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  • 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!)
  • I'm a Jess Franco fan but even I will admit that he is a frustratingly uneven director. Franco is a very intelligent guy (a child music prodigy, a student at the Sorbonne, worked with Orson Welles on 'Chimes At Midnight'), but he has been way too prolific for his own good. Almost always working with very small budgets, his movies often appear to be rushed and in some ways, unfinished. On the other hand most of us having been watching lousy prints via video, often censored and generally badly dubbed, so we haven't really been getting to see his work as he originally intended it. 'Jack The Ripper' is a case in point: it has now been digitally restored and looks fabulous, and watching it in German with subtitles, instead of a silly dubbed version, makes you appreciate it a great deal more. Ripper fans will no doubt be extremely puzzled by this movie as it has virtually nothing to do with the facts of the case, but Franco fans are sure to be entertained. The movie was filmed in Zurich instead of London and while aesthetically it doesn't entirely convince, and the whole approach is sometimes quite confusing (just who exactly is the woman in the greenhouse who talks about "pretty dolls" and dumps the bodies??), you very quickly get used to it. Klaus Kinski, in his fourth and last collaboration with Franco, plays the Ripper, and he is absolutely terrific. The bigger a fan of Kinski you are the more you will enjoy this movie. His character is named Orloff, which is not really that much of a surprise, and really this has a lot more in common with Franco's 'The Awful Dr Orloff' (1962) than any other Ripper movie I've ever seen. In Franco's world the Ripper is a well loved doctor who helps the poor of London while simultaneously leading a double life. Tormented by hallucinations of his dead mother, a prostitute, he viciously slaughters streetwalkers, chops them up and dumps their body parts in the Thames. Andreas Mannkopf plays Inspector Selby (why Selby and not Abberline? who knows...), the policeman on the trail of the Ripper, and his estranged girlfriend Cynthia (Josephine Chaplin), a dancer, uses herself as Ripper bait. Franco's wife and frequent star Lina Romay has a memorable cameo as a Ripper victim, and Hans Gaugler plays a blind man whose heightened senses prove to be invaluable help to Selby in discovering the Ripper. 'Jack The Ripper' is quite different from most of Franco's best known movies ('Vampyros Lesbos', 'Succubus', 'Eugenie De Sade'), but the more I see of his astonishing 180+ output, the more I think that he's an extremely underrated film maker who has covered a lot more territory than he is given credit for. Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich collaborated with Franco on fifteen(!) movies between 1975 and 1977 and has plans to re-release them all on DVD restored and uncut. I'm sure that if he does this then Franco's reputation will continue to grow.
  • Although this movie is completely historically inaccurate as far as Jack the Ripper goes, it's surprisingly well made for a Franco movie. It's one of the few horror movies, however, that could actually benefit from some more cuts as the gore sequences, besides being nasty and misogynistic, are also just plain stupid and inept. The sequence with Kinski and a young Lina Romay (Mrs. Jesus Franco, for the uninitiated)is one Franco's best and one of Romay's best performances (especially considering she has her clothes on for most of it), but it is almost ruined in the end by an extremely gruesome and completely pointless bit of gore. Still, this is one of the few Franco films that has a more or less coherent plot to go with the occasionally impressive visuals. It definitely won't please the "Ripperologists", but it's worth a look, especially if you like Franco, Romay, or Kinski.
  • AS-693 December 2001
    In several respects, this movie seems to be a little untypical for a Franco movie. Since Franco proposed the subject himself, the film seems to be a rather personal project. Nevertheless, it is one of his most conventional movies. One could say that it is a rather tame slasher movie.

    Sexual perversion is still a subject, but in "Jack the Ripper" it is confined to the madmen and is not the general background. There is also some gore which - at least on some occasions - would have better been left out.

    What is equally untypical for a Franco movie are the production values. One can see that Franco worked on a higher budget. The film plays most of the time during the night, and the night photography is carried out in an excellent way. The scene when Lina Romay is killed in a foggy park is certainly one of the best Franco has ever filmed. A funny fact here is that apart from a few exteriors (like Big Ben), all the movie was shot in Zuerich Switzerland. It is much fun to see how Franco has transformed this into London (especially if you know the places in Zuerich Franco used). The interiors are also nice and colourful, and this is complemented by the costumes. Finally, the great plus of the movie is that is has Klaus Kinsky in it. Kinsky was one of the few actors who could create a certain ambiance by their mere presence. Of course, Kinsky's acting is also very subtle. Especially, his transformations from philanthrop into madman and back.

