2012 Film Challenge #12 - Hands of the Ripper
In the opening moments of this film, one of Victorian London's greatest mysteries is solved as the identity of Jack the Ripper is revealed. This makes this, perhaps, the only film to ever open with a big twist.
Poor Anna, Jack the Ripper's orphaned daughter, is blighted with a terrible condition whereby bright, twinkling lights cause for her to enter a deadly trance. Should someone kiss her on the cheek whilst she's in this state, she instantly murders them using whatever's at hand: A fire poker, a hand mirror, a pincushion.
It's hinted, though, that Anna is frequently whored out by her “grandmother”. Quite how she went seventeen years without suffering one of her “turns” remains unclear. The initial one is triggered when one of her would-be “clients” gives her a glittering bracelet. He couldn't've been the first to do this, so why is it implied that this is the first time Anna's found herself possessed by the murderous soul of her notorious father?
Perhaps the condition had lain dormant for sixteen years, only to emerge as part of puberty – like the mutant powers in X-Men.
Well, there's a police inquest featuring a gathering of the final facial hair to ever grace a single scene. Here a kindly old psychotherapist, enamoured with Freud, decides to experiment on Anna to see if her condition can be understood and cured.
This, though, simply allows for Anna to kill and kill again in a series of shockingly violent (as opposed to schlockingly violent) murder scenes.
In short, it's brilliant – and the utterly adorable blind woman who meanders smilingly through several scenes adds much light to this otherwise dark and tragic tale.
I loved it.
This is becoming something of a Hammer Horror year for me, isn't it? Long may it last.