This was my first dance with Destroyer. It's a movie that has quite the meta-Horror feel that really was reserved for late 90's fare. I'd hate to say that it's ahead of its time because it really is all 80's outside of the clever way in which it has decided to tell a supernatural, semi-hack and slash flick. It feels a little like Shocker. It feels like Prison. It feels like Horror Show. In other words it feels like three other previously released Scream Factory titles. It actually fits perfectly to see Scream put it out. Is it scary? Nah, but it's fun. It focuses on practical effects, corny 80's dialogue and Perkins who delivers a good performance... just not Norman good. If you like 80's hack and slash, you'll love this one because it isn't one of the big franchises, and you stand a chance of having not seen it before given its relative obscurity.
Edge of Sanity on the hand... that's why I was mega pumped for this double feature, and I have a story to go along with it.
When I was a kid my buddies and I would rent Horror movies and watch them at sleepovers with great reserves of sugar and with an explicit mission in mind: to see naked women. Not that watching Horror movies a total guise. We enjoyed fun Horror, and tried to pick movies that had great cover art, great stories and actually would research the movies as well as we could in the pre-internet days. I had Leonard Maltin film guide that offered a brief opinion, a star rating, run time and why it was rated R. This really fit into our schema quite well. Of course Edge of Sanity was a perfect choice. It was rated X. It didn't LOOK like a rated X movie, but it was said to be highly sleazy and filled with nudity. Strangely enough, this title was actually at Long Valley Video! It seemed like a complete long shot, and thinking back now I still cannot believe that flick was there. I also cannot believe it was rented to me. I thank the video store owner every chance I can (we still chat).
Most of the guys fell asleep. We had to save the filthy bits for when my parents finally crashed, and even though this one promised to have goodies in it, it was just too damn late. I sat awake watching boobs and for that our mission had been a success. Thing was, the movie actually creeped me out. It's not that Edge of Sanity is a great movie. It felt like Jack the Ripper to me, not my favorite Horror baddie. Something in the way Perkins looked and spoke got under my skin. There was a gravel in his voice and a look of pure junkie in his face. I had never forgotten the way it made me feel so late at night. I remember that better than a remember the nudity (me at twelve remembering face over boobs proved I was in need of therapy). The cover is a favorite of mine in all its boring simplicity. I own the VHS.
Did it hold up to years of anticipation and a late night rendezvous that gave me the willies? I'm afraid not. The movie is sleazy, but the voice and the look didn't seem to do it for me anymore. The story line actually captivated me more than it had the first time simply because I was watching it at a more appropriate time, and wasn't as focused on the fact that the move was rated X. It's not even rated X anymore. It actually looks great, and this flick is a pretty dark movie. The transfer allows for you to see details even in some moments where it might be difficult to see.
One last note... I always found the advertising for the picture on the cover art just a bit strange. They refer to Anthony Perkins not being himself, playing up the Psycho connection that simply isn't there. Maybe that's why I love the design so much. It just feels forced, overly sensationalistic without need.
Destroyer is a really great time, and while it didn't break any new ground, it held its own. Edge of Sanity on the other hand is just a sleep concoction. It has a little bit of Ripper (as I remembered), but also some Jekyll and Hyde. It's dirty in the same way that all movies released to home video became filthy in the late 80's. The two movies don't necessarily play well as a double feature, but they both of Perkins. For fans of his work in Psycho who haven't had the chance to see him in anything else, this gives you two completely different sides of him.
You can order your copy now via Scream Factory or DiabolikDVD:
A DOUBLE FEATURE OF HORROR STARRING ANTHONY PERKINS
1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo/1988/NEW HD Transfer
When Ivan Moser (football great Lyle Alzado), a convicted serial killer, is set to be electrocuted, a devastating prison riot erupts on the day of the execution. In the wake of the destruction and mayhem, the prison is shut down and Moser becomes a legend. No proof of his death exists.
Eighteen months later, a film director (Anthony Perkins) intrigued by the legend of Moser, decides to use the prison as a film set. One the last night of filming, the truth of Moser's fate is about to be revealed. The film crew, trapped inside the prison, begin to disappear one by one. This electrifying thriller also stars Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl) and Clayton Rohner (I, Madman).
EDGE OF SANITY
1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo/1989/Uncut Version
Anthony Perkins (Psycho) stars as an outwardly rational Dr. Jekyll who rapidly descends into a world of sexual obsession and murder as Mr. Hyde... and who may also be Jack the Ripper! A shocking new twist on one of the most infamous crime stories of all time, this terrifying thriller will keep you on the cutting edge of fear!
After a lab experiment unleashes mysterious fumes, Dr. Henry Jekyll undergoes a horrifying transformation into a savage alter ego who calls himself "Jack Hyde." Meanwhile, the depraved killer Jack the Ripper is slicing his way through the alleys of Whitechapel, leaving mutilated streetwalkers in his wake. Is there a connection between Jekyll/Hyde and Jack the Ripper? And can anyone stop his reign of terror?