Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Appreciation: Dr. Black Mr. Hyde

"A monster he could not control has taken over his very soul. 
A screaming demon rages inside turning him into mr hyde. 
Indestructible.  Nothing could stop him.
Not bombs bullets or bulldozers.
No man alive could take that dive
But he’s on his feet when he hits the street
Dr Black and Mr Hyde!"

Last week, I put Dr. Black Mr. Hyde on my DVD New Release Buy! list.  I might just have to amend that to Must Buy of the Week!  

Growing up, I instantly took a liking to Bernie Casey in films like Spies Like Us, Revenge of the Nerds, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and In The Mouth of Madness.  Small bit parts, but when Casey is on screen it's impossible to look away.  As I discovered my love of Blaxploitation cinema I saw Casey in larger roles.  Stuff like Black Gunn or the forgotten classic Hit Man.  Casey can kick all kinds of ass.

With Dr. Black Mr. Hyde, Casey is center stage.  He plays Dr. Henry Pride, a smooth talking doctor with an unflinching response to prostitute nudity and a poster of Ron O'Neal plastered next to his medical charts.  He's got a "very heavy thing with a guinea pig in his lab" and in an attempt to regenerate liver cells he discovers the beast within.

Transformed into an albino vampire (or as one character describes as a haint, "a cross between the abominable snowman and Willy the Werewolf"), Casey stalks the night beating down uninformative youths, pimps, prostitutes, and anyone who looks at him funny.  I love Hyde's Kung Fu, he's got the Bruce Lee/Black Belt Jones scream and everything.  Hyde will take you out!  Karate Chop to the Junk!  

Not quite Blacula, but infinitely better than Blackenstein, Dr. Black Mr. Hyde starts and finishes strong with a little lag in the middle.  There's a little backstory exposition about Casey's prostitute mother, but the movie is best when concentrating on the exploitation.  Bernie Casey is a Monster and he gets his King Kong moment that somehow manages to elicit sympathy.  Must be those moans and groans.

So yeah, put Dr. Black Mr. Hyde on your Netflix cue or better yet just go ahead and purchase.  If you dig Bernie Casey or Blaxploitation as much as I do than you'll get your money's worth.


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