15 Split Personality Movies That Went to the Big Screen (Together)

With Split about to break into theaters, we chronicle 15 horror movies that exploited the split personality disorder for our benefit.

In 1973 Sybil, the case study of a woman who appeared to be suffering from dissociative identity disorder and had been given the pseudonym of Sybil Dorsett, became a surprisingly huge bestseller. Less surprisingly, the story of a woman with seven distinct personalities inspired a 1976 TV movie starring Sally Field, and another one in 2007. The book also sparked a national debate over whether multiple personality disorder was a genuine psychological anomaly or a clever bit of play-acting for the talk show circuit. The debate was understandable. In the decades following the publication of Sybil, multiple personality cases became all the rage. Not satisfied with a mere seven personalities, however, daytime TV was suddenly awash with people claiming to have 12, 23, even close to 50 separate personalities.

If you think about it, of course we all carry multiple personalities around with us. We talk to different people in different ways, we adopt different attitudes and wear different masks in different social situations. The difference between most of us and those suffering from dissociative identity disorder is that we’re perfectly conscious of what we’re doing, and can don those different masks whenever we like.

In many reported cases of DID, the personalities in question are unaware of each other, and emerge whenever the whim strikes them. The other big difference is that in our day-to-day dealings with the world, most of us don’t adopt the personalities of a three-year-old or someone of a different gender.

Although a vast majority of multiple personality cases have in fact been revealed as frauds (including Sybil herself, who waited three decades to come clean), today the clinical psychology community admits dissociative identity disorder is indeed a real phenomenon, but an extremely, EXTREMELY rare one. Certainly much rarer than the talk shows would have us believe.

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Well, don’t tell Hollywood that. Long before M. Night Shyamalan decided to make a thriller about a man with 27 distinct personalities with Split, and in fact long before Shyamalan’s parents were born, split personalities had become a cheap, dirty, and cliché narrative device for countless cinematic thrillers and horror films.

Screenwriters in desperate need of an ending were trotting out split personalities even long before anyone knew they were a real medical condition. This can be blamed directly on Robert Louis Stevenson, who published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1887. Although the novel was intended to be a fairly serious, even pre-Freudian psychological investigation into the dual nature of man, the idea of a character who could be an intelligent, kind, and gentle man one-minute and a murderous brute the next (and better still a murderous brute who went by a different name) was simply too good to pass up.

Not only was it cheaper to have one actor play multiple roles, it also fed the actor’s ego by allowing him to show their range. It could justifiably be argued that the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of split personality movies released since the silent era—from the 1920 John Barrymore version of Jekyll and Hyde to the Abbott and Costello take, to all those Looney Tunes iterations to The Three Faces of Eve and Fight Club—are less Hollywood’s effort to exploit a rare medical condition than mere retreads of Stevenson’s novel.

While there are far too many variations on the split personality theme to list here, we have a handful of oddball standouts and personal favorites.

The Hands of Orlac (1924)

If there’s one thing the movies teach us, it’s that transplants are simply not a good idea. You get new eyes, new hands, a new heart, or a new brain, you’ve got trouble, because the donor was inevitably an insane murderer. I mean, where the hell else are they gonna’ get these organs from, am I right?!

Based on a French novel, the oft-remade Hands of Orlac may well be the first example of a film connecting transplants with multiple personality disorder. Conrad Veidt stars as a famed concert pianist who loses both hands in an accident. When it came to grafting on two new sets of digits, so he could continue his career, well, I guess the surgeons had to take what they could get. So the unwitting donor was a condemned strangler, what’s the big deal? You can imagine where things go from there. In between concerts, bodies start popping up everywhere.

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It was at the time an innovative twist on the Jekyll and Hyde theme, and went on to become a subgenre unto itself, with entries ranging from the 1935 Peter Lorre remake Mad Love to that Oliver Stone wonderment, The Hand.

Werewolf of London (1935)

It doesn’t take a whole lot of hard thinking to recognize werewolf pictures are simply one more variation on the Jekyll and Hyde story, if a little furrier. Screenwriter Curt Siodmak admitted he’d plundered Stevenson’s novel for 1941’s The Wolf Man. Six years earlier in Stuart Walker’s Werewolf of London, however, the connection is even more obvious if unstated, right down to the Victorian era setting and whispers of Jack the Ripper.

