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3.4 out of 5 stars17
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 October 2014
1971's Christopher Lee / Peter Cushing chiller I, Monster is most assuredly one of the runts of the litter in terms of the famous acting duo's many co-starring vehicles in the field of British horror; sadly, this is despite being scripted as one of the most faithful adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, made by the generally reliable Amicus Productions, and featuring Lee in the meaty central part(s) with Cushing lending support as the novella's narrator and protagonist, the solicitor Utterson. Altering the names of Lee's twin roles from Jekyll and Hyde to `Marlowe' and `Blake' but confusingly sticking to the names of all the book's secondary characters, it appears as though the filmmakers were trying to pursue the line that their film was merely `inspired by' Stevenson's classic, whilst heading off in a worthwhile new direction. Certainly, the inclusion of references to the work of Sigmund Freud (requiring the bringing forward of the tale into the early 1900s from the 1880s) seems like an interesting innovation, but in all other respects the film is a pretty straightforward take on the well-known story.
Originally conceived by producer Milton Subotsky as a 3D epic, the processes behind making the movie in this fashion eventually proved a challenge too far for the modest Amicus outfit and were abandoned soon after shooting started; the result of this being that the final film's impoverished look, coupled with a distinct lack of action and a shorter-than-average running time make the movie as a whole feel half-finished. It certainly looks tatty, with its conspicuously underpopulated London exterior shots, and a cramped corner of a soundstage dressed up as a supposedly opulent gentlemen's club standing out particularly badly. The first full-length feature of director Stephen Weeks (given the gig at Lee's suggestion because several directors Amicus had used previously wanted nothing to do with their 3D experiment), he adds what interesting visual flourishes there are to the film, but he is eventually defeated in his attempts to open out the story by Subotsky's flat screenplay and (presumably) by not having any money to spend on anything (Weeks has joked that most of the movie's budget was spent on painting the canteen at Shepperton studios). This is certainly evident in the film's most notoriously awkward scene, in which Cushing and co-star Mike Raven stroll down a street as Raven's Enfield tediously relates the story of how he witnessed Lee's Blake maul a young girl half to death. Of course, not only is this a key plot event that should have been shown outright, not described, within the film, the whole sequence is crippled dreadfully by the delivery of Raven, the BBC Radio 1 DJ who, around the turn of the 1970s, fancied himself as the next Vincent Price and managed to land himself supporting parts in a couple of Amicus and Hammer movies before embarking on a pair of truly diabolical self-produced horror flicks of his own. As a performer, Raven stinks worse than a Colchester condom; it is coming to something when even Peter Cushing, consummate professional that he was and Britain's finest horror movie actor, looks visibly uncomfortable playing opposite this utter stiff.
To Cushing's credit, he gives the project what enthusiasm he can muster (given that his wife was very ill during production, and indeed died just a couple of months later), but he is hampered by the script's inability to give Utterson any personality or a worthwhile motivation. He's just a chap, intrigued by what is happening to Lee's Marlowe and who resolves to stick his oar in; that the character works as the film's hero at all here owes nothing to the screenplay (or even to Stevenson's original plot, to be honest), but simply to the fact that it's Peter Cushing, going up against Christopher Lee once again. Lee, meanwhile, clearly relishes his opportunity to have a go at the twin figures at the centre of the story (he missed out on the chance a decade before, when Hammer declined to have him as the lead in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll); and whilst his Marlowe is really just one of Lee's typically cold ponces, the varying degrees of ugliness and viciousness he brings to the ever-degenerating Blake are marvellously shaded.
Despite the lead actors dragging the film over the finish line, I, Monster (presumably a pun on the title of the 1958 Roger Corman gangster film I Mobster, though why anyone thought referencing that was a good idea, heaven knows) is definitely a lesser movie in the annals of British horror. If you want to see Cushing and Lee on top form in a great film based on a classic horror story, my advice would be to check out one of their early Hammer efforts instead.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 October 2013
I, Monster is directed by Stephen Weeks and written by Milton Subotsky. An interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven, Richard Hurndall, George Merritt, Kenneth J. Warren, Susan Jameson and Marjie Lawrence. Music is by Carl Davis and cinematography by Moray Grant.

Kept By The Power Of God!

Stevenson's age old tale gets another make-over as Dr. Charles Marlowe (Lee) invents a drug that releases his patients' inhibitions. However, upon trying the drug himself, Marlowe finds that he turns into the monstrous Mr. Blake, who with each transformation becomes more cruel and debauched.

Dull and Hyde!

Amicus never quite made the mark on British Horror that they aspired to, a few films are enjoyable, certainly there's good value to be found with some of the segments in their portmanteau releases, but so many others just come off as weak attempts to create a niche in the market. Quite often there was good intentions on the writing table, such is the case with I, Monster, which has literary intentions that are honourable. The Eastman Color photography is lovely, the period design equally so, and the use of canted angles is a good move, but unfortunately the film is just too dull and beset with problems elsewhere.

First off is Cushing and Lee, two bona fide legends of British cinema and bastions of horror. Lee is miscast, never quite convincing in the Mr. Blake role, which isn't helped by the make up work which would look more at home in Carry On Screaming. With Cushing it's just a case of him being underused, which is unforgivable in a horror film aiming for literary smarts. Carl Davis' musical score is awful, at times I sounds like something that belongs in a silent movie farce.

