Take 3: The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire Review (Halloween Double Feature Part 1)

Happy Halloween! Just to let you know, there will be spoilers in this review.  If you want to read this Double Feature’s introduction, visit this link:

My Halloween Double Feature: An Introduction

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A DVD of The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
  1. In your introduction for this double feature, you mentioned that both Queen of the Damned and The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire were released in 2002. Can you think of anything from around that time period that could have influenced the creation of this film?

When Hallmark Channel began in 2001, the network didn’t have a strong identity like they do today. Because The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was released the year after Hallmark Channel’s start, the creative team behind this film seemed to have more creative freedom on this project than they would have if it were made in recent years. With this creative freedom, the film was able to explore themes that are normally not found in Hallmark movies, such as various belief systems and raising awareness for endangered species.

 

2. Were you able to follow along with the story and understand what was going on in the film despite not having read the source material?

Absolutely! The thing about The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is it’s written in a way that made me feel like prior knowledge of the source material wasn’t necessary to enjoy this film. From what I know about the Sherlock Holmes character and series, the stories seem pretty straight-forward. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was, for the most part, isolated from the other movies in this particular series. This makes it a good movie to introduce someone to Sherlock Holmes, as the film doesn’t make you feel like you have to watch them in a certain order.

 

3. Was your pre-movie thought addressed?

Because there were no legitimate vampires in this movie, my pre-movie thought was not addressed. The closest thing to vampires in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire were vampire bats.

 

4. Were you right or wrong in your pre-movie prediction?

I was so wrong in my pre-movie prediction {face palms embarrassedly}. As I mentioned in answer #3, there were no vampires in this movie.

 

5. Within your pre-movie thought for The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, you talked about how a film’s title can act as a promise to a film’s audience. Do you think the title of this movie was deceiving or honest?

It’s actually a little bit of both. On the one hand, most of the characters truly believed there was a vampire on the loose. On the other hand, as I’ve been saying, there were no vampires in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. If anything, this film’s title bent the truth.

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6. Because The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was released before the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel (formerly known as Hallmark Movie Channel) began, do you think there was anything within this film that could have influenced future films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries?

I believe The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was one of the movies that helped create the foundation that today’s Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films use in their stories. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a murder mystery, which is the same type of mystery story that a lot of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films choose to adopt. In terms of specifics, Watson and Holmes use autopsy reports to solve their respective mystery. This reminded me of how Jennifer Shannon, in the Garage Sale Mystery series, relies on Tramell’s autopsy reports to help her solve the case. What surprised me the most was that The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire takes place during the Christmas season. The only Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film that is set during Christmas is Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery. I’m hoping Hallmark can have more of their mystery movies take place during Christmas, so that fans of the mystery series can solve mysteries year-round.

 

7. Did you acquire any new thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

Yes I did! Here are a few of them:

  • As I mentioned in answer #1, the theme of various belief systems was explored. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, every character believed in something. For instance, Sherlock Holmes believed in logic. It was interesting to see how these different belief systems correlated with each other to propel the story forward and help the characters solve the case. An example of this is how Holmes’ belief in logic and Dr. Chagas’ belief in knowledge and awareness of vampire bats were used together to not only prove Dr. Chagas’ innocence, but also to find the culprit.

 

  • As I also mentioned in answer #6, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire took place during the Christmas season. While the Christmas theme, in this movie, did not have anywhere near as strong of a presence as in Hallmark’s Christmas movies today, I found this choice to be very interesting. When one thinks of what could be found in Christmas movies, the subject of vampires doesn’t normally come to mind. This shows that the concept of vampires can be incorporated into almost any type of movie in almost any time of year. This also shows how Hallmark thought outside-the-box when it comes to their Christmas movies.

 

  • There are very few Hallmark movies that feature characters with disabilities. Even fewer Hallmark movies feature protagonists or significant secondary characters who not only have a disability, but who also contribute to the film’s plot. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, Sister Helen, one of the sisters who lived and worked at the church, is blind. However, she didn’t let her disability stop her from helping Sherlock Holmes find the guilty individual and continuing to carry out her congregation’s mission of sharing their faith with the community.

 

8. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, did anything stand out to you, whether for better or worse?

For the better, I really think the camaraderie between Holmes and Watson was a highlight of this film. Matt Frewer’s and Kenneth Welsh’s performance was very natural and convincing, making their characters appear like they truly got along with each other. As I was watching this movie, I realized that this camaraderie is the foundation for all of Holmes’ interactions and relationships. If it was not for the believability of the camaraderie between Watson and Holmes, the other times where Holmes interacts with various characters would probably not feel believable either.

 

Now, for the worse, something that I felt was missing from this movie was humor. I’ve mentioned before on my blog that Hallmark incorporates humor into their mystery stories to give their audience a break from the darkness and sadness of the murder mystery. Since, in this movie, there were seldom moments of light-heartedness or humor, the audience isn’t able to take a break from the darkness of the murder mystery and the spookiness of the vampire theme. I don’t know if there is humor within Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’m pretty sure Hallmark could have added some light-hearted moments that would have be more in line with the tone and time period of a particular story like this.

 

9. When people talk about their favorite Hallmark movies or Hallmark movies that they like, no one mentions The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. Why do you think the majority of Hallmark’s audience isn’t aware of this movie’s existence?

This movie is not available on Hallmark Movies Now and, as far as I know, it has never appeared on any of Hallmark’s networks. Because of this, Hallmark hasn’t given their audience an opportunity to see this film.

 

10. After watching The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, what is the one thing you can take away from this movie viewing experience?

Well, for one thing, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a different film from what is usually found on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. This is because the movie is dialogue heavy, with few moments of suspense and action. However, I do this is a good movie. As I mentioned within this review, I think this movie is a good introduction to Sherlock Holmes. I also think this is a good introduction to mystery stories from Hallmark. In a time when Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is thriving with their mystery series, I believe it’s important for Hallmark fans to be given the chance to watch the films that helped these stories be what they are today. After I watched The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, I gained an appreciation not only for Hallmark’s mystery movies, but also for the foundation that was set in place so these movies could be as entertaining and intriguing as possible.

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Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

8 thoughts on “Take 3: The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire Review (Halloween Double Feature Part 1)

  1. Pingback: My Halloween Double Feature: A Conclusion – 18 Cinema Lane

  2. Pingback: I won the Mystery Blogger Award! – 18 Cinema Lane

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, Ruth! This movie was made during a time when Hallmark Channel had more creative freedom. “The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire” is a film that I would definitely recommend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Lee

    It’s funny. Having seen the first three movies of the Frewer/Welsh Homes/Watson TV movies on CBC television I didn’t realize they were associated with Hallmark. We don’t receive that channel in Toronto although a lot of their product does appear on different Canadian channels and I have noted that many are filmed here.

    I don’t recall hearing of “Whitechapel Vampire” previously. I’m going to have to give it a look. I must have enjoyed the pairing since I did watch all of the earlier movies.

    – Caftan Woman

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, Caftan Woman! This is a film that I’d definitely recommend, especially since you seemed to enjoy the other films in the series. What surprised me was how the story took place around Christmas-time, even though the subject matter feels like it would be perfect for Halloween. If Hallmark made more Christmas movies that went against the grain, like ‘The Case of Whitechapel Vampire’, I think we’d receive a very interesting collection of films.

      Like

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    Like

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