This poster is much more exciting than the movie itself

 DOCTOR JEKYLL’S DUNGEON OF DEATH (1979)- CategoryEnjoyably bad but not fun-bad enough for my highest rating.        

 It’s a heart-warming little movie about a mad scientist (are there any other kind?) who is a descendant of the original Dr Jekyll. He’s using a new version of the family formula on human guinea pigs who then engage in fierce martial-arts battles in his dungeon laboratory. Some of those unfortunate human subjects are provided to him via a covert arrangement with the local prison while others are snatched off the street for him by his regulation  hulking, simple-minded lab assistant.  

The best part is that he plans to use these kung-fu versions of Mr Hyde as super-soldiers to help win the Vietnam War! Well, it’s better than anything either Johnson or Nixon came up with! Actually, the movie goes to great pains to tell us it’s set in the 1950’s, so if the Kung Fu Hydes are going to Vietnam I guess they’re being sent to help the French, maybe even at Dienbienphu. The thought of the beleaguered French forces being “helped” by dozens of uncontrollably violent martial arts Mr Hydes parachuting into their midst had me laughing harder than a Frenchman at a Jerry Lewis film festival!

And by the way, the references to the 1950’s are utterly pointless because the film features virtually NO exterior scenes. The overwhelming majority of the film takes place in the claustrophobic confines of Jekyll’s dungeon. When we do get a glimpse of the outside world there aren’t even any period automobiles in sight, so the filmmakers might as well have just set the film in the late 60’s or early 70’s when American involvement in Vietnam was at its height.

 The guy playing Dr Jekyll acts so deranged he makes horror icon Joe Spinell  seem positively STABLE by comparison! The scene where the creep gives sloppy wet kisses to his own sister then beats her savagely will have you wistfully longing for the tender love scenes from Nekromantik! The good doctor also has his fiancee chained up and periodically fondles her and leers at her.

This movie had the potential to be a Bad Movie Classic, but the lackluster presentation makes it more boring-bad than fun-bad. I was hoping to see this film’s Dr Jekyll make with a megalomaniacal rant like “Today, Vietnam, tomorrow the WORLD! HAHAHAHAHAAAA!” Even the kung fu fights are disappointingly low-key rather than the over-the- top kind we’re used to seeing in martial arts movies from overseas. This flick would appeal mostly to Dr Jekyll film completists.

Personally I’d like to see the Kung Fu Mr Hydes square off in a pay-per-view bout against the Bruce Lee clones from the schlock classic The Clones of Bruce Lee

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2010-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Bad and weird movies


  1. Pingback: BAD MOVIE PAGE: DR JEKYLL'S DUNGEON OF … – Balladeer's Blog « Blog movie

  2. Woman

    Hummm… you know I wonder. If Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde might have been a real story and if they got the characters backward.

    Have you seen the new Brit Doctor Jekyll??? I found it quit ea neat story and it was partially written by Steven Moffit so it is more on the good side of story line rather than the bad side.

    Another fun post!!!

    • Supposedly Robert Louis Stevenson based it on real research being done by acquaintances back then.

      I haven’t seen the Steven Moffitt one.

      Thank you very much! I’m glad you liked it!

  3. Hi, I’m a friend of Nathan Badley. He was just mentioning that he kind of misses seeing you around his blog lately. I just don’t want him to get his feelings hurt too much. I think that people have been slacking off on visiting his blog because he doesn’t reply to comments very well. Anyway, would you please swing over there and say hi?

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  5. Funny funny funny!!! This was so good and you are funnier than MST3K any day!

  6. 2 funny! U shud do a podcast about bad movies! I’d luv 2 hear ur voice

  7. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.

  8. Julio

    Awesome movie review!

  9. Great post! This movie sounds awful!

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