    The only thing which spoiled my viewing of "Jack the Ripper" a bit where some stupid beginner's mistakes by Franco. The two most obvious ones are: 1) Klaus Kinsky standing at the wrong side of the car when he "meets" the inspector's girl friend; 2) When Lina Romay is killed, the puppet used for the (cheap looking) gore effect is lit in a completely false color (maybe this is the producer's fault who might have insisted on including some gore). One less obvious mistake occurs at the beginning: The first hooker which is killed walks (on her way home!) back half the way she came.

    All in all, "Jack the Ripper" is an atmospheric, unpretentious, and well directed slasher movie with a formidable Klaus Kinsky as the madman.
  • Let me begin this review with the statement that DVD packaging does make or break a film. Also, DVD packaging that attempts to be creative and exciting (when it is actually not) will only break a film. I mention this because it is what I experienced with Jack the Ripper on DVD. When the film's menu started it seemed like there was some time and effort put into this release.

    As the menu opens there is Kinski's spooky eye twitching back and forth with several options for special features and extras. I was impressed; I thought that this film would just start without really any detail going into the DVD. This is what I thought, until I tried to work the audio options. With my German not up to par, I needed some subtitles or anything to help translate this film. What I discovered were flags for different countries to have the characters speak. This was a dubbed film, and the only flag that I knew (since there was no American flag) was Britain's flag. A made the choice and changed the outlook on this film forever. While it was grizzly to watch, there was quite a bit of humor behind it as D-grade British actors attempt to dub over German words. The character voice placement was horrendous. The main police officer sounded more effeminate than respectable and the others had this feel that they were behind the microphone speaking their lines. You never really felt like the voices matched the characters. What began as a developed horror story soon turned into a possible MST3K episode. It really detracted from the overall feel of the film.

    This was my first Jesus Franco film and let me say I was taken aback. I wasn't expecting to see the gore and disgusting acts that Jack the Ripper did to these unsuspecting women. Franco holds nothing back from these deeds. The blood is fake, the bodies are doubles, and Franco is behind the camera making this all work. Outside of Clint Howard, Franco could be a master of this genre. I need to see more of his work, but this initial taste left a flavor in my mouth I cannot seem to fathom. I was impressed, and not impressed with this body of work. Kinski did a fantastic job of creating this hellish creature devoid of fear and compassion. The raw power in his eyes alone will send shivers up your spine as you sit in the comfort of your own couch. This was awesome to see, but then on the other side of the spectrum the voice and sound that came from Kinski's mouth was embarrassing. You were scared, yet laughing at the same time. This is the first time that I have ever experienced this feeling while watching a film. Kinski pulled me into this film, but the sound yanked me back out.

    Before you expect too much from this film, you need to realize that this was a B-rated horror film. The young women show their breasts, they run into the woods instead of into safety, there are dark alleyways and implausible characters. This is not a film to win awards, but to a newbie into the world of Jesus Franco, it was fascinating. This was not in anyway the caliber of From Hell, because it is a slasher film to the utmost degree. It was somewhat of a tame slasher film, but nonetheless one in that genre. Sexual instability is the culprit in Franco's eyes that built this mass murderer known as Jack the Ripper. While Franco does skew the truth a bit about the actual murders involved with Jack the Ripper (throwing the bodies in the Themes, etc.), it still makes an interesting story.

    Overall, it was decent. After I watched it and thought about it for some time, I had a better respect for the film. It wasn't the greatest, yet it wasn't horribly bad. The dubbing caused me the most irritation, while Kinski raised the bar on this film. If you go into this film with high expectations, you will be utterly disappointed, but if you go in with an open mind and an ability to laugh, than it may just be up your dark alley. The DVD packaging is impressive, yet very misleading. The transfer of this film to DVD is impressive for it being made in 1976. Again, not expecting a lot will lead to a better film experience. You should also accompany this film with your favorite six-pack of beer and your most eccentric friend. Sit back, relax (as much as you can with this film) and enjoy the next hour and a half.

