Lurid exploitation meets art-house exploration, blending slasher movie tropes & soft-core sexuality with deeper philosophical questions regarding social identity, transgression & the 'beast within.' The atmosphere is evocative of the adult fairy tales of Argento, such as Suspiria; the combination of the baroque & the brutal proving Borowczyk's direction no less beautiful & atmospheric. A mesmerising &unsettling work.
A riff on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that plays out like a Victorian erotic slasher flick that exclusively takes place in an ornate mansion. It's a greatest hits of everything I love about cinema. 100% Grade-A bonkers.
Borowczyk offers up a bizarre and violently sexual (but not sensual) take on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic tome. Like most of the director's work there is a blend of classism and soft core pornography in the filmmaking style which is well suited to this Freudian tale. Performances are oft kilter just adding to the bizarre mix which somehow never gives in to camp but remains affecting and interesting.
More than the shadow of Robert Louis Stevenson I see in mighty Borowczyk's JEKYLL re-imagining the specter of Alfred Jarry's Supermale. This is a Nietzschean parable about reactive forces becoming monstrously, deliciously active. It is a vaguely satirical comedy of manners. It is a story about better living through transcendental chemistry. The field of the erotic becomes a plane of blissful indetermination.
What's to like here? A scenography that reminds the Hammer horror films and Udo Kier, the unqualifiable actor revealed by the "new German cinema". Besides the healthy not standardized will of extrapolation by the director, the film's construction is so clumsy, following the director's usual submission to eroticism - his (as a) mandatory trade mark - that in the end remains a feeling of an enfeebled experience.
I think this might be Borowczyk's best film. It arrives at all of the things that Stevenson's story was *really* about. I loved the dark romance between Udo and Marina, Parmegiani's score takes you to another place, and the final sequence is Burkean-sublime.
A fine exemplification of boundless cinema. Hilarious, disturbing, beautiful, so lush. That cast! Those costumes! That score! This is the first feature I've seen of his, but as far as I can tell, it clearly reflects his early short, RENAISSANCE, a cyclical motion of ecstatic, cathartic self-destruction. Smells like fellow ex-pat Żuławski, but more Vermeer than Bosch. Daniel Bird is genius, THANK YOU!