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Jack the Ripper
Yours truly, Jack the Ripper...

Dear Boss...

One of the first, and likely still most famous. Not just a serial killer: The Serial Killer.

The Ripper is commonly held to have killed at least five prostitutes in the Whitechapel area of London's East End during the fall of 1888:

  • Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols (31 August)
  • Annie Chapman (8 September)
  • Elizabeth Stride (30 September)
  • Catherine Eddowes (30 September)
  • Mary Jane Kelly (9 November)

However, there is some controversy concerning the actual total, with some investigators including other prostitute murders performed in a broadly similar fashion before and after the 'canonical' five. In addition, there is (and will likely always be) a lack of consensus in the case of Elizabeth Stride, the only canonical victim to show no signs of postmortem mutilation. All five of the canonical victims died with their throats cut, and all but Stride were heavily mutilated; this, combined with a witness report and the fact that Stride's body was still warm when police arrived, led investigators to assume that in Stride's case the killer was interrupted, leading to the attack on Eddowes later the same night (what has come to be known as the "Double Event").

From the complex nature of the mutilations, involving relatively quick and neat removal of specific organs, it is probable that the killer had at least some knowledge of anatomy — as would a doctor, butcher or (in the theories involving royalty) a keen hunter. Unlike the other victims, Mary Kelly was killed indoors, safely away from any prying eyes, and thus, the mutilations to her body were considerably more severe than the others.note 

The murder and mutilation of prostitutes cut almost straight to the heart of Victorian morbidity, causing a wave of panic in London. This was exacerbated by a series of taunting letters to the Central News Agency and the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee between the "Double Event" and Mary Kelly's death. One of these letters purported to include half of Catherine Eddowes' missing kidney -"Tother half I fried and ate it was very nise". All except this last are now usually considered to be hoaxes perpetrated by the reporters themselves, including the one in which the Ripper received his famous name. (The other letters show a much higher degree of literacy and spelling ability than the Eddowes kidney letter. Additionally, the half-kidney was ravaged with Bright's disease, consistent with Eddowes' known poor state of health.)

Besides these communications, the only clue the killer left behind was found on the night of the "Double Event", consisting of some bloody pieces of Eddowes' apron found in an alleyway; it is theorised that they were thrown there after the murderer used them to wipe his hands. A chalk inscription above the apron pieces, "The Juwesnote  are the men who will not be blamed for nothing", was also assumed to have been written by the killer for reasons unknown. However the inscription was cleaned away before it could be properly recorded, due to fears that it would incite the populace, and given the general anti-Semitism of the times it cannot be definitively established whether the phrase refers specifically to the Ripper murders.

Things became even more complicated when the killings (probably) stopped after Mary Kelly's death, and the case went more or less cold. Although as noted a few similar murders briefly revived fears for some years thereafter, it was and is widely believed that the killer's growing psychosis reached full expression with the Kelly murder, after which s/he either committed suicide, died naturally or was committed for other reasons.

The suspects named then and since represent an extraordinary cross-section of society of the time, ranging from a homeless Jewish butcher to various middle-class medical students to the Heir to the British Empire. The theory that the killer was a woman, a vengeful/insane midwife dressed as a man, has also been bandied about from time to time. Another popular notion has it that the killer had been infected with syphilis — a venereal disease that causes progressive brain damage in its last stages — and was out for revenge. Another (the basis for most of the Royal theories) held that the five victims were bound by knowledge of a highly sensitive secret harboured by one, probably Kelly, and killed by Mysterious Government Agents to keep them from talking.

Chief Inspector George Abberline, the distinguished DI in charge of the case, apparently pinned his colours on George Chapman, a Polish immigrant barber-surgeon who killed three wives in succession; when Chapman was convicted, Abberline sent the officers a telegram reading "You've got the Ripper at last!" However, Chapman's known MO was poison, not the knife and, while it it not unknown for serial killers to change their MO, it is virtually unheard of to go from a rage-driven knife murder to the more distanced poisoning.

More recently, there has been some speculation that the Ripper was American, based on a similar contemporary murder in New York and the coincidence of the chief suspect in that case having spent some time in England. Another controversial new theory — advanced by crime writer Patricia Cornwell — features the painter Walter Sickert, whose works show a distinct fascination with low Victorian life, as either directly responsible for the killings or aiding in the Royal cover-up. Cornwell's theory is almost universally mocked by serious Ripperologists as a case of deciding the culprit before examining the evidence.

The name "Jack the Ripper" influenced the nicknames of a lot of later killers, especially Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper".

The Ripper case is particularly tantalizing for writers who want to make An Aesop or Historical In-Joke about Victorian London, as the case was never solved and much of the documentary evidence associated with it has been either lost or destroyed. It is also fairly common in stories whose pitches involve the phrase "Very Loosely Based on a True Story". As a testament to his (in)fame, Jack the Ripper was voted the worst Briton of all time by the BBC.

It has also attracted a reasonable number of dedicated students called "Ripperologists" and also a fair number of guided walks in the East End on the subject.