    Grade: ** out of *****
  • In this obviously big-budgeter, Franco the genius attacks one of the most persistent english crime myth figure : Jack the Ripper. The assassin is played by Klaus Kinsky in a very good shape, and Lina Romay has a little role as the detective's wife. That was before she got kind of... old. The story is funny because Franco portrays ol' Jack as a sexual maniac whose mother was a whore, and who now feels the urge to kill all prostitutes to seek some kind of revenge. He slashes their throats and then has sex with the dying ladies, which leads to some very amusing scenes. However we can feel that all the way Franco had some kind of fat producer sitting on him, cuz the hardcore sex and the useless gore isn't really there. But this is a good movie, really, with some very well written roles & dialogues.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seemingly compassionate and respectable Dr. Dennis Orloff (a creepily credible and compelling Klaus Kinski) is really the vicious and evasive serial killer Jack the Ripper, a savage sexual psychopath who preys on prostitutes in Victorian-era 19th century London, England. It's up to dedicated Scotland Yard Inspector Selby (a solid Andreas Mannkopff) to catch the foul fiend. Selby's ballet dancer girlfriend Cynthia (the lovely Josephine Chaplin; Charlie Chaplin's daughter) uses herself as bait to lure Bloody Jack. Writer/director Jess Franco, whose films tend to be very hit-or-miss type of affairs, comes through here with one of his best, most shocking and disturbing forays into the horror genre: the brooding gloom-doom tone is potently rendered, the sets and costumes are surprisingly lavish, the rich, vivid and flavorsome period atmosphere rings true, the murder set pieces are suitably harsh, graphic and upsetting, and there are even a few amusing touches of raw earthy humor sprinkled throughout. William Baumgartner's spooky score and Peter Baumgartner's slick cinematography are likewise fine and impressive. Nice supporting performances by Herbert Fux as the affable Charlie the Fisherman, Hans Gaugler as a perceptive blind beggar, Olga Gebhard as concerned land lady Mrs. Baxter, Esther Studer as saucy hooker Jeanny, and the always alluring Lina Romay as bawdy ballroom tart Marika. But it's the inspired central casting of Kinski in the lead that really makes this picture work as well as it does: With his sharp facial features, pale, piercing blue eyes and extremely intense'n'edgy presence, Kinski qualifies as a frightfully convincing madman. Only the crummy dubbing distracts a bit from this otherwise strong and praiseworthy effort.
  • Jess Franco's "Jack The Ripper" of 1976 starring the great Klaus Kinski is not one of Franco's great movies, but certainly not one of his awful ones either. Completely historically inaccurate, but made in typical weird, sleazy and brutal Franco Style, this movie might disappoint people looking for a realistic cinematic illustration of the Jack The Ripper case, but it is certainly recommended to every fan of exploitation, especially to those familiar with Jess Franco's weird style of film-making. But even for those who are not into exploitative horror flicks, Kinski is always a good reason to watch a movie, and playing madmen was probably the greatest talent of this brilliant actor.

    The movie's suspense is not built up by any mysteries, since it is clear from the first minute who Jack The Ripper is. Dr. Dennis Orloff (Kinski)is a charitable man, as he offers medical treatment to his poor clients although they are not able to pay him well. At night, however, the respectable doctor prowls London's streets, brutally murdering and mutilating young streetwalkers...

    As I mentioned above, it is known from the first minute, that Dr. Orloff is Jack The Ripper. Suspense is still granted, by the movie's raw, sleazy atmosphere and its nastiness and brutality. I don't want to give any parts of the movie away, but I can assure that one can expect lots of sleaze as well as some extremely violent murders. Besides Kinski, who is a great enrichment to any movie, "Jack The Ripper" also features Josephine Chaplin, Lina Romay and the Austrian actor Herbert Fux, who recently passed away.

    There may be better film adaptations of the Jack The Ripper Case, such as the Hughes Brothers' "From Hell" of 2001, but Jess Franco's "Jack The Ripper" is definitely the nastiest. The movie may be as historically inaccurate as it gets, but it is certainly a treat for fans of 70s European Horror exploitation. Recommended to fans of Jess Franco and/or Klaus Kinski, I personally had a great time! 6/10
  • This film, starring Klaus Kinski, and directed by Jesus Franco, proves very disappointing viewing unless one has an affinity for gross-out gore (which this film delights in with numerous scenes of the Ripper dismembering his lady victims). Me I prefer the focus remain of the story at hand and this tale has been adapted better for the screen many times before.THE LODGER and MAN IN THE ATTIC being two of the better examples..Kinski does have a moment or two where he shines a little but it isn't enough to save this film.
  • Jess Franco (Night of 1000 Sexes, Oasis Of The Dead, Lesbian Vampires) this time uses his real name as director of Jack The Ripper - a very fictionalized version of the familiar murderer's crimes. Klaus Kinski stars as a seemingly generous doctor, tormented by his mother as a youngster, who now seeks to alleviate his childhood trauma by murdering prostitutes. The performances are all quite good and the most interesting character in the film is an old blind man (with capabilities similar to Sherlock Holmes) who witnesses two of Jack's crimes. One of Jess Franco's favorites, Lina Romay, also shows up to be butchered in an obviously phony yet disturbingly gory scene. One complaint is the storyline involving the girlfriend of the Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, who is looks remarkably similar to Jack's mother. Yet, overall, Skeeter liked this movie: 8 for 10!
  • OK, it is London, even Whitechapel. It is also Victorian England, and someone is killing whores in the night, they even call this killer Jack the Ripper...BUT and this is a massive but.... any semblance between the true killings and this story part company here, at light speed.

