Thursday, July 3, 2014


I watched HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) for the first time last night (I recorded it off of TCM). It's a Hammer film without any of the usual Hammer stock company actors. It's not a bad little film nor is it a great film waiting to be rediscovered and reevaluated. It is what it is, a straight-forward little Hammer horror film that has the requisite amounts of attractive women, heaving bosoms and crimson blood.

At the beginning of the film, Jack the Ripper himself murders his wife while his young daughter watches. She's traumatized by the event and years later, when she' s an attractive young woman named Anna (Angharad Rees) she finds work with a fake medium. Following a seance, Anna is accidentally put into a hypnotic trance. While in the trance,. the dormant personality (some say spirit) of her dear old dad Jack, comes forward and "possesses" the girl, causing her to commit murder.

Dr. Pritchard (Eric Porter), a Freudian psychiatrist, takes an interest in Anna's case and he paroles her from jail and takes her to his home. There, she's given room and board in return for letting him psycho-analyze her in attempt to find out what makes her kill.

But things, of course, go wrong. Anna continues to kill, the bodies mount up and the narrative comes to a climax inside St. Paul's Cathedral in London. And remember folks, when the monster's dead, the movie's over.

HANDS OF THE RIPPER is competently directed by Peter Sasdy, from a serviceable screenplay by L.W. Davidson and Edward Spencer Shew. While I was watching it, I was reminded of just how much I love a good old fashioned Gothic horror film, the type of film that Hammer Studios excelled at making. HANDS OF THE RIPPER isn't first rate Hammer but it's definitely worth seeing for fans of the genre.

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