Hellevision: Whitechapel Review by Ghost Writer Nightshade Nash

Since Gores Truly is femme-driven – we’re big advocates for chicks and horror and want to give our XX-chromosome readers a chance to contribute to the horror-fest we adore. The following article by Nightshade Nash has been Murder-Her approved.

“BBC Series Whitechapel – Horror, Crime, History, and Drama”


It’s been noted by more than one person that I may have a slight obsession with British television. I’m particularly fond of crime dramas ranging from Sherlock to Copper.  As I tend to work strange hours in my art studio and prefer to have some kind of background noise on, I usually comb through the BBC offerings on Netflix and Amazon to find something to help me fill the void of silence while I create. I’ll usually then binge-watch pretty much every episode available, which is precisely what I did when I stumbled upon Whitechapel. I chose it quite simply because it was from the BBC, listed as crime drama and was clearly something about one of London’s most notorious sectors which I had studied in college. What I didn’t realize was that I’d lose my ability to work because this fascinating take on a crime drama would have such heavy horror overtones that it would capture my attention completely.

Historically, Whitechapel is known for Jack the Ripper. The Ripper was the most horrific serial killer of his time, preying on the prostitutes of London’s East End. There were five officially recognized victims, brutally murdered in 1888. The Ripper was never caught or identified which adds to the mystery and speculation. This crime series opens with a Ripper copycat. It follows the history and the horror of these crimes as modern-day Detective Inspector Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) takes over the case, tries to unify his skeptical crew of detectives, and follows the historic case in an attempt to predict the actions of the modern killer at large. He brings in a ‘Ripperologist’ who not only assists in the case but becomes a valuable asset to the unit, creating an archive of historical horrific crimes not only from Whitechapel, but all over the world. DI Chandler believes that the key to solving the current string of brutal crimes in London’s East End is in understanding and finding the connections from the past.

I wouldn’t normally put a crime drama into the horror genre, but this one was different. The storytelling is incredibly suspenseful and the imagery from the historical cases and the connections to the modern crimes is vividly graphic. One episode even heavily centers on the classic and famously lost Lon Chaney horror film London After Midnight.  Overall the writing is solid and the character development drew me in. The nuances of the demons the main characters face as they investigate some of Whitechapel’s most ruthless crimes adds depth to the already layered drama of the historical and modern. The result is a macabre brutality and realism that I rarely see in television displayed brilliantly in a horror inspired British crime drama.

Whitechapel is currently airing series four in the UK and will be airing in the US in 2014.


About the Author: A multi-medium artist, Nash is as at home with her glue gun and sewing machines as she is communing with the dead. As an avid wanderer, she enjoys seeking out the lost and forgotten in the dark corners of the world in her travels. In her off time she can be found honing her riding and shooting skills because when the zombies come? She’s going to be ready. With a shotgun and a horse.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010 – serendipitously inspired by the day – five friends decided there just wasn’t enough fem-driven horror sites on the internet. So to amend that we formed GoresTruly.com, a web site dedicated to everything well - horror. Movies, conventions, costumes, literature, comics and more.