    Anyone looking for schlockey, semi graphic violence, nudity and gore need look no further. Anyone seeking a plot based on the close truth will be sorely disappointed. This slow moving (my version was dubbed to English) badly scripted (but that may be badly scripted dubbing) shows Klaus Kinsky, father of the delicious Nastasha Kinsky, slicing, dicing and raping whores in cohoots with a mysterious woman, and dumping their dismembered bodies in old Father Thames. In this amazing work a blind beggar not only has a keen set of senses, he knows much about the upper society and can identify many plants and perfumes by smell alone. And a local fisherman knows how long body parts have been rotting in the water, even if he can't read.

    Polly Nicholes, Mary Kelly and the other girls don't make an appearance, the bodies are not strewn about Whitechapel and Spittalfields but dumped in the river, and..well, as a bit of a Ripper bufff, I was left out in the foggy cold.
  • I cannot claim to be giving an honest review of the movie based on any plot, acting, directing or any of the usual criteria that go towards making a good movie. I am reviewing it purely on the basis of having sat down expecting to see a movie about Jack the Ripper. This movie has nothing to do with Jack the Ripper and it really makes me wonder why it was titled so. It does make some pretense at situating the events in Victorian London, and it is about a serial killer but there the similarities end. Despite the initial shot of Big Ben it is obviously shot in a small European town and not in the UK. The killer's victims seem to be prostitutes but the places, deaths and modus operandi of the killer don't even bear a hair of a resemblance to the historical murders. Also peculiarly there is a fair amount of nudity in the movie which is a little strange as titillating sex scenes don't really belong in a movie about a violent murderer. A confusing movie or just a run of the mill movie with a badly chosen title? Who knows. But if you are expecting to see anything to do with Jack the Riper you'd best look elsewhere.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Jack the Ripper starts at the 'Pike's Hole' a whore house in the London district of Whitechapel as one of the girls Sally Brown (Francine Custer) rejects the advances of a client due to his unusual request & trudges off home on her own. While walking down the narrow back streets Sally is attacked & murdered by the now notorious serial killer known as 'Jack the Ripper' (Klaus Kinski) who then takes the body to his female assistant Frieda (Nikola Weisse) who disposes of the messy remains the next morning in the Thames. Chief Inspector Anthony Selby (Andreas Mannkopff) of Scotland Yard is on the case but totally baffled & clueless. His only witnesses are a blind man named John Pritchard (Hans Gaugler) who seems able to identify the Ripper by use of smell, an old woman named Miss Higgins (Ursula van Wiese), a fisherman named Charlie (Herbery Fux) who has found a severed hand & a couple of whores whose friend Jeanny (Esther Studer) has become the latest victim of the Ripper's killing spree. Inspector Selby starts to feel the pressure & has next to nothing to go on, feeling neglected his girlfriend Cynthia (Josephine Chaplin) decides to help him out. Cynthia dresses up as a whore & puts herself about hoping that she will attract the attentions of Jack the Ripper...

