The Ripper (1985)

The back of the VHS box for this movie promises that “A new horror classic is born!” It also states that “Tom Savini, the master of film gore — whose credits include Friday the 13th, Day of the Dead and a cameo role in Creepshow — brings new dimension to the character in this startling version of the Ripper legend.” Keep in mind that Savini used to get down on his knees at conventions and beg forgiveness for this one. He was paid $15,000 for a one day of acting. One would argue that he should have done something — anything — else with his time.

Christopher Lewis, the director of this affair, is the son of actress Loretta Young. He attended USC film school with George Lucas but by the 1980s, he was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and hosting their afternoon newsmagazine show PM Magazine on KOTV. His wife, Linda, was working in the promotions department and regularly produced and starred in a show called Intermissions with Linda Lewis, which used her face to face interviews with movie stars on their press junkets to promote new films.

The Lewises wanted to stop promoting other peoples’ movies and make their own, which started with their first shot on video effort Blood Cult. It was one of the first shot directly to video movies released into video stores and earned the couple $475,000 in profit. That leads us to their second film, The Ripper.

A student and his teacher, Mr. Harwell, spend most of the movie calling one another about movies. Seriously, I started wondering if this film was about their affair and how no one in 1986 would be able to understand it. But no, it’s really about Harwell teaching a film class about famous killers and coincidentally finding the ring of Jack the Ripper. You remember the ring of Jack the Ripper, his famous ring, right? No? You don’t? Me either.

There’s also plenty of Jazzercise looking classes taught by Harwell’s wife and Whitechapel recreated on the streets of Tulsa. One of the locations, Colonial Antiques in downtown Tulsa, was where the ring buying sequences was shot. The Lewises Mercedes was stolen while these scenes were filmed.

The most amazing thing about this movie is that the writer took to IMDB to dismiss some of the critiques of the film and set straight how much the Lewises changed up his words. Magical.

There are some gruesome effects as the Ripper kills off young women, but otherwise, there’s not much here. Even Savini can’t save this with his mustache twirls, as if he were a yinzer Snidely Whiplash.

I’ve seen plenty of bad movies, but never one quite so bad as The Ripper. Let that sink in and decide if you want to see it for yourself.

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