The difference between standard Jekyll and Hyde split personality stories and lycanthropic split personality stories is that in the former, the root cause of the schism is internal or self-inflicted, while in the latter the condition is inflicted by some external source. In another twist, while Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll uses a serum to trigger the schism, Werewolf of London’s Dr. Glendon (Henry Hull) has to swallow the juice of a rare Tibetan flower to keep from becoming a werewolf after being attacked. Let’s just say the juice is hard to come by, usually when you need it most.

Before I Hang (1940)

In 1939 and 1940, Boris Karloff made a string of very similar quickies, most of them directed by prolific B-film maestro Nick Grinde. In all of the movies, Karloff plays not so much a mad scientist out to rule the world, but a brilliant if unorthodox doctor who’s genuinely trying to help mankind. Unfortunately, such people are often misunderstood by their peers or the public at large, and, more often than not, are sentenced to death for their efforts.

After the conviction, Karloff’s character invariably gets out of prison, one way or another, and, upon being given a second chance, immediately undertakes a murder spree in which he knocks off all his enemies. In Before I Hang (not to be confused with the previous year’s The Man They Couldn’t Hang), Karloff plays a scientist working on a youth restoring serum. When one of his experimental subjects dies, he’s convicted on murder charges and sentenced to the gallows.

Realizing the doc really isn’t that bad a guy, prison officials allow him to set up a lab, hire his own assistant, and continue working on his experiments behind bars. Sure enough, and after distilling some of his assistant’s blood into the serum, Karloff’s doc finally finds the formula he’s been seeking, which he tests on himself. Seeing the results, and unable to deny the benefits this posed for all mankind, the courts drop the charges and let Karloff go.

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The only little fly in the ointment, so to speak, was that his assistant was an insane convicted murderer. And sure enough, though he’s looking and feeling much more youthful, Karloff starts having these little spells where he can’t remember where he was or what he did. Weirder still, it’s during these spells assorted people who helped put him away keep ending up all strangled. There’s no real mystery here; the audience sees exactly what’s happening. Whenever the lighting suddenly changes and Karloff gets that crazy look in his eye, you know his psychotic assistant has emerged again. Guess the message here is if you’re going to concoct a youth-restoring serum (or a serum of any kind for that matter), it’s best to do so with, you know, non-killer blood.

It was the first time in this very specific sub-sub-subgenre the split personality trope was trotted out, but it wouldn’t be the last time.

Black Friday (1940)

What the hell was I just saying about transplants? This re-teaming of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi (though they only have one scene together) falls neatly into Karloff’s “well-meaning scientist gets sentenced to death” run, but with a few twists.

In director Arthur Lubin’s Black Friday, Karloff, a brain surgeon, tries to save a close friend’s life by using an illegal experimental procedure to transplant a new brain into his body. Unfortunately, he chooses the handy brain of the still-breathing gangster in the next bed. Before you can say “Why, I oughtta…” his once meek and mild mannered academic friend begins lapsing into snarling underworld lingo. He also begins disappearing for long stretches, during which he does unseemly things. It doesn’t take Karloff long to figure out what’s happening here.

When he further learns the gangster had a half-million in stolen loot stashed somewhere before he died, Karloff decides to probe his friend’s new brain to see if it remembers where the loot is hidden. After all, that money could be used to build a new research facility to help other people with brain problems.

Throughout, it’s clear Karloff’s intentions are quite noble, but he finds himself in over his head dealing with a Jekyll/Hyde case and a gangland war. In the end, it’s Karloff who gets the chair for putting a stop to all the madness. Isn’t that always the case? It is fun, though, to see this mild-mannered, balding and bespectacled professor bumping off a buncha’ dirty, no-good rats.

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Bowery at Midnight (1942)

This too-often overlooked Poverty Row quickie from Astor films was burdened with all the usual Poverty Row bugaboos (an impossible shooting schedule, cheap sets, and static camera work), but did boast one of the most deceptive and unwieldy taglines in motion picture history: “The monster and the ghoul! One deals in wholesale murder… the other serves as a torture-master of the living dead! See it and shudder!” You can understand why they’d want to push it as a straight horror number. It’s simpler that way. Trying to encapsulate the actual plot in tagline form was pretty much out of the question.

