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

Bibliography

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.

Alfred Hitchcock Basics – A Video Primer

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Good Evening, Horror Addicts!

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again with a video review breakdown on some of our Alfred Hitchcock Favorites! From The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Notorious, and Spellbound to Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, and The Birds – if you haven’t seen one or two, here’s why you should!

 

 

Don’t forget YOU can be part of the conversation on our Facebook Group or revisit some of my Horror Addicts.net Hitchcock reviews here.

 

By Horror Addicts, For Horror Addicts!

 

Horror Movie Conspiracy Theories: Dr. Sam Loomis Was Also in Psycho

Halloween is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time.  Obviously, it plays a lot during Halloween season, as well as almost quarterly for didie-hardorror fans.  This weeks horror conspiracy revolves around not only the Halloween franchise, but the Psycho franchise as well.  Was Dr. Loomis in Psycho before he assisted Michael Myers?

It all starts in Psycho.  Loomis is Marion’s boyfriend, who later catches Norman Bates.  Fast foreward a few years and Loomis is now Dr. Loomis treating Michael Myers.  Why do they have the same character name if it isn’t intended to be the same character?  Or, was the director paying tribute to Alfred Hitchcock?

I believe it has to be the same character.  If it was a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, then why make a main character have the same name? That’s a pretty big nod if that’s the case.  I believe that after Norman Bates was arrested, Loomis made it his life dedication to help murderers and that’s why he was Michael Myer’s doctor.

Do you agree?  Please let me know in the comments below!  Until next time, keep that tin foil hat on.

Kenzie

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Dean Farnell

Dean Farnell writes quirky songs & poetry, mainly paranormal / horror themed as a bit of fun. The songs are recorded in one single take so are raw demos in effect but have still been played on over 600 various radio stations and podcasts all over the world. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  Dean wrote a poem called “The Kings Of Horror” which is about the masters that got us into the genre, such as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and all the other greats of horror. To read Dean’s poem along with several articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To Life. Recently Dean was nice enough to tell us what he likes about horror:

 

What do you like about the horror genre?

deanWhat I like about the horror genre: one reason is the strange thrill of being scared, For years people have flocked to cinemas and bought books to basically get frightened which seems bizarre yet millions of people like to do it.
Monsters, aliens, ghosts, witches etc. are also of great mystery to us humans and provide hours of debate regarding to their existence. I personally love the Halloween toys, clothes, and accessories which adorn the shops in October great time of year.

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books or TV shows?

My favourite horror films were the Hammer Horror films from ’60s and ’70s.  I must have been about 11 when my dad used to let me stay up late to watch them on a Saturday night.  Anything with Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy, Werewolf would fascinate me.  I like the basic not over produced feel about those films. My Ultimate classic favourite films that I love are Psycho, Halloween, The Birds and the Salem’s Lot series with David Soul.  They are hard to beat for a horror thrill.

For TV Shows it’s the fabulous Addams Family and The Munsters all day long.  I can watch them for hours, horror and humor are a terrific combo.
Although I write horror poetry I never really did read horror novels but I could not resist reading “Jaws” when it first came out.
P.S. and of course not forgetting The Horror Addicts Guide To Life.

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

Regards which way I live the horror lifestyle is really just writing horror poetry and promoting my self-written horror themed songs which I send off to radio stations mainly in the USA.
Do also enjoy catching up with a vintage Hammer film.

Where can we find you online?

The quickest way to find my songs poems is by Googling my name and links will direct you to my past work. People can find my past work online through iTunes, Amazon, my facebook page , youtube, Tunevibe.com, Indie charts, 365 live Radio.

HorrorAddicts.net 114, H.E. Roulo

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 114

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

h.e. roulo | particle son | the walking dead

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

174 days till halloween

richard cheese, down with the sickness, zombies, baycon, book release party, emerian rich, h.e. roulo, j. malcolm stewart, laurel anne hill, sumiko saulson, loren rhoads, lillian csernica, seanan mcguire, earthquakes, horroraddicts on kindle, babadook, netflix, chiller, lifeforce, colin wilson, the space vampires, tobe hooper, texas chainsaw massacre, mathilda may, siren, slasher, stack.com, death note, adam wingard, the woman in black, horror addicts guide to life, sandra harris, ron vitale, david watson, books, plague master: sanctuary dome, zombie dome, slicing bones, kindle buys, morbid meals, dan shaurette, london mess, fox uk, canniburgers, the walking dead recipe, nightmare fuel, japanese fable, slit mouth woman, surgical mask, particle son, revelation, portland band, dawn wood, stephen king, clive barker, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, the country road cover up, the sacred, crystal connor, dracula dead and loving it, kbatz, kristin battestella, c.a.milson, the walking dead, dead mail, candace questions, colette, bees, david, bugs, the watcher in the woods, pembroke, jaws, gremlins, craig, devil, sparkylee, the thing, dogs, kristin, alien, robert, magic, daltha, clowns, pennywise, jaq, creature from the black lagoon, jody, night of the living dead, world book day, interview with a vampire, michael, haunting of hill house, kbatz, frankenstein, dracula, anne rice, jane eyre, sumiko, the stand, lillian,  jim butcher, changes, a.d., exorcist, mimielle, firestarter, bad moon rising, jonathan mayberry, edgar, alabama, alien from la, kathy ireland, ask marc, marc vale, mike, pittsburgh, driver’s test, what would norman bates do?, mother, voices, psycho, h.e. roulo, heather roulo.

