Episode 97. No Future: Jack the Ripper in The Lodger (1927) and From Hell (2001)

The fog of Victorian London settles on Alex and Andrea as they dive into “Ripperology”: the facts, fiction and shadow cast by Jack the Ripper over our culture. By examining how the figure is depicted in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger and The Hughes Brothers’ From Hell, we can begin to untangle the history of more than one problematic man involved in creating their own mythology.



The Lodger: A Story of London Fog. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927.
From Hell. Dir. The Hughes Brothers, 2001.


The Lodger. Marie Belloc Lowndes’ novella.
From Hell. Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s iconic graphic novel.
London: A Biography. Peter Ackroyd’s seminal book on a sprawling city with an even bigger history.
The “Lodger Evil” and the Transformation of Progressive Housing Reform, 1890–1930. An in-depth look at the lodging house boom of the turn of the century.
Rule, Britannia!: The Biopic and British National Identity. An examination of how popular British figures have shaped the country’s film output.
“Murder for a Penny: Jack the Ripper and the Structural Impact of Sensational Reporting” by A. Luxx Mishou – the history of sensational reporting and its role in Jack’s reign of terror.
“Jack the Ripper, the dialectic of enlightenment and the search for spiritual deliverance in White Chappell” by Alex Murray – how Jack contributed to Horkheimer and Adorno’s dialectic of enlightenment.


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4 thoughts on “Episode 97. No Future: Jack the Ripper in The Lodger (1927) and From Hell (2001)

  1. Cathy Polovina says:

    Fascinating as usual- might note however, in detailing the rise of the sensational ‘penny press’ in England. The origins actually go back to New York. City ( f.i. The Sun, The Herald) almost 50 years earlier- use of large text headlines, tabloid size, ads, illustrations- penny price and especially, true crime and hoaxes. So working class entertainment began much closer to the beginning of the industrial revolution. Of course Jack has to be the biggest story on either side of the Atlantic!

  2. Diana West says:

    Totally enjoyed the session. Have been fascinated with the Ripper Mythology most of my life and all the forms it takes. So particularly enjoyed the part media played in elevating good old Jack! I’d be intrigued if you both turned your great brains to how media plays in promoting the stories of today (which may become the horror myths of tomorrow). We have the Lodger recorded for watching this week and am looking forward to it now that it has Andrea’s seal of approval. I did enjoy Time After Time as Alex noted but I was always fascinated with the inventiveness of the script writers using Jack in yet another variation. Also, taking the Jack the Ripper tour with a 10 year old Alex was great fun! There was one apartment building still standing where Jack had left a bloody handprint (if I remember correctly) and Alex determined she was going to move to London England and live in that building! Anyway, totally enjoyed the podcast (as always).

  3. THis was another jam-packed episode. I so appreciate the level of prep you both do to record these. There is not a wasted second in the show! I intend to watch “THE LODGER” this week. I was fascinated that William Gull was a suspect in some circles. As a psychologist, I learned he is often credited with being the first physician to use the label “Anorexia Nervosa” in 1868. Upon further research, the psychological community decided he should not be credited with it as he used it in a glib, pejoratie statement about women. Recalling this, my brain thought “Hmmm . . . a misogynistic physician makes a good suspect.” However, my brain and I sadly agree that being misogynistic in the 19th centruy was a sad norm among Great Britain’s “ruling class.” I also came away wondering if you would ever consider doing an episode on “Horror and Sex Workers.” That would be a ripe topic!

  4. Paul Mudie says:

    I realise that I’m very late with this response, but I just listened to the podcast and felt I had to mention the excellent 2019 book, ‘The Five – The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper’ by Halle Rubenhold. It does something I’ve been waiting years to see – it shifts the focus from the Ripper, whoever he might have been, to the victims. Guess what? It turns out that most of them weren’t even sex workers, at least not in a regular capacity. It was just assumed that they were at the time (and mostly has been ever since), because they were destitute women who were out on the streets of Whitechapel in the wee small hours and were therefore easy prey for the slimy rat who killed them.

    Anyway, apologies if you’ve already been made aware of the book but if not, I heartily recommend it.

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