Anthony Perkins has led an interesting career, one that eventually led to him having to exploit his most iconic performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. While everyone is familiar with Norman Bates, the world’s most famous momma’s boy, Perkins became typecast and even ended up playing Norman in three more films. The biggest notice is that Norman was a subtle boy next door who you wouldn’t suspect. His later roles were more exaggerated and as killers that are easy to point out. His popper sniffing man of the cloth in Crimes of Passion was beyond obnoxious, which of course is part of the reason why I love it. EDGE OF SANITY is a piece of his filmography that exploits a sexually agitated man who unleashes his inner psycho.
Based on the infamous story, Perkins plays Dr. Jekyll, a once stable doctor who starts to experiment with cocaine. Once he indulges too much, Mr. Hyde comes out and begins murdering prostitutes across Victorian London. What ensues is a lot of sex, drugs, and ferocious killings. This is a hard, thriller designed for adults that love that extra enticement. EDGE OF SANITY feels almost like an erotic thriller from the ’90s but is designed as a period piece. Perkins is perfectly cast to blend these two genres smoothly. Luckily, he’s great in it but the rest of the characters are disposable.
Arrow Video delivers another top-notch home video release. The video presentation compliments the color palette beautifully. Despite an upgrade, the picture manages to not look manufactured like some retro transfers. The details are evident when Perkins turns into Mr. Hyde as the exaggerated makeup is proudly on display. On the audio side, there is an LPCM 2.0 audio track that does exactly what it needs to do. While the score feels a bit softened at times, the dialogue is clear and clean.
There’s a detailed audio commentary with writer David Flint and author/filmmaker Sean Hogan. There are a couple of interviews with director Gérard Kikoïne filmed in 2020, discussing his career and EDGE OF SANITY. Producer Edward Simons also gives an interview. Both Stephen Thrower and Dr. Clare Smith provide analytical pieces, with Smith primarily focusing on cinematic psychos. A booklet with essays and production information is included.
While EDGE OF SANITY won’t change the way anyone looks at Perkins or the erotic thriller genre, it’s campy enough to be fun to watch. It’s a piece of horror history that has a place due to Perkins and its place in his career. Arrow has delivered what will be the best presentation and that makes it worth a purchase.
You can order your copy of EDGE OF SANITY here!