Related tropes:
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy / Epileptic Trees / Shrouded in Myth: The various theories as to Jack's identity, with the former particularly true for the conspiracy-theory ones which involve the royal family.
  • The Conspiracy: Some theories maintain that the Ripper didn't work alone; how big the alleged conspiracy may have been is anybody's guess.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: A curious aversion, considering how frequently this trope and serial killers are associated; despite the lowly social status of the victims, the killings so horrified Victorian society that they formed the impetus for numerous social reform movements, and the police's inability to locate the killer (and arguably inept handling of the investigation) spurred numerous reforms in the Metropolitan Police and its methods.
  • Finger in the Mail: A kidney from the Ripper's fourth victim was mailed to the authorities.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Some stories depict Jack as having been some sort of supernatural creature like a demon or a ghost or a vampire.
  • Gorn: He was a Serial Killer who mutilated his victims, so of course. Many details of the crimes are definitely not for those with weak stomachs. How much of this is reflected in works depicting him is left to the creators' discretion.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Ripper murders were undeniably gruesome, but he was hardly (as often portrayed) the very worst Serial Killer of all time, or even of Victorian Britain. The case grabbed the popular imagination mostly due to being sensationalized and notably unsolved.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: If the letter about the kidney is authentic.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Had quite a few copycats, most notably Peter Sutcliffe aka "The Yorkshire Ripper", as well as Jack The Stripper, who unfortunately was never identified.
  • Karma Houdini: Well, in theory, but the fact that the murders stopped may well mean that he died or was convicted of an unrelated crime, so he didn't necessarily get off scot-free.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: Actually, he wasn't, but the persistent claim that he was shows just how pernicious this trope is. Investigators at the time believed this to be the case—an assumption that may have hurt their investigation.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: As far as we know, a notable aversion. Of course, the victims were prostitutes and they were mutilated so badly it can't be known what was forced and what was not. He may have subjected his victims to something called Piquerism though.
  • Significant Anagram: Some of the theories of the Ripper's identity depend on obscure ciphers and anagrams from Victorian writings. One of the more farfetched maintains that some sentences in Lewis Carroll's writings can be anagrammed into confessions to the crimes. (Most serious Ripperologists scoff at this notion, some pointing out that the same twisting could be done with sentences from Winnie the Pooh!)
  • Serial Killer: The Trope Codifier.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: The definitive example in modern pop culture.
  • Victorian London

See also Jack the Ripoff.

The following works feature appearances by or references to the Ripper case.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Who could forget JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and its Vampire Jack the Ripper, transformed by a super powered Aztec mask-awakened arch-vampire, of a sort bred by ogres to be consumed? No, really.
  • The Detective Conan movie, The Phantom of Baker Street involves both hunting for Jack the Ripper in a computer game and the descendant of the real ripper.
  • Ciel in Black Butler investigates the Jack the Ripper murders. Turns out that the killers were his aunt and her flamboyant shinigami butler.
  • The protagonist in Hiromu Arakawa's short series Shanghai Youma Kikai is is revealed to be a demon, and the original Jack the Ripper near the end of the first chapter.
  • And in Nobuhiro Watsuki's Embalming, along with Mary Jane Kelly and George Abberline.
  • After the intro, Soul Eater opens with Maka and Soul defeating Jack The Ripper, who was turned into a kishin egg from eating human souls.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami posits that Jack the Ripper wasn't a single person, but rather a possessed shaving razor that could possess those cut by it, meaning that it was being wielded by the previous victims as it slew the women.
  • An early-twentieth-century flashback story in Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service has Jack the Ripper's ghost haunting a telescope and possessing voyeurs who use it. The story is notable for its explicit acceptance of the theory that the Duke of Clarence was the killer.
  • Cain of the Count Cain series investigates Jack after his fiance was murdered. One of the more unusual interpretations of the murders, what with the Magic from Technology raising of the dead among other things.
  • In the first chapter of Time Eliminator, the main character is hired to erase these killings from history by a descendant of the detective that worked on the case.
  • In Nobunagun the Ripper is reincarnated in the present day as a man named Adam Muirhead. While Adam is a good guy, he's still a rather scary, Ax-Crazy Knife Nut. The finale reveals that the original Ripper was, of all people, Florence Nightingale. She was reluctantly killing women who were unknowingly infected with a deadly man-made biological weapon to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the population. Since the ordinary folk would have never believed her, she kept to the shadows and allowed the legend of the Ripper to spread.

