Black the Ripper (lost blaxploitation horror film; existence unconfirmed; 1974-1976)
Black the Ripper is an alleged blaxploitation horror film that may have been released around years 1974 through 1976. The movie was a blaxploitation take on the Jack the Ripper story. It is thought that Frank Saletri, the director of the blaxploitation movie Blackenstein was the director of Black the Ripper. Black the Ripper is shrouded in mystery as a production note of it was first mentioned in the May 8, 1974 issue of Variety magazine where it was said to be two months into production. Black the Ripper was mentioned again in the February 25, 1976 issue of Variety where it had a planned release of Memorial Day. The movie would not surface again until 2013 when a user of a website for obscure films claimed to have seen it once while browsing torrent files. Another user of the same website released the only known screenshots of the film. Due to the relatively obscure nature of the film, it cannot be confirmed if the film finished production or even saw a theatrical release. As of the writing of this article, the film has yet to surface.
From the early to mid-1970s, a myriad of movies starring black actors was released in order to appeal to the African-American urban audiences. These films would be nicknamed "blaxploitation" as they would often show the lead character molding their own destiny and not following stereotypes as commonly portrayed in Hollywood movies. Many blaxploitation films were often independently produced and as a result, many lacked in quality and did not have the marketability that other films of the era had.
A lot is not known about Black the Ripper. While the production note from the Variety magazine did list Frank Saletri as the director and a few unknown actors, not much else is known. Those who have seen the movie have gone on to note that scenes were often missing, the film was hastily put together and was overall incomplete. There is an opening credit with a song credited to Mara Farmer, but no ending credits. Users also mentioned how in the opening credits, alongside Frank Saletri as director, Michael Flinn is listed as having written the script. While not confirmed, it is possible that the same Michael Flinn who directed the 1974 film The Black Connection. This theory is made all the more possible as The Black Connection was filmed in Las Vegas where Frank Saletri was known to have lived.
Those who have seen the film have written this much as to how the movie plays out. The film opens in a karate studio where a character named Mike is training students. The training is interrupted by a phone call from a student who calls Mike to inform him that he will not be in due to his sister being murdered. The student mentions how he told his sister not to go to a character named Sideback. Mike begins to take the investigation into his own hands after the police are of no help and begins to track down Sideback. As Mike is asking a prostitute questions about the murder, a voice (who many claim sounds familiar to Antonio Fargas) comes from the distance and the character Sideback appears.
A fight between Sideback and Mike breaks out, both are then arrested and taken to jail when another murder occurs. This clears Sideback as a suspect. After this, the film is said to take a strange turn. The film then turns to a mild-mannered Caucasian accountant named Todd, whom we first see interacting awkwardly with his attractive black secretary Carla. Todd asks Carla out on a date where she politely declines. Todd then utters “You deserve everything you’re going to get, strumpet” to himself as he walks away. The film then cuts to Todd sleeping where he dreams of picking up a black prostitute in Victorian-era London. The film cuts back to Mike who is somehow now in charge of the police. Mike receives a call from Carla as she noticed the case in the paper and had overheard Todd mumbling to himself. The cops agree to keep on eye on Todd.
It is also at this point in the film that Carla and Mike are in a relationship, though this could have been established earlier in the film though footage establishing it could be missing. Later in the evening, Mike is at Carla's house when Todd strikes. Mike leaves for some food when Todd kills Carla's roommate. Mike then returns and sees Todd trying to kill Carla. This leads to the final fight and results in Todd being thrown out of a third-story window.
Cast and crew
- Frank Salteri as director
- Michael Flinn as play writer
- Hugh Van Putten possibly Mike
- Bole Nikoli
- Renata Harmon
- Marva Farmer
- Dale Bech
It is also possible though not confirmed that Antonio Fargas could have been the character Sideback
Black the Ripper has yet to be confirmed as existing. While a few people have claimed to have seen it on torrent and the website Dailygrindhouse.com has an article that goes into great detail about the film, the entire film has yet to be confirmed. If Black the Ripper does indeed exist, it is possible that it was released locally due to the fact that many blaxploitation films were released locally. Another possibility is that the film was scrapped during the editing phase but was later re-edited for a local release which would explain why the film at times it not consistent. Those who have seen Black the Ripper note that scenes are known to be missing from the film. None of the actors and actresses who starred in the film have come forward to identify the existence of the film. As of the writing of this article, there has been no confirmation of the film aside from a few alleged screenshots and a production note from Variety.
- Encyclopedia Britannica article on blaxploitation films Retrieved 15 Jul '20