Color, 1972, 91m. / Directed by Byron Mabe and Lee Raymond / Starring Jack Buddliner, Rene Bond / Image (US R0 NTSC)

Now here's a really sick one! An unapologetic wallow in the grindhouse gutter, The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hide pushes the sexploitation "roughie" genre to ridiculous extremes as it pulls out one perverse twist after another on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Amazingly enough, Britain's Hammer Films produced a similarly plotted variation, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, which left far more to the viewer's imagination... but then more isn't always less, is it? Dr. Leeder (Jack Buddliner -- hmm, think that's a pseudonym?), a creepy guy who looks like Harry Reems after a really bad night, comes across the medical notebook of the legendary Dr. Jekyll (just like Young Frankenstein!). Naturally he feels compelled to duplicate his predecessor's formula, which has the unexpected result of turning the doc into... a voluptuous blonde woman with a heavy murderous streak! The new Miss Hide promptly seduces everyone in sight, including '70s porn kitten Rene Bond (as his secretary) and a skanky sailor who winds up losing a valuable portion of his anatomy. Whippings, canings, and other nastiness soon wash over the screen until Hide finally gets the idea of going after the Doc's innocent young fiancée, with nasty results. Considering this film is supposed to look cheap and grimy, the DVD looks just fine and definitely crisper than the earlier Something Weird VHS version. Gritty shades of brown and gray contrast against the vivid flesh tones of the many naked bodies on display. The audio was never slickly recorded to begin with but sounds clear enough here and delivers each moan and scream with perfect clarity. The disc also includes a running commentary by producer David Friedman, who offers some frequently humorous production anecdotes and a succinct history of the transition within the adult industry from "nudie cuties" to rougher fare like this. The theatrical trailer is astoundingly rude, closing with the film's title card emblazoned over a shot of Leeder's, er, manhood. An amusing and probably educational gallery of Friedman's exploitation ad mats is also included.

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