    Comicbooks 
  • The DCU's first Else Worlds graphic novel, Gotham by Gaslight, features a Victorian era Batman tracking the Ripper to Gotham City. Surprisingly enough, no attempt was made to link him to any of Batman's usual villains. His identity is revealed to be Jacob Packer, an American doctor-turned-lawyer and former friend of the Wayne family.
    • The Else World Wonder Woman: Amazonia is set in a world where Jack has become King, and the British Empire is a misogynistic dystopia.
    • In the mainstream DCU, Jack the Ripper was Red Jack (a Star Trek Shout-Out), a godlike being who later fought the Doom Patrol. Or he was Mary Kelly's boyfriend, encouraged by the demon Buzz from Peter David's Supergirl. Or he was possessed by a different demon, Calibraxis from Hellblazer. Or, just possibly, he was Vandal Savage, and was stopped by Resurrection Man.
      • In an issue of Superboy, Project Cadmus is hired to analyze the Ripper's DNA and find out who he was. Instead, Mad Scientist Dabney Donovan uses the sample to create a monster called Ripjak.
    • In an early 1970s Superman story, the ghost of the Ripper fell in love with Lois Lane while she and Clark Kent were doing an extended visit with one of his descendants; the ghost arranged a form of mystical time travel to send Lois back to Whitechapel to be murdered by his earlier self so she could join him in the afterlife, only to be foiled by his own obsessions — the earlier Ripper refused to harm Lois because she "was not like the others".
    • The Madame Xanadu series also involves the Ripper, but rather than reveal his identity his actions are described by the Phantom Stranger to be the universe's "balancing act" response to actions undertaken by Madame Xanadu centuries ago. As it goes, Jason Blood / Etrigan fathered a child on one of the Ripper's victims, and had she carried the child to term, it would have been the greatest horror that could ever walk the Earth. The Ripper murders were a byproduct of the universe attempting to prevent this from happening, and ultimately succeeded. Afterwards, Stranger, while not actively interfering, does take matters into his own hands, and arranges for the Ripper to fall and break his neck rather than continue, because while he "only observes" what takes place, he was as repulsed as any by the murders, even though he accepted the necessity of them.
    • A story in the Justice League of America series fused with H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr Moreau and features Jack the Ripper as an orangutan.
  • Alan Moore's From Hell; the title is a reference to the letter to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee that contained what was claimed to be Catherine Eddowes' kidney.
    • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Macheath is Jack the Ripper — he fled to Buenos Aires after the last Whitechapel murder, and returned to London in 1910. Naturally, he never stopped killing. As a sidenote, he claims to have committed the original murders when he was only 19.
  • Paul Cornell's Wisdom has the eponymous hero battling hundreds of Jack the Rippers. A villain basically opens up portals to Alternate Universes and unleashes their versions of Jack the Ripper onto the streets of modern day London, with plenty of Shout Outs to other versions of Jack the Ripper in popular culture.
  • A Star Trek: The Next Generation comic drove holodeck problems about as far as they could go by having the alien Jack the Ripper (from the episode below) take over the system.
  • An issue of The Maze Agency had a killer picking off members of a group of 'Ripperologists' (people interested in the mystery of Jack the Ripper) by cutting their throats, using a twisted interpretation of the poems the Ripper sent to the newspapers to determine the order.
  • The first CSI: Crime Scene Investigation graphic novel had a Jack the Ripper copycat killing prostitutes in Las Vegas during a convention of Ripperologists.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic spin-off "Tales of the Vampires" included a story in which the Ripper was a vampire, the twist being that the policeman investigating turned out to be a vampire as well, who eventually killed the Ripper for being too splashy and risking exposing the existence of vampires to the public.
  • A Hellraiser comic reveals that Ripper became a Cenobite.
  • An horror comic story (Astonishing #18) with a few historical accuracy issues had an adventurer visiting the grave of Jack the Ripper (with the absurd inscription 'Jack the Ripper — Murderer') and being killed by the Ripper's ghost.
  • In the French Darker and Edgier Prequel to Peter Pan by Regis Loisel, Jack murders Peter's abusive prostitute mother apparently out of pity for him, but still clearly traumatizing the poor boy. Furthermore, it's implied that this event in fact launched the Ripper murders, as it apparently made Jack loathe all prostitutes as abusive monsters.
  • The Marvel Universe offers several contradictory explanations of who Jack the Ripper was.
    • An issue of Doctor Strange had it that he was possessed by a servant of the Dimension Lord Dormammu.
    • The Mighty Thor #372, featuring an immortal(ish) serial killer whose preferred method was killing women with his knives, included a carefully hedged speculation that he might have been Jack the Ripper.
    • In Thunderbolts #166-167, the Ripper is Mr Hyde, with the assistance of Satanna, and finally the other Thunderbolts and Inspector Abberline, once they learn the prostitutes have been posessed by evil spirits.
    • Issue #100 of Marvel Comics Master of Kung Fu (1981) featured a story titled "Red of Fang and Claw, All Love Lost". In it, the Ripper was an experiment of Fu Manchu's, who escaped and hid in London. The hero fought him at the end of the story.
  • In the Strangers in Paradise arc "Molly & Pooh", a pair of high society killers believe they've discovered the identity of the Ripper and dispatch him in his old age. This story has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the series, and never connects back with it in any appreciable way.
  • Cybil in Nightmares on Elm Street studies Jack the Ripper, and Freddy bases her nightmares around that theme.
  • The comic Whitechapel Freak (2001) by David Hitchcock uses Jack the Ripper as an underlying background figure in a story that focuses on a travelling freak show. The Ripper is a legless man strapped onto the shoulders of a midget.
  • In the Italian comic book Martin Mystere, a vampire Richard Van Helsing discovers that the Ripper is an ancient mythical force, divided into several knives, which force their holders to kill. Van Helsing searches for and destroys the knives, including one which is destroyed by Sherlock Holmes.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Renegades, Larxene runs into Jack one night during the group's stay in Victorian London. She has a bit of fun leading him on before showing him that she carries knives, too, then has even more fun as she uses them on him.
  • Sherlock Homes Vs Jack The Ripper: Complete with werewolves and a zombified Albert Einstein.
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams depicts Jack the Ripper as the illegitimate son of an Italian count who fled to Great Britain and conceived Jack through an affair with a prostitute. The embittered Jack grew up hating his lowborn origins and the mistreatment he received from his family, and studied the occult. A Deal with the Devil turned him into a malevolent supernatural demon that possessed different people and compelled them to commit the murders, which explains why the police never managed to catch him. It's only after Sleepwalker confronts and imprisons Jack in the Mindscape that the murders finally stop.

    Film 
  • The Lodger, based on the novel of the same name and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Time After Time features H. G. Wells going forward in time to stop Jack the Ripper in 1970s San Francisco. Jack fits in a bit better than Wells does:
    Jack the Ripper: "Ninety years ago I was a freak. Today I'm an amateur."
  • Historical In-Joke (albeit an anachronistic one) in Shanghai Knights. The reason the killings stopped? Jack tried to victimize Chon Lin and...
    Jack the Ripper: Nice night for a walk.
    Chon Lin kicks his ass and dumps him in the river.
    Chon Lin: (in Chinese) <FUCKING LOSER!!!>
  • The villain of Red Eye is named Jackson Rippner, and even does a Lampshade Hanging on his Meaningful Name.
  • A Study In Terror and Murder By Decree had people decide to pull out the big guns and had the world's most notorious serial killer hunted by the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.
  • Amazon Women on the Moon features an In Search Of... spoof that suggests that Jack the Ripper was really... the Loch Ness Monster.
  • The horror movie Ripper: Letter From Hell is about a study group of Ripperology students with the same initials as each of the victims, who are killed off one by one by a copycat.
  • Edge of Sanity, starring Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame, claims that the Ripper was actually Edward Hyde.
    • As does the Hammer Horror Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Well, a Jill the Ripper.
  • It is subtly implied in the new Sherlock Holmes film that Lord Blackwood was the Ripper, or was at least involved somehow.
  • From Hell, (loosely) based on Alan Moore's same-named graphic novel. Inspector Abberline, played by Johnny Depp, gradually uncovers a complicated conspiracy behind the murders (involving the Royal Family, natch.)
  • G.W. Pabst's 1929 film Pandora's Box has Jack The Ripper turn up at the end to kill Louise Brooks' character after first seeming willing to spare her.
  • An unproduced script for a Doctor Who motion picture had the Doctor defeat an alien Jack the Ripper.
  • Doctor Strangelove featured General Jack D. Ripper, an unhinged Wing Commandernote  who would become the Trope Namer for General Ripper after single-handedly starting World War III.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), it's mentioned that Aberline was in charge of the Ripper case before being assigned to Blackmoor. Historically, he was.

