With the cold weather sunk in, now is the perfect time to curl up with some warm comfort food and a nice libation and take a look back on three very different views (that also happen to contain two of my all time favorite movies of any genre) of the monster that terrorfied Victorian London and captured the imagination of the world for the past century: Jack the Ripper.
First up is a very straight-forward, fact-filled take on the Ripper Murders that also happens to be one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies ever made: MURDER BY DECREE
Christopher Plummer and James Mason head an all-star cast as The Great Detective and his faithful Boswell, Dr. Watson as they are forced by public demand to solve the gruesome murders of prostitutes in Whitechapel, which leads to the very obvious question... why didn't the local authorities or the goverment call on him earlier? This film features one of the most popular and commonly believed solutions to the actual murders and is just a great thriller.
and speaking of thrillers...
Next up is an episode of the Boris Karloff hosted anthology television series: THRILLER called "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper"
This classic episode was written by none other than PSYCHO author and legendary Ripperologist, Robert Bloch and is a modern-day (well, 1960's) tale of a series of murders in New York City that more than a little resembles the Ripper murders of the 1880's. But it is just a copycat committing the crimes.... or is it? This story was originaly published in "Weird Tales" magazine in 1943 and launched Bloch on his bloody writting career. It is widely considered one of the authors best short stories and its themes have been "borrowed" time after time in other horror stories.
Speaking of great stories that live on time after time (see how slick that transistion was?)... our next film takes the Ripper another two decades into the future, this time to the late 1970's and one of the most romantic manhunts of the 19th and 20th centuries... TIME AFTER TIME.
Malcolm McDowell is the timid H. G. Wells who has built an actual time machine but hasn't quite worked up the nerve to use it. His good friend, Dr. John Leslie Stevenson (David Warner) has no problem taking a trip to the future when he is unmasked as being none other than Jack the Ripper and soon the two Victorians are racing around San Francisco in 1979.
As a bonus, if anyone is game for one more outing after TIME AFTER TIME, we can go even further into the future with Robert Bloch's pseudo-sequel to "Yours, Truly Jack the Ripper" The classic STAR TREK episode "Wolf in the Fold" In this episode Scotty (James Doohan) is accused of commiting a brutal murder while on leave. However we quickly discover that Jack the Ripper is behind it and is soon terrorizing the USS Enterprise.
I'll make a pot of chili and some cornbread to warn our tummys as our spines are chilled and thought I could whip up some Bloody Mary Kelly's in honor of Saucy Jack's last victim if anyone would like some drinks with a bite. As always, feel free to brings snacks or drinks to share but don't feel obligated in any way to do so.
Also, if you can not make it, please change your RSVP so I have an accurate head count for food. I'll send out an email closer to the meetup with my address and contact information for those who haven't been over to my place. Hope to see you for a night with Jack!