There’s an awful lot of crazy business afoot here for an hour-long film. It’s a crime drama/psychological thriller/horror film with some social commentary and simple high-strangeness thrown in for good measure, along with a bunch of underworld slang. Being a no budget picture few would see, director Wallace Fox could get away with such things.

Best of all, it allowed star Bela Lugosi to give what may be the greatest and subtlest performance of his career, playing essentially three roles. On the surface he’s Dr. Frederick Brenner, esteemed author and professor of abnormal psychology. So let’s just say when he lectures his students about paranoia, schizophrenia, and split personalities, he knows what he’s talking about. Unbeknownst to even his wife, Dr. Brenner is also the kindly and goodhearted Karl Wagner, who runs a Bowery soup kitchen and flophouse where he’s known among the bums for offering food, a place to sleep, and medical care without making them sit through a sermon first.

But wait! There’s more! Unbeknownst to anyone else not invited to the soup kitchen’s back room, Brenner/Wagner is also the ruthless leader of a vicious gang of jewel thieves who’s in the habit of knocking off one of his own men after every heist. To say any more than that would involve giving too much away (damn film’s only an hour, remember), but Lugosi is so good, and the ending so offhandedly strange, that it makes the film a whole lot smarter and more complex than anyone involved likely realized. Even if it isn’t the greatest multiple personality film ever made, it certainly remains a doozy.

Donovan’s Brain (1953)

About a decade after plundering Jekyll and Hyde for The Wolf Man, Curt Siodmak returned to the story again, offering up still another radical and ultimately influential variation in his novella Donovan’s Brain. Although today Felix E. Feist’s 1953 film version is generally regarded as the sci-fi brain movie against which all other sci-fi brain movies are measured, beneath its gray and squishy surface, Donovan’s Brain is really a darn good split personality movie.

After years of experimentation keeps disembodied monkey brains alive in vats of Gatorade or something, Dr. Pat Cory (Lew Ayres) lucks into an honest-to-goodness human brain from a plane that crashes near his lab. Not only is he able to keep the brain alive, but the darn thing even starts growing. As it does, it also begins to develop psychic powers. Before you know it, Cory starts hearing voices, and his wife and assistant (future First Lady Nancy Davis and Gene Evans) start noticing that at turns, Cory can be a real asshole all of a sudden. As the spells grow worse and longer, he even starts killing people.

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The tiniest bit of research reveals the brain in question belonged to the notoriously nasty and unscrupulous millionaire Warren H. Donovan who, finding himself still sort-of alive in disembodied brain form, decides to carry on with his business using Cory’s body to do his dirty work.  In that, I guess, it’s a variant on not only Jekyll and Hyde, but all those earlier cautionary transplant stories as well. It would go on to be remade several times and in several forms, the most interesting being W. Lee Wilder’s 1957 weirdie, The Man Without a Body.

Psycho (1960)

Hitchcock simply couldn’t help himself. After the likes of Vertigo and North by Northwest, he self-consciously set out, just as an exercise, to make a low-budget black and white shocker akin to what was coming out of AIP at the time. But Hitchcock being Hitchcock, he accidentally made not only the King of split personality films and the model for all those slasher films that would follow, but one of the best American films ever shot—and one that only grows richer after 50 or 60 viewings.

There’s not much point anymore in going into the Ed Gein case, Robert Bloch’s novel, Bloch’s enduring bitterness after the film came out, designer Saul Bass’ claims that he directed the shower sequence himself, the role and structure of Bernard Herrmann’s score, or all the heavy academic analysis that has come out over the past half-century. Given the subject at hand, I’ll just say this: Hitchcock was obsessed with pop psychoanalysis. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano was himself in analysis dealing with his own mother issues when he wrote the script. Together they pulled off a trick no other split personality film has ever managed by actually triggering a kind of split personality within the viewer. It all happens about 25 minutes in.

When Norman first sets about trying to sink Marion’s car in the swamp, we see him as an evil, creepy, and insane killer. (Or if you’re seeing it for the first time, maybe you believe Norman is just a henpecked and dutiful errand boy.) But when the car stops sinking with the roof still exposed, something shifts. We cut to a close up on Norman, that tiny twitch of panic, and in that instant we want the car to sink as much as he does. We want to run out there ourselves and jump up and down on the roof to get it down there under the black muck. And when the car finally does sink, and we get that next close up on Norman, that little victorious smirk, we are fully on his side. Who really cared about Marion anyway?