    Literature 
  • The Lodger by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes has a serial killer called "The Avenger". Although his MO is toned down, the killings and the panicked public reaction are clearly based on the Ripper.
  • "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper", a short story by Robert Bloch.
    • Bloch later wrote another story about Jack the Ripper, titled "A Toy for Juliette". Harlan Ellison wrote a sequel to that story, "The Prowler in the City at the End of the World". Both stories were first printed in the Dangerous Visions anthology.
    • Bloch also wrote two novels about the Ripper: The Will to Kill (1954) and Night of the Ripper (1984).
  • There is an entire cottage industry built around non-fiction "true crime" books identifying the Ripper. Over 200 such books have been published, and most of them identify wildly different people as the Ripper.
    • One of the more notable was The Diary of Jack the Ripper, supposedly written by one James Maybrick, a middle-class merchant type (who was himself subsequently, and famously, murdered by his wife Florrie) and later 'discovered' under some floorboards in the early 1990s. Now largely discredited, it nevertheless caused a huge sensation at the time.
  • In Shadowrun: Streets of Blood, the main characters encounter a crazed serial killer who is actually a clone of Jack the Ripper. Over the course of the story the characters solve the mystery of who the original ripper was.
    • That's what the antagonists want them to think. In reality, the Killer's psychosis was the result of severe conditioning. And the people who cloned him had no idea who the real Ripper was, they just cloned the person that would fit into their schemes to discredit the monarchy.
      • Which is rather stupid, as it's an open secret that the reigning British monarch in Shadowrun goblinized decades ago, and was quietly dethroned along with all the other goblinized royals, to hide the fact that the bloodline is rife with troll genes. If that didn't discredit the monarchy, to bigots and haters of bigotry alike, who's going to care about some cheesy old knife murders?
    • Also referenced in the Shadowrun short story "Whitechapel Rose", whose eccentric decker protagonist patterns his online persona on Jack the Ripper.
  • Bertolt Brecht's Author Tract Threepenny Novel identifies the Villain Protagonist Macheath with Jack the Ripper.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny features Jack's dog as the main character. In the novel Jack is a magic-user, actually on the side of good and kills to obtain the materials to stop an eldritch armageddon and/or when affected by his curse.
  • Terry Moore's Molly and Poo short stories feature the Ripper.
  • A Study in Terror (see above) had a novelisation by Ellery Queen that included Ellery himself as a character in the framing story.
    • Many novels have Sherlock Holmes going up against the Ripper mystery. One, Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, is notable for the Ripper being Holmes himself, when he's subsumed by his alternate personality, Professor Moriarty.
  • One of Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin detective stories is about the titular nineteenth century sleuth catching Jack the Ripper. This particular version of Jack the Ripper is a Russian who came to Britain and then left back home (he's caught in Moscow).
  • The Michael Slade novel Ripper describes a series of occult-themed murders in 1990s Vancouver (investigated by Slade's fictional elite task force Special X) which are revealed over the course of the novel to be directly inspired by/copied from the Ripper murders by way of Aleister Crowley (!), thus advancing an occult-motivated theory of the original crimes (and postulating an identity for the Ripper himself).
    • Note that it doesn't conclusively state who the Ripper was, only who Crowley's followers and the novel's own killers think he was. The "Ripper's Trunk" could've been yet another example of Crowley's theatrics.
  • Anno Dracula by Kim Newman follows the investigation of the Ripper murders in an alternate history where Count Dracula married Queen Vicky and became ruler of England.
  • The Warhammer spin-off novel Beasts in Velvet by Jack Yeovil (actually Kim Newman again) features the Warhammer universe's version of the Ripper murders, investigated by the Warhammer universe's version of Dirty Harry. (It's better than it sounds.)
  • In the Philip Jose Farmer's novel A Feast Unknown, Jack the Ripper is the father of the two heroes Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban (expies of Tarzan and Doc Savage, respectively).
  • The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Matrix has the Doctor's Enemy Without the Valeyard become the Ripper, in order to feed the Dark Matrix, a Gallifreyan AI containing all the evil of the Time Lords. This creates an Alternate Universe where the Matrix becomes the "Spirit of Jack the Ripper" and exerts a baleful influence over Britain into the 20th century.
  • The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray has a character named Stitch-Face. He's a serial killer who has murdered several women, before removing their tongues, eyes and kidneys, and in cases where he's interrupted he kills again shortly after in the same place- although some of the cases are the work of a copycat and part of something darker. Did I mention that this guy aids the protagonist and is ultimately instrumental in stopping the return of the local malevolent evil?
  • Jack the Ripper shows up in the 1888 segments of Final Destination: Destination Zero. Turns out he died when Death caused him to be crushed and ground up in the mechanisms of a bridge.
  • Paul West's novel The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper focuses on the Ripper's targets.
  • Dacre Stoker's and Ian Holt's Dracula the Un-dead proposes that the Ripper was not just a vampire, but a lesbian vampire—specifically, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, quite undead.
  • The Peculiar Mating Habits of Wasps is a story in which Watson notices that Sherlock Holmes has no alibi for the nights of the Ripper murders, and begins to suspect foul play. As evidence mounts, Watson finally follows Sherlock only to find out that Holmes has indeed been behind the slayings and the prostitutes had all been approached by the same client: a man infected by an alien creature which was controlling him, using the prostitutes as incubators for its eggs. Holmes had been following it and killing the larvae, explaining the mutilations. The story ends with the whole affair taken care of, with an obligatory title drop.
  • The Monstrumologist: Dr. John Kearns is actually the Ripper.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book features a self-fulfilling prophecy set in motion by the murder of a family by one of the "Jacks-of-all-trades." While the murders maintain no similarity to the actual Ripper slayings, canonical or apocryphal, the name is a shout out, since in every conversation among them the killers refer to one another as "Jack."
  • One of the Jakub Wędrowycz stories shows that the protagonist was Jack the Ripper. He accidentally travelled back in time to the nineteenth-century London, and the key to the time machine fell into a bowl of soup in a house inhabited by Time Police androids masquerading as prostitutes, seconds before dinner time.
  • In the Secret Histories series by Simon R. Green, Mr. Stab performed several gruesome human sacrifices in Victorian Whitechapel in order to obtain immortality. It worked, but this form of immortality had consequences for which he was not prepared.
  • A central character in the later books of Time Scout.
  • Fate/Apocrypha, a spin-off Light Novel of Fate/stay night, features Jack the Ripper as an Assassin-class Servant whose master is a prostitute. Jack the Ripper is also a skimpily-dressed teenaged girl.
  • Another Fate spin-off, Fate/strange fake, features Jack the Ripper as a Berserker-class Servant.
  • Gordon Korman's kids' trilogy about the Titanic has the Ripper stowing away aboard the ill-fated ship. He dies after the ship sinks.
  • Brazilian-born comedian Jô Soares wrote O Xangô de Baker Street, where it was implied Jack the Ripper moved to England from Brazil, where he left victims Holmes failed to connect to the killer.
  • Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson, by Lyndsay Faye. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Original Series — In the episode "Wolf in the Fold", which postulates that the Ripper was, (and is, and will be), actually an immortal Energy Being that feeds on the biological signatures of human fear (especially fear from women) called Redjac. Adapted by Robert (Psycho) Bloch from his short story, noted above.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker — In the original series episode "The Ripper".
  • Babylon 5 — In the episode "Comes the Inquisitor", the inquisitor Sebastian is revealed to be Jack the Ripper, cryogenically preserved by the Vorlons and revived when needed. An earlyish hint that the Vorlons might not be as good as they want the younger races to think.
    Sebastian: In the pursuit of my holy cause, I... did things. Terrible things. Unspeakable things. The world condemned me... but it didn't matter, because I believed I was right and the world was wrong! I believed I was the divine messenger! I believed I was-
    Sheridan: Chosen?
    Sebastian: I was found by the Vorlons. They showed me the terrible depth of my mistake. My crimes. My presumption. I have done four hundred years of penance in their service; a job for which they said I was ideally suited. Now... perhaps... they will finally let me die.
    Sebastian: Good luck to you in your holy cause, Captain Sheridan. May your choices have better results than mine. Remembered not as a messenger, remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Sebastian... Remembered only... as Jack."
    • A typo in the script led to Sheridan saying that Jack the Ripper was active in the West End rather than the East End; unfortunately, as the camera was focused on his face at the time, the subsequent dub to have him say East rather than West was extremely obvious.
  • The Outer Limits — In the Revival episode "Ripper". Although Jack is never the Ripper, he's just framed for it by the entity due to stumbling upon one of the murders and then trying to unravel the mystery.
    • Double points by having "the Ripper" entity taking over David Warner's character. Warner played Jack the Ripper in Time After Time.
  • Special Unit 2 — Jack turns out to be an ogre, but one entirely unlike Shrek.
  • Sanctuary — Jack the Ripper is given the name John Druitt (after Montague Druitt, one of the real-life leading suspects for the murders), is the villain of the pilot and Sanctuary head Helen Magnus' former fiancée. He later reappears as an ally, minus the insanity that caused him to murder...Maybe.
    • And it was later revealed that the insanity was not, as first thought, caused by brain damage from his teleporting ability, but rather was the result of his body being invaded by a malicious energy creature in a Shout-Out to the above Star Trek episode. His teleportation was what made him vulnerable to the energy creature, so the initial theory wasn't wrong, just incomplete.
  • A 2009 ITV drama called Whitechapel has someone re-creating the Ripper murders in 2008 London. More or less, as location filming problems and the changing geography of the city (most of the relevant streets have now gone in slum clearances) has meant some murders have moved location slightly, something noted by the characters. The first episode does have someone stabbed 39 times in line with the Martha Tabram murder (one of the non-canonical ones before the five), but survives when the one aimed for her heart glances off a rib.
    • For extra points, many of the characters have very similar names to the real life figures- although the lead detective's first name is changed as it was the same as a serving police officer, which is not allowed.
  • Psychoville featured Jack as 'the one who was nevered captured' as a part of David's hallucination while in a waxworks museum full of serial killers. Then followed up with a creepy mucical number.
  • In Goodnight Sweetheart (a time-travel sitcom in which only certain people can time travel between the 1940s and 1990s by walking up a street in London) at one point Gary walks up it the wrong way from the 1940s and ends up in the 1890s. It emerges that Jack the Ripper was also a time traveller, and simply hid from the police in a different time. His disappearance is explained when he pursues Gary to the 1990s and is promptly run over by a bus.
  • Parodied by The Two Ronnies in their The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town series of sketches, written by Spike Milligan (as you can immediately tell from the Goon-esque title).
  • On Smallville, when the immortal Curtis Knox attempts to dissect Chloe for the concentration of Kryptonite near her heart, she calls him a "Jack the Ripper wannabe". Knox nonchalantly responds, "I was Jack the Ripper."
    • It's also heavily implied that his true identity is Vandal Savage.
  • On Peep Show, Butt Monkey Mark is offered a chance to give historical tours of London — he does a Ripper Walk with reluctance but eventually gets into character and enjoys it. This being Peep Show, it doesn't last.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries, Murdoch pursues a Toronto serial killer widely believed to be Jack the Ripper, with the assistance of a Scotland Yard detective who investigated the Whitechapel murders. The detective is revealed to be the Ripper, and is stabbed to death by Doctor Ogden when he attacks her in the morgue.
  • The Doctor Who episode "A Good Man Goes to War" reveals what put a stop to his killing spree - a Silurian detective named Vastra ate him. Apparently he was stringy.
  • The Hitcher in The Mighty Boosh is a Card-carrying Victorian Cockney who boasts about teaching Jack the Ripper everything he knew.
  • In The Collector, Jack the Ripper turns out to be a woman who sold her soul to the Devil for the power to turn into a man in order to kill without being caught. Specifically, Jack's last victim, Mary Kelly, was the Ripper.
  • Forever Knight portrayed the Ripper as a vampire who was somehow tainted, even as a human, so LaCroix was unable to finish draining him. He ordered Nick to kill him, but Nick did not, and the man went on to become Jack the Ripper. Later, he traveled around and was responsible for a number of other serial killer cases. He is eventually killed in a fire after attempting to attack Natalie in a car.
  • Criminal Minds, which regularly references real-life serial killers, has made several nods to the Ripper, including an episode centering around a gender-flipped reproduction of the murders carried out by a woman against male victims. There are also plenty of episodes featuring Jack the Ripoffs.
  • The Veil episode "Jack the Ripper" (1958) is a made-for-television film introduced by Boris Karloff, in which a clairvoyant identifies the Ripper as a respectable surgeon whose death has been faked to cover his incarceration in a lunatic asylum.
  • In an episode of The Twilight Zone from 1963 entitled "The New Exhibit", Martin Balsam plays the curator of a wax museum who becomes so obsessed by five wax figures of murderers, including Jack the Ripper, that he commits murder to protect them.
  • In the Cimarron Strip episode "Knife in the Wilderness", written by Harlan Ellison, Jack continues his work across America ending in Cimarron City where he meets his end at the hands of Indians.
  • In the Get Smart episode "House of Max", Jack the Ripper is an animated wax dummy.
  • In The Sixth Sense's "With Affection, Jack the Ripper" a man is driven mad during a paranormal experiment when he inhabits the body of Jack the Ripper.
  • A Fantasy Island episode, also titled "With Affection, Jack the Ripper", was written by the same writer as the episode of The Sixth Sense, Don Ingalls. Criminologist Lorraine Peters who uses a time portal to confirm her suspicion that Jack the Ripper was a doctor, Albert Fell. Fell follows her back through the portal, grabs Peters and takes her back to 1888, where the enigmatic Mr. Roarke intervenes fortuitously, and Fell dies moments later while fleeing.
  • In "A Rip in Time", the first episode of Timecop, a timetravelling cop travels back to 1888 to catch a criminal who has killed, and displaced, Jack the Ripper.
  • The 1973 series Jack the Ripper linked with the police drama Z Cars. The program featured Z Cars detectives Barlow and Watt investigating the murders from an historical perspective.
  • In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World's episode "The Knife", the explorers meet the two men blamed for the murders in Stephen Knight's royal conspiracy theory: Sir William Gull and Robert Anderson.
  • Ripper Street is set in Whitechapel in 1889, six months after the Ripper murders. The first episode sees detectives from London's H Division battle to solve murders they initially believe may have been committed by the infamous killer, but the conclusion prompts the chief inspector to resolve to move on from the Ripper case and focus on current cases. The seventh and eighth episodes see the department's medical examiner, Captain Homer Jackson, being framed for a new Ripper murder, but the team are able to prove his innocence.
  • The pilot of NBC's Dracula offhandedly mentions that the Ripper was a myth. The Order of the Dragon created him to cover up the murders committed by a vampire who'd been stalking the streets of London. They were the ones who sent the letters to the press and even mutilated the corpses so that no one could tell they'd been fed on.

