When I was working on my first project (Monster Rally) with the dark and twisted souls over at Idea Men Productions, they approached me about contributing Forewords to some of their future classic film adaptation releases. This past month, the first of these was finally released, Stuart James’ novelization of the Jimmy Sangster screenplay for 1959 film Jack the Ripper.
While the best part of writing about films is watching them, researching the film always runs a close second. It is easy enough to enjoy the cinematography or performances of a film, but often the true appreciation comes from discover the struggles the filmmakers went through, the behind-the-scenes politics that shaped the production, and the outside sources that indirectly inspired and influenced the film.
Of course, sometimes following the influences of a film on other cultural products can be equally rewarding. In the case of Jack the Ripper, my research led me to an obscure British heavy metal band that performed a particular song, based on a poem penned in the early sixties, that seemed to have been directly inspired by the events portrayed in Jack the Ripper. Members of the band that I managed to contact could not recall a direct link to the film, but a copy of the original poem that inspired the song made the connection all the more apparent.
Sometimes you have to edit out facts to keep a piece short and sweet, but this bizarre side story became so relevant to inherent theme of my Foreword that I had to include it. Of course, this inclusion drastically increased the length of the piece, and so this is why my first Foreword contribution to Idea Men productions ended up as an Afterword.
Then again, when it comes to opening acts, you can’t do any better than the Whitechapel Slasher.
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