Odds and Dead Ends: Hyde and Seek

Why Stevenson’s classic still haunts us

It’s hard to think that Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, could be anything like a surprise today, with the story so deeply ingrained in the popular conscious, at least at a basic level. But when the story was unleashed in 1886, it changed the face not only of gothic fiction but everyday thought. It altered how we look at ourselves. Its names are used so frequently as short-hands that we don’t even realise we use them. Its story is so potent because, at some instinctual level, we’ve known it all along.

That both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are two halves of the same person is so obvious to us now, that it is hard to remember that this was the novella’s major twist. Although the concept of the doppelganger had been used before; never quite like this. In an age of scientists beginning to look at the mind, Stevenson kick-started the psychoanalytic influence of popular culture. That later Freudian theories of the ‘id’ and the ‘ego’ would so closely mirror Henry Jekyll splitting his consciousness into its good and evil sides, is only to be expected. Studies into schizophrenia, insanity, and other levels of mental illness,  still the property of the scientist in the asylum, just beginning. That this madness could spill into the streets of London was unthinkable.

What I think captivates us most is that the moral dilemma proposed in the story is so deeply personal and human. After a single transformation, Jekyll gets a taste of his new, unrefined freedom. The dark activities that Hyde participates in thrill him, excite him so much that he voluntarily changes over and over again. When he realises that it’s getting harder to remain as his good side, something seems to change in Jekyll’s narrative. This is something much older, instinctual, a kind of self-possession. And when he thinks he is rid of Hyde for good, temptation strikes again, leading to the downward spiral that spells out his doom.

Therefore, we ask ourselves questions. Is evil inherent in all of us, and is it only a matter of time until temptation unleashes it? Once a single crack appears, have we set up an inevitable chain of events that will lead to our final demise? Though Jekyll’s potion may have rattled the initial cages, eventually Hyde possesses the key to his own lock. What about those of us who are perhaps weaker than he? Will one day our darker sides discover that the cell door, if rattled hard enough, will break on its own?

By now, the doubling trope is so old and worn down that it is hard to see it as new and refreshing. And yet, just like most of our movie monsters, time and time again it crops up. The reveal in Fight Club is one of the most well known in cinematic history, and even The Usual Suspects has a trace of it. Primal Fear (another Ed Norton movie, and another movie from the 90’s; perhaps there’s a follow-up article on the prevalence of doppelgangers in that particular decade?) also follows through on this concept. Psycho is perhaps one of the most influential examples of this theme being carried across, and Stephen King has used it several times in his various writings. Any ‘evil inside’ story is dubbed ‘a modern-day Jekyll-and-Hyde’. How many stories can you think of that receive this kind of treatment?

One of the best doppelganger movies of recent times is Jordan Peele’s Us. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do so immediately. Peele takes the concept and fills it with additional meaning. It isn’t just evil inside, but all of our lost hopes and griefs, all of the unfilled desires. The Untethered are our lost childhoods let loose and raging at the world. Life has crushed its dreams into the cookie-cutter pattern of capitalist aspirations that never manage to satisfy.

Never before have we been so aware as a people that, sometimes, we’re just as bad as the monster’s we have dreamed up to take our place. When before we created entities to embody our fears, we now project them as altered versions of ourselves as an attempt to come to grips with the evil inside. We don’t create avatars and fill them with our darkness anymore, because the avatar staring back at us is every bit ourselves as we are right in the beginning.

Even in The Exorcist, Karras must eliminate all doubt that the disturbances in the McNeill household are not being caused by Regan herself, before he can convince the Church that an exorcism is needed. He must go into the investigation with the initial belief that Regan, as a result of the breakup of her parents, the overworking of her mother, and her journey through puberty into adulthood, has unleashed a subconscious identity with parapsychological powers. In this story, demons are less readily-believed by the Church than Regan unknowingly having a ghostly Mr Hyde.

And so the legacy of Stevenson’s story lives on. Through its dozens of adaptations, its thousands of reworkings, and the endless imaginations his characters have inspired, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has touched us all because, very simply, it gets us to ask ourselves a very potent, and disturbing, question. “Am I evil?” I don’t think there’s a person in the world that hasn’t at some point thought they had a bad side waiting to destroy the world, and perhaps this little novella is the reason we all started looking at others, and ourselves, with a little more trepidation than we did before.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-Twitter: @KJudgeMental


Fight Club. 1999. [Film] Directed by David Fincher. USA: Fox 2000 Pictures.

Primal Fear. 1998. [Film] Directed by Gregory Hoblit. USA: Rysher Entertainment.

Psycho. 1960. [Film] Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. United States of America: Shamley Productions.

Stevenson, R. L., 2006. Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In: R. Luckhurst, ed. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales. New York: Oxford, pp. 1 – 66.

The Exorcist. 1973. [Film] Directed by William Friedkin. USA: Hoya Productions.

The Usual Suspects. 1995. [Film] Directed by Bryan Singer. USA: Blue Parrot.

Us. 2019. [Film] Directed by Jordan Peele. USA: Monkeypaw Productions.