    Music 
  • Screaming Lord Sutch's "Jack The Ripper", which has been covered by many other artists, including the Gruesomes, the White Stripes, and the Fuzztones.
  • Oddly enough, one without saying Jack The Ripper, Lordi's Blood Red Sandman, in which, Mr. Lordi claims to be Jack The Ripper by the way of using an alternative press nickname from the time, The Leather Apron.
  • Nick Cave did a song entitled "Jack The Ripper", which, ironically enough, is not a Murder Ballad.
  • Morrissey's "Jack The Ripper."
  • Iced Earth song "Jack" was inspired by Jack the Ripper.
  • There is a deathcore band called Whitechapel, named presumably in reference to the area in which the murders were carried out.
  • Thin Lizzy's "Killer on the Loose" makes many references to Jack the Ripper
  • "The Ripper" by Judas Priest
  • Motörhead
    • The song "Jack the Ripper" (from the album March ör Die) is about him coming back, hiding behind various disguises and one night appearing beside you in the night to claim your life.
    • Jack is alluded to in one verse of "Red Raw" (from the album Inferno), which is about crazy killers in general.
    Monster in the gaslight, shivers in the cold, looking for a bad girl
  • "jack-the-ripper◆" by sasakure.UK
  • Vernian Process: The Curse of Whitechapel.
  • Swedish Power Metal band, Falconer, features the song, "Jack The Knife" about dear ol' Jack.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Phantom: In "The Phantom as Sherlock" the Phantom becomes a Sherlock Holmes lookalike to catch Jack Hack. Hack's real name is Rumbelow, a Shout-Out to real life Ripper scholar Donald Rumbelow.

