By now, you guys know that I get great joy in visiting the Full Moon library from time to time. Most of the time, the films are filled with silly characters and the writing and directing are nothing to take seriously. With a new collection being released by Full Moon, however, things are certainly taking a more serious turn. The first to be released in this 10 film collection, all of which are creations of notorious filmmaker, Jess Franco, is 1976’s Jack the Ripper.
Klaus Kinski plays Dr. Orloff, a beloved MD by day, who just so happens to stalk, abduct, and murder prostitutes by night, earning himself the name Jack the Ripper. The officers of Scotland Yard must find the man terrorizing London before his body count stacks up even higher.
I may meet some resistance here from the rest of the horror community, but I must admit that I am completely underwhelmed by the few Jess Franco films I’ve seen thus far. I respect what the man has done, directing approximately 200 films ranging from hardcore pornography to low-budget direct-to-video horror, but for whatever reason, I must be missing something. The films I’ve seen that have been directed by Franco have not been very enjoyable and quite frankly, kind of boring.
Featuring Klaus Kinski and Josephine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie Chaplin), among others, Jack the Ripper consists of some pretty lackluster performances. I’ve seen way better films from the 70’s, so I can’t really blame the time period in which the film was created for my lack of enthusiasm towards it. I will say, though, that Kinski definitely had the best performance of them all. The man is a natural born villain and can be thrust into any genre film without skipping a beat. I have heard many rather frightening stories about Kinski and I would never want to meet him in person, but he is a perfect fit for a role such as Jack the Ripper.
I feel as though Jess Franco is known not only for the high number of films he has made, but for his lewdness, as well. There is plenty of that to be seen here, too. From full frontal nudity to rape scenes, Franco and his producers did not seem to care at all what censorship boards would say of their films. This type of carefree attitude, if it can be called that, is what actually helped make this film a little better. Not only the nudity, which every horror fan can appreciate, but the few scenes of graphic violence managed to assist in making this a film worth watching. The real cringe-worthy stuff didn’t come until the last act of the film, but it was well worth the wait. Although the blood created for the film was the brightest red I’ve ever seen, it still did the trick for an old school B-movie. Wait until you see the severed limbs and cut off breast to know exactly what I’m talking about!
If you are a true fan of Jesus Franco, you will appreciate what has been done here. The film itself has been remastered and I’m sure this is the best version you will get today. With entertaining extras, including an introduction to the film by Delirium Magazine editor, Chris Alexander, which happens to be more entertaining than the entire film itself, this is definitely the home release version you’ll want in your collection. You can pick up a copy of the film on DVD now from Full Moon Features.
I give this film 2 floating hands out of 5.