Hands of Ripper (1971)
Starring: Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Merrow, Keith Bell, Derek Godfrey
Plot: A baby girl named Anna watches her mother murdered by her father Jack the Ripper. She grows and is now an orphan working and abused. Soon Jacks back, or at least the “Ripper's” spirit is alive? How can this be? What is the mystery and can Anna, now haunted by her father come to terms with the horror? Can it be stopped? Can the bloodshed and violence be understood before it's too late and all the bodies pile up? Mind altering insanity. An ultra-stylized, bloody, gory time of horror.
My Review and Thoughts:
Behold Hammer Pictures. Another wonderful forgotten little gem of a horror film from Hammer studios or as I like to call it, The Hammer House of Horrors. One of the greatest film studios of all time. Bringing Vampires and mad men to the glory of the cinema world. Here is another one from this classic studio. This one is forgotten by time but is a wonderful glory classic of Hammer's reign. Jack the Ripper is dead but his offspring lives on. An orphan prostituted out and used by her Foster mother.
This is a graphic beauty of yesteryear. A triumphant rated R little bloody gem. A female ripper slaying and destroying like father, like son, whoops daughter. Murder most foul. Truly an underrated, interesting and often overlooked little perfect film of blood. A classic Hammer suspense that is a perfect late-night Drive-in beauty of twisted killings and insanity.
It's possibly in my view point one of the most interesting Hammer productions. Sort of a period piece, yet also plays on the murder mystery and is different from most of their films. Trances, flashbacks, murder, Jack the Ripper and slasher horror with a deep interesting story to go along with all the actions.
Starring many classic stables of yesteryear cinema, such as the master of acting Eric Porter who sadly passed from Colon cancer at 67. He was always a shining example of acting perfection. Starring in such classics like 73's The Day of the Jackal, 73's The Last Days of Hitler. Often a brilliant stable in BBC productions and television films of the British BBC. Always gracing sophisticated characters such as doctors or Edwardian costume dramas. Always a beautiful stable in the thought-provoking category of sophisticated acting. Many will know him from BBC mini-series and from one of the greatest shows, the original series or as it's referred to a miniseries, which ran for 26 episodes, The Forsyte Saga (1967).
He plays the roll in Hands of Ripper, as Dr. John Prichard. He takes in an orphan girl Anna after she murders her Foster mother, or does she? He becomes obsessed and enthralled with her and he wants to use the idea to be able to study one who has murdered. He wants to know the very recesses of the one who murdered. She does not remember murdering. During her deed, she goes into some sort of trance.
What is the reason?
Why does she go into the trance?
Why does she not remember?
What is her past?
What is so haunting to her?
This also stars the stunning, beautiful, amazing and very brilliant and extraordinary actress Angharad Rees. She has passed away at the very young age of 68 but will always be remembered for her wonderful beauty and legacy of acting. The legacy she left is mind blowing. She always owned her parts and created her parts as her own. The viewer felt a part of her as she performed. Often a stable in BBC production such as TV and miniseries and starring is such TV classics as the long running Poldark series. She plays the character of Anna in Hands of Ripper, daughter to Jack the Ripper. She owns the part and made you believe her frightening example of a so-called murderer. She blacks out and holds the blade in her hands or at least whatever weapon she has.
Also starring an underrated actor in his time, Derek Godfrey (1924–1983). He plays the part of Dysart the somewhat villainous style of character. He played in countless TV shows and many mini-series. He had a true style to his emotions and attitudes that he adds to the characters he plays. I thought he was wonderful in this part.
Directed by a wonderful often overlooked filmmaker Peter Sasdy. He directed many Hammer films such as 1970's Taste the Blood of Dracula, 71's Countess Dracula. He also directed Nothing but the Night (1973) starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, as we all know, both whom are Hammer horror film stables. He also directed three of the episodes for the 1980's Hammer House of Horror TV series and directed 3 episodes of 1984's Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense TV series. Interesting to note is he is often remembered for his cult film The Lonely Lady which he won the Razzie award for worst director. This film was nominated for worst everything and at one time was considered the worst drama film in the first 25 years of the Razzie's until Battlefield Earth took that role. I don't really agree with the Razzie awards because some of the films they put in their Razzie do not belong. Some films are just popcorn entertainment and silly Drive-in fare and the Razzies fail to see that sometimes. Anyway, I feel Peter Sasdy never got his just due as a director. I loved Hands of Ripper and he did a fantastic job at creating a dark and very morbid telling of the idea of Jack the Ripper's offspring. Now something many might not know about him is he basically directed the first the movie on the idea of virtual-reality. He directed the first movie to use this concept. Welcome to Blood City (1977) starring Jack Palance. This film has a bunch of people in VR reality of the Wild West and must be killers to advance.
