One of Hammer’s last films and I think one of their best, Hands of the Ripper is a fun play on the Jack the Ripper mythology, with a great central performance from Angharad Rees. Although she’s the daughter of a killer and she is no angel, you still feel for her. Synapse has released this gem on Blu-ray and DVD with a fine looking image and a slate of bonus content that should make most fans happy.

Little Anna (played as an adult by Angharad Rees), witnesses her father murdering her mother as a child. Needless to say, she is traumatized. To make things worse, she is adopted by a terribly manipulative Mrs.Golding (Dora Bryan), a fraudulent psychic who ropes Anna into working for her. One night, something goes horribly wrong at a séance Anna is assisting with. Her life takes a turn seemingly for the better when she goes to live with Dr. John Pritchard (Eric Porter) and he takes a liking to her. Throw the doctor’s son Michael (Keith Bell) into the mix and a blind fiancée, Laura (Jane Merrow), and the stage is set. And oh yeah, Anna’s father was Jack the Ripper.

Although there are a few sub plots and characters of interest, this film belongs to Angharad Rees as Anna. Rees is an attractive woman no doubt, but she’s also able to sell the soft moments and the rougher emotional scenes. Character actor Dora Bryan is deliciously awful and smarmy as Mrs. Golding, and Merrow makes for a fine sympathetic figure in the blind object of Michael’s affection, with a bit more strength than at first glance. Of course, Eric Porter as Dr. John Pritchard must be mentioned as well. His passion for his new charge is really great to see play out here, and the shades he brings to the character are most welcome.

Synapse has given Hammer fans something to celebrate, as the image quality is pretty great. Detail level is impressive and color levels appear to be accurate. A nice counterpart to their release of Vampire Circus, you can see that care was taken to give Hands of the Ripper a proper transfer. Audio quality is also nice and clean; dialogue and the score never compete. This release is a Blu-ray and DVD combo, so you also get a copy of the movie on DVD.

Considering how much of an audience the Hammer films have, the bonus features on this disc are a little thin. A decent retrospective on the making of the film running about a half hour, it has a few interesting interview bits, but it’s nothing revelatory. Far more interesting is the U.S. TV version introduction that was tacked on due to time issues since the film is short and some things were edited out. While it’s only audio, it’s nice to have here. The only other big feature here is an isolated score and effects track.  A trailer and TV spot are next and then things wrap up with a gallery of photos from the film.

Released as part of a double bill with Twins of Evil, Hands of the Ripper is interesting for Hammer because it’s not supernatural in nature. It uses a historical figure to drive its plot, upped the ante in terms of violence, and there are quite a few bodies that drop. This is a definite buy for Hammer fans and it's worth a look for any horror fan.

Film Score: 3.5/5 Disc Score: 3/5