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Flip or Flick: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Jekyll and hyde movie poster

Photo courtesy of IMDB

By Allie Reczek

When we think of Halloween stories and the terrifying characters associated with them, we tend to think of witches, zombies, vampires, or even the horrid Frankenstein’s monster. However, the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not like these frightening stories at all. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a Gothic novella published in 1886. The main character, Dr. Henry Jekyll, is known as a brilliant scientist, currently questioning the internal psyche of man. He is incredibly handsome and widely respected by all who know him.

During one of Jekyll’s experiments to understand the good and bad inside of us all, he develops a potion to transform humans into their evil counterparts. Taking it himself, Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde—gruesome to look at and dangerous to the core. He commits murder while in the body of Hyde, but eventually transforms back to the good Jekyll after consuming another potion. After repeated voluntary transformations, Jekyll becomes unable to control when he becomes Hyde, even without taking his experimental concoction. Knowing that soon he will be Hyde forever and people will be after him for his crimes, Jekyll decides that there is nothing else he can do but take his own life. 

There are several movies based off of this novella, however the 1931 version directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March is widely considered to be the best adaptation. Despite its 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie takes a different approach to this story. Many of the supporting characters in the movie are not included in the novella and vice versa. In the movie, Jekyll is about to marry his fiancée, Muriel Carew, but after unsuccessful attempts to stay as Jekyll, he decides that he has to let her go. When he is Hyde, he murders dance hall girl, Ivy Pearson, after she rejects him and fears his horrifying appearance. Unlike in the novella, instead of Jekyll ending his own life and leaving a suicide note, he is shot and killed while he is Hyde. Although this was a movie made in the 30s, I was surprised at how realistic the transformation from Jekyll to Hyde appeared. Even without the movie magic of 21st century films, this adaptation did a great job at maintaining an engaging storyline that I am sure terrified audiences when first released. 

So… Flip or Flick? 

Flip! While the movie should not be overlooked, I think the book did a better job at explaining this horror story. This novella explores the idea of good and evil, allowing readers to question if we can ever overpower the evil inside us all or if it is only a matter of time before it takes over. Through its classic 19th century European stylistic writing and thought-provoking ending, this book is a perfect fit for anyone looking for a psychological thriller this Halloween season. This story reminds us that it is not witches, zombies, or vampires that are scary, but rather it is what is inside of us that is truly the scariest thing of all. 

 


Allie Reczek headshot

 

Allie Reczek ’22 CLAS is a current senior at Villanova, majoring in Psychology with minors in Communications and Sociology. She works in Falvey Library as a Marketing and Communications Assistant.


 

 


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Spine-chilling thrillers at Falvey

I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, and everyone is drinking a pumpkin spice latte.

That’s right, Wildcats…it’s spooky season.

While I love a good corn maze or apple picking adventure, my favorite fall tradition is curling up with a comfy blanket, some hot apple cider, and a pile of spine-chilling thrillers to read and watch. Nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit more.

You should plan your own fall movie marathon or binge-reading day with the help of Falvey. We have a wide variety of books and movies that you can check out and enjoy with your fellow Halloween lovers. Here are some of my personal favorites.

BOOKS: 

Christine – Stephen King

Stephen King’s tale of a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury. Arnie buys an old Plymouth that has mystical powers to possess and destroy. She purrs like a kitten…but watch out when she roars.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Is a description really needed? Nonetheless, the novel centers around a “young English solicitor who finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents during a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania.”

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

The novel, recounted by the main character, Patrick Bateman, tells readers of his days spent on Wall Street and evenings torturing and killing his murder victims.

The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

This novel remains one of the most “controversial ever written” and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one (Amazon). Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Four “seekers” look for haunting evidence at the abandoned old mansion called Hill House. Their stay begins as a spooky encounter, but the house is gathering its powers and will choose one of them to make its own. After you read the book, watch the Netflix series.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.

 

 

 

FILMS:

The Birds

Melanie Daniels meets Mitch Brenner in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him home. She brings with her the gift of two love birds and they strike up a romance. One day birds start attacking children at Mitch’s sisters party. A huge assault starts on the town by attacking birds.

The Silence of the Lambs

A psychopath is murdering young women across the Midwest. Believing that it takes one to know one, the FBI sends Agent Clarice Starling to interview a demented prisoner, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Lecter is willing to provide clues to the killer’s actions if Clarice will feed his morbid curiosity by telling him about her own complicated life.

Get Out

A young black man meets his white girlfriend’s parents at their estate, only to find out that the situation is much more sinister than it appears.

Cujo 

Vic and Donna Trenton struggle to repair their crumbling marriage. Their young son, Tad, befriends a hulking, lovable, 200-pound St. Bernard named Cujo. With Vic away on business, Donna and Tad take their rundown car to be fixed at the remote farm of their mechanic. As their Pinto dies, Cujo appears. But the once docile dog has undergone a hideous transformation, and becomes a slavering, demonic, implacable killer possessed by almost supernatural strength, not to mention cunning.


Daniella Snyder dressed as “Robin” from Season 3 of Stranger Things for Halloween this year. She also wants to thank Kallie Stahl, Communication and Marketing Specialist, for her valuable contributions to this blog post!


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Last Modified: October 30, 2019