Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"The Ripper"(1985)d/Christopher Lewis

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Ah, 1985, I remember you well, with your Wayfarers, moussed-up mullets, Docksiders, and your fucking parachute pants.I was a junior in high school, trying to fly under the radar on the "pay-me-no-mind-unless-you're-a-Madonna-wannabe-who-fancies-getting-turned-out-in-the-back-of-my-'70-Cougar-XR7-outside-the-cemetery-where-Mary-Jo-Kopetchne-is-buried" list, with my preppie side-comb and ethno-fragstache, looking like the missing member of Laibach-meets-'Saved by the Bell' hallway extra.Horror movies remained a staple on my diet, as always, and by then, I was fueling my growing habit at the drive-in, through mail-order companies like Video Mania, who offered cheap pre-recorded factory originals of cult classics and rare Euro-sleaze, and at every video store within driving distance, one of which being where I first encountered tonight's entry, the second of three SOV slashers helmed by Christopher Lewis.I was instantly drawn in by the giant clamshell case with yellow-eyed Savini depicted on the cover, my wallet three clams lighter for the rental fee, having used my silver tongue to avoid having to pay the fifty-plus in late charges on my account in the process.If the clerk had decided to hold me accountable for my laziness, I'd have ducked out the door and found a copy in one of the six or seven other stores in the area, returning a week later to rent again when someone who didn't recognize me was working the register.Hahaha, Nuuuuuge.Of course, the excitement only lasted as long as it took to slip the video cassette in back at home, because it was obvious from the first tracking fine tune that I had another fucking mutt on my hands.
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"You sure you didn't pry this thing off of one of Liberace's fingers?"
After a hearty flashback hooker hack'd from Saucy Jack, we enter the college classroom of Prof. Harwell(Tom Schreier), a poor man's Tom Jones slinging lessons on, skip the drum roll, Jack the Ripper.We learn that Harwell is romantically linked to the aerobics instructor, Carol(Mona Van Pernis, who's an R away from having a great joke name, isn't she?), and after a nausea-inducing dated aerobics workout/dance sequence, the pair visit the local antique shop, where Richard spots a huge gaudy ruby ring that he struggles to put down without some effort.Through more classroom claptrap, we're introduced to Steve(Wade Tower), one of Richard's students that shares a love for horror movies with his instructor, who dozes off while screening a slasher, and dreams of icing his old lady, ripper-like.Harwell sees the same ring he'd looked over at the curio shoppe in the pages of a book about the Whitechapel murderer himself, and it isn't long before he's back at the dealer's place, begging to buy the ring.Once he's gotten his digit through the ugly thing, he suddenly becomes left-handed and his violent dreams of ripping young girls start to translate into lifeless bits o' crumpet littering the campus around him.When Steve's date ends up ripped in the bushes right under his nose, he sees a man in a small town theatrical Jack the Ripper costume fleeing the scene, somehow losing two pursuant police cruisers while on foot.Must be the cape...
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I think he may have killed her...
Soon Steve suspects the worst: Harwell has gone and gotten himself possessed by the immortal spirit of Jack the Ripper by wearing his ring, and after dropping in on the suspect results in a struggle over a gun, etc. etc., with Richard escaping to liason with Carol on an atmospheric, romantic date in a dark, musky warehouse.Inside, the professor physically transforms into Saucy Jack(Tom Savini), who turns out to not be a member of the British aristocracy or deranged surgeon, but an Italian combat photographer from Pittsburgh, afterall who can't be harmed by bullets while delivering a dramatic monologue(but shooting his ring finger, among others, off works like a charm).The fuzz busts in and pumps the prof fulla skeet, and he transforms back into the mild-mannered educator of youth as he lies dying on the bloody concrete.Later, a scruffy band of young scalawags discovers the ring as they're bounding along by a set of railroad tracks, and take it home to show the folks, threatening us with a possible sequel, if we weren't careful.Thankfully, the threat was an entirely empty one...
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Excuse me, ma'am, I just thought you should know that your windpipe is showing.
Lewis also directed Revenge(1986), and Blood Cult(1985), which we'll be looking at in the coming days here at the Wop.Savini has been busy lately, turning up on an episode of Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1(Aqua Teen Hunger Force, for any non-animaniacs in the audience), Machete(2010), Horrorween(2011)(!), and several productions in the works, including a role as SS-StandartenfĂĽhrer Dirlewanger, rockin' for the golden race in an upcoming nazi movie alongside cult indie director Andreas Schnaas and Sean "Dog Soldiers" Pertwee, though I doubt Rebelles EuropĂ©ens will be handling the soundtrack release.Congrats, regardless, on your continued good fortune in the industry, paisano, you deserve it.Apart from some ultra realistic misogynistic gore, horrifically amplified by the clarity of the video format, and Savini's ten minutes at the end, there aren't many goings-on to get excited about in this one.Still, it's worth a Wednesday night look if you've put the barflys and cheap lager pints aside for the evening.On the scale:
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"Arrrgggh! I fap with this hand! You foolish mortals will pay for your insolence!!!"
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