There was a tendency in the mid 20th Century to give psychology and the sciences almost mystical attributes. We saw this in Hitchcock's Spellbound (though this is more likely due to David O. Selznick's strange obsessions) as well as an earlier Hammer outing, The Man Who Could Cheat Death.
Hands of the Ripper, released in 1971, deals with these topics with more comfortably, though this may be due to when this film was released, progress being made within the sciences of the mind. That said, the reasoning for some of the actions that take place in this film, is groan-worthy.
We open on what is ostensibly Jack the Ripper murdering a victim while a child looks on. Flash-forward many years and some parapsychological nonsense later, Doctor John Pritchard played by the wonderful Eric Porter takes in the extremely disturbed Anna (the gorgeous Angharad Rees) with the hopes of curing her mental illness. What occurs next...
Peter Sadsy takes full advantage of the loosening of film classifications delivers for the gore hounds, as Anna in a hypnotic state murders her way through London, and then instantly regretting her actions.
The make up here is good, the Kensington gore at it's bright and garish best.
You will scream out for Doctor John to abandon her, but no he does not.
And so we accelerate towards the ending, a majestic set piece taking place within the upper levels of a church, Anna taking hostage a blind bride to be.
Keith Bell plays Michael Pritchard, fiancé to the aforementioned blind bride Laura (Jane Merrow). This loving couple ties the film down in reality, and allows a sense of dread to impose itself over the Pritchard family. Without these two characters, the film is at risk of crumbling in under itself.
That said this is probably one of my favourite Hammer Horrors. Fairly serious storyline, good shocks, good gore, decent direction and music.