    Radio 
  • I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again did a sketch retelling the story of Jack the Ripper with Jack as a mysterious figure who rampaged around London ripping people's underwear off. They performed a revised version for their 25th anniversary show.
    Sergeant: We've got to stop him sir, the people are losing patience- and their knickers!
  • In the third episode of TAPS Para-radio, hosts Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters fame made light of the fact that one of the suspected Jack the Rippers, Aaron Kosminski, was a hairdresser.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting Ravenloft, the darklord Malken was an amalgam of Jack the Ripper and Mister Hyde: A serial killer who was the evil alter ego of Nova Vaasa's good-hearted ruler, Sir Tristen Hiregaard.
    • There is also a monster in the extraneous source book Cityscape, that is called a Ripper. Although it isn't human it is an obvious reference due to its ability to hide among humanity and serial killer nature.
    • Another domain, Paridon (a not-quite Victorian London setting— no gaslights and almost no firearms) has its very own Ripper, "Bloody Jack," who kills every 13 years. It's actually a series of non-human killers harvesting... something... for the domain's darklord.
    • And the domain of Invidia (at least in 2nd Edition) had the Midnight Slasher stalking the streets killing women who was actually female herself. The domain's then-darklord had an affair with her father, driving him to kill his wife and then himself. As a final act, the darklord then kissed the child (who had witnessed the deaths) on the forehead, driving her into madness and pathological hatred.
    • One of the included adventures in the Ravenloft expansion Masque of the Red Death had the heroes investigating the actual Ripper murders (on a more supernatural version of Earth). The killer turned out to be the deranged spirit of a doctor's dead wife possessing the bodies of homeless men.
  • Hunter: The Vigil has it that Jack the Ripper stopped killing (in a manner the public would notice) because he became a member of The Ashwood Abbey, who felt they could direct his darker impulses in more constructive directions (or rather, destruction directed towards the supernatural). This proved ineffective, as he repeatedly relapsed into killing innocents, though the Abbey tried to cover it up. They finally decided to do away with him, since even depraved, hedonistic, wealthy thrill-seekers have standards. They gave him the concession of not eating him, something he apparently did.
    • Death wasn't the end of Jack, though. When he died, he spawned a spirit of murder incarnate, who still stalks Britain to this day.
    • The folks at The Wraith Project made his knife into a Dark Artifact.
  • The default Mutants & Masterminds campaign setting has Jack-a-Knives, a Jack the Ripper interpretation as a possessing spirit.
  • Savage Worlds campaign setting "Rippers" features the Big Bad "Jack" who was one of the first Rippers. The Rippers get their name from their habit of ripping parts from monsters and implanting them into themselves . By the game's time, Jack is so deformed that he needs to rip human parts in order to survive.

