TNCC frontman Matthew Cade was recently provided a batch of horror themed cigars from Famous Smoke Shop, each one named after a famous icon from horror film history. Cade came up with the grand idea that The Doctor should review a film to pair with his cigar reviews. Naturally I thought that this concept was brilliant. The first icon on the docket was Frankenstein, followed then by Leatherface, The Wolfman, and that little bastard Chucky. Tonight we’ve chosen a legendary nutjob to place under the Tuesday Night Cigar Club microscope…
THE FILM – THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (2006)
“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was written by Robert Louis Stevenson and published as a novella in 1886. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as eminent philosopher and sometimes drunken gambler Charles Caleb Colton once stated, then I suppose R.L. would have to be fairly beaming at the fact that there have been over 120 stage and film adaptations produced to date of his classic work. Holy Jesus, did I get that correct? Over 120 different adaptations for stage and screen? Damnation, that is something to marvel at. Alas, any time one reaches 120 of anything, be it different brands of cigars smoked, different types of beers drunk or different trips to Eli’s Drive-Thru Chicken Shack you are going to encounter a wide array of experiences that range on the spectrum from “orgasmical” to “Good God, that was just awful.” Where, on said spectrum, would we find the 2006 film version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, directed by John Carl Buechler and starring Tony Todd? Well, I didn’t have an orgasm…
We begin with a laboratory montage of various syringes being filled, images from a microscope being studied, levers being levered, beakers being beaked and feverish notes being scribbled. It reminded me of laboratory experiments that I conducted during my graduate studies at PITS, one of which resulted in a chemical fire that was quite nearly catastrophic and ended with the narrow avoidance of a criminal charge. Ah, memory lane. Unfortunately, the film becomes mired in confusion immediately following the end of the montage. We see both Jekyll and Hyde together in the same scene, fighting and arguing with one another. The Doctor realizes that this could easily be a metaphor for the battle taking place within the human psyche, but this is not explicitly stated, and when I am watching a movie of this ilk I shouldn’t be forced to make any inferences. Buechler is known for make-up and effects, and I’ll grant him that Mr. Hyde is hideously ugly.
We then cut to a scene of three bimbos posing as college students walking down the street after what I can only imagine must have been a stimulating evening lecture on particle physics. Ladies, if you are currently matriculating at college and must attend a night class, then for the love of Tim Thomerson please don’t park your car at the far end of a seedy alley in order to save a few measly bucks on a parking pass. Thank me later. Needless to say, the girl who wanders alone down the alley is attacked and mauled by something that we cannot see, although it seems to be some sort of large animal. The camera work is shaky and not in a Charge-Omaha-Beach-with-Tom-Hanks kind of way. If I am being honest, the production looked cheap, especially the gore (tubes of fun blood?) which is strange because of Buechler’s involvement. I am going to hypothesize that he was severely limited by fiduciary constraints. Then again, aren’t we all?
Speaking of Tim Thomerson, there he is! It’s Jack Deth himself, playing the crime scene medical examiner. And joining him at the crime scene is none other than Peter Jason as Lt. Hamilton, looking uninterested and possibly hungover. Will these two stalwarts inject some fun into the proceedings? Nope, they are both gone in seconds and each appears in only one or two other brief scenes. What a pity. I doubt they could have saved this, but more involvement from those two would only have helped.
Tony Todd continues to play both Jekyll and Hyde in the same scene. They threaten and curse one another, a true “split” personality. Kudos to Todd, but… this just makes a bad movie confusing. Apparently Hyde can whip on a blazer and mingle in public without arousing suspicion in coffee houses or college libraries despite the fact that he is fuck-ugly. He is basically a stalker and a pervert. Then he takes the blazer off and turns into a hair covered beast of some kind with superhuman strength. At this point I opened a can of Earthquake High Gravity Lager.
I don’t know who these actors are that play the investigating detectives but I can’t help ponder that something better could have been found at the community playhouse or maybe the local high school theater department. The Doctor dislikes being snarky, so I will try to move on. I was once heckled in snarky fashion while giving a keynote speech at a convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it nearly turned into a donnybrook. It turned out that the fly of my trousers was unzipped, and it was all just a big misunderstanding.
Vernon Wells shows up as Dr. Lanyon, a concerned colleague of Dr. Jekyll’s. Yes, the same Vernon Wells who terrorized the Outback as Wez in The Road Warrior and then donned a chainmail tank-top to go up against Arnold Schwarzenegger as Bennett in Commando! Before you get overly excited, he’s in maybe four scenes. He looks good for a man of sixty or so, but also disinterested. Not that I blame him. It’s also possible that the Earthquake Lager had begun to immeasurably alter my perception of what I was seeing by that point.