    This Swiss German co-production was written & directed by Jesus Franco & while a lot classier than his usual output his take on Jack the Ripper isn't particularly good. The script & how Franco approaches the story is a problem for starter, the identity of Jack the Ripper is revealed within the first few minutes so there is no mystery element whatsoever which then basically turns the film into a slasher like Halloween (1978) or Friday the 13th (1980). Franco never really develops any aspect of his script to any degree of satisfaction, the incompetent Selby comes & goes & doesn't do much, the blackmailing of the Ripper is given a few minutes & nothing more, nothing about his assistant is explained like the small matter of why she helps him, Cynthia for most of the film doesn't feature until the end where she offers herself up as bait which raises questions in itself. Why? What if she did meet the Ripper? No one knew what she was doing so why wouldn't he just slice her up like his other victims? No one she knew was threatened by the Ripper so why go it alone & risk her life? The only connection she has to the case is that her boyfriend was working on it, not good enough motivation for me I'm afraid. There are obvious glaring inaccuracies as well, this is definitely not based on any solid evidence & feels like a slasher film with Jack the Ripper as the killer, nothing more. The Swiss locations double up as Victorian London surprisingly well except for the Thames for which Franco uses a stream & as someone who lives in the UK these scenes are actually quite funny to me. The film has an end which feels rushed & as a whole the film is far too slow & frankly dull while the Ripper's motivations are barely touched upon & are lazy & unoriginal to say the least. Director Franco has gained a reputation for sleaze so it may come as a surprise that Jack the Ripper is disappointingly tame, there are three or four scenes with nudity & only one big gore scene when the Ripper stabs a woman, starts to have sex with her & slices her breast off, other than that there is a severed hand, an eyeball & a couple of stabbings. On the positive side it's very well made for a Franco film & he shows that he does have at least some basic talent behind the camera if he puts the effort in. The cinematography by Peter Baumgartner & Peter Spoerri is very good for the most part with some excellent & atmospheric location shots plus a strong sense & use of colour throughout. The sets are convincing enough & pleasantly detailed while the costumes look a little suspicious like Franco stole or hired them from a local fancy dress shop but serve the film well. The dialogue & dubbing are ridiculous & totally remove any credibility the film may have had, people just don't naturally talk like this & you have to listen to some of this stuff to believe it. Basically the story isn't great, it just didn't grip or engage me as we all know who the Ripper is from the start. It's very slow, has a low body count with just three & very little exploitation with barely any nudity or gore & just didn't do much for me overall although having said that it's fairly watchable if your desperate. Stylish & well made but nothing special, probably just about worth a watch I suppose.
  • This version of the oft-filmed story doesn't bother to hide who The Ripper is. By day, he is the kindly and well liked doctor Dennis Orloff (the one-of-a-kind, well cast Klaus Kinski). By night, he gives in to his homicidal and kinky impulses and becomes The Ripper. Scotland Yard is represented by the dedicated Inspector Selby (played by the stone faced Andreas Mannkopff), who relies on the testimony of witnesses who happen to encounter Dennis / Jack one way or another.

    "Jack the Ripper" '76 is far and away one of director Jess Franco's best, in this viewers' humble opinion. Fans of his ultra trashy output need not worry, for the degree of sleaze is kept at a respectable level (there's nudity aplenty), but Franco does *not* just focus on sex and perversions here. A reasonable attempt is made at good atmosphere and good period detail; this benefits from some solid production value. Franco, who also wrote the screenplay, creates a compelling and sober depiction of one mans' severe psycho-sexual hang-ups. Things do get quite violent - one victim is chopped up repeatedly, Herschell Gordon Lewis style. And the English dialogue does include some effective and literate lines.

    Franco gets superb performances out of his cast. His longtime muse, the sensual Lina Romay, appears as one of the victims. Josephine Chaplin, one of Charlie C.'s daughters, has the leading lady role. Herbert Fux is great fun as Charlie the fisherman, who hooks something unpleasant at one point. Hans Gaugler is excellent as Mr. Bridger, the old blind man who makes up in smarts - as well as knowledge of unique smells - what he lacks in visual ability. Olga Gebhard is good as the landlady Mrs. Baxter, who's touching when her efforts to reach out to her aloof tenant don't pay off. But Kinski rightfully commands most of ones' attention, as he was always able to do. He sure can play crazy well, but here he gets to show other facets to what might have been a one-dimensional psychopath character otherwise.

    In terms of end results, this may be one of the most accomplished things that Franco ever did, with a striking surreal hallucination sequence rating as a standout.

    Seven out of 10.
  • Throughout his career, Franco has borrowed ideas from his atmospheric first shocker, Gritos en la Noche/The Awful Dr. Orloff. This movie is almost a complete remake of that film, with Klaus Kinski an inspired substitute for Howard Vernon as the main maniac. A couple of things really get in the way of

    my enjoyment, though: first, the city Jack terrorizes looks no more like London than, say, Marrakech. Or Beijing. Or Dubuque. Another irritating thing: the English dubbing on my print confuses Victorian English with Elizabethan English -- it's all "prithee"'s and "milord"'s and "wilt thou"'s. Ouch.
  • Don't watch this film expecting an accurate historical account of the ripper murders: director Jess Franco plays it fast and loose with the facts (i.e., he totally disregards them), his version of the infamous murderer (as played by Klaus Kinski) a doctor with mummy issues who abducts whores, takes them to his greenhouse hideout, chops them up and dumps the body parts in the Thames.

