Here hammer takes serial killing, psychological trauma dressed up as demonic possession, a fear of sex and a whiff of lesbianism and turns it into something that almost appears classy.
Well, perhaps that might be exaggerating the effect slightly. But it’s certainly taking the salacious and tawdry and giving it that little sheen of class,
Watching it, it occurred to me that I could actually have been tuned in to some BBC period drama at 9pm on Sunday night. Okay, maybe THE HANDS OF THE RIPPER might have been a bit extreme in 1971, but now certainly. In fact, now it might even be a little tame.
The acting is good, the script is entertaining enough to almost disguise the fact that character motivation makes no sense, while the direction is smart enough to know that this kind of period adaptation – or faux period adaptation – doesn’t need any cheap and gory tricks.
The daughter of Jack the Ripper is all grown up and is a beautiful, young woman. But whenever the possibility of sex raises its head, she lashes out and kills the person nearest her. Even though it stretches credibility more than once, aristocrat and would be psychiatrist, Eric Porter, finds out her secret but decides not to turn her in. He instead keeps her nearby for observation. A decision that will have predictably fatal consequences.
No one goes to Hammer for the realism. It’s a studio that dealt in over the top mindless fun, and this most definitely falls into that category. But its one you can almost take home and show mother over a cup of tea and some Malteasers.
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