The Victims

  • Clare Smith
Part of the Crime Files book series (CF)


I have argued that in films about Jack the Ripper it is the Ripper himself who is the most powerful screen presence. In the screen hierarchy of Ripper films the Ripper is first, then the detective and last the victims, the women who in the words of Clive Bloom ‘exist to scream and die’. This may appear callous but from a narrative perspective this is what the victims need to do to drive the film forward, especially in serial-killer narratives when for the audience the point is often to get to the next murder. In this way I argue that the victim’s murders can be compared to the structure of porn films, the murder is the ‘money shot’ and this is the place that the audience need to be taken to as soon as possible. This is why for the majority of Ripper films the victims only appear briefly, with no back story and are dead within seconds of appearing on screen.


Screen Time Female Genitalia Serial Killer Maternal Role Narrative Perspective 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wales: Trinity St. DavidUK

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