Denis Meikle

Born: 1947 | Birthplace: Glasgow | Educated: Alleyn's School | Spouse: Jane | Children: Sarah, James | Resident: East Sussex

Published works: A HISTORY OF HORRORS-The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer (1996), JACK THE RIPPER-The Murders and the Movies (2001), VINCENT PRICE-The Art of Fear (2002), JOHNNY DEPP-A Kind of Illusion (2004), THE RING COMPANION (2006), ROMAN POLANSKI-Odd Man Out (2007), MR MURDER-The Life and Times of Tod Slaughter (2019) |

Revised editions: A HISTORY OF HORRORS-large format (2011), MERCHANT OF MENACE-The Life and Films of Vincent Price (2015), ROMAN POLANSKI-The Horror Films (2016), HAMMER-The Haunted House of Horror (2018) |

Contributor to: The Dark Side magazine, Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine

JACK THE RIPPER-The Murders and the Movies

Reynolds & Hearn

JACK the Ripper-The Murders and the Movies came about over a lunch with Marcus Hearn, one half of the newly-formed publishing imprint Reynolds & Hearn and former editor of Hammer Horror, for which I was a regular contributor. I had just been commissioned to write a piece for Fangoria magazine, entitled 'Featuring Jack the Ripper', which was intended to coincide with the upcoming release of the Johnny Depp-Ripper thriller From Hell, and I had mentioned it to Marcus. 'Do you think there's a book in that?' he asked. It was not something I'd considered, despite having been offered to suggest a project for R&H, but I weighed up the possibility: I had studied the Whitechapel Murders for many years, partly out of prurient interest and partly because I'd tried, and failed, to write a novel about the life of Jack's alleged last victim, Mary Jane Kelly, entitled 'Ratcliffe Highway'. (I eventually decided that novel-writing was not my forte!) Contrasting the real facts (and myths) about the case, as well as the numerous theories about the identity of the pseudonymous 'Jack', with the many variants on same which had been put on the screen for some eighty-odd years did hold appeal, and I agreed to go ahead - particularly as the proposed book was to be profusely illustrated.
      From Hell flopped at the box office, but Jack the Ripper-The Murders and the Movies did moderately well. The book was launched in an upstairs room of the 'Ten Bells' pub in Whitechapel, a Victorian watering-hole that had, until recently, remained unchanged from the days when it was frequented by Jack's victims. It fell to author and Ripperologist Paul Begg to graciously do the honours on behalf of R&H and myself and introduce the assembly to the venue and its history.

 Listening to the introductions...                                                                        Marcus Hearn and DM                                                                                     Paul Begg and DM