Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971). Director: Peter Sasdy.

An irresponsible psychoanalyst and admirer of Freud, Dr, Pritchard (Eric Porter) takes in a young lady, Anna (Angharad Rees), he suspects of murder and hopes to get to the bottom of her condition and cure her. Unfortunately, as he comes to understand, her problem is not so much psychosis but that she's possessed at times by her father -- who was Jack the Ripper! This is a literate, well-made, and well-acted horror story with some spurts of gruesome violence [beware edited TV prints -- this should be watched without commercials.] There's a memorable climax in St. Paul's whispering gallery. The film is generally fast-paced and suspenseful as well.

Marjorie Rhodes, who plays the housekeeper, was Emma Hornett in Watch It, Sailor! Rees went on to become a busy actress, mostly in British television. Versatile Porter also starred in The Lost Continent (1968).

Verdict: One of the best Hammer horror pictures. ***.

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