Hands of the Ripper (1971)
Hands of the Ripper (1971)
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Hammer's trademark gothic style permeates this suspenseful thriller, considered one of the acclaimed British studio's superior efforts, thanks largely to the directorial skills of Peter Sasdy. This marked his last feature-length collaboration with the studio until 1980, when he returned to direct installments of the Hammer House of Horror television series. In the film's prologue, young Anna, the infant daughter of the notorious Jack the Ripper, witnesses her mother's brutal murder at her father's hands. Years later, the lovely teenage Anna (Angharad Rees) is plagued by traumatic memories of the incident and repressed impulses in which love and death are inextricably linked. These impulses finally turn homicidal when her emotions are stirred, spelling doom for anyone who arouses her. Anna's case is handled by the repressed psychoanalyst, Dr. Pritchard (Eric Porter), whose growing physical attraction to the girl could result in far worse than a mere breach of professional ethics. Sasdy weaves the psychological elements through the story with finesse, paralleling the sexual tension between the doctor and his patient with the mounting horror of the inevitable outcome. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Hands of the Ripper
Anna's savage acts of violence are provoked by a flash of light and a kiss: Symbols of enlightenment and affection -- the most desirable of gifts -- that here become triggers for perversion.
Audience Reviews for Hands of the Ripper
A more interesting movie than Hammer's typical output at this time this film still has plenty of gore but the use of Freud's theories to diagnose the killer and Porter's sympathetic but misguided doctor suggest that the writer was at least trying something a bit different. The ending in St Paul's is almost operatic and brings a grandiose to the proceedings that is missing from most Hammer of the 70's. There are still plenty of silly bits in there and one gratuitous nudity sequence but otherwise this isn't half bad horror.
Made during Hammer's descent into gore (but before their tits and gore last gasp days), "Hands of the Ripper" is a stylish, atmospheric and particularly well acted little horror film. Unlike, say, "To the Devil a Daughter" it actually feels like a Hammer film. Whatever its minor flaws may be are more than redeemed by the fantastic, moving climax.
Eric Porter is fucking great.
Not a terrible film but also not a particularly good one. Not even Hammer Studios at their best but still not entirely disappointing. In other words, a just so-so horror film. The settings and costumes are up to the usual Hammer standard and the performances are generally quite solid but the characters are not really believably written. Eric Porter, for instance, does his usual workmanlike job in the lead but the character is simply not one I ever felt was real. The film blends Hammer's style with the increased gore required of horror films in the Seventies and an attempt at an intelligent story that fails only in its failed human motivations and some rather absurd murder weapons.
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