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Old 06-17-2005, 07:18 PM
Scored: 5
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Default Edge of Sanity

Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: April 12, 2003

Released by: MGM
Release date: 8/27/2002
MSRP: $14.99
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes | P&S: Yes

If there was one, err two, roles Anthony Perkins was born to play, they were that of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. His star making performance as the troubled Norman Bates in Psycho was basically Dr. Jeckyll and Ms. Hyde anyway. In 1989, a few short years before his death, Perkins made somewhat of a sawn song with the Jeckyll and Hyde flick, Edge of Sanity. It tanked at the box office and fell into oblivion, but with someone as talented as Perkins as the lead, it can't all be bad, can it?

The Story

inline Image The film begins with Dr. Henry Jeckyll (Anthony Perkins) as a small child hidden in a barn on a stormy summer night. As he peeps down from his perch, he observes a voluptuous young woman moaning and panting. Yes sir, she is engaging in everyone's favorite pastime with an old farmer. Jeckyll is caught spying on the two lovers, and is given several lashings on the bare bottom as the woman laughs in ecstasy. Jeckyll, now a very old man, awakes from this horrid nightmare with the sweats. His attractive and surprisingly young wife, Elisabeth (Glynis Barber), comforts him as he pants in fear.

inline Image Composed and dressed up, Jeckyll is then shown attending to his medical experiments. Apparently he has developed a formula to cure sickness that does not require the use of morphine, and he is testing his creation on a lab monkey. After feeding his concoction to the hairy little beast he discovers that it alters the monkey's personality. The monkey claws at the cage and attempts to bite the doctor, in the process knocking over some acid onto Jeckyll's powdered formula, creating a fume that turns Jeckyll into Mr. Jack Hyde.

inline Image As Hyde, Jeckyll's libido is set free, and he therefore sneaks off to whorehouses late at night to have sex and murder beautiful young women. The trauma of his experience as a boy seems to affect him though, as he becomes fixated on a woman baring resemblance to the lady in his dream. The line separating Jeckyll from Hyde begins to deteriorate, and Jeckyll slowly becomes more and more psychotic. His wife is onto this transformation, but can she act in enough time to salvage both their lives?

Edge of Sanity is a decent play upon the Jeckyll and Hyde formula, if only for Perkins' delightfully insane dual performance. He really chews the scenery here as both characters, ushering forth that maniacal grin and conniving stare that made him so famous in Psycho. He also does a commendable job of creating two distinct characters that slowly converge as the film progresses. Sure, this performance is a lot like the one he gave for Norman Bates, but as the saying goes…"if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

inline Image Other than Perkins' lead performance, the rest of the film is only really average, and feels more like a direct-to-video cheapie. There is a boatload of nudity and a liberal use of blood, but the results aren't all that satisfying. Little time is spent developing the motives or background regarding the Jeckyll and Hyde characters, and the time spent on the pursuit of Hyde is even less focussed. What the film basically comes down too is a strobe of Perkins devilishly staring into the near distance and teasing sex scenes at the whorehouse.

There is a mention partway through the film regarding living free of societal rules, but other than that there is really no subtext or even plot regarding the happenings in the film. Edge of Sanity chugs along at a fairly quick rate, but the end result feels somewhat empty. The ending is fun in a cliché 80's manner, but it still cannot makeup for the barren and empty plot. This movie is all about Perkins, and to some, that will be all that is needed.

Image Quality

Presented in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and pan and scan on separate sides, this transfer looks very solid. Colors are very vibrant and consistent. There are plenty of scenes lit with blue and red hues, and they have been handled nicely on this disc. Black levels and shadow depth are equally as impressive. There are a few sporadic print blemishes to be found, but otherwise this is a clean transfer. The overall image is fairly sharp, although it can be a bit soft in places. MGM has done a beautiful job with the transfer, especially considering the fact that the film was a B.O. disaster.


Presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo, this is a nice little mix. The music and dialogue sounds very sharp, without any audible hissing or popping to be found. For a 2.0 track it is also quite aggressive, with loud thundering and screaming featured throughout.

Supplemental Material

inline Image All that is included on this disc is the original theatrical trailer. The trailer basically promotes the film for what it is, a showcase for Anthony Perkins.

Final Thoughts

Edge of Sanity is a dull film with a focused and fun performance from the late Anthony Perkins. If one ever wondered what Norman Bates would be like if he were older, they need look no further. The audio and visual transfers are very well done, and the inclusion of the trailer is a nice gesture by MGM. Perkins fans should give this cheap disc a look, but a repeat viewing of Psycho would probably be more memorable.


Movie - C+
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B
Supplements - D

Technical Info.
  • Running Time - 1 hour, 56 minutes
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby 2.0 Stereo
  • French Dolby 2.0 Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • French subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Teaser trailer

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