Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jack the Ripper (1976)

...aka: Dirnenmorder von London, Der
...aka: Erotico profundo

Directed by:
Jesus Franco

Klaus Kinski (in his umpteenth Franco film appearance) is a quiet, reclusive doctor dressed in a top hat, black trench coat and cane, living in a boarding house in turn-of-the-century London. His landlady (Olga Gebhard) thinks his midnight excursions out are of the charitable nature, but in fact he’s actually out late at night dismembering hookers because they remind him of his “whore” of a mother. The usually nude women are sliced up in various ways, the bodies are given to a deranged woman who think they are broken dolls and sinks them in the river and chief inspector Anthony Selby (Andreas Mannkopff) of Scotland Yard is on the case. Franco saved the most disgusting stuff for his wife, Lina Romay (who plays a singer and burlesque performer). She’s stripped naked, stabbed, raped with a razor and then has her breast, arms, etc. removed in loving detail. The blood looks like red paint. Josephine Chaplin (Charlie’s daughter) has nothing to do but appear topless as a ballerina. Herbert Fux is a fisherman who pulls a hand out of the Thames River (the subject of several later groan-inducing jokes). The anti-climactic ending is pretty awful; when Jack is finally confronted by the police, he basically just gives himself up and that's that.
The heavily cut American version of this Swiss/West German film is missing around ten minutes, which have been restored for the DVD release. It's one of fifteen films Franco made for producer Erwin C. Dietrich and was the highest grossing of them all.


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