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Jack's Back (1988)

A serial killer in Los Angeles celebrates Jack the Ripper's 100th birthday by committing similar murders and only one has a chance of stopping him.

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John / Rick Wesford
...
Chris Moscari
...
Sgt. Gabriel
...
Dr. Carlos Battera
Rod Loomis ...
Dr. Sidney Tannerson
Rex Ryon ...
Jack Pendler
...
Scott Morofsky
Wendell Wright ...
Capt. Walter Prentis
...
Sam Hilliard
...
Tom Dellerton
...
Denise Johnson
...
Mary
Diane Erickson ...
Andrea Banks
Sis Greenspon ...
Martha
Graham Timbes ...
Surgeon
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Storyline

A young doctor is suspected when a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings is committed. However, when the doctor himself is murdered, his identical twin brother claims to have seen visions of the true killer. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@bigpond.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One hundred years ago the world was shocked by a man they called The Ripper. He was never caught... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Red Rain  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$492,519 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Rowdy Harrington originally wanted the movie to be titled "Red Rain" and Peter Gabriel's song of the same name was meant to play at the opening credits. Since this was a low budget film, he couldn't get the rights to the song, so he hired Paul Saax to compose the song "Red Harvest" instead. Shortly before the movie release, the studio felt that the title "Red Rain" had no relation to the plot so they decided to change to a more appealing title, "Jack's Back". See more »

Goofs

Identical twins do not have the same fingerprints. See more »

Quotes

John: [dressing the old woman's hand wound] "You free Saturday night?"
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Soundtracks

Red Harvest
Written by Danny Di Paola, Paul Saax and Jim Tunnell
Performed by Paul Saax
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User Reviews

 
One of the most under-appreciated films of the 80's
1 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

Someone is killing prostitutes in a very Jack The Ripper-esque fashion on the 100 year anniversaries of The Ripper's original murders. A med student (Spader) gets caught up in the last murder and winds up meeting a tragic fate. Now his twin brother (also played by Spader) is out to find the man responsible for his death and gets caught up in the middle of the copycat murder case in the process. Oh, and he has to clear his own name because he is a suspect in the above mentioned case AND also a suspect in his brothers murder...Whooo. Now that's a s*** load of plot!

Jack's Back is an odd movie and kind of deceiving. You see, no one in their right mind is gonna market a movie this complicated. So what the box tells ya is that Jack's Back is about a murderer mimicking the Jack The Ripper slayings of a century ago. Well, that's only half the movie. Jack's Back is a murder mystery turned revenge noir turned suspense thriller that manages to avoid drowning itself in murky plot, pointless subplot, or endless dialogue in an attempt to competently tell the story and wrap everything up in the end. From the title and basic premise of the film one may think it's just your basic slasher type/murder mystery exploitation stuff that was recycled over and over again when this movie was released. If so, you're wrong...

Jack's Back starts as a murder mystery about a nutball killing prostitutes, when we meet a med student with a heart of gold, John played by James Spader. He soon finds himself at the scene of one of the Ripper murders and is eventually killed. His shady twin brother Rick who sees the murder in a dream soon pops up. The police are quick to write off John's death as a suicide, but Rick knows better. He soon sets out to find the guy responsible with the help of Chris (Gibb) who had a thing for John and is developing a thing for Rick when he finds that things aren't as they seemed and the Ripper copycat is out for more blood. Writer/director Rowdy Herrington gives us a strong, well developed script with great characters and memorable situations. His ability to shift from a murder mystery to revenge flick to thriller deserves major props. Props to Herrington for creating such likeable and complex characters too. Great job! From a directing standpoint, Herrington gives the movie a moody and uneasy atmosphere blanketed in thick fog. Burnout Central award to Herrington.

James Spader delivers a layered and very strong double performance that engaged me and kept my eyes glued on him. Cynthia Gibb gives a strong performance as well. I dug how the script didn't go into familiar romantic territory even though Spader and Gibb had great chemistry. Burnout Central awards to both!

It was great to watch a movie with such a dense storyline that never forget what it was supposed to do-entertain. I was intrigued and fascinated with the story, performances and Herrington's ability to construct such a multi-layered plot and still find a way to pull it all together. Jack's Back isn't conventional in the least, it marches to its own drum, has class, and is well written, acted and directed. Check it out!


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