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Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper: Der Dirnenmörder von London

Switzerland/West Germany 1976
produced by
Erwin C. Dietrich, Max Dora (executive) for Cinemec, Elite
directed by Jess Franco
starring Klaus Kinski, Josephine Chaplin, Andreas Mannkopff, Herbert Fux, Lina Romay, Nikola Weisse, Ursula von Wiese, Hans Gaugler, Francine Custer, Olga Gebhard, Angelika Arndts, Peter Nüsch, Regine Elsener, Esther Studer, Lorli Mucher, Mike Lederer, Otto Dornbierer
written by Jess Franco, music by Walter Baumgartner, cinematography by Peter Baumgartner

Jack the Ripper

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jack the Ripper is roaming the Limehouse district, and he especially likes to cut up his victims (in a grenhouse of all places) and throw them into River Thames, where fishermen like Charlie (Herbert Fux) tend to find bodyparts every now and again. Thing is, nobody knows who Jack the Ripper might be, and police inspector Selby (Andreas Mannkopff) is getting more and more frustrated over the case, not at all helped by the fact that his girlfriend Cynthia (Josephine Chaplin) has decided they should stop seeing each other.

Nobody knows who Jack the Ripper is ?

Not quite, we the audience do, it's a benign Doctor for the poor (as played by Klaus Kinski), who is suffering from a deep hatred towards women in general and prostitutes in particular, and who every now and again can't help but kill, identifying all his victims with his prostitute mother.

Eventually, fisherman Charlie finds out about the Doctor's secret, but instead of going to the police, he tries to blackmail the doctor ... and ends up on the wrong end of a rope.

When inspector Selby pretty much breaks down in front of his girlfriend Cynthia, she tries to help him by tracking down the killer on her own - thing is, she hasn't thought the whole thing through, and instead of her finding him, he finds her, all dressed up as a whore, and soon enough has taken her to his greenhouse - and it's only thanks to the acute sense of smell of a blind beggar and witness to a former Ripper-crime that Selby and the police manage to get to the greenhouse just in time before the Ripper can kill Cynthia too - but catching the Ripper and bringing him to justice might be two entirely different things ...

 

One of Jess Franco's most readily available and most famous films, primarily due to Klaus Kinski turning in a wonderful, multi-faceted performance - yet the film is certainly not among Franco's best, on a story level Jack the Ripper is awfully reminiscent of Franco's earlier masterpiece Awful Dr.Orloff from 1962, and on a directorial level, Franco only rarely goes beyond functional - partly of course because of the necessity to make Zurich look like London, in which the film only occasionally fully succeeds. Still, the film is not a total loss, Franco has managed to add enough perversion and gore to make it easily recognizable as one of his films, and as I said, Kinski's performance is just wonderful ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD