Hands of the Ripper (1971)

Horror, Thriller
Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Merrow, Keith Bell
The infant daughter of Jack the Ripper is witness to the brutal murder of her mother by her father. Fifteen years later she is a troubled young woman who is seemingly possessed by the ...
  • 13 Jul 1972 Released:
  • 13 Sep 1989 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • L.W. Davidson (screenplay), Edward Spencer Shew (s Writer:
  • Peter Sasdy Director:
  • N/A Website:

Trailer:

Interesting period Hammer production.7/10
Orphaned teenager Anna (innocent-looking Angharad Rees) is placed under the care of the awful Mrs. Golding (Dora Bryan), a fake medium who uses her in moneymaking schemes and pimps her out to customers, which leads to her murder. Anna is adopted by Dr. John Pritchard (Eric Porter), an early follower of Freudian philosophy, who tries to help Anna when it's revealed she's the daughter of Jack the Ripper with homicidal tendencies of her own after seeing dear old dad murder mum as a child. Dr. Pritchard is so obsessed with Anna and his research that he isn't above covering up the murders that follow.

The performances are first-rate, the turn-of-the-century London flavor is accurately captured, the murders are pretty bloody for the time and there's a great, subdued ending at the "Gallery of Whispers." Fine period horror from Hammer Studios, originally shown on a double bill with TWINS OF EVIL.

Score: 7 out of 10
Jacqueline The Ripper!8/10
Particularly all the sour people, who continuously claim that the Hammer Studio ran out of inspiration and professionalism during the early 1970's, should view "Hands of the Rippers", as this is still a highly inventive and marvelously put together period piece. The basic premise of this film is perhaps one of the most ingenious ones ever to come out of the legendary British studios and director Peter Sasdy presents the wholesome with great emphasis on both suspense AND gory bloodshed! The French version's title (which I own) literally translates as "The Ripper's Daughter" and this sums up the synopsis much better than the official title ever could. During the opening sequence, the notorious late 19th Century London serial killer Jack the Ripper is identified by his own wife and their little girl – Anna – painfully witness how her mother too gets slaughtered by her father the monster. Years later, the shy and introvert girl is under the custody of a phony spiritual medium/female pimp but her traumatic memories come to the surface and force her hands to kill as well. Dr. John Pritchard, an early follower of Sigmund Freud, takes Anna in his house and hopes to cure her disturbed behavior by using therapy. However, since he doesn't know what exactly inflicts Anna's murderous rage, several more people (even inside Pritchard's household) are killed. "Hands of the Ripper" lacks a bit of star-power (no Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee in the cast), but the film is fast-paced and the originality of the plot results in multiple tense sequences. Moreover, the setting of London during the turn of the century is greatly captured, with people slowly recovering from the actual Jack the Ripper murder case and reverting too easily to fear & hysteria when it seems there's a new maniac on the loose in the city. The murders are sensational and really, really gruesome and they're extra shocking since nearly all victims (all but one, actually) are sympathetic characters you didn't wish this cruel fate for. This is also one of more intelligent Hammer films, as the screenplay efficiently blends together historical horror with accurate psychological theories and yet still manages to throw in some pure camp and typical Hammer-brutality! The climax, set in the St.Paul Cathedral's gallery of whispers, is breathtaking and almost hauntingly poetic. Truly one of Hammer's most underrated and sadly forgotten horror-highlights.
One of the most interesting Hammer movies.5/10

'Hands Of The Ripper' is one of the most interesting Hammer movies. An odd mixture of Edwardian costume drama, pop psychology and proto-slasher gore, which may not be 100% successful, but it does make for some fascinating viewing. Eric Porter (who some may remember from the 60s TV series 'The Forsyte Saga') is perfectly cast as the detached and driven Dr John Pritchard who unexpectedly encounters Jack The Ripper's daughter Anna (the lovely Angharad Rees). She has no idea of her background and is working for a fraudulent medium that Pritchard and his son visit. After Anna is implicated in a brutal and bloody murder he "adopts" her, and hopes to unlock her secrets using the new fangled theories of one Sigmund Freud. Can he help this confused and potentially lethal young woman before she kills again? I leave it up to you to find out. While I don't rate this one quite as highly as many, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it is yet another example of just how most of Hammer's output has been largely underrated over the years.
A flickering light leads to the kiss of death.7/10
Jack the Ripper's young daughter Anna; witness the grisly murder that her father committed against her mother. Many years have past and she been adopted by an old lady who fakes being a medium with the help of the girl. But one night these traumatic memories of her mother's death and her father kissing her cause to enter a trance because of a glittering light and she murders whoever decides to kiss her. A psychiatrist - Dr John Pritchard is an idealist that decides to take her in, as he believes he can discover and eventually cure the girl's unstable condition.

Like father… daughter will follow. Well, the voices in her head made sure. After watching this - I couldn't believe director Peter Sasdy went from this credible Hammer flick to the ridiculously monstrous "I Don't Want to Born" that I watched only a fortnight ago. Um, "Hand of the Ripper" is quite a big step up. "Taste the blood of Dracula" is even better. This Hammer production takes on the Jack the Ripper legend with a quite different and cerebral angle. Amongst psychological edge -- there's even a slasher touch about it. But those looking for high camp might be slightly disappointed. The skillful direction by Sasdy conjures up some flair, outlandishly violent deaths and a hauntingly, harrowing conclusion. The workman like production injects a very detailed and quite realistic backdrop of the grimy period. The empowering, but professionally orchestrated score is hard to shake as it works around with the moods effectively. Acting from the cast was very solid even if they had somewhat stilted characters. Eric Porter gave a strong performance as the determined doctor who has his own personal agenda and the ravishing Angharad Rees is naturally good as (daddy's little girl) Anna. Now onto the weakest points. The muddled story is fuelled by many ideas, but still it has some illogical aspects and certain reasoning's that just don't rub off. The script probably does ponder on with some unusual turns, being flooded with scientific jargon and unconvincing relationships that don't really lead anywhere. For some the pacing could be quite slow and while; I didn't find it spectacular and filled with such excitement, but there was enough going on to keep me watching.

Hammer's latter day effort is a above-average and polished presentation that receives more ticks than crosses.
Underrated Hammer film.7/10

While just a young child, Anna (Angharad Rees) witnesses the brutal murder of her mother by father ‘Jack the Ripper'. Fifteen years later she begins to enter trances and appears to be possessed by the Ripper himself. A friendly psychiatrist, Dr. Pritchard (Eric Porter), unaware of her past and believing her problems to be purely in the mind takes Anna in while he attempts to cure her. However, he soon regrets his decision.

‘Hands of the Ripper' is a rather underrated and enjoyable Hammer film. The film is slow, methodical and story based which may not appeal to those who like lots of `action' in their flicks, but anyone who likes classic horror wonderfully entwined with a near-gripping thriller should find something enjoyable in ‘Hands of the Ripper'. Director Peter Sasdy does well in building the tension and ensuring that the audience remains enthralled throughout the slower paced thriller aspects. Peter Sasdy does his best in making the most of the screenplay and adds some wonderful touches to the visuals of the film which really stand out and help to make the movie what it is. The sporadic flashback sequences may not be entirely original in horror but few are quite as effective. Some beautiful and often despairingly solemn musical arrangements accompany the film and induce the necessary mood in the viewer in order to fully appreciate this interesting piece of cinema.

The film is made all that better by some great performances from Eric Porter, Angharad Rees and Derek Godfrey in the short role of Dysart. Unfortunately, while one expects a certain degree of camp from a hammer movie, there did seem to be a slight overabundance of camp or hammy performances from some of the cast. However, one can take solace in knowing that the majority of these moments were towards the beginning of the film. Sadly, the poor performances were not the only thing that damaged this movie. There was an occasional lack in useful dialogue which lead to some of the scenes seeming distracted or unbelievable. This was accompanied by a couple of scenes which seemed bizarre and incoherent in their reasoning of the characters actions.

Nevertheless, the film manages to entertain and should hold the interest of fans of other Hammer films. Compared to modern day horror movies, ‘Hands of the Ripper' is a slow moving film that probably has little appeal for the `nu-horror' fans but fans of classic horror should find the film to worthy of at least one watch. The death scenes may be a little of an anti-climax and there are some storyline problems, but ‘Hands of the Ripper' is an entertaining movie that seems to be rather underrated. A bizarre yet enjoyable mixture of horror, thriller, period drama and the work of Sigmund Freud. My rating for ‘Hands of the Ripper' – 7/10.