Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)

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Arrow Video have made a name for themselves for releasing fantastic films with great restoration and special features. They aren’t bound by genre and have released a little bit of everything as long as it’s a bit under the radar. I love the company and look forward to each release. Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne is a film I hadn’t ever heard of though the director, Walerian Borowczyk, I was familiar with. Several years ago I watched his version of Beauty and the Beast, called The Beast (1975). The film has very graphic sex and rape committed by The Beast and honestly it scared me off of his work. I figured if Arrow released this, it was worth seeing.

As you might guess Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne is an adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this version a dinner party has gathered at Dr. Jekyll’s estate. The dinner party is ruined once a madman attempts to rape one of the guests. The hunt is on for him and it soon becomes clear that the madman is none other than Mr. Hyde! More rape and murder ensue as the guests are locked in the house.

In the film, Dr. Jekyll is played by Eurosleaze regular Udo Kier, though he’s dubbed unfortunately. The film has a hazy dreamlike quality to it, a quality I remember being present in The Beast as well. The movie is pretty sleazy though it reaches for art. And just like in The Beast, Mr. Hyde’s phallus is on display in the film and of course it’s giant. We see some graphic sex, the aftermath of a rape/murder and lots of topless scenes from the film’s bevy of attractive women. The substance used by Dr. Jekyll is show to be like a drug that he gets high on and loves being evil. Dr. Jekyll is already evil, he set up the dinner in order to have victims to stalk and intentionally deceives the party by pretending he knows nothing about Mr. Hyde and setting up the house to keep them prisoner. Mr. Hyde is just an uninhibited version of himself. I suppose that’s the point though.

The film begins with some information about the restoration of the film and it sounds like Arrow went to great lengths to present the film in the format we see on the blu. There was extensive work to clean up the image and sound, supervised by the film’s cinematographer. The audio can be played in either French or English, though most of the actors are clearly speaking English in the film. We also get short films, several interviews, essays and documentaries. There’s a lot stuffed into this Blu for fans of the film.

Arrow has once again done a fantastic job. The image is perfect as well as the audio and the special features are truly special. It’s up to you if the film itself is worth your time/money. If you love Eurohorror and Eurosleaze, you should snap this up right away.