Fifteen years after watching her dad slay her mother, the frail, teenaged Anna (Angharad Rees) exhibits signs of possession; her hands contort into mitts that look caked with day-old guacamole and she slips into a murderous trance when those around her dare get too close. Rather than alert authorities, Dr. Pritchard (a regal Eric Porter, The Day of the Jackal) brings her home to study the criminal mind in hopes of curing it.
This being Hammer, you know he won’t. Anna continues the slaying spree through Jack’s touch from the beyond, with the blood spilled cast in Hammer’s so distinctive (and oddly welcome) bright-red shading that it deserves its own Pantone color number. Not as talky as the company’s more-beloved creature features (i.e. the Dracula and Frankenstein series with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing), Ripper moves at a comparatively maniacal pace.
Synapse’s disc includes audio of the introduction shot for U.S. audiences to pad what the MPAA cut and a half-hour retrospective documentary that’s quite good, especially considering how few direct participants are alive today. —Rod Lott