Jack The Ripper In Postmodern Horror Movies

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Jack The Ripper in postmodern horror movies

In 1930, The Art Institute of Chicago exposed the public for the first time that it was going to become one of the most popular American paintings of all time, American Gothic, the work of the American artist Grant Wood. Without being an openly macabre work, its iconography has been a source of inspiration when defining what the American Gothic is, or typically American horror movies.

This stage of American cinema extends since 1968, in which the Tetnam offensive in Vietnam occurs, and the arrival of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency in 1980. Mainly giving up low -budget productions always addressing the terrifying and the fantastic, from a contemporary perspective.

Postmodern horror cinema was born as a reaction to strong historical tensions of the moment. Appropriating the consequences derived from them to create new narrative models that allow us to show a criticism, to those issues and obsessions that concern American society, such as the disintegration of the family, tensions between the south and north, the murderersin series, or even, classic horror issues, now approached from a hyperrealistic approach.

Although the murderer, subsequently called and considered “in series”, had a real base, cinema and other fiction sources used it as an effective and recurring monster, feeding a whole series of stereotypes about this character. First, one of the fundamental models for the creation of many fictitious characters was the legend of "Jack the Ripper", considered as the first serial killer of contemporary history, whose "threat […] infiltrates back into the" ordinary society"And threatens that society.”(Antonio José Navarro, American Gothic: The Terror Cinema USA 1968-1980. 

Jack The Ripper, better known as Jack the Ripper, the first serial killer who faced the contemporary era. The most violent, elusive, and even today, the most famous. It was a bomb for public opinion, the coverage of his murders was full, from one side to the other of the Atlantic, contributing to create the myth. Myth, because he is an unbearable murderer, without face and without known reasons, and with a number of victims still not determined. Maybe this is the cause of such fascination around his figure, until he becomes a legend worthy of admiration.

It is this admiration that has led different professionals to bring a specific version about the hidden identity of the murderer, their profile or mobile, to the cinema and television. In 1965 works such as Autum of Terror and Jack The Ripper appear: In Fact and Fiction, by Tom Cullen and Robin Odell, respectively, in which Jack was an expert surgeon. The most elaborate versions arise during the 80s and 90s, where Jack’s Diario el Ripador stands out.

The fixation of the seventh art by the first serial killer of modern history has been constant and uninterrupted.

1927, who would become the suspense master, Alfred Hitchcock presents ‘The Lodger’ or as he also met in our country, ‘The enemy of blondes’. A serial killer known as ‘El Avenger’ is killing blonde women in London. Meanwhile, a mysterious man arrives at the Bounting house looking for a rental room. Daisy, the daughter of the Bounting, is a blonde model, which is cited with one of the detectives assigned to the case. This, gets jealous of the mysterious tenant and begins to suspect him.

Inspired by Marie Belloc Lowndes’s novel that recreated the wanderings of the murderer Jack the Ripper, Hitchcock got her first great commercial success, introducing for the first time her theme of the "false guilty’.

1929, two years after the Hitchcockiana work, another of the mute cinema classics in charge of the Austrohungal director G appeared.W.Pabst. Berlin, the end of 1920, Lulu, embodied by actress Louise Brooks, is a beautiful young, capricious, carefree and, sometimes, perverse, who only lives for love and causes the perdition of everyone who approaches her. An unfortunate day, Lulu kills a man accidentally and is forced to escape London, where he has to prostitute himself and ends in the claws of the ‘Ripper’.

Pabst based his film on Frank Wedekind’s plays, the spirit of Earth (1895) and Pandora’s box (1904). There is a clear allusion to the Greek myth according to which Pandora had opened a box delivered by the gods, releasing all evil spirits and leaving only hope ..   

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