Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Adaption: A Change of Plan

During my first tutorial meeting with Alan, it became clear that I had taken a huge step away from what my strong point was. I had reached a that strong point during the character project, filled with inspiration from anthropomorphic Don Bluth films and dark-Disney, but had then retreated with my tail between my legs into something completely different with the idea for a realistic, scientifically accurate interpretation of a Mermaid.

Alan noted me of this and recommended that I get back to that strong point of creating anthropomorphic universes and characters to do what I do best.

I enjoy the theme of dark fantasy and high fantasy, especially the Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien and the fairy tales of old. Not the happily-ever-after stories that we often think of when we hear the term 'fairy tale', but the original, dark, terrifying stories told by grown-ups and used to scare children. These tales had underlying messages to them and were the perfect 'weapon' against misbehaving children.

I also draw lots of inspiration from Disney and Don Bluth in terms of anthropomorphism. I especially loved Don Bluth's "The Secret of Nimh" where it turned its back on the stereotypical kid-friendly talking animals of Disney and plunged the characters into a dark fantasy based on the themes of scientific experimentation, dark magic, dependence and the freedom from dependence.

We discussed how I can apply these to this project, which got me excited. Even more so than the now seemingly dull idea of recreating a mermaid. Logically, we reached the conclusion of combining both dark fairytale fantasy or classical stories with an anthropomorphic universe.

For a classic story, I wanted something dark to adapt and after looking into well-known classic stories, I remembered the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is a tale deals with psycological horror and the issue of split personalities, which, when done right, are very dark subjects indeed. There are many iterations of the story, but after looking into the story of Jekyll and Hyde, I noticed that it was a very long and complicated one, so I instead decided to attempt to adapt the 1931 film "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", since it had a simpler plot to follow.

The plot of the film is as follows.


The film tells the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll an English doctor in Victorian London who is thinks that within each man lurks impulses for both good and evil. One evening Jekyll attends a party at the home of his fiancee Muriel Carew and informs her father that he wants to push up their wedding date. Later, while walking home Jekyll spots a bar singer, Ivy Pearson, being attacked by a man outside her boarding house. Jekyll drives the man away and Ivy begins flirting with Jekyll, but Jekyll fights temptation and leaves.

Jekyll develops a drug to release the evil side in himself, thus becoming the violent Mr. Hyde. Hyde returns to Ivy, and offers to tend to her financial needs in return for her company. She agrees and the two move in together. Hyde terrorizes Ivy, being both abusive and controlling. However, when Hyde soon leaves her for a while. Ivy goes to see Dr. Jekyll, hoping that he can free her of the abusive Hyde. When she arrives, Ivy sees that the celebrated Dr. Jekyll was the same man who saved her from abuse just months before. Jekyll promises Ivy that she will never have to worry about Hyde again.

While on his way to a party Jekyll, without the use of his drugs, suddenly changes into Hyde. Hyde angrily confronts Ivy about seeing Jekyll and, just before murdering her, reveals that he and Jekyll are one and the same.

Hyde escapes and heads back to Jekyll's house. Desperate, Hyde writes a letter to Lanyon, his collegue, from Jekyll instructing Lanyon to get certain chemicals and have them waiting for him at Lanyon's home. When Hyde arrives, Lanyon pulls a gun on him and demands that Hyde take him to Jekyll. Hyde tells Lanyon, his collegue that Jekyll is safe, but Lanyon doesn't believe him and refuses to let him leave. Hyde drinks the formula in front of Lanyon.

Henry Jekyll's life continues to spiral out of control. Jekyll tells Muriel that he must break up with her and begins to leave. Jekyll begins to change into Hyde once again after watching her cry. He then reenters the Carew house through the terrace door and assaults Muriel. Her screams bring her father and their butler, Hobson. Hyde then viciously murders her father out in the garden by striking him with Jekyll's cane, then runs off into the night towards Jekyll's home and the lab to mix a new formula to change himself back.

Lanyon tells them that he knows whose cane that is and agrees to take them to its owner. The police later arrive at Jekyll's lab looking for Hyde and find only Jekyll, who lies that Hyde has escaped. They begin to leave when Lanyon arrives and tells them that Jekyll is the man they're searching for. Just then a nervous Jekyll begins changing into Hyde before their shocked eyes. Outraged at Lanyon for betraying him, Hyde attacks him. Hyde then tries to escape from the police but is fatally shot before he can again hurt Lanyon, and Hyde transforms one last time back into Henry Jekyll.

Almost immediately when I thought of putting Jekyll and Hyde into an anthropomorphic universe, I thought that Hyde's appearence might be similar to Professor Rattigan from "The Great Mouse Detective" (1986), especially during the final act when he attempts to kill the protagonist Basil.


Perhaps I may be able to use this as inspiration for what kind of anthropomorphic universe I want to create.


  1. Hi Tom, not sure if you have actually seen the film yourself already, but Farnham have a copy of the dvd in their library that you can request... it's actually a double feature which also has a Bugs Bunny cartoon 'Hyde and Hare' on it. Ask me if you are not sure how to get it.

  2. I've just seen it on YouTube. It's hilarious. xD


    -but it's interesting how a typically frightening and dark character can be made light-hearted and put into comedic situations. I'll have to keep that in mind

  3. Hi Tom

    Can you come and see me about this idea and post. I think it needs discussion.

  4. Hi Tom,
    I have read this through and can see Alan wants to discuss it with you, so I'm not going to comment yet!
    Good to see you blogging though!