By Rene Pilling
In the autumn of 1888, a series of murders took place in the impoverished Whitechapel district of London, England. Jack Ripper terrorized East London for months leaving behind him a trail of carnage and gore that shocked the entire city. What made matters more terrifying was that Jack the Ripper terrorized the public by sending letters to media and the police taunting them.
These letters were among the few clues that investigators had to try and catch the murderer. It was one of these letters signed “Jack the Ripper” that in fact gave this serial killer his legendary and frightening name. One of the letters intensified the fear of Jack the Ripper when he signed it as “From Hell” and included half of a preserved human kidney which was taken from one of the victims.
Scholars agree that there are certainly five victims that can be directly linked to Jack the Ripper. (Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Cathrine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly) But many also suggest that there were at least an additional four murders that should be attributed to Jack the Ripper – one of which only the torso was recovered so the victim could not be identified.
The mystery of Jack the Ripper has baffled investigators for over a century now. Certainly, there are many theories about who Jack the Ripper was. Some even contending that he may have been member of the Royal family, Prince Albert Victor. While there have been many. Debates over the evidence left behind by Jack the Ripper there seems to be no consensus among investigators.
In a new film, Ripper Revealed by filmmaker Chris Sanders promises to shed new light on the case of Jack the Ripper by revealing some new evidence and considerations. In the film Douglas Vermeeren plays Edward Taylor, a reporter seeking information on the Ripper case.
Without sharing too many of the details Vermeeren’s character is led to a guesthouse where Jack the Ripper murder victim Annie Chapman once stayed. While there she left behind clues that reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
Ripper Revealed will be shooting in the United Kingdom beginning this July.
We caught up with Douglas Vermeeren to talk about his role in this movie and learn more about what the film will reveal about one of the world’s most notorious serial killers.
Why did you accept this role?
Douglas Vermeeren: After reading the script I was impressed with eh writing and the research that Chris Sanders must have done in writing this story. I was fascinated by how all the pieces fit together to give a clear view of what really happened during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.
What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?
Douglas Vermeeren: Certainly the goal of this film is to create a scary tale of the Jack the Ripper murders, but I can’t help but feel as this story is investigated closer through the film that it will definitely be one of the scarier true crime films today. I hope the audience has this kind of an experience with the movie.
What is the most challenging part of this project?
Douglas Vermeeren: Although this is a horror movie I think one of the more difficult aspects was to stay true to the Jack the Ripper story and remain sensitive to the true events as they occurred. I think Jack the Ripper has also been covered so many times in the past it has been difficult t tell the story in a fresh and new way. I believe that Chris Sanders has been very successful doing this with the script. It is highly original, entertaining, and startling in how the evidence of the crime has been presented. This is surely the most unique and revealing glimpse into the Jack the Ripper murder I have personally ever seen.
What have you done to prepare to tell this story as the reporter?
Douglas Vermeeren: In the film I play Edward Taylor and investigative journalist looking for information on the Jack the Ripper murders. I actually spoke with a few reporters to explore how they track down and report similar news items. I have also had chances in the past to portray police officers and used the investigative behaviors I learned in those roles.
While in London I also took a tour of the actual sites where the murders and other events from the Jack the Ripper stories took place. It was eerie and strange and really made me recognize that this isn’t just a story.These were real events.
What kind audiences hope to learn about Jack the Ripper?
Douglas Vermeeren: I don’t want to give away too much. But I’ll say that this film shares a very unique view of who Jack the Ripper actually was. Yes, it reveals the identity of Jack the Ripper.
How does this film differ from other stories about Jack the Ripper?
Douglas Vermeeren: I think this film carefully shares much of the evidence on the Jack the Ripper murders that is often overlooked. I think audiences will be surprised at some of the facts on the case they had never heard before. Although this is a narrative fictional film it incorporates many details that are generally left out of the Jack the Ripper story. It’s scary and surprising.
Why do you think Jack the Ripper has become such a well-known character in human history?
Douglas Vermeeren: He was creepy and defiant of the police. He was so bold in writing his famous “from Hell Letters” and the mysterious way which evaded capture that he left a lasting fear and terror that changed history.
Ripper Revealed is being shot in the UK over the summer of 2023. The release has yet to be published. This will be Chris Sanders 7th feature film and the third collaboration between Sanders and Vermeeren.