Monday, March 30, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1987)

As the notebook paper title card suggests, there were times when my anticipation of Halloween led me to more ambitious projects than simply carving up a pumpkin. In 1982, my dad purchased a video camera for the family. Now, mind you, this wasn't a camcorder. This was a full-size video camera that had a separate, external recording deck. Basically, it was a camera connected to a VCR. By 1987, we were a pretty video-literate family, and there were many projects I had rolling around in my head. This particular video idea probably came about as a result of reading Thomas Aylesworth's Monsters from the Movies. In one of his chapters, he tells about the various filmed versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Inspired by reading about John Barrymore's famous performance, I decided to film my own version.

This was a pretty bare-bones production. I used some test tubes from a chemistry set I had received a Christmas or two prior. The transformation into Hyde was accomplished with some makeup from a kit I'd bought (the kit is visible on the couch as the camera pans to the floor). The special effect, where the camera is stopped and then restarted after the change is made, did not come out as well as I had planned (I supposed my dad jarred the tripod slightly between shots). And my sister appears briefly as Dr. Jekyll's girlfriend.

The highlight of the video is probably my choice of music (which I dubbed myself): the first movement of Beethoven's 5th for the Dr. Jekyll scene, and some organ music (from a Halloween sound effects tape) for Mr. Hyde's scene.

I made this video on 27 September 1987.


  1. The music at the end (Mr. Hyde's scene) is from that cassette "Horror Sounds of the Night" which I played every Halloween-nice choice!

    1. Wow, I didn't think anyone but me would remember that cassette tape. Thanks for your comment, and for checking out my blog!