Daughter of Dr. Jekyll

From Mental Block

Daughter of Dr. Jekyll is a low-budget black-and-white 1957 American horror film produced by Jack Pollexfen, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and released by Allied Artists. The film is a variation on the 1886 gothic novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It stars Gloria Talbott, John Agar and Arthur Shields. In the film, Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott) learns that she is not only the daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll, but is convinced by her guardian, Dr. Lomas (Arthur Shields), that she has inherited her father's transformative condition. Janet begins to believe that she turns into a monster after two local woman are found horribly killed and nearly takes her own life because of it. However, all is not what it seems

Plot[edit | edit source]

Janet Smith (Gloria Talbott) and fiancé George Hastings (John Agar) arrive at the English manor house that Janet will inherit the next day, when she turns 21. They meet Mrs. Merchant (Martha Wentworth), the housekeeper; Jacob (John Dierkes), the groundskeeper; and Maggie (Molly McCard), Janet's personal maid. Oddly, Maggie is frightened and in a hurry to get home before the moon rises. Janet and George also meet Dr. Lomas (Arthur Shields), Janet's soon-to-be ex-guardian.

Janet surprises Lomas by revealing that she and George have decided to marry as soon as possible. Lomas says that their decision is "rash and ill-advised," but then announces that in addition to the house, Janet is inheriting a "sizable fortune" and a huge estate. He also says, ominously, that he has another inheritance to explain in the morning.

Next morning, Janet and George discover a hidden laboratory in the house. When they ask Lomas about it, he refuses to say anything until George leaves the room. George does, but when Janet returns from the lab, she tells him that the wedding is off because Lomas has told her that she's the daughter of the werewolf Dr. Jekyll. After Lomas takes them to the family crypt to see Jekyll's tomb, Janet says that she fears passing on "this madness" to her and George's future children. When George asks if that's possible, Lomas says that there's no proof one way or the other.

Lomas hypnotizes Janet that night under the pretence of checking her for shock. Before Janet goes to bed, Maggie tells her that tomorrow night's full moon marks the night that "the monster Jekyll rises from his tomb." Janet has a nightmare in which she sees a monster-woman kill another woman. Once awake, she finds blood on her hands and nightdress, and when she looks in the mirror, she sees the monster-woman looking back.

Merchant serves breakfast the next morning, complaining that Maggie and Jacob are late for work. Jacob then appears, carrying Maggie's body. She was killed on her way home last night, according to Jacob, by a werewolf. That night, the night of the full moon, Lomas doses Janet with brandy- and drug-laced milk before she goes to bed. Janet has second, longer nightmare, in which the monster-woman kills Lucy (Reita Green) in the woods, while leaving the young man (Marcel Page) she's with unharmed. Janet awakens and again finds blood on herself.

In the morning, Jacob glares accusingly at Janet as he says, "We've found Lucy. With her throat torn out. Torn out by her!" Merchant resigns, too afraid to stay in the manor house any longer. Janet is by now in deep distress. She begs George to lock her up or put her "in a nuthouse," then hysterically cries, "If you love me, please kill me," threatening that if he won't, she will. George puts her back to bed, but she slips away. As they search for her, Lomas dismisses George's worries about Janet killing herself, saying that most suicide threats are "just talk." They find Janet at the family crypt, Jacob sitting nearby sharpening a wooden stake.

Lomas hypnotizes Janet again and leads her back to the crypt. George follows, unseen, unheard. Lomas tells Janet that she'll kill another woman that night and then hang herself over her father's tomb in regret. As George watches, Lomas transforms into a werewolf. They fight, the werewolf knocks George unconscious, then goes to the village and kills a woman (Marjorie Stapp) as she dresses.

Armed village men shoot the werewolf and chase it toward the crypt. George rouses Janet from her trance and explains that Lomas is the werewolf, not her, and that he's framing Janet, just as he framed her father, because he wants the estate for himself.

While the wounded werewolf and George fight in the crypt, Jacob skewers the werewolf with the wooden stake. The werewolf reverts to Lomas as it dies.

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