|Jekyll & Hyde (2000)|
Taylor Hayes, Kate More, Genevieve, Aletta, Daniella, Judyh, Fernanda, Julian, Mike Foster, Frank Gunn, John Kossa, Alberto Rey, Frank Major, Leslie Taylor, Kallinger Horst, Ian Daniels, and Bobby Vitale
Single Sided, Dual Layer (RSDL)
"Virtual Reality" menu interface; full motion video chapter selection menu; video profiles of 6 Vivid Girls; 10 video clips totaling 57 minutes; 2 additional video angles during select scenes; trailers for Exquisite Excesses, Temporary Positions, and The Awakening; and Dolby 5.1 audio soundtrack. Bonus disc may be included. Disc includes: 19 trailers on side A, 45 trailers with full motion video selection menu on side B, 25 short (and identified) video clips, 12 video profiles of Vivid Girls, and Mind Teazzer demo.
Fans of Taylor Hayes, anyone who prefers Vivid-style videos
Anyone who despises plots, bad acting, weak stories, Vivid-style hardcore, non-English speaking actors, or expects to see a gorgeous Taylor Hayes
Costumes and makeup, European talent, anal, facials, prostitutes, light bondage, blowjobs
If You Liked This DVD, You Should Enjoy
Talent Scout (Vivid)
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The First Word: This was one of the DVDs up for Best DVD of 2000 in some circles, but despite the star power, budget, and director, it was a questionable nomination.
What's It About?: Shot on location in Budapest, this high budget feature is basically an adult costume drama, a remake of the classic story with some hardcore trimmings. American stars Taylor Hayes and Julian play the main characters, Molly Jekyll and her childhood friend Jack. After her father's death, Molly returns to her father's estate to decide whether to stay there or close up the house and return to her schooling. She learns that her father became eccentric in his final days, ordering strange chemicals and apparatus. She goes through his labs and papers and discovers his diaries, which piece together his final days.
Meantime, at the local house of prostitution (complete with group sex and midget prostitutes), a courtesan named Bridget (Kate More) is working, giving blowjob to a man who's hanging from his tied wrists. After fucking him and making him cum in powerful squirts, she receives a delivery from the executor of the late Mr. Hyde's estate. A letter informs her of his death and includes a box full of cash, his final bequest.
Through his diaries, we discover that Dr. Jekyll (Mike Foster) had often passed by the whorehouse and witnessed the wanton carnality taking place there. Since this is an X-rated film, we see the orgy in vivid detail, with anal sex, multiple guys on each girl, facials, and lots of European-style groaning and moaning in foreign languages. While we don't get to see the midgets in action, we do see a freak show of sorts as one of the men lets loose a voluminous cumshot over two prostitutes and then seems to pop again after a bit of beating his meat.
Jekyll describes how he concocted a potion that would isolate the more raw, carnal nature of his soul. His daughter recreates his work and drinks the potion before collapsing. The next morning, she asks Utterson (Frank Gunn), the family lawyer (at least we know that PT has read Robert Louis Stevenson), how her father went insane in less than a year. He directs her to the prostitute Bridget to answer that question. Upon finding Bridget, Molly learns how the two met.
A year earlier, a horribly disfigured and violent man came to the whorehouse and picked Bridget from the selection of girls. Bridget was revolted by his face, but his money was good enough to get a blowjob and to be able to fuck her in the ass. Molly then discovers that it wasn't Dr. Jekyll that Bridget knew him as, but a Mr. Hyde. We later come to find out from Jack that Jekyll did take in an assistant, an Edward Hyde -- all but the most dimwitted porn viewer can figure out that the two men are the same person.
After taking more of the Jekyll potion, the truly haggish-looking Molly lures two sailors (Ian Daniels and Bobby Vitale) into an alley where they have intercourse in a pretty lackluster scene. Maybe it's Taylor's vamp-like makeup, or the lighting, or Ian and Bobby's apparent disinterest, but I can't see how anyone would find this scene erotic, hot, whatever. I also take issue with the editing in this scene...it uses too many jump cuts and totally kills the arousal factor. Not a good first full-length-sex-scene-in-the-movie for the contract star...
As Molly's descent into duality continues, she picks up Utterson when he defends her from the scorn of the local streetwalkers. Back to his apartment, she sucks his cock using the Taylor Hayes trademarked hands-free blowjob with lots of slurping sounds. This supposedly dominating scene where Molly whips Utterson with a riding crop really doesn't develop into an interesting fuck. You have Taylor doing the same "uhhhh, yeah, oooooh" moaning over and over again, and we have to endure Frank Gunn's rather small and somewhat limp cock.
From there, it's mostly about Molly's murderous rampage as she poses as a prostitute and then kills a john. She then goes and demands answers from Utterson, even going as far putting a burning candle in his ass (well, not really -- the angle of the candle is too vertical for that, but you get the idea). He too gets bludgeoned to death.