Starting out as a 3-D venture, that idea was abandoned early in the production, it's hard to believe that the gimmick would have stopped this being the dreary film that it is. 4/10
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on 27 March 2009
having owned both the studio canal region 2 dvd and the awful region 1 special edition it's nice to see that optimum have finally brought a decent region 2 dvd.
the print is fantastic with nice rich colours and a nice crisp mono soundtrack.
the film is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen ratio.
no extras but that seems to be the norm with these old classic's.
if youre a fan of cushing & lee this is the dvd to get.
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on 30 September 2007
This is basically another film version of Robert Louis Stevenson's story `The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' but with the main characters' names changed for no apparent reason!

Unfortunately, despite the presence of movie legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, this has to rank as one of the dullest film versions of this classic tale mainly because it is just too talky and often gets bogged down with too much reference to Freud!

This film must be classed as a huge disappointment to fans of films made by Amicus Studios, who were a serious rival to Hammer Studios during this period. For a much superior film version of Jekyll and Hyde horror fans would be better off checking out Rouben Mamoulian's 1931 film version. Hammer themselves made a far more interesting version of this famous story with their 1971 film `Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde' - after already having filmed a version back in 1960 called `The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll', a.k.a. `House of Fright', also featuring Christopher Lee.

On the plus side this is a very nice transfer in 1.78:1 wide screen ratio and there is an atmospheric music score by renowned composer and conductor Carl Davis. On the minus side there are no extras at all, except for scene selection, so this is really only an essential purchase for Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee/Amicus completists.
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on 15 May 2000
This is a quite good verson of the story of Jekyll & Hyde, but they use other names in the film, but it's based on that book.
The doctor comes up with a potion that makes him revert to his "animal side", and he roams about London, doing anything he pleases untill he kills somebody.
I regretted not taping the film when they showed it on TV here, so now I'm buing it instead.
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on 16 November 2004
For any one interested in Hammer terror films this is worth a look. Christopher Lee has stated that he never understood why they never used Stephenson's more traditional title. In fact this was due to copyright issues but it is clear that Marlow / Blake are Jekyll and Hyde. The film is slow at times but is faithful to the original story.
Peter Cushing plays very much second fiddle to Christopher Lee although as always he is able to leave a lasting impression. The attention to detail of old fashioned objects is very good. The film was originally to be shown in 3D but this was abandoned when production costs became prohibitive. This accounts for some of the camera angles and sweeps during the scenes of metamorphasis.
Many critics have blamed Milton Subotsky (Producer) for a banal screen play but this takes nothing away from the acting honours of the two central characters. Mike Raven ( also seen in Vampire Lovers) is wooden and given unspeakable lines.
The film is set in 1906 with Lee's character Marlow experimenting with a drug which produces one of three states of the human psyche, in his case the ID resulting in Blake! The film follows his fall from grace and sanity as he looses sense of morality.
If you like terror films ( not scary ) and like me have an affection for these two actors it may well be worth adding this to your collection.
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on 17 March 2011
Good performance from a good actor,you always get value for money from Lee, even from a dodgy script, I do think this film is certainly worth a watch, A take on jekyl and hyde that i think Lee pulls off pretty well, The changes in his facial features that even by todays standards looks quite convincing , interesting film.
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on 4 November 2012
How is it, you may be asking yourself, that this is my favorite version of the Jekyll/Hyde story and yet I only give it three stars? It has nothing to do with the quality of the print. I have the Optimum Entertainment DVD and the print quality is glorious. I like this version because it is (in spirit) the most faithful cinematic rendering of the story, has one of Christopher Lee's very best performances, is beautifully photographed (originally in 3-D), and has a wonderful, atmospheric score from Carl Davis (yes, THE Carl Davis of Thames Silents movie scores). But just because I like it doesn't mean that others will. It is very slow moving, has no romantic interest, and features an astonishingly literate script considering it came from Milton Subotsky, co-founder of Amicus Productions who are better known for multi-story films like DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS. The title, I, MONSTER, is his. Think of it as the MASTERPIECE THEATRE version of DR.JEKYLL & MR HYDE. Not a strong selling point for your average horror movie fan but it definitely works for me.

Which brings us to the most curious aspect of this production. Why are the characters called Dr Marlowe and Mr Blake? Subotsky uses the other character names from the story correctly (Poole, Utterson, Lanyon) but not the principal ones. Known for his tight purse strings, my guess is that he would have had to pay extra to use them (copyright issues) so he just didn't. The production is obviously a low budget one which makes it even more remarkable that it looks as good as it does. The addition of Freudian psychology into the script works very well as does the fact that Jekyll/Marlowe injects himself rather than drinks a potion. Lee's transformations are restrained and his alter ego make-up is very believable. Peter Cushing gives his usual fine performance but this is really the Christopher Lee show and he makes the most of it. Hats off to director Stephen Weeks for crafting a quality adaptation with very little money. My vote for the best movie adaptation goes to the 1931 Frederic March version.
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on 13 September 2012
i was pleased to finally see a better quality dvd of this minor horror classic "i monster" for sale.
the picture and sound quality are a vast improvement in comparison with the previous release, which was alarmingly poor!
inspite of the names being changed of that of the main characters, this is a fairly faithful adaptation of the jekyll and hyde story.
christopher lee is particularly good as the hyde character as his ever-changing behaviour grows from wickedness to pure evil and murder.
peter cushing is his usual outstanding self as utterson, the investigating lawyer whose concern for his friend dr. blake, leads him to make a startling and horrifying discovery.
the acting and the dialogue are very good but the direction is shoddy and lets the side down badly. the final confrontation between lee and cushing should have been brilliant but sadly, is only acceptable.
regardless, this is one of amicus's better films and i can recommend it.
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on 19 October 2015
Excellent addition to my collection. Delivery & service 1st class, i'm very pleased.
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