Tag Archives: supernatural horror movies

Really Awful Movies: Ep 226 – From London, England. Hands of the Ripper

From London, England, recorded from the confines of our hotel in Kensington.

On this episode of the show, we talk about our visit to Whitechapel, East London and discuss the lesser Hammer film, Hands of the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper has fascinated people for a century + and will do so for years to come. As the original serial killer, Saucy Jack terrified Londoners at the end of the 19th century, hunting down prostitutes and butchering them, in some cases beyond total recognition. Speculation about his identity was rampant, the police couldn’t do much of anything amidst internecine squabbling, and vigilante mobs were formed to patrol the streets after dark.

Who was this man in a top hat? Did he have medical training? Was he a butcher by trade? Seemingly everyone in every pub had a theory as to Jack’s identity. Try as we might, we’ll never ever know who was behind the five prostitute murders in 1888.

Hands of the Ripper features a female antagonist, Anna, the daughter of Saucy Jack. She routinely flashes back to his misdeeds as she was growing up. She gets mixed up with a brothel Madame and phony psychic (is there any other kind, really?) who uses her as part of a scheme to separate customers from their pounds. One such customer though, one Dr. Pritchard, a local Freudian psychoanalyst, takes an interest in her plight…and agrees to save her from a life of prostitution by taking her in.

Join us from London.

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Really Awful Movies: Ep 213 – Hell Night

Watching this is a hellish experience. Well, not really, but close enough to warrant the terrible pun. Hell Night is one of those forgotten films from the slasher boom, and only known today because of two things: 1) incredibly cool cover art and 2) the presence of genre icon Linda Blair in the lead role as sorority/frat pledge Marti Gaines.

When a movie has “hell” in the title, there are basically three places it can end up: 1) a stone-cold classic like Hellraiser, 2) perfectly serviceable like The Legend of Hell House, or 3) total ineptitude like Motel Hell. Hell Night is the latter, although not even that fun.

The premise is pretty straightforward: a bunch of pledges are put through their paces in an initiation rite. They have to spend a night at a dwelling where SOMETHING TERRIBLE TOOK PLACE.

This is boilerplate horror, stretching back to House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. And with the frat kick, it’s a bit like Pledge Night with that singer from Anthrax with the poodle hair who is killed in a frat stunt. Either way you slice it, Yawn Town population, you.

So, in a perfect world, what do you get when there’s a neat backstory, attractive people and a scary scene setting? Usually, there’s a twist, nudity, and filmmakers exploiting the terrifying sense of place. In Hell Night, none of the above happens, which is…hella weird, it should be said.

Hard-partying coeds are all talk (and all clothed). The killer isn’t all that interesting…and the “haunted/cursed” house is pretty and candle-lit, but meh.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we put this film in context.

We talk about our indifference to Linda Blair post-Exorcist, we chat about Passover seders (for the first time on the show!), silly plot devices, heroism in Hell Night, the old house motif, Italian Gothic horror, and movies similar to this one.

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