Our own personalities and perspectives have subtly shifted without our realizing it.

Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)

Over the years, Hammer Studios took a good six or seven stabs at Stevenson’s novel, with varying results. Personally, I liked Christopher Lee in the junkie parable I, Monster a whole bunch, but none were quite as wild, strange, or funny as this early ‘70s iteration. It fit right in with what was happening at Hammer at the time. The standard Gothic settings and characters had grown creaky. People were getting a little weary of the top hats and cobwebbed castles and carriages. With the world (and their audience) changing so radically around them, they decided it was time to try and cash in on the counterculture. This is how we ended up with things like The Devil Rides Out and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Sister Hyde, though, was a mighty different spin, even for them.

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The great Roy Ward Baker directs Ralph Bates as Dr. Jekyll who, noting women tended to live longer than men, decides to make his elixir of eternal life with female hormones. Makes sense, right? And sure enough, as the title implies, once he miffs the long-sought brew and transforms into a beautiful but diabolical woman (Martine Beswick) who does bad things. Nevertheless, he decides to try and make the best of it, but the only downside is that to continue making his elixir, he needs more female hormones, and you know what that means.

The Victorian setting is maintained here, along with the nods to Jack the Ripper, but all with a modern twist and a sense of humor. Long before anyone heard the term “transgender,” Baker had it up there on the screen with often comic psychedelic results. The idea of a man transforming into a woman and vice-versa (either medically or magically) would become almost commonplace in the decades that followed. Even if much of it seems silly, childish, and a little crass and demeaning to modern eyes, it was ahead of its time upon release. In terms of cashing in on the War Between the Sexes, though, you do have to wonder what any female audience members made of the fact the sister in question here was such an evil bitch.

Sisters (1972)

After making a couple lame social satires, Brian De Palma launched his career as the world’s most shameless Hitchcock wannabe with this slick collision between Psycho and Rear Window, but with one memorably significant twist: it’s conjoined twins.

An unusually good Margot Kidder plays Danielle, a French Canadian model who’s recently relocated to Staten Island. She also used to be famously conjoined to her insane twin sister Dominique (also Kidder). Dominique, who we’re told still lives in the hospital in Quebec, apparently got out for a few days in order to pay a visit and mark their birthday. Although we never see the sisters together, save for some old documentary footage, we do hear them arguing behind closed doors.

When a young man whom Danielle met on a stupid game show is brutally stabbed to death in her apartment, De Palma, like Hitchcock, immediately shifts the focus away from Danielle to a cop-hating young reporter (Jennifer Salt), who is convinced she witnessed the murder from her own apartment. Since the cops won’t pay attention to her crazy story, she hires a private detective (the great Charles Durning, a year before he was noticed by a much wider audience via The Sting) to help prove she’s right. Throughout, De Palma toys with the audience, doling out contradictory bits of information to leave us wondering not only who the killer is, but whether Dominique is real and present, or merely another of Danielle’s schizoid personalities.

In an interesting twist, while the earlier films mentioned above seem to argue that transplants by nature lead to multiple personality disorder, Sisters would argue that having something removed from the body (like a conjoined twin) could very well result in the same thing.

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The film, coincidentally enough, came out a year before Sybil’s publication, albeit De Palma would return to split personality storylines (as well as Psycho and Rear Window knockoffs) again and again in later years.

Tenebre (1982)

After spending much of the 1970s making self-consciously hyper-stylish hallucinatory horror films like Suspiria, Dario Argento returned to the tangled giallo format for what remains my personal favorite of his pictures. Veering away from the over-the-top visuals and color schemes that marked his earlier films, Argento deliberately shot Tenebre in the flat, washed out style of a television show, concentrating on the characters and their extremely convoluted, unbalanced storyline.

Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is a Stephen King-esque American horror novelist known for the levels of graphic violence in his books. When he travels to Rome to plug his latest, Tenebre, it seems everyone there even vaguely connected with Neal finds him or herself hacked up by a madman with a straight razor or an axe. Even Neal’s clothes aren’t safe for godsakes!

A series of letters and phone calls imply the new book is quite literally driving people to kill. That’s what the cops believe, anyway, though Neal suspects his deranged ex-wife, who’s been stalking him, is the responsible party. Well, being a giallo, you can rule out the obvious logical suspect right off the bat. To say anything more about the story would ruin things, save to note that it fits the category in question pretty darn well.