    With Franco at the helm, the film features a fair amount of nudity, sleaze and gore to keep his fans happy, with Kinski's killer stripping his victims before slicing them up, and even having it away with a couple of the women before disposing of the evidence. Franco regular Lina Romay, who plays a saucy music hall girl, is graphically dismembered, her breast sliced off and her arm removed.

    While I usually try my best to watch a film in its original language with subtitles, I'm actually glad to have watched the dubbed U.S. version of Jack the Ripper, the incredibly bad English accents making many scenes an unintentional hoot. Also adding to the fun is a hilarious scene wherein a police sketch artist draws the ripper based on descriptions given to him by several witnesses: the finished doodle looks like something rendered by an untalented five year old. Oh, and brandy served in London pubs looks like water.

    At the end of the film, a blind man with a super sense of smell helps the cops to capture Jack, the law descending on him as he is raping his latest victim, ballet dancer Cynthia (Josephine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie). The ripper being apprehended is probably the daftest moment of all, but it doesn't stop this film from being an entertaining slice of trash.

    6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for Romay's musical number.
  • This is a great looking film, it has a rich colour palette, and the cinematography is good, but after you've said that.....

    For an English viewer like myself, the dubbing ruins it, it really is badly done, and the special effects aren't up to much either.

    On the blu ray, there's no option to play the original German language track and have English subtitles, so you're stuck with the dub.

    Worth one watch, but it's no classic.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Jack the Ripper" or "Der Dirnenmörder von London" is a German color movie from 1976, so this one has its 40th anniversary this year. I am fairly positive that it is mostly known today still because of the writer and director being Jesús Franco, certainly a name to every horror film junkie. And of course, lead actor Klaus Kinski (around the age of 50) was also considered among the most spectacular performers of his time. And here the duo gives us their take on one of the most prominent figures in crime history. Unfortunately, I must say for that it was a pretty underwhelming watch. As interesting as a character may be, they still need to build a convincing and edge-of-seat story line around him in order to create a good film. This is not the case here. Obviously, everybody who knows a bit about JtR knows that it is not safe today even to say who he was and what he did, so it is all a work of fiction. This is good for creative decisions as you impossible can make a film based on real events, but it is also bad in terms of relevance for the same reason and especially bad if the creativity just results in something mediocre at best. Even the acting was underwhelming here for the most part. oh yeah, Charlie Chaplin#s daughter plays a major role too. But she is not convincing either. I don't recommend the watch. thumbs down.
  • In this slasher horror re-imagination of the legend of Jack the Ripper, Klaus Kinski plays the leading role. In this version Jack the Ripper is not simply a faceless horror, an adversary to be found and evaded, but rather a deeply troubled man driven to horrendous deeds by his past. Why you'd want to give one of the most notorious mystery killers of all time an identity, I don't know, but let's just say that it doesn't work.

    Now, on the paper, it could work but unfortunately this German production doesn't quite have talent or the budget to back it up. The main problem is the lack of style. It's shot mainly in a studio and fails to capture the mood and atmosphere of Victorian London, without even mentioning the mood and atmosphere of a horror film. A stage production rather than a film, in the worst meaning of the idea.

    The film could hold some value as some sort of an exploitation cult film, as a lot of nude skin is shown and the murders are gruesome enough, although the special effects leave a lot to be desired. But unfortunately time has passed this film by. There a lot of films, better films, to check out if you're looking for sexpoilation or gore.

    Jack the Ripper is not a bad film because it's awful. It's bad because it quite simply has nothing to offer.
  • Coventry24 September 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Like the case with many of his films, it's not very clear to me what exactly Jess Franco intended to accomplish with his very personal interpretation of the notorious tale of London serial killer Jack The Ripper. This film is probably the least accurate re-telling of the facts and also the narrative style is rather unusual. Foremost, Franco's "Jack the Ripper" was entirely shot in Switzerland and, even though he really tried to imitate the dark and fog-enshrouded late-Victorian alleys and typically British working-class pubs, the settings simply aren't convincing. Never at one point you have the impression that the events takes place in England and so this production is already fatally implausible to begin with. The ripper's modus operandi for committing the murders and dumping the bodies is also different and completely fictionalized. Since when did Jackie-boy take the dead prostitutes home with him to perform autopsies or relied on his retarded housekeeper to dump the remainders in a river? To my recollection the victims' bodies never left the scene of the crime, as the Ripper wanted the authorities to find them instantly in order to raise fear and mayhem. Most of all, this is probably the only version of Jack the Ripper in which his identity gets revealed immediately and the plot even makes assumptions about what started his urge to kill & mutilate luscious women. Of course, if the DVD-cover proudly advertises Klaus Kinski's name and scary face, there isn't much mystery left regarding the culprit's identity. He's the creepy maniac responsibly, period. The most logical explanation is probably the correct one: Jess Franco had absolutely no intentions of making a complex and convoluted whodunit-thriller, but simply wanted a straightforward exploitation flick with sleaze and violence, and since Jack The Ripper is a topic that is guaranteed to raise giant profits at the box-office, he stole it. Good old Jess, always in the mood to shamelessly exploit moneymaking trends!

