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A Swiss-German horror film with Klaus Kinski as the notorious Jack the Ripper. A respected doctor by day, Kinski dismembers London prostitutes by night, until the local Inspector's girlfriend (Josephine Chaplin) goes undercover to catch him. Written by
The royal coat of arms shown outside Scotland Yard bears the letters ER - presumably for the current Queen: Elizabeth Regina. In 1888 when Jack the Ripper was loose Victoria was on the throne and the letters would have been VR: Victoria Regina. See more »
One of the remarkable elements about this improbably interesting, intelligent and engaging fictionalization of the Jack the Ripper story is the fact that the amazing Klaus Kinski is not the only reason the film held my interest. Basically, this is a rather graphic horror film with a lot of perverse sexuality (all of which is too disturbing to be interesting from any prurient perspective). Yet this is not Jesus Franco's standard garbage, but rather an interesting Freudian interpretation of Jack the Ripper, which deviates far enough from the actual historical facts to allow for a few surprises along the way.
The cinematography is generally good. The editing and pace are decidedly unamerican, and will turn off mainstream audiences. the film proceeds at a steady pace, but features dialog which is more oriented toward driving the plot than elaborating the characters. The cast is pretty uneven, but strong support comes from Menkopff, Chaplin and Fux. Kinski's role, though not much of a challenge for him, is interpreted with the great actor's usual intensity. The sets, though not particularly London, and a tad anachronistic at times, are detailed and enjoyable in their own right.
What the film does successfully - and again, it's not all Kinski - is to create a tense and disturbing atmosphere, punctuated with occasionally graphic scenes of sexual and bloody violence. Along the way, the director presents an interpretation of Jack the Ripper which is straight out of Freudian pop psychology. The effect is powerful, and the film is memorable. Perhaps Franco's best work, though I've not seen them all (for good reason!)
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