Thanks to the levels of not only outlandish gore but also some unconventional sexual situations, the film had a rough release history. Tenebre made it onto the UK’s notorious Video Nasties list, and didn’t hit U.S. theaters until 1984, and only after Argento was forced to radically trim or excise some fairly major sequences, leaving the whole thing even more confusing than it already was. Fortunately, a restored version was eventually released, and even if like most giallos and split personality films, it doesn’t completely hold together, it’s still a hell of a bloody ride.

Edge of Sanity (1989)

Following Psycho, and despite turns in the likes of Catch-22, Winter Kills, and Orson Welles’ The Trial, poor Anthony Perkins (like Dwight Frye before him) was cursed to spend the next 30 years playing creepy crazy people, and that’s not even including his three revivals of Norman Bates in the Psycho sequels. By the time he hit the late ‘80s, Perkins either had the role down to such a science or was so sick of it he began pushing things way over-the-top into frothing, arm-waving, googly-eyed extravagance. Guess it makes sense that three years before his death, and with Psycho IV still ahead of him, Perkins would star in a straight (well, “straight”) Jekyll and Hyde film, given that’s where it all started.

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French director Gérard Kikoïne brings a certain slick and sleazy Eurotrash sensibility to the traditional period setting, though oddly enough Stevenson isn’t credited anywhere. This time around Dr. Henry Jekyll’s (Perkins) cocaine binges transform him into, well, no pussyfooting around here, Jack the Ripper. While in the Hammer version mentioned above, Sister Hyde is killing West End hookers to obtain the female hormones necessary to continue Jekyll’s experiments, here Jack Hyde takes to slicing up streetwalkers simply because he finds it entertaining.

It’s not a bad film, really; Edge of Sanity offers up an interesting take on the story, and visually it’s quite beautiful in its own grimy and bloody way, but it’s admittedly kind of sad to see an actor with Perkins’ abilities reduced to this. Again. I think the big problem, as it was with Jack Nicholson in The Shining, is that Perkins’ reasoned and rational Dr. Jekyll seems just as kookoo-bananas as his Mr. Hyde. But like Rick James noted, cocaine’s a helluva’ drug.

Raising Cain (1992)

For a spell there, it seemed every 10 years or so Brian De Palma felt compelled to make a Psycho knockoff. The conjoined twin angle in Sisters was clever and effective. Dressed to Kill was sleazy, laughable, and obvious a decade later, but still hugely entertaining for all its sleazy laughable obviousness. Then, after another intervening decade, he signed John Lithgow to star in a third stab at it.

Playing characters with schizoid tendencies was nothing new to Lithgow, from Lazardo/Whorfin in Buckaroo Banzai, to the cross-dresser in The World According to Garp. Even the psychotic intelligence agent/serial killer in De Palma’s Blow Out fit the bill, but here he pushed it to extremes, playing a child psychologist with, oh, let’s just call it a little glitch.

As in Sisters, De Palma tosses out what would likely be the Big Reveal in lesser hands early in the film (i.e. Lithgow’s Carter is suffering from multiple personality disorder). Sometimes he’s Carter, but sometimes he’s Josh; sometimes he’s Margo, but sometimes he’s Cain; and sometimes he’s his own father. But that’s only the beginning.

Carter’s wife is a little concerned, not only about that whole multiple personality business, but also the amount of obsessive attention he seems to be paying their kid. She also starts to wondering idly if Carter might just have something to do with that whole string of child abductions and murders they’ve been having in the area lately.

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After the likes of Scarface and The Untouchables, the film is very much a throwback to De Palma’s Hitchcock run of a decade earlier, but his chops are much more finely tuned. Instead of keeping the audience off-balance with contradictory information, he does so visually, tossing out unexpected flashbacks, dreams and hallucinations. It’s a low-scale tour-de-force for De Palma and Lithgow alike (an interrogation scene with the latter is really a thing to behold), and it’s all tied up with a whiz-bang ending that confused the hell out of a lot of people.