    Theatre 
  • Frank Wedekind's play Pandora's Box has the protagonist Lulu finally dying as an East End prostitute, murdered by Jack, as described in the film section above.
  • Jill The Ripper is a play based around the theory that Jack The Ripper was a woman.

    Videogames 
  • In the 8-bit era, a Text Adventure called simply Jack The Ripper was released for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad CPC. It was the first game ever in the UK to be rated "18" by the British Board of Film Classification, due to its graphic murder scene images.
  • In the Knight's Court area of Marleybone in Wizard101, a (literal) cat burglar known as Jacques the Scratcher has been attacking and robbing (or "scratching" as they call it) local women, and Scotland Yard requests your help in tracking him down.
  • MediEvil 2 has a boss named "The Ripper" who runs around 1800s Whitechapel and kills prostitutes. You do the math. He kills Sir Dan's love interest, leading Dan into a 10-Minute Retirement... until he finds a time machine...
  • Arcanum has the 'Whytechurch Murderer', who prowls the streets of Caladon's Whytechurch district butchering prostitutes. The killer shares his body with a powerful demon, and is forced to murder for the demon's amusement.
  • The Virtual Boy game Jack Bros had an adorable Super-Deformed Jack the Ripper as one of the playable characters, along with Jack Frost and Jack O'Lantern.
    • This is a reference to Shin Megami Tensei where Jack Frost and Jack O'Lantern/Mad Jack are in nearly every game, and Jack the Ripper is their slightly-less-commonly-recurring "brother."
  • Shadowman had a plot about a demon called Legion gathering five serial killers and using magic to make them immortal as part of a plan to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Four of the killers were fictional but the fifth was Jack the Ripper, the game also reveals that Jack killed and dissected the women in the hopes of discovering their souls and the murders stopped after he followed Legion to a hellish afterlife to construct his Evil Tower of Ominousness. In the game he is portrayed as having a cockney accent, and a walking style similar to Mick Jagger's.
  • In the computer game adaptation of Space1889, you may encounter (and fight) Jack the Ripper while exploring London.
  • Sakuya Izayoi, of the Touhou series has a spellcard in Perfect Cherry Blossom and Imperishable Night called "Jack the Ripper." Appropriate, considering her attacks consist of throwing thousands upon thousands of knives at enemies. Her other spellcards in her boss appearance also have a "serial killer" theme, being called "Another Murder" or "Killer Doll".
    • When she's not making references with them. Illusion World [The World] anyone?
  • Jack from the Dreamcast fighting game, Power Stone, nicknamed "Jack the Slayer" is an insane and psychotic serial killer who takes delight in murdering people with a pair of knives and looting the corpses.
  • In the Adventure Game Wax Works, one of the scenarios has Jack the Ripper as the protagonist's demon-possessed twin brother. Your job is to hunt him down and kill him without getting caught by a lynch mob or the police.
  • In City of Heroes, a set of bones in the Atlas Park MAGI office are noted to have been housed in the British Museum during the Jack the Ripper killings, which stopped after the bones were placed under MAGI's care in Paragon City.
  • Fallout 3 contains chainsaw swords called Rippers, and one of them is a unique model called Jack.
  • The adventure game by Frogwares, Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper. Perhaps notable in that the player character collects evidence that positively identifies one (historical) person as the murderer (but he isn't arrested for it since the real killer was never caught). Many genuine suspects questioned by the police of the day are encountered along the way, and the game's designers incorporate real documents, physical evidence, and maps of the area from the actual Whitechapel investigation into the mystery.

