Produced at the tail end of the blaxploitation boom, this update of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story failed to duplicate the success of other blaxploitation horror flicks like Blacula,Sugar Hill and Blackenstein. Its long unavailability has also prevented it from becoming a camp classic. Nevertheless, with renewed interest in the blaxploitation genre thanks to the Shaft remake, this timely video release should remedy this situation. Updated to 1970s Los Angeles, this version of the oft-told tale has wimpish (and white) right-winger Dr Jekyll working in a hospital in the predominantly black Watts area. Toiling in his spare time to develop a serum which will tame the aggression of the “black savages” (as he views them), Jekyll finds that the stress of his work has rendered him impotent and unable to satisfy his wife’s sexual desires. The suspicion that his wife is seeking succour elsewhere, sends the doctor into a violent rage, attacking one of his assistants. Shaken by his bestial behaviour, he tries his latest serum on himself – with incredible results. Instead of the wizened personification of evil usually seen in screen versions of this story, Jekyll turns into a handsome, and amazingly well-endowed, black man. Soon Mr Black is pleasuring Mrs Jekyll as she has never been pleasure before, in marathon slow-motion sex scenes – a speciality of director Slim Pecker (see also the ejaculation scene in his 1970 effort Skullbuggery).

Whilst Jekyll is portrayed by veteran white character actor Art Gash, Mr Black is portrayed by the magnificent Thaddeus “King Dong” Jittler. A hugely popular star of porn movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Jittler boasted an amazing twenty inch (when erect) penis. At the height of his fame Jittler’s popularity far outstripped that of other walking tripods such as John Holmes and “Long Dong” Silver. Moreover, he claimed to have none of the problems suffered by other well-hung stars in the rigid digit department. This appeared to be borne out by his film appearances, where he always appeared rock hard at all times (in Convoy Cock he lifts the back end of a Chevy Monte Carlo with his dick). Nonetheless, in 1986 it was claimed that his magnificent member was actually a fake and that his greatest performances had been achieved with prosthetics. Sadly, the allegations proved to be true and his fake knob was confiscated by the Guild of American Pornographers Regulatory Committee. Left only with his own six inches, Jittler retired from film-making in disgrace. In 1988 he was arrested for indecent exposure. According to a police report he had tied three feet of vacuum cleaner hose to his penis as a pathetic substitute for his prosthetic. Before he could go to trial Jittler took his own life – hanging himself with a vacuum cleaner hose.

However, in 1973 these events were all far in the future, and Jittler’s performance as Mr Black can still be enjoyed. Aghast that he is being cuckolded by a black man (even though it is himself), Jekyll plots to destroy Black for good with a new serum. Black retaliates by preaching black power and revolution in the ghetto, claiming that racist experiments are being carried out at the hospital. A riot erupts and the hospital is stormed and burned. Black tries to fake Jekyll’s death in the fire, believing that he is now strong enough to prevent himself from reverting to Jekyll. All seems well until, whilst addressing a Black Panthers meeting, Black unexpectedly turns back into Jekyll and starts spouting white supremacy! He is, not surprisingly, lynched by the mob. This film should not be confused with the earlier Dr Black and Mr Hyde in which good black doctor Bernie Casey dons whiteface to portray evil Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll and Mr Black was advertised with the mysterious slogan “See what ain’t – See a taint!”.