Jack the Ripper (1976)

Jack the Ripper (1976)It’s a foggy night in London, where the prostitute Sally is on her way home from Cabaret Pike’s Hole. After some walking through narrow, dark alleys, she stumbles right into the hands of Jack the Ripper (Klaus Kinski) who rips her clothes off and kills her (off screen). He then carries her home over his shoulders like a dead deer, and brings her to his psychotic and slightly retarded wife Flora, who looks at the bodies he brings home with him as dolls, or whatever. The next day, Dr. Jack and Flora are rowing out into the  Thames River (here filmed in the Schanzengraben Canal in Zürich) to dump the body. Jack, who is working as a doctor, is then going to work as usual to take care of today’s patients, and perhaps snatch a new victim. At the same time Scotland Yard, led by Inspector Miller, is on the case.

 

Written and directed by the Spanish Jess Franco who was most famous (or rather more infamous) for his uncompromising and sleazy low budget exploitation- reels, often filled with tits, hairy pussies and pretty much the normal stuff that either cinema or TV in Spain usually refused to show. It never slowed down his creativity however, and made his films so quick and simple that he could pull out ten films in one year. Well, take that, Takashi Miike. A hardcore workaholic who obviously nearly worked himself to death, until he was hit by a deadly stroke in 2013. The 82-year-old left behind a track record of over 200 films. So it was pretty evident that I had to check out some of his work sooner or later.

 

The first impression here is not bad, the production value is up there with some great atmosphere. The rest, however, is nothing much to be impressed by. It clearly has nothing to do with Jack the Ripper whatsoever and the mystery/mythology,  so God knows what this movie really was supposed to be. The acting goes from wooden, bad to so-bad-it’s-funny, and was originally performed by German actors. It later got rather sloppily dubbed in post-production, in German, Spanish and English. The gore effects, which is a minimal aspect here, is nothing but a joke, and this is supposed to be the uncut version. Sorry, but I’m still not impressed. There’s one scene where Jack chops off one of the victims titties in which the effect looks like a burger with red paint on it. Uhm.. okay. That really sucked. Someone give Tom Savini a call, please.

 

And when it comes to the ending.. it’s actually so lame, anticlimactic and lazy that not even an ending credit or a simple “The End” is shown. It just ends. Which is good. I’m glad it at least ended..

 

Jack the Ripper

 

Director: Jess Franco
Country & year: Switzerland | West Germany | Spain, 1976
Actors: Klaus Kinski, Josephine Chaplin, Andreas Mannkopff, Herbert Fux, Lina Romay, Hans Gaugler, Nikola Weisse
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074408/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nosferatu in Venice (1988)

Nosferatu in Venice (1988)The movie opens with a group of duck hunters who happens to shoot down a bat. “It’s bad luck to kill a bat” one of them says, before one of their dogs eats it. And no, it wasn’t Nosferatu the dog ate, just a random bat. Then we jump to Venice where Professor Paris Catalano (Christopher Plummer) arrives to meet a young lady after getting a vague letter about Nosferatu. According to the letter, Nosferatu was last seen in Venice during a carnival in 1786, and legend has it that he’s still hiding in the city. Paris Catalano has dedicated his life to study Nosferatu, and is more or less the equivalent of Van Helsing. I assume they had to add a different name due to copyright, who knows. He eats dinner with the same people we saw in the duck hunting-scene in the beginning, where he gives a quick and half-hearted lecture about vampires, before he gets escorted down into a crypt under the tunnels of the city where a casket from Transylvania is located. The legend says that Nosferatu is the one who’s buried in that casket. So why not just open it, put the stake through his chest, and just be done with it? You tell me…

 

However, Professor Paris is certain that Nosferatu isn’t located in that coffin, and that he is shipwrecked somewhere. He won’t even dare to open it, in order to check if he’s right. So what’s he gonna do next? He gets a medium to summon the vampire. Nosferatu (Klaus Kinski) then stands up from a coffin somewhere on a random, obscure location and starts his journey. He stumbles into a gypsy camp where a fortune teller tells him that he’s been summoned by a young lady. He bites the fortune teller’s neck before he heads for Venice, for some more necks to put his teeth in… I guess…

 

And as you may have figured out, this movie has no relation to neither Nosferatu from 1922 nor the Werner Herzog’s remake from 1979 in any shape or form. Who knows what this movie really tries to be, but what it definitely is, is a completely incoherent mess. Christopher Plummer looks really confused here, and you can tell he has some difficulty with delivering his lines. That’s probably because there were five directors who came and left, after the first one got fired, so you can try to imagine the chaos and turmoil behind the scenes. It’s a miracle that the movie exists at all. And when even Klaus Kinski ended up directing himself in some of the scenes, then you know that everyone have seriously jumped the ship.

 

So yeah, this is one of those cases where a two-hour making of-documentary had been far more entertaining and interesting than the movie itself…

 

Klaus Kinski was perfect as Nosferatu in the 1979-remake and is probably one of his finest roles. Here, its the polar opposite. He refused to wear the same makeup and shave his long, blonde hair and approached the role with only some simple eyeshadow and puts on the iconic two front teeth when he feels like it. All the characteristics and known trademarks are gone; the hand gestures, the long fingers/nails, as if the guy refused to play the character altogether, and rather just not give a fuck and play himself instead. “Kinski in Venice”, yeah why not.. There’s zero Nosferatu about him. He acts more like a disturbed lunatic, high on whatever he can snort and who likes to hunt down and rape young women in Venice’s narrow alleys, than a fragile vampire who needs blood to survive. It’s almost comical…

 

Just to put it in a nutshell how extremely “off” Nosferatu is in this film: he’s asked if the daylight doesn’t frighten him. He answers: “It’s the night who frighten me.” So, there you have it. “Nosferatu in Hawaii” next? Despite all the retardedness, the film has its share of gothic and gloomy atmosphere and Venice looks really chilling and sinister, and seems like an unique place to shoot a vampire flick. At least, some of the five directors who tried to sail this shipwreck of a movie to the projection screen managed to add some really fine and moody imagery. And the fitting soundtrack by Vangelis isn’t bad, either. So, I’ll have to give some props in that regard.

 

Nosferatu in Venice

 

Directors: Augusto Caminito, Mario Caiano, Klaus Kinski, Maurizio Lucidi, Pasquale Squitieri, Luigi Cozzi
Country & year: Italy, 1988
Actors: Klaus Kinski, Christopher Plummer, Donald Pleasence, Barbara De Rossi, Yorgo Voyagis, Anne Knecht, Elvire Audray
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091651/

 

Tom Ghoul