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March 6, 2010

Midnight Top Five - Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack The Ripper Special Edition!

With Black Women in Horror History month closed at FMWL, I was having trouble coming up with a theme for the upcoming month. Luckily, an email from the folks over at Dreamcatcher Interactive brought to my attention an upcoming XBox 360 game that mixes two of my most curious interests - Sherlock Homes vs. Jack the Ripper. Thus, I quickly decided to proclaim it Midnight Mystery March at FMWL, and figured I'd start the proceedings by looking at some of my favorite films featuring the fictional detective and the real-life slasher.Murder By Decree (1979, Bob Clark) - When the idea of Holmes and the Ripper together pops up, this is the place to start. Five years removed from the iconic slasher Black Christmas, Clark made this fascinating tale of Holmes and Watson (played by Christopher Plummer and James Freakin' Mason!) taking on the Ripper case. It's a movie that's a little longer than it needs to be, but it features a dynamite cast and provides an interesting take on what could have been if fiction met reality.Anything with Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson - A lot of people are down on these flicks, produced between 1939-1946, for being a far cry from Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. Plus, if you think the Saw series is bad, you should know that there were a whopping FOURTEEN of these movies made in that seven year span. But I just love the dynamic between Rathbone and Bruce, and anything with Bruce, really. When I think of Watson, it's impossible to not picture him and smile.Time After Time (1979, Nicholas Meyer) - What if, instead of Holmes, the person pursuing the Ripper was H.G. Wells, of Time Machine fame, and the setting was San Francisco, 1979. That's the question posed by this one, in which David Warner's Ripper is chased through time by Malcolm McDowell's Wells. It's one of my favorite films, thanks to the charming script and its original concept - which exceeds any expectations.Jack The Ripper (1988, David Wickes) - I remember watching this TV miniseries when I was just a little tyke, and was entranced by not only the mystery of whether or not Michael Caine ends up finding Jack the Ripper, but also by some memorable scenes featuring an impressive portrayal of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Armand Assante. Looking back now, it's still an impressive TV achievement.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975, Gene Wilder) - Fresh off of one of my five favorite films, Young Frankenstein, Wilder teamed up again with Marty Feldman to make this spoof of the Holmes character. It's not entirely successful, sadly, but the chance to see Wilder and Feldman battle the diabolical Moriarty (Leo McKern of The Omen!) is too cool for me to pass up.

There are too many honorable mentions I could list, so look for more Holmes and Ripper coverage over the rest of the month, plus a few looks at some other classic and modern mysteries that make The Mike smile and wonder. And, if you're interested in the video game that inspired me to run this series, check out the link on the sidebar or click here. Thanks to the folks at DreamCatcher Interactive for partnering with From Midnight, With Love for a sleuth-filled month of mayhem!


I Like Horror Movies said...

Murder by Decree has recently topped my "Need to watch" list, thanks for the heads up on all of these great new flicks TM!

The Masha said...

Thanks for mentioning Time After Time. We used to watch that movie ALOT when you were younger. We probably let you watch it too. Never did have much parental control!