Adult, Comedy, Fantasy, History, Horror, Satire

The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio / A Clock Work Blue (1971 / 1972)

0 Comments 17 August 2014

blu ray

Studio: Vinegar Syndrome

Theatrical Release: 1971 / 1972

Blu Ray Release: April 8, 2014

Director: Eric Jeffrey Haims

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Review by James Klein

Vinegar’s limited edition blu ray (only 1,000 were issued) is a strange oddity. One is a soft core horror film while the other is a soft core time travel comedy. Not only do both films look entirely different but the tone between the two films is like night and day which makes this double feature a rather bizarre one.

The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio

While I was looking forward to this obscure film (this was the rarest VHS tape ever released back in the heyday, going for over $1,000 just for a copy) I was left rather disappointed with The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio. From the very opening, one should be expecting a rather cheap Herschel Gordon Lewis knock off (hell, Lewis’s films are better, think Andy Milligan).

The “plot” centers around a killer who is hunting down women at a nursing academy, while Detective Kinkaid (Donn Greer, who also wrote the film) has been brought in to try and solve the murder of the first victim, a woman who was stabbed before the opening credits with a pitchfork as she was on a swing set. The odd thing is that the killer is carving a V shape on the victims bodies. Dr. Cabala (Sebastian Brook) is the school’s head teacher who tries to offer the detective any help he may need.

jekyll and hyde portfolio

While the film tries to throw at the audience several red herrings, my favorite being a drooling deaf mute, one would be an idiot if they didn’t figure out who the killer was almost immediately. The tone shifts constantly, not knowing if it wants to be a horror film or sexploitation film as there are plenty of bare breasts and buttocks displayed in beautiful 70’s fashion. Given director Haims’s other films, he does seem more interested in the sex rather than the horror as one gets dull and drawn out sex scenes with no penetration. I preferred seeing the mannequins doubling for women as they are beheaded or the cryptic narrator who makes funny faces for no reason. If the film focused more on the strange and less on the sex, I may have enjoyed The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio much more as a fun “bad” movie. Warning to animal lovers: there are two scenes of live frogs being dissected which may cause some of you to simply turn the movie off.

The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio

Making matters worse, The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio looks and sounds like shit. This is not the fault of Vinegar Syndrome but the source material is now so beat up and aged, the movie looks like a mess. The print is damaged and washed out, scratches cover the film and even reel changes seem abrupt. The poor audio quality suffers mainly because the film makers didn’t know what they were doing by capturing some poor audio while on set.

jekyll & hyde portfolio

A Clock Work Blue

The saving grace to this double feature blu ray is A Clock Work Blue. Director Haims steps up his game with a very funny sexploitation / fantasy regarding time travel, history and sex. I couldn’t help but think this would make for a great and rather funny double feature with Time Bandits.

The offensive opening had me laughing from the very beginning as a black man and Jewish man enter heaven in stereotypical fashion. As the Jewish man is briefly seen, the black man serves as a Greek chorus throughout the film. He watches what is happening on a TV with a watermelon serving as an antenna and spouting off about wanting chitlins and colored greens. Some may not find this amusing but others, like myself, will not be able to hold in their laughter during these shockingly offensive moments which happen out of nowhere.

clock work blue

The real story centers on Homer, (Joe E. Tata, who had a pretty big TV career in various TV shows from the 70’s thru the mid 2000’s) a bumbling and sexually frustrated research assistant who jumps around in time to various moments in history. Much like Slaughterhouse-Five, he cannot control where he goes or when he goes. Tata portrays Homer using a Jerry Lewis impression which I found amusing and strange. He even looks like Lewis in certain shots.

a clock work blue

While Homer travels in time, the film interjects with him in his underwear spinning around in circles which of course cracked me up. I also liked how horny Homer is with his quick witted remarks regarding boobs and women in general. From George Washington to Marie Antoinette to Julius Caesar, Homer goes all over the place, trying his best to get laid. I only wish this film was a bit shorter as A Clock Work Blue does over stay its welcome after awhile.

a clockwork blue

The entire film was shot using one set which the film makers do their best at changing during the different moments in time. I rather enjoyed the look of the film and the vibrant colors that were used which ultimately works in the films favor. The gorgeous transfer of A Clock Work Blue really shines here as well, making this a huge improvement over the dreadful looking The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio. And for those seeking out the limited blu ray, this version of A Clock Work has hardcore sex scenes inserted into the film, some done on set and some that had to have been from another movie as the clips don’t match. If you need a close up of vaginal lips or two white people posing as Native Americans giving each other oral sex, well you better seek out this blu ray.

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The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio Rating: ★½☆☆☆

A Clock Work Blue Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blu Ray: Rating: ★★½☆☆

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