Hyde also speaks in a low, guttural growl that makes some of what he says hard to understand, but that hardly matters. Eventually we see Jekyll transmogrify into Hyde, confirming that they are, in fact, the same person. Hyde then goes on a rampage at the hospital, which is sort of amusing. Todd seems to be having fun with the Hyde scenes. Hell, what else can he do here? He does the best that he can with the material, and it can’t have been easy to play two different roles. After Candyman and The Night of the Living Dead remake Todd had a recognizable name in the horror genre. He is the true definition of a working actor. As TNCC founding father Matthew Cade once famously said, “the IMDB don’t lie”. Seriously, look at Todd’s filmography. Horror movie icons, despite the legions of faithful fans, generally have to keep working in order to pay the mortgage and that means taking the Jekyll and Hyde paycheck, such as it is. No one is offering Todd eight million bucks to stroll through a Transformers movie, although, for whatever my humble opinion is worth he has certainly earned the opportunity. He deserves better than this.
The Doctor hates to be a Negative Nellie, if for no other reason than I am well informed of how difficult and time consuming it is to make a feature length motion picture and I don’t want to shit on other people’s efforts. But honesty is the curse of film criticism, and this movie is a turkey. I cannot recommend it, even as a curio piece. I missed the entire first half of the Louisville-Clemson football game to watch this debacle. Thankfully, the Earthquake High Gravity helped me champion onward like the hero that I am. As you know by now, I am not a fan of spoilers but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this factoid: it turns out that Jekyll was toying around with ape DNA and that when Hyde really vamps out, he turns into a giant gorilla-man. I’m not kidding.
Well, shucks. I guess you win some and you then you lose some, although that didn’t prove to be a viable defense in a malpractice suit for which I once had to provide testimony. I believe Cade has both a Skinny Jekyll and a Skinny Hyde cigar in the batch, so I’ll just hope that I fair better with one of the other 120 iterations that are out there. Stay away from this one, unless you are writing the definitive thesis paper on Tony Todd. And if you are doing that, where are you going to school? I want to visit such a place. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.
THE CIGAR – SKINNY JEKYLL by TATUAJE
review by CADE
We are getting closer and closer to that magical date, October Fucking 31st. Are you as entranced with the Halloween season as I am? No? Well, I don’t know what to tell you man. But what better way to get in the spirit of Samhain then to light up another entry in Tatuaje’s Skinny Monster series! Let’s see if tonight’s lancero can spook up anything interesting…
A strong leather aroma emits from the wrapper, it’s not rustic but more like a brand new Cadillac’s seats. The Jekyll is firmly packed with minimal give when squeezed. No discernible flavors are revealed on the cold draw.
That polished leather sensation is very present on the initial draw upon torching the foot. But there is a creaminess there that gels very well with the leather note. I’m pairing tonight’s monster cigar with The Balvenie Doublewood 12 year and they are complimenting each other nicely here in the early goings.
That creamy leathery profile lasts the entire first few inches of the cigar. Construction is fine with nice smoke production, a perfect draw, and the grey flaky ash is holding on steadily. Was Dr. Jekyll a flaky guy? Like he’d say he was going to help you move your couch over to your new apartment and then he’d be a no-show? I’ll admit once again, somewhat sheepishly, that as a lifelong horror fanatic I’ve never seen a single Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde film. The classics were just never my thing so sue me.
So far it’s more of the same. That creamy factor is really the highlight for me. At about the halfway point a dark chocolate bar flavor creeps in. Was Dr. Jekyll a creepy guy? I would assume so… but maybe he saved the really creepy shit for Mr. Hyde. I should probably have read The Doctor’s review above!
The leather and dark chocolate continue to flow and that creaminess is the glue that’s holding my interest. The Tatuaje Skinny Monsters haven’t been known for their complexity so far in the cigars that we’ve reviewed and the Jekyll is no different but what’s here is enjoyable for sure. And I can’t stress enough how well it is pairing with the Balvenie…
The dark chocolate has been replaced with a very faint oak note but the leather still leads the charge. Strength has remained a fairly tame medium throughout.
In the last two inches the creaminess really takes control. That’s what she said! Starting right before the ash meets the band, this cigar suddenly becomes a majorly creamy sonofabitch and I like it. The Jekyll begins to burn hot towards the nub so I say farewell…
The Skinny Jekyll was a nice cigar and I believe it would make a logical entry point into the Monster series for those who prefer a smoother smoking experience with little to no spice. I’m a fan of cream so it gets a thumbs up from me on that aspect alone. Will the Skinny Hyde entry bring something polar opposite to the table flavor-wise than its alter ego? As the good Doctor often tells us, “it’s far too early to tell”. Stay tuned suckas!