In the final scene, Jack comforts Molly, who's distraught about what she becoming. As solace, the two fuck on the grand staircase. While Julian isn't a good actor, he's got a huge cock, which lends itself to a nice BJ from Taylor. As the scene draws to a close, the two fuck on the staircase and the landing. She finishes her friend off with a handjob that leads to a nice-looking cumshot. In the morning, Jack is lucky enough to get another blowjob, but Molly turns into Flora Hyde (courtesy of some cat-like contact lenses) and runs off.
I wish I could say that there's some surprise plot twist or that there's a cool ending, but there's not. Just like the rest of the plot, it's pretty thin and predictable. It would have been nice if there was at least a great sex scene as the movie's pinnacle, but, again, there's not.
What I liked: Not much: And that's too bad -- I generally like Paul Thomas' pictures. While they are generally tame (and sometimes lame), PT is a decent porn writer and director. Also, there's a lot of production value in this movie, with a lot of attention to costumes, set locations, and effects. Even the cast is fairly good, with several performers pulled from the Private talent pool.
But ultimately, the distractions (see a few of them below) are many and the hot sex is scarce. It wouldn't be bad if at least the story was compelling or there was some eroticism (which can be as much of a turn on as nasty sex to me), but there's really only a couple of minutes of hardcore that's interesting.
What I didn't like: Condoms: Fine. I understand that condoms are studio policy in the age of "safe sex" (the same policy that allows bareback blowjobs and facial cumshots, but hey...). I even don't mind condoms as long as they don't distract from the action. But in this case, we have a costume drama set in the 19th Century, and I doubt that anyone, including hookers would be using multi-colored raincoats. It just ruins any ambience that the filming location and expensive costumes had tried to create.
Multiple angles: Yet again, we have Vivid's idea of what multiple angles are: edited clips from additional cameras but not synchronized to the main camera angle. In other words, you don't have three camera angles showing three different views of the same thing at the same time. You have three angles, each edited from footage from an unknown number of cameras at various points during the filming. Thus, the audio only synchronizes with the main angle--so if you watch the other angles, you'll see plenty of moans where there shouldn't be and no groans in plenty of places where there should be. And of course, there's the bright red Vivid DVD multiple angle indicator in the lower right corner.
Plot and acting: Before I get any e-mail informing me that porn is about sex and not about plot, let me just say that plot is generally what Vivid relies on...a somewhat interesting story to tie together the sex scenes. It's designed to be couples friendly porn, and plot is one way they accomplish that. Jekyll and Hyde has an uncharacteristically simple plot (for a Paul Thomas script) that doesn't make a lot of sense -- what PT tries to pass off as a plot twist just comes off like a car wreck. The ending leaves you with a real sense of "so why did I watch this and not just skip to the sex scenes?"
The acting is just bad. Compared to Julian's stilted delivery of dialogue, Taylor is a wonderful actress -- although you and I know that she's a lot better at putting things in her mouth than saying them. The international cast also presents a challenge -- Frank Gunn's heavily accented English is hard to follow, and the other actors either don't say much or speak in (presumably) Hungarian subtitled in English. What a mess!
Makeup: It was intentional, but there's nothing erotic to me about seeing Taylor in vampire makeup and electrocuted hair while sucking a guy off. Ditto with Mike Foster and his disfigured Mr. Hyde makeup: it may have worked for Michael Ninn's Shock, but it doesn't work here.
DVD Extras: All right, I take it back... there is something that I liked about this release. There are a lot of extras on the disc and it looks like Vivid included a bonus disc full of clips and trailers to boot (according to the "Free Disk" sticker on the box front, the bonus DVD amounts to 8 hours -- and you couldn't pay me enough to try to verify that claim). Granted, we're talking about Vivid extras (so we can expect a ton of butchered video clips), but at least Vivid bothered to identify the source of these clips with a text caption at the beginning of the clip. Finally it dawned on someone there that these clips might drive addition sales if the viewer knew where they came from. And several of the bonus clips are decent length (6-9 minutes), not just the badly edited ones from before. Still, despite the improvements and the sheer quantity, I would have liked to see some more variety in the extras (would it kill Vivid to do a behind-the-scenes or some interviews?)
A/V Quality: As I've come to expect from Vivid, the video quality leaves much to be desired. Although compared to Vivid releases from years earlier this one is much better, the quality is definitely not up to the standards of the other major studios. It's disappointing to see Vivid spend so much time on a stupid and awkward "VR" interface instead of improving its DVD authoring techniques. Other complaints include a marginal black level (leading to a lot of gray blacks and soft colors), alternate angles that seem to be presented in a different aspect ratio than the main angle, and a noticeable DVD layer change in chapter 8.
The Last Word: I was disappointed with this release. It doesn't show off Taylor Hayes' beauty or talent nearly as well as just about any other video she's done. The production budget and extras are considerable, but lots of cash and a boatload of extras doesn't always result in an award-winning DVD. The quantity and quality of sex in this one left me wanting, and I can't recommend it. If you're looking for a much better Vivid/Paul Thomas recent release, I would definitely check out Talent Scout rather than Jekyll & Hyde.