Happy Halloween everyone! Tonight, in honor of this spooky night, Hacker Labs is watching the 2001 Johnny Depp film From Hell. I have never been one for hack and slash flicks, but I make an exception for this one.
SPOILERS AHEAD! YE BE WARNED!
From Hell is the Hughes brothers imagining of the Jack the Ripper murders. The details surrounding the facts of the murders (names, locations, injuries, bodily mutilations, evidence found, etc.) are all true. The story surrounding the prostitutes killed and who they pegged as Jack the Ripper are, probably (you never know!), not true. The twist with the secret society and national conspiracy was a nice touch. The love story between Inspector Abberline (Depp) and Mary (Heather Graham) feels a bit forced. Heather Graham’s accent was atrocious and a little grating on the ears. Were all the British actresses busy?
“In 1888, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her small group of London prostitutes trudge through unrelenting daily misery. When their friend Ann Crook (Joanna Page) is kidnapped, they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha Tabram (Samantha Spiro); and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one as various prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post-mortem.
The murder of Martha and her companions grabs the attention of Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp), a brilliant, yet troubled, man whose police work is often aided by his psychic “visions.” His colleague, Sergeant Peter Godley, tries to grasp his friend’s wild theories. Abberline’s investigations reveal that the murders, while gruesome, imply that an educated person is responsible due to the precise and almost surgical method used. Ann is found a few days later in a workhouse having been lobotomized after officials and doctors supposedly found her to be insane.
It is implied this was done to silence her. Abberline consults Sir William Gull (Ian Holm), a physician to the Royal Family, drawing on his experience and knowledge of medicine. During this meeting it is revealed Abberline is struggling with opium addiction. Gulls findings, coupled with his superiors impeding his investigations, point Abberline to a darker and more organized conspiracy than he originally thought. Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love.
Abberline deduces that Freemason influence is definitely present in these crimes. His superior, a high ranking Freemason himself, then makes direct intervention and suspends Abberline. It is then revealed that Gull is the killer. He has been killing the witnesses to painter Albert Sickert (Mark Dexter)’s forbidden Catholic marriage to Crook, who bore his legitimate daughter Alice. Sickert is actually Prince Albert, grandson of reigning Queen Victoria (Liz Moscrop), and therefore Alice is heiress to the British throne. Gull tells Abberline that “mankind will remember him for giving birth to the 20th century.” Abberline draws his gun, but before he is able to shoot Gull, he is knocked out by one of Gull’s henchmen.
Gull tries to have Abberline eliminated without leaving any witnesses, but Abberline fights back and kills two of the assassins by overturning a carriage. Gull himself is a Freemason and his increasingly sinister behavior lends an insight into his murderous, but calculated, mind. Rather than publicly charge Gull, the Freemasons decide to lobotomize him to protect themselves and the Royal Family from the scandal. Gull defiantly states he has no equal among men, remaining unrepentant up to his lobotomy, resulting in him becoming invalid just as Ann had been.
Abberline tries to save Mary, but arrives too late, and blames his superior for not helping him or Godley on the cases. Abberline does nothing but watch Mary’s mutilated body being taken away. Abberline receives a mysterious letter, which he soon realizes is from Mary, but he decides not to look for her as a way to offer her protection, as the Freemasons may be watching his every move. Abberline decides to burn the letter, knowing that he can never have a normal life.
Mary Kelly does not die; Gull earlier mistook Ada, whom Liz said was from France (but is from Brussels in Belgium), for Mary and he kills her instead. Mary lives with Alice in a cottage on a cliff by the sea. Abberline is found dead of an opium overdose, knowing he can never see Mary again without endangering her. Sergeant Godley comes to pay his respects for the Inspector.” – Wikipedia, From Hell (film)
The fact they made Inspector Abberline an opium addict and someone who gets prophetic visions is a little hard to swallow and demeans the actual man. The steampunk feel of the movie was nice and gave me a few costume ideas for my Steampunk persona. The costume team did an beautiful job on this film. Way to go Costume Team! At least the movie looked good. The soundtrack was equally as good and creepy on its own.
Bad accents and cliche plots aside, this movie is pretty good. Lots of gore and dead bodies. Creepy murders leading to one gruesome, horrendously brutal murder at the end. The real Jack the Ripper was one evil monster.
Everyone at Hacker Labs: The Geek and Otaku Blog hope you enjoyed the 7 Days of Halloween and have a safe Halloween! To the candy!