This Hammer production has Freudian psychoanalyst Doctor John Pritchard (Eric Porter, famous as Soames in The Forsyte Saga) adopting Anna (Angharad Rees), the daughter of Jack the Ripper – the notorious and never-identified killer who terrorised London prostitutes in the late 1890s – in order to study and “cure” her.
Despite an engaging halo of blonde curls, young Miss Ripper is just as adept at the family business as her father was. But the good doctor is willing to overlook the murders so he can observe and record Anna’s moods.
Beautifully photographed and performed, Hands of The Ripper is well-paced, genuinely frightening and heart-poundingly exciting at times. The outbursts of extreme violence make this a real treat for gore-hounds.
The first of Anna’s victims is charlatan spiritualist Mrs Golding (Dora Bryan) who is pinned to a door with a fire poker. Housemaid Dolly (Marjie Lawrence) is stabbed in the neck with a shard from a broken mirror.
Drunken whore Long Liz (Lynda Baron) has hatpins pushed through her hand and into her eye, and a medium is stabbed with her own spectacles.
The film contains one of the most affecting endings in British horror as Angharad Rees falls in slow motion from the Whispering Gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral on to her mortally wounded mentor (Eric Porter).
The film made use of the large Baker Street set at Pinewood Studios, leftover from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, made the previous year.
Hands of The Ripper was originally screened as part of a double-bill with Hammer’s Twins of Evil.
Dr John Pritchard