    But it has to be said that "Jack The Ripper" easily ranks among Franco's most effective and memorable efforts! Mainly thanks to the presence of the incredibly charismatic and phenomenal Klaus Kinski (even when he's clearly uninterested in a role, he still delivers!), but also the actual film doesn't contain as many pointless & tedious scenes as usual in Franco's productions. The extended murder sequences, and particularly the aftermaths, are downright sickening and misogynistic, with graphic amputations and mutilations of intimate body parts. The make-up effects are realistic enough to upset your stomach, so gorehouds will definitely get a kick out of watching this film. The music by Walter Baumgartner adds some genuine suspense to the lackluster story and there occasionally even is some impressive camera-work to enjoy. Far from brilliant, but nevertheless interesting viewing for admirers of Jess Franco, Klaus Kinski, the sexy Lina Romey (in a small role as one of the victims) and "Ripperologists" in general.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The first thing to realise as you are watching Jess Franco's version of the story of the notorious late Victorian serial killer is that it bears no resemblance at all to the facts of the story – yes, Franco's Ripper kills prostitutes in the London fog but the details of the murders and the process and outcome of the investigation are not a jot like the reality. Once you've accepted this, the film stops being frustratingly inaccurate and you can begin to appreciate it, or at least parts of it.

    The film has at its centre the story of a Victorian doctor, played with surprising restraint by Klaus Kinski, who spends his days ministering to the poor and his nights raping and murdering prostitutes. A psychological explanation is offered for this murderousness – his own mother was a whore who taunted and sexually abused her son. Yet this psychological aspect of the film is a red herring – what seems really important is Franco's subversive suggestion that behind acts of charity and poor relief lie a consciousness which is murderous, misogynist and deranged – it could be that Kinski's Jack is the soul of Victorian society exposing itself in the dead of night.

    The crimes are investigated by a Scotland Yard detective who is having problems with maintaining his relationship with a ballerina. This relationship is odd, in that its focus on the life/work balance and its suggestion that individual careers can get in the way of people's attempts at romantic partnership is entirely a 1970s concept – such an idea has no relevance to Victorian London. Yet the preponderance of mirrors in the scenes involving the two would suggest that this relationship is deliberately modern and reflecting contemporary (1970s) problems and values, and if this is modern then so is the problem of Jack. Franco's suggestion is that behind modern liberalism lays a dark and deadly, Oedipal, whoring and brutal secret. Combined with this, the film often concentrates on the economic realities of the characters' situations – Kinski's surgery makes no money, one of his unemployed patients blackmails him, a bar owner complains that he's made little money today. Jack's crimes form a backdrop, in fact the dark heart, of a society in thrall to Capital.

    Some scenes in the film, which does plod at times, work better than others. There's a very funny collective interview with witnesses which satirises the technique of artist impressions – in its caricatured humour, it feels more like something from Morrissey's The Hound of the Baskervilles than a Franco sexploitation film; there's a saucy song from a music hall singer, a sequence daringly begun with a close-up of the woman's Basque-clad buttocks, the camera like Jack seeing a woman's body as mere parts (also sleazily suggesting a singing ass); best of all, there's a murder sequence in the grounds of a horticultural gardens, with Kinski's Jack – looking every inch the traditional Ripper – stalking through the fog and murdering his victim under a tree. He stabs her – we see the gash of a wound – then shockingly rapes her, a subliminal implication in our minds that he is using his newly made wound as his point of entry. The scene is sickening and extreme, and really does confront the viewer with the horror of a sexuality which delights in blood and death.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've made it through plenty of Jack the Ripper movies by now and I can point out all of their cliches: a foggy dark night, a man in a cape and a hat, ladies of ill repute singing and screaming "Want some love, guv'nor" and a flash of the blade. Then Jess Franco shows up and makes a movie that has absolutely nothing to do with reality but hey - Klaus Kinski!