    The in-game culprit is a vengeful Jewish butcher who'd contracted syphilis from a prostitute and passed it on to his family, leaving one of his sons disfigured. Rather than report him to the police and risk kicking off huge anti-Semitic riots, Holmes arranges for the Jewish community to quietly apprehend the man and keep him imprisoned until the disease finishes him off.
  • In World Heroes 2 Jet and Perfect, there's one character simply called "Jack". The game's based around Time Travel, so of course it's the Jack. He uses Freddy Krueger-esque claws and foot-mounted knives to battle, has a red mohawk, and tends to get a bit... messy. His intro pose shows him in Victorian-era garb, which he shreds.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow features an enemy called "Ripper", a recolor of the already annoying Fleaman who is turned into an actual threat by his troublesome habit of hurling knives.
  • A Vampyre Story mentions a "Jack the Gimper"-there's even an autographed photograph in the protagonist's bedroom. It's implied that you'll have to deal with him in the sequel.
  • The Metal Gear Solid series has Raiden (birth name Jack), whose skill relies heavily on blades, stealth, and speed. His alias during his past as an unusually skilled child soldier was Jack the Ripper.
    • In Raiden's spin-off game, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Sam and Monsoon manage to make Raiden realize that he's been using his self-proclaimed "heroic causes" as an excuse to avoid admitting to himself that he's been killing for the enjoyment of it. Once Raiden accepts his true nature, he is able to enter Ripper Mode, during which his attacks devastate enemy armor and he is able to slice through cuttable enemies without entering Blade Mode. Also he glows red and laughs psychotically.
  • In 1996, there was a Full Motion Video game called Ripper. Taking place in the future, the killer involved was clearly ripping off Jack in every way except the victims: instead of 'hos, the new Ripper was killing former members of a video game club. From cyberspace.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood features Malfatto, a corrupt doctor who is basically Italian Renaissance Jack The Ripper in all but name.
  • Jack the Ripper appears in the Nintendo 64 game Duke Nukem: Zero Hour as a boss during the 1800s London levels. However, he's treated as a throwaway boss character and nothing more. Still, the game shows that Jack was stopped by a time-traveling Duke Nukem.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness features a monster class named Lantern, a scarecrow with a few special attacks with "Jack" in their name, including "Jack The Ripper". The fourth tier is even named "Jack".
  • The planned but never released Fate/stay night Spin-Off computer game named Fate/Apocrypha has Jack the Ripper as an Assassin-class Servant. Although never released, various details and character designs were released in Fate/complete material IV Extra material. The Nasuverse's version of Jack in her mortal life was an orphan girl abandoned by her prostitute mother; as a servant, her twin Noble Phantasms conjure up the concealing smog of Victorian London and (under specific conditions) disembowel an assassination target in imitation of her murders. The unused Fate/Apocrypha material has been turned into a series of stories, and the plot (Or at least, the plot of the first and as-of-now only chapter) focuses on Jack the Ripper. She is summoned as a servant by a man named Hyoma Sagara, who tries to use a prostitute named Reika Rikudo as sacrifice for the summoning ritual. Ironically, Reika's pleas for help is what triggers the summoning, and Jack imprints with her rather than Hyoma, and sees her as her master, to the point of cutting Hyoma's hand and passing the Command Seals in it to Reika.
  • One of the cases in Floor 13 features young women being gruesomely murdered in the docklands area and a member of the Royal Family as a prime suspect.
  • Fallen London has "Jack-of-Smiles" an obvious Expy of Jack the Ripper, although Jack-of-Smiles is rather more supernatural, being as he can Body Surf. Every so often, someone commits a Jack murder or two and is either killed or detained. The player may investigate this, and eventually discover that Jack is the knives. Knives made in a specific workshop in Polythreme occasionally possess people holding them, turning them into Jacks, at least until they drop the knife. The player is then given the choice of destroying the workshop, ending Jack forever or learning the truth of who created it: The Masters, naturally, as part of a failed experiment that they'd prefer ended but were too lazy to deal with. The player may also (if they pay Fate) temporarily BECOME Jack.
  • In the game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a Chocolate Frog reveals that Jack the Ripper was actually a vampire named Herbert Varney and he was slain in early 1889 after a specially-trained Ministry task-force was sent after him.
  • Jack the Ripper appears in the Sega platform game Master of Darkness, where he is revealed to be an animated wax doll upon defeat.
  • In Splatterhouse, Dr. Henry West became the mysterious Jack the Ripper after a series of murders he committed, as he claimed to be "bored" while in London.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Everyman HYBRID gives us the villainous HABIT, an entity capable of Demonic Possession. He has implicitly admitted to have been Jack the Ripper, as well as several others throughout history.

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Trials of the Demon!" was apparently based on the Ripper murders (made Lighter and Softer so as to be allowed in such a show) with the Ripper replaced with the Gentleman Ghost and the murders substituted with reversible "soul stealing". The story had Batman in his Gotham By Gaslight costume, and Whitechapel is actually mentioned. Sherlock Holmes gets thrown in for good measure.
  • On the X-Men episode "Descent", a man implied to be the Ripper showed up in the employ of Nathaniel Essex, he who would become Mr. Sinister.
    • Additionally, Sinister refers to him as "Jack" and also takes credit for giving him life.
  • Had Spider-Man: The Animated Series been renewed for a sixth season, there would've been a story arc in which Carnage would be sent to Victorian London through a dimensional wormhole and would commit the Ripper murders (Offscreen, obviously.)
  • In The Simpsons episode "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind", Chief Wiggum asks sarcastically to a fleeing Homer, "Well then, if you know everything, who was Jack the Ripper?" to which Homer replies "The Queen's private surgeon". Chief Wiggum has only one response, "Wow."
  • In Family Guy, Quagmire, somewhat unsurprisingly, was Jack the Ripper in a past life.
  • Jack the Ripper shows up briefly in Futurama when the virtual reality program Kif and Amy are in malfunctions.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Chris hires Jack the Ripper for a challenge in which the contestants have to catch him to win. It's really Ezekiel in a costume.
  • In the time travel episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, Johnny and Nick witnessed Sherlock Holmes fight Jack the Ripper. Sherlock Holmes won (accidently), only after Jack murdered Watson.

    Real Life 
  • In February 2010, in the Dutch city of Lelystad, a serial stabber was nicknamed "Jack de Prikker" (Jack the Stabber) by Dutch media.
  • Serial killer Jack the Stripper was named after the original.
  • A number of other serial killers have been known as "...Ripper" in reference to Jack, most notoriously Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper" of the 1970s.
  • Jackson Pollock's paintings earned him the sardonic nickname "Jack the Dripper."
  • The Other Wiki devotes a whole article to the nearly 30 individuals who have been seriously proposed as suspects for the Whitechapel murders, with varying degrees of plausibility. Apparently it might be anyone from a Vast Conspiracy to... Lewis Carroll?


Headless HorsemanIndex of Gothic Horror TropesMummy
Jack the RipoffCriminalsJapanese Delinquents
    Victorian LondonJekyll & Hyde
Ishida MitsunariHistorical-Domain CharacterGrand Vizier Jafar
Invincible VillainVillainsJackass Genie
Isaac NewtonUseful NotesJacques Cousteau
From HellImageSource/Live-Action FilmsFull Metal Jacket

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