Dr. Henry Heckyl (Oliver Reed) is an ugly misshapen man who has spent his life alone and loveless. Although ugly on the outside he is warm and caring on the inside. Heckyl is a podiatrist. He works with two partners, Dr. Lew Hoo (Kedrick Wolf), an acu-tickler, and Dr. Vince Hinkle (Mel Welles), a diet doctor. Hinkle tells Heckyl about his latest development, "Dr. Vince Hinkle’s instant diet paste". One drop of the paste on someone’s tongue and they will instantly shed their excess weight. Dr. Hinkle warns Heckyl that taking more than one drop could be lethal to the patient.
Heckyl has a crush on Coral Careen (Sunny Johnson), a young woman that he sees every day waiting for the bus. Since Heckyl’s appearance is so grotesque, he loves the fair Miss Careen from afar. Realizing that he will never be accepted, Heckyl decides to kill himself. Hinkle, worried about someone trying to steal his formula, gives it to Heckyl hold on to. Heckyl drinks the formula. Instead of dying, Heckyl turns into a handsome and suave man. He calls himself Mr. Hype. One drawback to his new appearance is that Heckyl may be handsome on the outside, but he is now ugly on the inside. Heckyl turns into an entitled homicidal sociopath.
Women begin swooning over the now debonair Hype. Hype begins killing all the women he seduces. Heckyl starts to worry that, under the influence of Hinkle’s formula, he may accidentally kill Coral.
“Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype” was released in 1980 and was directed by Charles B. Griffith. It is an American black comedy horror film. The film adaptation was done by Charles B. Griffith and an uncredited Roger Corman.
The film is a very loosely adapted version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. In this case, however, instead of a mild doctor turning into a monster we have a monster turning into a handsome man. He’s still a monster but only on the inside. It’s similar to the plot of the film “The Nutty Professor” 1963 with Jerry Lewis.
If you wanna talk ego and sexual deviant, Oliver Reed is your guy. He is a master at looking like a pompous ass. Still, I’d rather watch egotistical and hyperbolic Oliver Reed overact than watch an abusive Jerry Lewis do anything. Not to cast dispersions on Reed, I’m actually a fan of his over-the-top bombastic characters.
As comedies go it’s rather weak, but it’s not horrible. One thing I saw that was interesting was Heckyl’s explanation for what happens to someone who uses Dr. Hinkle’s salve. Apparently, it turns a person into their own idea of what perfection should be, even though perfection isn’t always perfect.