Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 14th, 2013
BluRay released: July 9th, 2012
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Hands of the Ripper was directed by Peter Sasdy who’s other Hammer Films include Taste the Blood of Dracula and Countess Dracula. Key Collaborators on Hands of the Ripper include composer Christopher Gunning (Goodbye Gemini) and cinematographer Kenneth Talbot (Nothing but the Night, The Devil Within Her).
Though Hammer Films worked in just about every genre. It is their work within the Horror film genre that they are most remembered. Most notably their own take on several well known monsters of the silver screen like Dracula and Frankenstein.
Content wise, Hand of the Ripper is an atypical film like the one that Hammer Films are most remembered for making. And yet, the end result is something slightly removed from those aforementioned films.
By the early Hammer Films like many in the world of cinema had to make a drastic change in the way that they got their films made and update the content to be more in line with the cinema of the day.
With Hands of Ripper, Hammer Films would find the right mix they had been looking for. By fusing psychological thrillers with a more in your face Grand Guignol stylized murder set pieces.
To help make this most daring of a melting pot come off without a hitch. Hammer centers the film’s around a young woman who’s bloodline is that of one of history’s most notorious killers Jack the Ripper. Had this same story been done without such a well known killer it is doubtful that this film would remain as durable as it has after all of these years.
For a latter period Hammer film made during their decline from their heyday’s of the 1960’s. The production value on this film is top notch and all of the murder set pieces are superbly realized and appropriately gruesome. Especially a scene where a prostitute gets needles in her eye.
Performance wise though there are a few moments where this come awfully close to falling off the rails. The overall tenor of the performances are more then adequate in selling the story at hand.
When it comes to Hammer Films they have a universe that is unto themselves. And sometimes this outsider status divides those who are hardcore fans of their cinematic output and a more casual filmgoer. In the case of the Hands of the Ripper one gets that rare feeling of a film from Hammer that has a universal appeal that transcends their core audience.
Hands of the Ripper comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This is another first rate transfer from Synapse Films that has natural looking grain and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD music & effects track. The audio like the transfer is in great shape as dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include reversible cover art, the original U.S. trailer (1 minute 57 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), original T.V. spots, a stills gallery, the U.S. introduction to the film (7 minutes) which only exits in audio form, two featurette’s, the first one titled ‘Slaughter of Innocence: The Evolution of Hammer Gore” (6 minutes) and the second one titled ‘The Devil’s Bloody Plaything: Possessed by the Hands of the Ripper” (28 minutes 22 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). This is an insightful look into every aspect of this production that not only includes comments from a handful of film critics, director Peter Sasdy and actress Jane Merrow. Overall Hands of the Ripper gets a superb release from Synapse Films.
Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD counterpart.