Hands of the Ripper (1972)

Article 2308 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-21-2007
Posting Date: 12-7-2007
Directed by Peter Sasdy
Featuring Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Merrow

After witnessing the murder of her mother by her father, the daughter of Jack the Ripper becomes possessed by his spirit whenever she is put into a trance by glittering lights and then kissed.

This early seventies Hammer film has a lyrical edge that makes it feel quite unlike a Hammer film on occasion; I attribute this to the fact that the score came from Christopher Gunning, who is not one of the regular composers of Hammer scores. The movie is a bit of a mixed bag; the premise itself is interesting, and it is grounded by a strong performance from Eric Porter as a doctor intent on learning about murder by studying the daughter of Jack the Ripper. Unfortunately, the script itself is rather improbable; apparently, the series of events where the daughter becomes possessed rarely happened for years, and then suddenly occurs four or five times in one week. Also, I found it difficult to believe that one character lasts as long as he does and remains as active as he does after having been impaled with a long sword. Still, when it’s working, it’s quite effective, and I thought its strengths outweighed its weaknesses, though I did find it curiously unsatisfying in the final analysis.



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