Painted Monsters: “Ripperology”

For the month of October, as part of the Countdown to Halloween, I’ll be revisiting each of the thirteen stories in Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts and suggesting movies that pair well with them, for your viewing pleasure!

“Ripperology” was written for Ross Lockhart’s first Word Horde anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper. When he first invited me to write something for the anthology, I wasn’t about to turn him down, but I also wasn’t sure what I had to contribute to the reams and reams that have been written about Jack over the years. Luckily I found some inspiration in the quote from Candyman that opens the story, and I wrote a sort of odd, oblique piece exploring the lasting fascination with Jack, even after all these years.

There are plenty of movies out there about Jack the Ripper–I’m personally still fond of the 2001 Hughes Brothers adaptation of From Hell, in spite of its many faults and limitless distance from its source material–but none of them seem quite right for the story that I told here, which concerns itself less with Jack himself and more with his legacy. So for this story, I’d recommend pairing it with the movie from which it took its epigraph, Candyman.

Candyman remains my favorite Clive Barker adaptation, in spite of being one of the ones that he didn’t have a hand in adapting himself. It strays pretty far from its source material as well, but unlike From Hell, most of the changes that Candyman makes are actually improvements.

If you really want an unusual take on Jack the Ripper–albeit one that has very little in common with my little story–try the very first episode of the wonderful Kolchak: the Night Stalker, called simply “The Ripper,” which I believe is streaming on Netflix right now.

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