everything and enabling him to continue his killing spree…
Cast and characters:
Anthony Perkins … Doctor Henry Jekyll/Jack ‘The Ripper’ Hyde
Glynis Barber … Elisabeth Jekyll
Sarah Maur Thorp … Susannah
David Lodge … Underwood
Ben Cole … Johnny
Ray Jewers … Newcomen
Jill Melford … Flora
Lisa Davis … Maria
Noel Coleman … Egglestone
Briony McRoberts … Ann Underwood
Mark Elliott … Lanyon
Harry Landis … Coroner
Jill Pearson … Mrs Egglestone
Basil Hoskins … Mr Bottingham
Ruth Burnett … Margot
Carolyn Cortez … Maggie
Cathy Murphy … Cockney Harlot
Claudia Udy … Liza
Scream Factory trailer:
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BURIED ALIVE (1989) Reviews and overview