Jekyll And Hyde Portfolio, The (1971)

Directed by Eric Jeffrey Haims

“Calling all pervs! Calling all pervs! Dr. Cabbala’s Nursing Academy is seeking to hire a full-time assistant. Job requirements TBD. Must enjoy sleaze and Rene Bond with a big twirly mustache. Perks? Of course. How about boobs? A bunch of them. Do you prefer full frontal massages and maybe a violent crotch grab or two? We’ve got it all. Call 544-12*1 and ask for Human Resources. Drooling optional. Blue Cross available.”

I won’t lie to you, reader. Dr. Cabbala runs one hell of a nutty ass Nursing Academy. The gals aren’t allowed to wear anything under their uniforms. The doctor is crazy. Another doctor spends an abnormal amount of time dissecting frogs. There is a hunchbacked drooling someone-or-other lurking. (I was never quite sure if he was an employee or not. Maybe if you get the job, you’ll work with him. It’s good hours with plenty of leering time) Sadly for all of them, but great for us, someone is on a killing spree, starting with a buxom, happy lass on a swing getting stabbed with a pitchfork. It’s that killing that sets the standard for future killings. Until she meets the pitchfork, the young lady swings, laughs and yells “whee”. Yelling “whee” is cute and means that person is having uninhibited fun. Ask a little kid. Killing someone having fun on a swing and yelling “whee” is as low as killing someone halfway through a really good donut. This killer is crazy. Nursing students beware.

The Jekyll & Hyde Portfolio is sleazy, scuzzy and set in London. Maybe. With palm trees and big, desert hills in the background, I kept thinking we would meet up with the cast of “London M*A*S*H” at any moment. The film is set entirely in and around the weird Nurse’s Academy. The film has something to do with Jekyll and Hyde and split personalities. A series of very suspicious people act incredibly suspicious, even for a series of very suspicious people. There are several 70s style softcore ‘fondle-me-downtown’ scenes (lesbian and otherwise) that go on for quite some time. The movie has a begrimed, grainy look that really sends me. Can you shoot something on Anti-35MM? Is there a Not-Super-8 out there? Maybe the director used to rub each piece of exposed film on his ass before developing it? I have no documentation on that but it sounds plausible.

The film comes in at a very nice length, around 77 minutes. It feels like a serious horror film with elements of sex but it could be a giant goof around. For example, the closing scene with the cop is a joke. The actor makes far too many goofy faces for a serious scene. (If it isn’t a joke, I need to retake Third Year classes at the Jerry Lewis Academy.) I don’t think the entire endeavor is a joke, though.  Too much time is spent on sex scenes, fondling frog organs and murder scenes. At their core, these scenes are not hilarious. There is even one scene in here (not just for pervs) that made me pause and think. A humping couple are, more or less, stabbed through with a pitchfork. The effects don’t lend themselves to much more than quick cuts and splashes of gore. But, the couple die on top of one another, going at it, with blood. And it made me remark to my dogs, Crumpet and George, that both this film and Mario Bava’s much loved Bay of Blood have a scene like this. Could Bava have ripped off this film for his classic? I mention it as something to think about, after the review.

The Jekyll and Hyde Portfoilo is more horror sleaze than sex, which makes for an increased probability of viewings in my house. (My cat is intensly prudish. She will not allow the Hawaii episodes of The Brady Bunch in our home because of the “suggestive” way that Alice practices the Hula.) Eric J. Haims’s film is weird and gory and worth the time a viewer spends with it. Pants optional. I’m going out of my way to not give too much away. Because it’s the kind of film I love discovering from a decade that is chock full of wonder and odd: the 70s. A completely idosyncratic, individual oddball of a film seen by almost no one. And Rene Bond looks cute in a mustache. (As, in fact, do I.)