"Hands of the Ripper (1971/Blu-ray + DVD Combo/Synapse Films)" Review

Review: When I was in my early teens I was given a book "The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough" that was about Jeffrey Dahmer and from there I became curious about serial killers. The one that caught my attention the most was Jack The Ripper. The mystery behind who it really was intrigued me. As you would expect I have seen plenty of films about Jack The Ripper and now that I have watched "Hands of the Ripper" it has became my new favorite one that is based around him. What this film does different than all the rest is that it takes the Jack The Ripper case and takes it into a more kind of possession or supernatural direction.

An infant girl watches in horror as her father, the infamous “Jack the Ripper”, brutally murders her mother. Years later, young Anna (Angharad Rees) is now under the care of a fake psychic and has been forced into prostitution. At the end of a séance one evening, a woman is mysteriously killed. Dr. John Pritchard (Eric Porter) suspects Anna is the murderer but cannot understand how she could do this unspeakable act. Using new Freudian psychoanalysis techniques, Pritchard experiments on Anna and discovers a shocking secret. The spirit of the “Ripper” is alive and well, and may be possessing his own daughter! Can this evil be stopped before it’s too late? (synopsis sourced from back of Blu-ray)

I absolutely love the direction they went with this film, it actually feels fresh and much more original than others I have seen before. I actually think this film has aged well and does stand the test of time. I think most people who are fans of the classic horror from the golden age of film and beyond will certainly enjoy what this has to offer. The pacing of the film actually is paced out quite well and it doesn't slow down too much to make it boring like some films like this sometimes do.
I really love the character especially that of Dr. Jack Pritchard. His character is very likable and entertaining. I like how he goes from being this sympathetic and naive man into a person who realizes where they messed up and will stop at nothing to correct what he has let happen. There is actually some character development that goes on in this film which makes you feel for some of the characters. The rest of the cast is great as well and each are great in their own way. The only character that I didn't care much for was the fake psychic woman and I think that's because I generally hate people who claim to be psychic, that's not to say that the actress was not good because she was great in her role.
When it comes to the gore in this film it is a little more brutal than most Hammer films. Its not as brutal as today's horror films but it was quite shocking and impressive for its time. I personally find the practical effects to be awesome and very well done. I especially liked when the fake psychic gets impaled by a poker, now you don't get to see it go through her but you do see the aftermath. If you love practical effects then I think you will like what Hands of the Ripper has to offer.
Overall this is a damn good Hammer film that I think will now find a bigger audience due to this amazing release from Synapse Films! Also this is the uncut version that was not released before in the US which is a nice treat for Hammer fans. The picture and audio quality is top notch like it always has been on Synapse's releases. Everything from the color pallet to the detail are beautifully gruesome! If you love Hammer Horror then this is a must buy!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Peter Sasdy
Lead Actor/Actress: Eric Porter/Angharad Rees
Genre: Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Theatrical Release Year: 1971
Time Length: 85 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: A
Release Company: Synapse Films
Website:  www.synapse-films.com