Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Ripper

Director - Christopher Lewis (Blood Cult, Revenge)
Starring - Tom Schreier (Dark Before Dawn), Mona Van Pernis, and Wade Tower (Revenge)
Release Date - 1985
Genre - Horror
Tagline(s) - "From out of a dream, he returns to stalk the living" and "The legend lives on"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (The Ripper Blood Pack 3 Film set)

Rating (out of 5):
    If every horror fan in the world compiled a list of five individuals that have made the biggest contribution to the horror genre the name Tom Savini would be on every list.  Sure, the number he is given may vary, however, the fact he would be on the those lists is very impressive.  Savini has done amazing work in front and behind the camera.  He started off his film career as one of the best special effects make-up artists to ever live.  He has also trained many of today's leading special effects make-up artists including the special effects wiz Greg Nicotero who is the director behind many episodes of AMC's hit show, The Walking Dead.  Savini is also known for his acting and directorial skills after having starred and directed in number of hit films such as Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Planet Terror.  It is because of his skill and talent that I often grab up anything that his name is attached to.  That brought me to the 3 film set, The Ripper Blood Pack, which contains three shot on video films all directed by Christopher Lewis.  The main attraction of this set is the 1985 film The Ripper with Savini appearing briefly as Jack the Ripper.  Shot on video is notorious for being shitty films but I love shitty films and Savini so I grabbed it.
     The film follows a college professor who has a slight obsession with the White Chapel murders and Jack the Ripper.  He teaches a class about how historical murders are portrayed in today's films.  It is because of this class that the professor has earned the respect and admiration of a young college student who is fond of all things horror.  The professor has been doing a lot of reading as of late and discovers that a ring was found at the scene of the last Ripper murder.  The book has a detailed drawing of that ring.  One evening the professor is out with his fiance and finds a ring resembling the one found during the Ripper murders.  After much doubt, the professor buys it and puts it on.  That night he has a terrible dream where he witnesses a young lady cut down in her prime.  That morning he tries to remove the ring and is surprised that it is stuck on his finger.  When he returns to campus he hears that one of the students was brutally murdered in a similar fashion to those killed by the Ripper.  Over the next several days the same thing continues to happen.  As the bodies pile up the student who holds the professor in high regards starts to suspect the professor is responsible.  However, after his very own girlfriend falls prey to the butcher he sets out to kill the man he once idolized.  The tides then turn when the professor's girlfriend gets involved and the professor transforms in to Jack the Ripper (Savini).
     Shot on video horror from the 80's was the laughing stock of the film community.  In fact, shot on video horror was the laughing stock of the film community until the new millennium.  I personally like the look of feel of 80's shot on video horror.  Films like Skinned Alive and Killing Spree are actually pretty great flicks.  What they lack in budget they make up for with great kills and witty humor.  That is why I am always open to all shot on video flicks.  There is not much to say for this one.  The acting is actually decent and a lot better than I expected when I first saw the trailer after purchasing the DVD set.  The entire cast did a great job in their roles and it is a shame most did not go on to star in other films.  It is also a shame that Savini was not in the film more than what he was because he truly did steal the show.  The special effects are amazing, especially when you compare them to all the other shot on video films.  I would say it is a safe bet that Savini himself did a majority of the effects or at least helped with them.  Finally, the story is extremely dumb.  Never thought I would say that in a review but I had to.  The storyline is probably the worst in cinema history.  How the hell would a ring that is part of the White Chapel murders end up in an American antique store?  Overall, this is a weak film that not even the talented Tom Savini can improve.  I recommend staying away from this one.


  1. For several years, Tom Savini would publicly apologize for being involved with this movie at every convention he did.

    - Cody

  2. The director should do the same