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Film / The Limehouse Golem

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Before the Ripper, fear had another name.

The Limehouse Golem is a 2016 British Historical Detective Fiction film.

It's 1880, and a plague of mysterious murders has gripped London in fear. The crimes are noted for their brutality and seeming randomness. Due to certain calling cards, the killer has been dubbed the Limehouse Golem. It's up to a Scotland Yard detective to stop the madness.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Lizzie's mother was so abusive that her response to her daughter being raped is to burn her genitals with a hot poker.
  • Acquitted Too Late: Played with. It is 'revealed' John Cree is the Golem, which would have spared Lizzie hanging for his murder....except he wasn't. Lizzie is, and she wanted it to be revealed so she could achieve the fame she hungered for.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Asexuality: Lizzie has zero interest in sex, to the point of letting her husband sleep with other women.
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  • Big Bad: Lizzie Cree is the killer.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Golem's rampage is stopped, and Lizzie hangs for her crimes without achieving the fame she craved. However, the Golem manages a last post-mortem 'fuck you' to a rival that results in her death and Kildare is so traumatized he retires.
  • Bondage Is Bad: The only character who expresses interest in BDSM is a sleazy theatre troupe boss who threatens to fire women if they don't beat him.
  • Catchphrase: The line "Here we are again!" is found written in the Golem's diary. As it is also Dan Leno's catchphrase, this throws suspicion on him, although as Kildaire notes, everyone in London seems to be familiar with Leno's act.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Golem likes to taunt the police with messages in Latin claiming the public are just as guilty as the murderer for being fascinated by the murders.
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  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The misogyny of Victorian England is laid bare in this film.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Little Victor, a fellow member of Lizzie's acting troupe, is a giant pervert who sexually harasses all the female performers.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The Golem's initial victims are prostitutes, which results in the murders being taken perhaps less seriously than they should until the killer graduates.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Golem tends to answer any slight with violent murder.
  • Domestic Abuse: John Cree seems like a great person, but he's known to be a white knight only concerned with his reputation, and is an emotionally abusive rapist in his private life. Maybe. See Unreliable Narrator below.
  • Fame Through Infamy: The Golem's murders are motivated by a desire for fame. It doesn't work, as Inspector Killdare destroys her confession and leaves her to hang for supposedly killing the real Golem.
  • Freudian Excuse: Subverted. Lizzie Cree was raped as a child, physically abused by her mother when she found out, had her acting career ruined by malicious coworkers, was sexually harassed by her boss and got married to an emotionally abusive rapist. However, none of this had anything to do with her killings, which were motivated entirely by a desire for fame.
  • Historical Domain Character: Karl Marx is considered as a suspect in the killings, but quickly exonerated. George Gissing and Dan Leno were also real life people.
  • Karma Houdini: The dockworker who rapes Lizzie as a child gets away scot free and is never seen again after his scene.
  • Predecessor Villain: As the film is set before even Jack the Ripper, the only knowledge our heroes have about serial killers is based on John Williams, the Real Life committer of the Ratcliff Highway murders from 60 years before. The Golem also cites Williams as an inspiration.
  • Slasher Smile: The Golem wears one when cornering a woman and her child, adding "Here we are again!" for good measure.
  • The Sociopath: Lizzie Cree, who murders various prostitutes and frames her husband so she can be exposed and receive Fame Through Infamy.
  • Unreliable Narrator: with the reveal that Lizzie is the Golem, her letters and recollections are thrown greatly in doubt.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Golem happily butchers children.


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