HorrorAddicts.net 122, Dario Ciriello


Horror Addicts Episode# 122

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#43 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Movie Review

As many know, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is about a doctor who develops a serum that changes the peaceful doctor into a crazed mad man. One of the early versions of this film was shot in 1941 and starred Spencer Tracy.

This is an older horror film, so people cannot go into the film looking for cutting edge effects. This is a piece of black and white celluloid that I personally believe was a well shot movie for its time. It also helps that I’m a fan of Spencer Tracy for some of his other films.

This film follows the normal plot for a Jekyll and Hyde adaption as we see the good doctor struggle with the incursions of the madman into his life. The film didn’t get rave reviews at the time as many claimed that Tracy’s portrayal of the monster was not dark enough. The makeup work and such did not give the monster quality that had been seen in an earlier 1931 version of the story.

Personally, I liked Tracy’s portrayal as I believe he sold so much through his eyes. There are some great close-up scenes of his eyes when he is in “madman” mode that send shivers down your back. Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner also have roles in this film and we get to see Bergman take on the part of the “Bad Girl” which went against her good girl image at the time. It was a great move on her part to help stop typecasting. Originally, Bergman had been set to play Turner’s role, but they were able to get their perspective roles switched.

As this film was shot in 1941, we have to realize that the censors where somewhat strict on what could be shown on screen. I state this as there is one scene in which Tracy is strangling a woman and she disappears behind the couch and we are left to determine what is happening. These types of tricks of letting your imagination work for you during a moment of terror, help draw you in.  You are not shown what is happening, your imagination must work for you and sometimes you may imagine far worse than what is going on.

There are a few differences in the movie then the original Jekyll and Hyde story as some of the characters in the movie are not found in the book.  This was done to add some depth to the film and supposedly make the story more interesting than the book. 

This film will not hold up to modern day horror movies in special effects and it’s a story that most of us are well aware of. I enjoy this movie because of Tracy’s part in the film and also do to the supporting cast. It is a fun movie and one to catch on your classic movie channels when shown, or if you can find a great inexpensive movie rental.

Considering there have been over 100 forms of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story in cinema, this happens to be one of my favorite versions. I hope other horror fans take a look at this film and at least get some joy from the film.

13 Questions with Michele Roger

Hello, Horror Addicts and welcome back to another installment of 13 Questions. This week’s author is Michele Roger. “She is the creator of the Wicked Women Writer’s group on emzbox.ning.com.” This is Michele’s second time on Horror Addicts. “Emz was very gracious when I first started writing short stories and podcasting. She gave me feedback and hosted my first story, “Taste of the Dead” the first year I started out.”

“Wicked Women’s Writing Group was a group I created because it seemed as if the genre for sci fi and horror was dominated by men. To my suprise there are a boat load of talented women who write horror and have joined. Its a place to network and help one another. Admittedly, I’ve not been working with the group due to fighting some legal battles (writing is intellectual property I discovered). But the group has really taken off and I hope it will be a hub for new talent as well as established writers.”

For Horror Addicts episode 43: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Roger has written a story called Hyde. “It’s meant to be a play on sound like a homonym. It’s a post apocalypse story about the entity of Death. He has evolved along with humanity after surviving WWIII and all of its fall out. He is the reason for a new plague spreading throughout the city of Detroit. Victims are found often screaming “Hide”(Hyde). A famous doctor, Jake Hayle is said to have the cure and that’s where our heroine comes in to seek him out to help her lover who has fallen victim to the sickness.”

Here’s a little sneak-peek into Hyde:

The average person might think that the sight of the inflicted is what one first notices. But in all actuality, it’s the smell. Since the Third War, heightened senses and the ability to see both real and dark

matter are not the only evolutionary leaps humanity has made. Those victimized by the Madness can survive even though their hearts have literally been torn from their chests by those they love most. The body clings to its genetic past and begins to rot but only up to a point. That’s where the evolutionary leap comes in.

There is a young woman sitting at the pie counter. She’s wearing a black mini skirt and fishnets like most college age girls at Wayne State university wear. Her hair is fashionably tied back in a loose pony tail. She is or rather ‘was’ a beautiful twenty something with the world by the tail. Tonight, the corners of her mouth show the signs of the Madness setting in. The outline of her lips and corners of her mouth have begun to turn black. Her tear ducts are grey and the color is creeping to the lids of her otherwise, sparkling blue eyes. I walk in and sit down next to her, accidentally letting my oversized hand bag bump her. That’s when the seeping starts. Just above the third button hole in her white cotton shirt is the black inky liquid that was once her blood. It soaks a 3 inch diameter spot like breast milk from a new mother. In my haste, I grab nearly half the contents of the chrome napkin holder and hold them to her chest. The slight movement of my hand just above her breast reveals the gaping hole where her heart once beat. All that remains is its empty socket.

“I’m new,” she explains apologetically. “They tell me that my body just hasn’t learned to stop sending my blood back to my heart?.or where I once had a heart.?

I choke back tears as I try to hide the depth of my sympathy and admiration for her. She refuses to give up, dressed in the latest styles, searching for the doctor who might give her the humanity back that she once knew.

“Do you remember anything?”

