After a few minor issues, Ripper has now been released online for all to see. Funded through Indiegogo, this fan-made movie has gathered an experienced cast with Bill Fellows and Bruce Payne lending their talents to the production of this Gotham by Gaslight inspired piece. With a visual style heavily influenced by Italian giallos from the 70s, writer-director James Campbell, is able to provide a unique spin on the Batman mythos. As a huge fan of both Batman and Giallo cinema, this was the combination that I’ve always dreamed about.
The narrative is clear and simple with Chief Inspector Abberline leading the investigation into the Ripper Murders. What follows is your usual Ripper routine, with dark alleys, prostitutes and plenty of murder left on the streets of Whitechapel. The sets are impressive with Preston Park in Eaglescliffe providing the perfect backdrop for Victorian London. In addition, the costumes look beautifully authentic; costume designer Judd Marriot has done an unbelievable job of designing Batman’s costume to perfectly encapsulate the gothic time period whilst never feeling out of place.
The cinematography by Mike Staniforth is absolutely beautiful, especially when considering that Ripper is a crowdfunded production. The visuals are crisp and clean; however, personally, I believe it would have benefited from a grimey VHS aesthetic, more in tone with the Giallo genre from the past.
The soundtrack by Metal Machine Music is brilliantly done and has shadows of Goblin synth echoing, chillingly throughout. Unfortunately, the musical score doesn’t always mix well with what you’re seeing on screen, which causes the music to fall a little flat every now and then. Finally, the performances can be a little unbalanced at times and the piece as a whole could have possibly benefited from a music video style approach with the musical score really dictating the emotions of the short.
Overall, Ripper is a success. For any aspiring filmmaker to go out there with a vision and put their money where their mouth is – that kind of passion deserves to be applauded. The production is slick and everybody involved should be extremely happy with what they’ve achieved. As far as fan films go, this is one that needs to be witnessed by every Batman fan out there.
Although personally I would have done things differently, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. With the popularity of crowdfunding, a new generation of filmmakers from all different types of backgrounds are now able to implement their vision and see it through to the end. It’s certainly no easy task; however, it’s one that gives people hope. Creativity shouldn’t just be for the privileged, but for the masses. And if that’s not inspiring enough, then I don’t know what is.