Blu-ray Review: ‘Hands of the Ripper’ (1971)


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ripper

I didn’t know much of anything about Hammer’s Hands of the Ripper when sitting down to watch it. I knew it was Hammer’s stab at a Jack the Ripper story, but that was it, and honestly? Going in blind is probably part of the reason I got so absorbed in the film. I didn’t realize it wasn’t really a Jack the Ripper movie at all, but an unusual blend of Hammer period horror and slice-and-dice slasher with the historical Ripper only showing up briefly in a pre-credits sequence.

From there, the film follows a little girl who witnessed the murder of her mother at the hands of the Ripper, now grown (Angharad Rees), and under the care of a charlatan fortune teller. She seems sweet enough, but goes catatonic with the sight of a specific visual cue and is compelled to kill in gruesome Ripper fashion. The girl can’t help it. Eric Porter plays a psychiatrist who takes the troubled woman in, fascinated by her urges and whether or not the girl is truly evil or just broken.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: ‘Don’t Panic’ (1988)


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After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

VHS cover of Don't Panic

And we continue with “Don’t” month in July for Horror Movie Night. This week’s film is Mexican, full of white (or whiteish) people, some nods to earlier slashers like A Nightmare on Elm Street, and overflowing with the ridiculous. Basically a match made in heaven for HMN viewers. Mexican director Rubén Galindo, Jr., who previously made the living dead flick Zombie Apocalypse, is the visionary behind Don’t Panic. What his actual vision was still remains up for interpretation.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: ‘Fatal Games’ (1984)


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Editor’s Note: Due to a CMS error, the Chronicles of Horror Movie Night from two weeks ago posted as last week’s and this one was missing from the system until now. We apologize, but hey, double entries from Damon in a single week is nothing to complain about, right? Enjoy, kiddies.

After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

Fatal Games' VHS Cover

In the grand pantheon of the horror genre there are many subgenres. From werewolves, to ghosts, to Satan, and all the way to zombies, you would think the bases would be covered. But no, you can delve even deeper into sub-subgenres. Take slashers for instance. Not only can you classify something as a slasher, but they can be supernatural, realistic, camp terrorizers and, yes, even sports related. This week at HMN we witnessed the sheer power of a gymnastics based slasher film from 1984 called Fatal Games that will leave you in stitches and in shock.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: Silent Madness (1984)


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After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

The MADNESS VHS cover

What could possibly make an 80s sorority slasher flick better? 3D, of course! They had to do something to save this rather mundane flick and a cardboard-glasses-wearing gimmick hit just the spot. Coming near the end of the big 3D kick, and in the height of slasher insanity, this film didn’t really succeed in either area. Save for a couple of great cast members, Silent Madness is nothing more than a mediocre entry into the genre.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: Sint (2010)


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After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

US DVD Cover

There’s nothing like taking a beloved children’s character and perverting it for use in a horror film. It just makes me smile ear-to-ear. You can do it with numerous personalities, fictional or real, but the one that is most famous and terrifying has to be Santa Claus. A child puts his trust in Kringle more than any other person on the planet. He will tell a man dressed as the jolly old elf at a shopping mall more than he will tell his own parents. When you take that trust and flip it to where this figure of gift giving and love becomes a homicidal maniac, you are set to warp some minds.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: Hide and Go Shriek (1988)


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After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

VHS box for Hide and Go Shriek

I love films that take place, mainly, over the course of one day or night. It gives a feeling closer to real time that makes it a little more fun. This works really well for slashers given that the instant people start finding out others are dying at the hands of a madman, security measures are taken, weapons are gathered, and people get the hell out of dodge. Well, most people. Our friends in To All a Good Night from a couple weeks ago didn’t have the sense to do so and look what happened to them. But you put a group of teens in one contained location, set a psycho loose and the audience is bound to have a good time. This is where Hide and Go Shriek really excels– some newly graduated kids, alcohol, rampant hormones and a multi-level building full of beds leaves you with the most fun one can have within the confines of a furniture store.

The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: To All A Good Night (1980)


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After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

 

Time to suck on a candy cane and pull your Santa suit out of mothballs. We’re over halfway through the year and it’s time for a phenomenon known as Christmas in July. Personally, I abhor most anything Christmas related outside of the designated time period between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At one point in my life I would go around and unplug people’s Christmas lights when they were on before last week of November. That was a while ago and I’ve grown – a little. I can even make an exception now and again. When that exception involves a Yule season themed slasher at Horror Movie Night it’s hard to say no. Especially when you’re talking about a girl’s dormitory/sorority-ish house getting the killer Santa treatment over the holidays. To All a Good Night is a fun entry into the season’s genre offerings, at least for the parts you can actually see.

Terror Tuesday Report: Maniac Cop 2


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The Film

I have an unhealthy level of affection for this entire franchise. In one of the few entries of my AYIF series, I revealed my love for the first film in suspiciously overzealous fashion. After seeing the first, I immediately sought out and watched parts 2 and 3 and found them both to be very enjoyable followups. But it wasn’t until this screening of William Lustig’s own print of Maniac Cop 2 that I realized just how special this sequel is.

Maniac Cop 2 picks up right where the first film leaves off, with undead police officer Matt Cordell and our hero, played by Bruce Campbell, locked in a death struggle on a speeding police paddy wagon. Once Cordell is assumed to have been secured a watery grave, officers Forrest (Campbell) and Mallory (Laurene Landon) have a hard time getting the brass to buy their explanation of what happened; the police chief being especially reticent to accept that Matt Cordell returned from the grave to perpetrate a series of homicides. But while our intrepid heroes try to pick up the pieces of their shattered worlds, Cordell again rises to dish out his own flavor of law and order. Will their combined knowledge of Cordell’s methods, along with the aide of loose cannon Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) be enough to once again stop Cordell?




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