Jack's Back Reviews
31 Days of Horror: JACK'S BACK (1988)
One hundred years to the day after the originals, a copycat reenacts the crimes of the most notorious serial killer of all time. Jack's back, and young medical student John Wesford may be connected to the murders.
This serial chiller-too cool to thrill-makes up in style what it lacks in narrative. Herrington the writer has savvy enough to hide how high-concept his premise proves, revealing his true intentions through innovative twists near the middle and end of the film. Yet the beats in between feel rote-or would if Herrington the director didn't compensate with compelling compositions and performances. (Johnson's cinematography, while gorgeous, is so gloriously 80s that were you to mute the movie, you'd hear it whisper "Michael Mann.") Herrington asks much of James Spader (as Wesford), and Spader answers with aplomb. A year before his breakthrough SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, he adds layers to a lead role that already demands a rare degree of range.
JACK'S BACK backs Spader's acting with equally subtle violence. JACK'S never goes for gross-out gore like Jackson (or, indeed, like you would expect from a film named after the Whitechapel Murderer), preferring violence that affects over effects. A particular death, however bloodless, ranks among the most distressing committed to celluloid. Because we know the deceased as humans first and victims second, JACK'S BACK becomes one of the few horror films to actually horrify-even as it shows viewers a ripping good time.
In addition to its Ripper rip-off, JACK'S BACK boasts a Peter Gabriel sound-alike so killer you won't care that it opens *and* closes the film-or my review.
"Stars forsake me"
You should be able to figure out who the ripper is twenty minutes or less, but I've heard there are two differnt versions out there. Where's my sex scene!? Cynthia Gibb looks like a growned up Emma Watson!