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

 

Baycon.org

 

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

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Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

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Guest Blog: KBatz – Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

Modern Fans Under Appreciate Psycho
By Kristin Battestella

 

Everybody’s heard of Psycho-and like The Sixth Sense,  even if you haven’t see it, most people nowadays know Psycho’s twist ending.  Today’s visually desensitized young adults cannot fully appreciate Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece even though it has become the grand daddy of slasher films.  Oft emulated but never equaled, Psycho needs to be re watched with vigor anew.
Anthony Perkins stars in the Hitchcock thriller as Norman Bates, a quiet and lonely young man who befriends Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) while she spends the night at the Bates Motel.  Wishing for a respectable life with her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin), Marion steals $40,000 from her boss and sets out for California.  Following Marion’s trail is her sister Lila (Vera Miles) and Detective Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam).  All come to suspect Norman, the Bates Motel, and Norman’s mother- the innocent Mrs. Bates.

Under Hitchcock’s direction Anthony Perkins plays Norman Bates to the T.  Forever typecast by Hollywood and fans alike-we still can’t separate Perkins from Bates.  The actor himself was conflicted and confused sexually, and Perkins gives this genuine emotional conflict to Norman.  The way he cleans up after his mother, stays on in an empty motel-we feel bad for Norman the moment we meet him.  Likewise Janet Leigh plays the good girl gone bad.  Even though Marion’s at odds with the law, we open the film in the middle of her situation.  We see her plan and prepare, yet we want her to get away with it.  When Lila and Sam come calling for Marion-we root for them as well.  We care for each, fear for them or of them-the audience relates to each character, regardless of their standpoint in the spectrum.

No one is filler or miscast.  Even though Vera Miles has played the tough cookie in films like The Searchers and other early television westerns, and Janet Leigh the sweet tart in Bye Bye Birdie- the women are perfect as sisters.  Even though Sam is Marion’s lover, we see him more with Lila.  The underlying chemistry between Miles and Loomis hints at something more. As simple as Psycho can look on screen, everything from the actors to the props is multitasking.
Oscar winner and suspense king Hitchcock intentionally made the film black and white-a cringe worthy concept to today’s effects happy filmmakers.  Using the film crew from his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and good old fashioned film making ingenuity like chocolate syrup for blood, Hitch stuck to Psycho’s $1 million budget. There are no effects to speak off, just swift camera angles and perfected lighting techniques.  Multiple actors were used to keep up the illusion of Mrs. Bates, and the attention to detail regarding costumes, props, and sets is top notch.  Psycho perfectly captures the early sixties in every detail.  The bullet bras, poofy dresses, even Norman’s taxidermy isn’t taken for granted.  Those stuffed birds, of course, allude to something else.
Based on the book Psycho by Robert Bloch, Psycho benefits greatly from sound source material and screenplay work by Joseph Stefano. It’s intelligent, yet light at parts.  Innocent yet dark, modern imitators don’t have the psychological complexities of Hitchcock’s work.  Today, some may find the story slow, but the first hour sets up the unraveling yet totally explained and satisfying ending.  After Psycho premiered in theaters, Hitchcock demanded no one be seated after the start of the film in order to preserve the suspense.  Every word is timed perfectly onscreen, every shot, every scene says something-not a frame is wasted in Psycho.

Several scenes in Psycho are so iconic and oft imitated or parodied that audiences forget the original.  Gus Van Sant’s 1998 inferior and useless homage remake of Psycho stars Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche.  The color recreation is almost a frame for frame imitation of Hitch’s original.  Can you name another film that has that kind of backward flattery?  Psycho’s infamous shower scene is genius in its editing, illusions, and it did for the bathroom what Jaws did for ocean swimmers.

Psycho and its score by Bernard Herrmann are the best music marriage since Gone With The Wind.  Composer of other Hitchcock scores as well as Citizen Cane and The Day The Earth Stood Still, Herrmann’s haunting strings aren’t a hum-able tune, yet everyone knows the theme when he or she hears it.  Herrmann’s score fits Hitchcock’s layered suspense and sixties mood.  Long after you’ve watched Psycho you hear those strings in the shower and in your sleep.

Psycho’s undoing is its audience’s inability to forget and be surprised again.  Today’s information hounds have been spoiled by sub par sequels like Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) , and a prequel Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).  Unlike most low budget or obscure old flicks waiting to be rediscovered, the stalwart Psycho has never quite left the public eye.  Despite previous acting prowess in Friendly Persuasion and Fear Strikes Out, Anthony Perkins will be forever associated with this role-Perkins played the alter ego Norman Bates nearly up until his death in 1992.

My VHS copy contains a short making of featurette.  The set was fun, but Janet Leigh actually spent very little of the shoot with Perkins.  Deeper documentaries on Hitchcock, Perkins, and the film are available and filled with trivia and antic dotes.  Collectors should definitely upgrade to DVD for restored picture, sound, and additional documentaries and insights.

Deemed too gory, shocking, and risqué at the time, Psycho will not loose its iconic status-despite the popularity of gory, gimmicky, and quick fix films.   Detailed, intelligent suspense thrillers will always have an audience.  Psycho’s bonus is its duality-quiet, simplistic onscreen, yet complex and full of optical illusions.

I fear not only a lack of appreciation for fine horror films like Psycho, but also I wonder if modern teeny boppers and fans of bloody horror understand the nuances presented?  While Psycho is gore free, the spooks might still scare kinds under 10.  Truthfully anyone with a heart condition should avoid Psycho. If you’re new to classic films, old movies, or Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a must see.  Study it and appreciate it thoroughly.