What’s interesting about Hands of Ripper is this was the 70's and the studio sadly started to lose the audience or at least interest of the time. Hands of Ripper is amazingly gory and bloody and violent. Hammer had always showed the blood in many of its features but this became a new style in the 70's and seemed to get more extreme as the 70's went on. This one is a prime example of the escalating violence. I think it was a sad ordeal when Hammer productions ceased to basically exist in the mid 80's. They always dominated in the world of horror. Most people don't release it, that Hammer came into existence in the 1930's. Most associate them with the 60's and 70's but they got their start much sooner. It was not until the ultra-horror, that they built, as their stable, did they start a huge fan base that lasts till today.
Hammer started to stray from basic film plots toward 1953 when they adventured into, two Science Fiction films. Shortly after the trip into science fiction Hammer started their ultra-cool reality that most film lovers know them for and that's Horror. Besides Universal Horror they pretty much are the gods of the early horror cinema. They showcase the very essence of what the horror world was and has become or at least the beauty and birth of horror cinema. My ultimate favorite horror series would be the many Frankenstein films starring the one and only Peter Cushing. Many associate Christopher Lee's Dracula roles, but I love the Frankenstein films the best. It was The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 that started the Horror movement. They had done Sci-fi/Horror such as The Quatermass Experiment saga. With the Curse of Frankenstein, it was the birth of a new reality for Hammer. Dracula did not start Hammer Horror, the old resurrected Dead Man Frankenstein's monster did.
It was the first main stream to use colored blood and gore. It created a massive following and the studio instantly became the one and only Hammer House of Horror. Soon Hammer Horror owned the screens and they would run rampant with vampires, mummies, knife using maniacs and legends, all done in Hammer Horror style. Soon there would be countless followings by other studios that wanted to make money on the band wagon; there is only one Hammer. Sadly, the Hammer Film studios that became the birthright to ultra-cool gory horror faded away and went into hibernation after 1979 due to declining interest and no new worthy ideas. They would produce TV series in 1980 and then again in 1984 and then hibernate again. The studio that was so promising that started the ultra-cool horror wave in 1957 only lasted a little over 20 years. In those 20 years many wonderful examples of fun, wild, gory classic horror films birthed onto the screen like never before. Hammer owned the business for a very long time. I grew up on all their re-runs. One of my favorite times growing up was when Turner Classic Movies or TV channels would run month long Halloween Marathons of all these classics.
Hammer was a vital part of my childhood and will always be dear to my heart and my horror loving mind. I grew up with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee acting it up and Terence Fisher at the helm. I grew up with Oliver Reed and Ingrid Pitt and vampire hunters, vampire circus' and lesbian blood suckers. I grew up with the thickest, brightest red blood possible. From werewolves to a Gorgon, my childhood in the horror world was awesome. So, when I adventure into Hammer films it brings out a wonderment inside me. Hands of Ripper is a prime and fun example and ultra-gory slasher like violence, that was Hammer Horror. This film so wonderfully details that classic retro style of horror. They always had amazing sets, costumes and interesting stories of bad guys and good guys/gals and monsters.
Hands of Ripper is a prime serial killer, violent possession film that plays with the thick violence and mayhem that the dark side of history and modern culture hides. A girl, a doctor and a blade all create a vibrant colored and dark classic that I feel has sadly been overlooked and forgotten about. This has recently been brought out on a beautiful crisp Blu-ray by the one and only master studios Synapse Films. They gift this movie with a Blu-ray edition that's worthy to own. If you get a chance buy this Blu-ray and enjoy the loving beauty that Synapse's has put into it. The Blu-ray features awesome specials such as:
THE DEVIL'S BLOODY PLAYTHING: POSSESSED BY HANDS OF THE RIPPER Featurette
SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENCE: THE EVOLUTION OF HAMMER GORE Motion Still Gallery
U.S. Television Introduction
Original Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
HANDS OF THE RIPPER - Motion Still Gallery
Isolated Music & Effects Audio Track
This Blu-ray is amazingly restored and in High Definition and most of all Uncut in all it's beautiful gory wonder. This is possibly one of the most violent Hammer films. It holds nothing back and gives it a truly eye-opening experience of classic horror, but most of all, the likes of brutal violence that you would expect today.
It's a must own Blu-ray for any lover of true classic cinema Horror. This is a must see, must own horror film that Hammer gave so much to. They created genera of cinema that fans have become a part of. Hammer has a cult status and Hands of Ripper belongs in that cult status of Horror cinema.
Bloody, gory, nudity, murder, mayhem, insanity, prostitutes, blackouts. Many wonderful graphic deaths. A perfect interesting forgotten about slasher period piece horror. I enjoyed the Hands of Ripper, a classic of Hammer.