I’ve always been intrigued by the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. Aside from being an interesting character study between refined society and bestial nature, the tale also shows the repercussions we face when impulse-control is denied. As such, this story makes a great basis for just about any type of genre film, but especially horror. So when I heard the fine folks at CAV Distribution were releasing HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE, I jumped on the chance to check it out. And while the film is not perfect, it’s still a lot of fun and worthy of watching.
If you are not familiar with HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of One 7 Movies:
An ‘erotic horror’ movie dedicated to Joe D’Amato, Hyde’s Secret Nightmare combines the two genres and mixes them in equal parts. Cross-cut erotic and horror scenes are kept together by a thread of dramatic force bordering on obsession, paranoia, phobia, perversion, and lack of self-acceptance. Everything unfolds in an extreme world where sex seems the only way to attain a state of well-being.
Against the backdrop of some old-style horror movie, complete with a mad doctor, hunbacked assistant, and corpse thieves begins the story of Henry, a scientist who attempts to create a miraculous remedy to cure his impotence. His loyal assistant, Hans, helps him, along with Abdul, a necrophiliac gravedigger who finds the corpses for his experiments. Unsatisfied with their results, Henry tests on himself the serum that he has been studying and improving for years. He finds himself in the body of a woman—Eva Hyde.
Before I go any further, I need to post a warning: this film contains graphic nudity and sex scenes, as well as disturbing and realistic gore. This is an Adults Only film that boasts a XXX rating, so make sure you realize this before you watch. If this doesn’t bother you, then read on.
HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE looks ok from a production standpoint, but the film quality leaves a lot to be desired in some places. Most of it looks fine, however there are a few scenes that look as if they were shot with a VHS camcorder from the 80s. Thankfully, these are few and far between, so it doesn’t detract from the film too much.
The acting is pretty standard, and nobody really stands out from the cast. Claudio Zanelli and Roberta Gemma portray the lead character(s), and both do a fine job. Andrea Autullo gives a semi-humorous performance as Abdul, and veteran actor Venantino Venantini does a fine job as the barkeep. Most of the performers are cast in bit parts, with very little screentime, so it’s hard to judge their portrayals…but they all seem decent.
The special effects in HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE are horrific in their realism. There’s a few bashed-in heads and some other carnage, but what I found most cringeworthy are the penis-injection scenes. When Henry decides to use the serum he’s created, my stomach started hurting at the thought of what he was about to do. But when the film shows him actually doing it, I almost had to walk away. The scenes are that gruesome. I commend the special effects team and their ability to create such memorable and haunting images.
The story in HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE is very curious. It is part horror, part mystery, part erotic, and part public-service announcement. Yes, that’s correct…the filmmakers throw in some PSAs and even some philosophical commentary. I found this odd and yet refreshing at the same time. The film is not so much preachy as it is informative, and this is a nice change of pace from some of the more ‘in-your-face’ type of movies.
My biggest complaint about the film is its length. It clocks in at over two hours long, however the editors should have shaved at least 30 minutes off of that. This isn’t enough to try and dissuade you from seeing the film, but I do have to make a mention of it.
Still, HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE is entertaining and weird, an almost surrealistic trek into a modern-day dark fantasy. If you can handle graphic sex depictions and hardcore gore, this is a movie you’ll want to check out. It is available now.