“One minute I was walking from the bar on Anthony Wayne back to our apartment and the next thing I knew I was in the side alley.”

“Do you remember anything of the attack?”

“It was a man, I remember that much. At least he had the face of a man. He was wearing some kind of long dark coat and a red scarf. Not a winter scarf though, it was more like a silk one, something out of the Victorian era. I saw the flicker of the blade of the knife and started running. Then it comes back to me in flashes. There is the sound of my feet in the puddles as I headed back to the closest street light. Then, the sense of falling overcomes me and I am surprised to land on the top of a garbage can. I tried to get up but his giant hand held me fast down over the can. At

this point, I was sure he was about to rape me. His other hand reached into my blouse. And then,,” the girl chokes a bit and black tears pour down her thin, onion skin like face.

“And then the pain like I’ve never felt before.”

She looks at me and yet she looks past me as she relieves the scenes in her head. Her eyes meet mine again.

“The days that followed, it was clear that I had it. I lived without a heart. And with it, all of the misery that comes with it. I can’t feel anymore. I don’t care for anyone. I struggle just to care enough about myself to keep on living. But each day, I wither away. Everyone I’ve ever loved has given up and I don’t care. My last hope is Dr. Jake Hayle. I need him to cure me if I’m ever going to get my life back.”

I was curious as to how Roger got into horror and became an Horror Addict. “I’ve been a Horror Addict since the time I could read. My mother hated that I read horror. She would buy me teen romance novels. So I didn’t keep hurting her feelings, I cut the covers off of the romance novels and glued them onto my Stephen King, Andrews, Rice and Koontz novels. That solution made us both happy. When I moved out to go to college she discovered my deception and just gave up on me. She likes my writing though now that I’m an adult.”

Michele’s novel, “Dark Matter is her first full length novel. It’s recently been published as a book as well as in digital format for the Kindle. It’s still and always will be a free podcast as well. Dark Matter is the story of a woman who finds herself one of the undead in the world that we as humans cannot see….the world made of anti-matter or rather by its popular name in science, Dark Matter. She gets thrown into the mix with a vampire and a dead librarian in a last ditch effort to save the world from its final end and in the mean time discovers she has a lot more to offer the world than just music lessons. Its cosmology, its sci fi, its horror and its a bit of romance and erotica (sic).”

She is a music teacher who enjoys playing the harp. “Before I was a teacher, I was a parent. I used to make up stories to tell my son when he was in the hospital with asthma problems. Thinking up the plots kept me awake and helped take his mind off of everything that was going on around him.”

“My harp’s name is Aiden. He has a soul all his own. I’m not sure if I was a harpist in another life, but I know Aiden has lived many lifetimes. I’m just a vessel for the stories he has to tell.”

Roger believes that, “[m]usic and writing are completely different avenues and outlets for what’s going on in my life. One does not influence the other. They CAN work together though. I’ve written and recorded some of my won music for my latest work, “The Conservatory”. In Conservatory, the main character is a music teacher who takes a job at a private music school infested, unbenounced (sic) to her with monsters who feed on flesh and are controlled by the headmaster with an evil plan to make the school famous as well as rich. The setting is based on the real haunted school experiences of the Oakland Community College, Highland Lakes campus, not far from where I live.”

When asked which she enjoys more, music or writing, she replied, “They both have a place in my heart. I like writing because I can hide away somewhere and get lost in my own world where I am in complete solitude. I like music because I get lost in the energy of my audience as I play. In both aspects really, I like the exchange of sharing my world whether it be made of notes or words and in return knowing that I’ve taken at least one other person away from the mundane, even if its just for a little while.”

Not only does she write horror stories, but Michele also has a published children’s book titled Winter Solstice and the 1,000 Pancakes. “[It’s] a children’s book that I wrote and illustrated myself. It’s based on a true story of a winter solstice night where people from all kinds of walks of life and religions got stuck in a bad Michigan snow storm and headed to the only light they could see…my old farm house. Everyone who came had different food, different beliefs and it was the best “Christmas” my family and I ever had. The story is told from my dog, Lulu’s perspective so the creative side of this book is that all the illustrations were done from her perspective…meaning I walked on my knees for weeks to get the right angles!”

I wanted to know what differences did Michele notice in writing a children’s book compared to your novel Dark Matter? She told me that, “[w]riting children’s books is way more stressful. You’d think it would be easy but one must think of every word and how it relates to picture without being complicated. With a novel like Dark Matter, I could wear a bunch of different hats, become the characters, write from their perspective and never have to worry about offending anyone. It was great.”

Look forward to Michele’s current projects: “I’m presently finishing The Conservatory for my editoring the hopes that it will come out in print for Halloween. I’m trying to finish a music CD as well over this summer (one I started writing and recording nearly a year ago). Then, in the fall, after the CD and new book are released, I’d like to finish to write a sci fi play called “Portrait” that combines high tech, digital props with a series of inter-connected short stories. There isn’t much live theatre that has horror or sci fi for its audiences. I’d like to change that…and of course, score the music for it while I’m at it.”

For more information on Michele Roger please visit these websites: