The human mind offers an endless scope of imagination and will fill in the blanks of any story with startling amounts of detail. It is with this level of detail and creative thinking that we can put characters and faces to mysteries such as Jack the Ripper. Of, course the best way to do so is to make films, and in this blog post we will summarise which takes of the classic mystery offer the best in terms of visual and theoretical interest.
Pandora’s Box (GW Pabst, 1929)
Setting the stage for film noir, GW Pabst epitomises the fall from respectability to victim-hood and uses the Ripper myth in one of the most affecting ways a film could. With the use of dark, moody, shadowed photography, expressions are subtle and natural, drawing the audience in, to play with Lulu.
Murder By Decree (Bob Clark, 1979)
This was the first motion picture to embrace the theory that addressed royal and masonic conspiracy. However, somewhat cunningly, the film avoids naming names and goes by character profiling. It is said to be one of the finest Holmes and Watson displays.
The Lodger (Alfred Hitchock, 1926)
Hitchcock interpreted a gruesome tale and turned it into a beautiful version of the Ripper tale, with this gruesome and truly Hitchcock-esque take. A classic if ever there was one.
Hands Of The Ripper (Peter Sasdy, 1971)
Despite the poor appeal of the cover, this film takes a fresh and intriguing angle on the Ripper case, carrying on the legacy through a daughter who is seemingly possessed. A sympathetic psychiatrist volunteers to take her in, but soon regrets this decision.
From Hell (Hughes Brothers, 2001)
This film is based on a 10-part comic published by Alan Moore, which retold the murders as part of a conspiracy at the highest levels. The Brothers, whose previous work lies in the ‘ghetto’ movie genre, with works such as Dead Presidents, turn London’s East End into an even more terrifying and dangerous pit of iniquity. Johnny Depp and Heather Graham are said to have been too ‘Hollywood’ but the film does take on a more sinister and deeper conspiracy. Critics have said the film appears to be a not-so-reserved homage to the master of conspiracy, Oliver Stone. But that’s for you to decide.
While we will all have our own impressions of Jack the Ripper, watching any one – or preferably all – of these films offers the chance to see an alternative view and change our interpretation of his personality.
On the other hand, if you’d prefer to have a more tangible experience with a truly 3D tour of Jack the Ripper’s territory, you should get yourself booked onto our Jack the Ripper tour. Not only will you be able to get a real life look at the streets that housed these atrocious crimes, but the legend will be brought to life by our exclusive Ripper-Vision technology, which projects the original images onto the streets they once occupied.
Richard Cobb – has written 208 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.