• Knife For The Ladies (Umbrella Entertainment) DVD Review



    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: July 6th, 2017.
    Director: Larry G. Spangler
    Cast: Jack Elam, Ruth Roman, Jeff Cooper, John Kellogg, Gene Evans, Diane Ewing
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    Knife For The Ladies – Movie Review:

    "WARNING! When the ripper slashes - grab your throats and pray!"

    A Knife For The Ladies, also known as Jack The Ripper Goes West, takes place in Mescal, a small town in the American southwest. It opens with a scene where a man finishes his business in bed with a lady. He gets dressed and splits, while she rolls around looking sexy for a little while… until someone comes into the room and puts a knife to her throat! This woman was a prostitute, and she won’t be the first one to die under the killer’s blade.

    Enter a private investigator named Burns (Jeff Cooper). Since one of the maniac’s more recent victims just so happened to be the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the area, he’s been hired by those in charge to head on into Mescal and set things right. Meanwhile, scruffy Sheriff Jarrod (Jack Elam) does what he can to try and figure out the killer’s identity and bring him to justice. Both men hope to find the killer before he can strike again, but Jarrod is none too happy to have Burns skulking about on his home turf. Eventually, enough new victims appear, leading the two men to form an uneasy alliance – but will it be enough?

    “Hang him! Shoot him! Bury him! Nothing can stop him!”

    A genuinely weird mix of western movie tropes and slasher/giallo clichés, Knife For The Ladies isn’t always good but it is always interesting and never less than entertaining. Clearly made on a low budget, the cinematography isn’t always so polished and the score is a little out of place. It’s a clunky film to be sure, but it’s got a moderate amount of exploitative content in it, killings and nudity mainly, to keep genre fans intrigued. It’s very much a product of its time, it has that weird seventies B-movie vibe to it and is talkier than it needs to be, but yeah…. there’s something here to hold your interest.

    That said, Jeff Cooper, of The Born Losers and Circle Of Iron, is not a good lead. He looks way out of place, his shaggy hairstyle making him look more like a member of The Bay City Rollers than an old timey western town detective. He’s amusing to watch, but he isn’t good. Jack Elam, on the other hand, plays the surly, hard-drinking sheriff perfectly. His performance is as wild-eyed and wonky as you’d hope from the instantly recognizable weirdo and the movie is all the better for having him in it. Also be on the lookout for Ruth Roman (of Strangers On A Train and a few hundred TV appearances) in a supporting part and Diane Ewing, famous for playing a hot chick named Drozine in the original run of Star Trek in a small part.

    Knife For The Ladies – DVD Review:

    Once upon a time a semi-tattered print was transferred to tape and that tape appears to be what was used for Umbrella’s DVD transfer. Framed at 1.66.1 widescreen, colors are faded, detail is soft and print damage is common. Minor compression artifacts also pop in here and there. That said, it’s watchable, just not great. Code Red released this on Blu-ray a few years back, that transfer is likely better than this one.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is soft and occasionally a bit muffled but it’s audible enough. The levels are balanced and the dialogue is easy enough to follow, even if this isn’t perfect. There are no alternate language or subtitle options offered on the disc.

    There are no extras on the disc, not even a trailer.

    Knife For The Ladies – The Final Word:

    Knife For The Ladies is a wonderfully weird horror/western hybrid. Yeah, it’s clunky in spots and there are some obvious missteps in the writing, the directing and the acting but if nothing else, this odd little genre mashup is seriously entertaining.