The Dark Half (1993)

For a while there, Stephen King and George Romero were pretty inseparable. King had a funny cameo as a blowhard slob in Knightriders, the two collaborated on the EC Comics homage, Creepshow, and finally in 1993 Romero wrote and directed a feature adaptation of King’s 1989 novel, The Dark Half. At heart, the novel took the hoary old pretentious writing cliché about the writer himself being merely a cypher, that it’s actually someone else, some external spiritual force that’s really doing the writing, and pushes it to violent extremes. At the same time, it also plays with the idea De Palma presented in Sisters, namely that when you remove a twin (in this case the parasitic variety), you’re gonna’ have trouble down the line, because one way or another that twin just ain’t going away.

As an adolescent with dreams of being a writer, Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) learned he had a brain tumor. But when surgeons remove it, they find it wasn’t a tumor at all—not in the traditional sense anyway—but the undeveloped fetus of Beaumont’s twin brother. Well, la la la, life goes on and down the line, Beaumont becomes a respected writer and teacher who also writes sleazy and violent horror novels under the name George Stark (much like King’s own early alter ego Richard Bachman). After Beaumont publicly comes clean about the pseudonym and goes so far as to stage a mock funeral for Stark, things start to get ugly. See, George Stark doesn’t much like the idea of being killed off and comes back for a little revenge.

While not a standard split personality film, it’s certainly a variation on the theme. So is Stark the parasitic twin who miraculously survived and grew up? Is it one of those How to Get Ahead in Advertising pitches, in which Beaumont’s dark side actually tears itself away to become an independent corporeal entity? Is it all a psychological game a la Psycho in which Beaumont is doing battle with a split personality? Or is it all just a silly allegory about that writing cliché?

I tend to run hot and cold with King, but it was fun to watch him play around with the philosophical implications of the split personality idea in the novel. Sadly, Romero’s film, which itself is loaded down with a few too many Hitchcock references, is saddled with one of the most ridiculous endings in recent memory. As far as I know, this marked the last time King and Romero worked together on a film.

Fight Club

If I had read Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club when I was 16, and if I hadn’t read anything at all prior to that, I’ve no doubt it would have been a life-changing experience. Trouble was, I didn’t read it when I was 16, and had read a few other things before I got around to it. In fact, it looks like Mr. Palahniuk and I had read all the same books, from William Burroughs to Hunter Thompson, to Charles Bukowski, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and pretty much everything RE/Search Publications put out. So I guess I wasn’t quite as impressed as most, which is part of the reason I find the movie so irksome. But there’s no denying it definitely belongs here, and may well be the splashiest and best known of the more contemporary entries.

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David Fincher’s high-profile and high-concept picture stars Edward Norton as a meek schlub who unexpectedly encounters the suave, charismatic, and wildly radical Brad Pitt one drunken evening, and nothing is ever the same again. Pitt’s Tyler Durden encourages him to do all those things he couldn’t have considered before, from proving his manly manliness in an underground fight club to pulling off increasingly destructive, large-scale pranks around the city, all the while cueing him in to the secret ways of the world and power. Then we get the big surprise ending in which we learn it’s really a movie about a schlub giving in to his own Id. Yes, well, see enough of these things and it wasn’t quite the shocking twist it was intended to be, but at least we didn’t learn it was all a dream.

I can’t watch this without ticking off all the scenes and lines, and ideas lifted from other books and films (everything from the abovementioned to Woody Allen). It’s not a bad picture, I guess, just not the brilliantly original wonderment everyone seemed to believe it was. I do like anything with Meat Loaf, but will never forgive them for using that Pixies song.

Identity (2003)

I’m not quite sure how this worked. Maybe I should look into it. In any case in his 2002 sort-of autobiographical film, Adaptation., screenwriter Charlie Kaufman took a few none-too-veiled jabs at movies like James Mangold’s Identity. You can see why. The film, which starred Being John Malkovich’s John Cusack, tried really, really hard to lay claim into the deep kind of psychological territory that was Kaufman’s signature. It tried really hard.

So Cusack finds himself among a group of strangers stranded at a ramshackle roadside motel during a terrible storm. As per the “strangers thrown together on a dark and stormy night” Hollywood motif, one by one they start getting killed off. When by chance they all learn they share the same birthday, things get even weirder.

Oh, come now, people! If you haven’t guessed where this is going 10 minutes in, then you haven’t seen nearly enough movies. Or at least enough Twilight Zone episodes. It was a ploy too cheap even for M. Night Shyamalan (though maybe I should hold my tongue, not having seen Split yet).