    I haven't had much luck enjoying Franco's films, other than Vampyros Lesbos. None of his work really speaks to me. There are others that love his work and that's just fine for you all.

    What nice things can I say? The color is particularly nice here, that rich 1970's European kind of color that movies just don't have anymore. Klaus Kinski is as creepy as ever as Jack the Ripper. And hey - it's the first Ripper movie I've watched all week where he cut off a woman's breast in full view, much less Franco's muse, Lina Romay.

    This is the most professional looking of Franco's films that I've seen. The scene of the fishermen finding the severed hand has a poetic grace to them that is usually lacking from his work. But if you're looking for a historic Jack the Ripper film, know that this ends up with him arrested and the reason for his killing spree being that he's murdering women who look like his mother, who was a prostitute.

    While I want to love Franco's films and revel in their excesses. But they just seem silly when they should be boundary-shattering exercises. I'll keep looking for one that I like, because I'm willing to give chance after chance to find the bloody needle in the haystack.
  • jadavix18 August 2018
    You wouldn't expect a collision between three of the most controversial figures in European sleaze-cinema to be as boring as this.

    "Jack the Ripper" is directed by trash master Jess Franco, financed by soft-porn wunderkind Erwin C. Dietrich and stars infamous sociopath Klaus Kinski.

    So what went wrong? By Franco standards, the movie has very little violence, and by the standards of Dietrich, very little gore. You expect Kinski to chew the scenery up like a woodchipper, but he hardly seems to do anything.

    The whole spectacle seems deliberately muted, like they were trying to keep their movie as low key as possible.

    Weird move from these two exploitation gods, and their nutcase star.

    The movie is better made than you might expect, but that's all you can really say about it.
  • parry_na13 October 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Of all films I have seen helmed by Spanish Director Jess Franco, this is far and away my favourite. It may lack the exotic juxtaposition of horrific incident occurring in beautiful sun-kissed arenas, but what we have here is a satisfactorily recreated Victorian London, with a talented cast, and a consistent story that doesn't meander.

    Many events take place in the spacious 'Pike's Hole' tavern, a convincingly cockney meeting ground, where 'Jack' finds many of his victims. The death of Marika (Lina Romay) is the most gratuitous of all, with a protracted scene suggesting Orloff has violent sex with his victims as the life fades from them. Inspector Selby (Andreas Mannkopff) proves to be a very effective foil for Orloff. Hans Gaugler is also excellent as Breidger, the blind man. In fact, the cast as a whole is very good, and a lot better than usual with Franco projects. Probably this is because he is working with a larger budget here – and it shows in other ways too. Beams of smoky light casting shadows through the branches of trees. Apart from a few panoramic shots of Big Ben and various London buildings, the bulk of this is shot in Zuerich Switzerland, and there is much genuine night-time filming, a very expensive procedure.

    The storyline is a good one. There's no point in trying to do a 'whodunit' – when you cast Klaus Kinski in a film about Jack the Ripper, he could hardly be playing a peripheral character. The intrigue is why he commits his atrocities, why does he appear to carve chunks off his victims while they are still (barely) alive? Inspector Selby's girlfriend Cynthia (played by Charlie's daughter Josephine Chaplin) appears to have the answer due to her resemblance to his mother. With his final victim finally degraded, it is apt in a way that he be captured and taken away in a finale that is disappointingly tame compared to the effective macabre nature of the rest of the picture.
  • I was sure to pick up the uncut version which clocks in 10 minutes longer then the cut version. But seeing this Franco flick loosely based on Jack The Ripper I was thinking what the 10 minutes extra were all about.

    I can't say that I found it gory. There's maybe one scene that I can find that is notable for it's gore and that's the removal of one girls breast and cutting her in parts. The blood do spurt on Kinski's face but that's all I can say. Maybe it's the nudity that has been cut and the stage performances of the girl(s) who are walking around showing their naked butt. Further there's a bit of full frontal nudity and one girl is being stabbed in her nudies and then Jack is making love with her once she's been stabbed and is dying. But for a Jess Franco flick I found it low on part of nudity and gore because we all know that Franco wasn't afraid to add porn to his horror flicks.

    I started watching it in English but the conversations were so laughable and stupid that I changed it in German language and the flick turns into a whole different thing. So be sure to see it in German!

    The flick itself was notorious due the difficulties between Franco and Kinski. You can also spot Lina Romay (Franco's real wife).

    Gore 0,5/5 Nudity 2/5 Effects 1/5 Story 2/5 Comedy 0/5
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