From Hell: Engraved In Stone

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From Hell: Engraved In Stone
Faneditor Name:
Original Movie Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2001
Original Running Time:
117
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
109
Time Cut:
30
Time Added:
22
Brief Synopsis:
'From Hell: Engraved In Stone' is now less of an exploitation whodunnit than the original and more of a disturbing portrait of moral and political corruption at all levels of 1888 London society.
Intention:
Writer ALAN MOORE and artist EDDIE CAMPBELL's 1996 comic 'FROM HELL' is, at 572 pages, one of the longest, most detailed, richest and most complex books in the medium.

So it didn't come as a surprise to many that the two hour 2001 FILM ADAPTATION failed to live up to the source. To be fair to the film's directors, THE HUGHES BROTHERS, they were faced with the formidable task of adapting something that would be practically unfilmable at a conventional length.

The comic was a dark and disturbing look into the mind of JACK THE RIPPER, who we knew from the start. But the film was a straight whodunnit with a proxy Holmes and Watson and a romantic subplot tacked on. Some of the casting choices were very poor yet some were outstanding including the film's lead JOHNNY DEPP. But his efforts were for nought, as his character Abberline had been given magic powers to see into the future, rendering him a joke.
Additional Notes:
So for this edit the tone has been made as dark, frightening and oppresive as possible. The romantic subplot has been toned down, the ending changed and magic powers removed. The film has also been converted to high-contrast Black&White to render it more sombre and timeless.
Other Sources:
FROM HELL - 2-Disc Region2 PAL DVD
HOPE THERE'S SOMEONE by Antony and The Johnsons
ASLEEP by The Smiths
Special Thanks:
Thanks to all those who contributed to the From Hell thread.
Release Information:
DVD
Special Features
20 minute alternate ending - Featuring different footage, different placement of scenes, alternate transitions, the alternate finale restored and a very different outcome for some of the characters.
Editing Details:
I present my attempt to edit the film into something closer in tone, content and emphasis to the comic. Obviously in narrative and structural terms the film cannot be altered enough to make it fit the source, the gulf is just too wide. I have however removed the magic powers, removed the happy ending, toned down the romantic subplot and radically reordered the scenes. This film is now darker, bleaker and riddled with human corruption. I give you... 'FROM HELL: ENGRAVED IN STONE'."
Cuts and Additions:
Sadly I've decided not to do my usual "complete" cutlist, as the amount of changes are too numerous and the recutting and reordering of scenes is too extensive to contemplate the time it would take. However, here is a brief list of the major changes...

- 20 of the 22 deleted scenes cut back in (Almost all being of a darker tone)
- Order of many scenes radically re-arranged
- Film converted to high contrast B&W* to render the film more sombre and timeless
- Pop-video-style editing techniques have been removed where possible
- Abberline's magic powers are gone
- Abberline's backstory removed. His depression and addiction is just who he is now and not as a direct result of a personnal tradegy
- Godley's unlikely attack on special branch removed
- Poor performances removed or minimised
- Heather Graham is no longer a primary focus of the film**
- Gull, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria play a more significant part earlier on
- Many of the "Happy" moments have gone to keep the mood dark
- Dodgy dialogue such as Depp saying "Knob" have been trimmed
- Netley is now a more ominpresent spectre of death
- Without spoiling it, the film's ending is now less "picture-postcard-happy"
- The final scene now plays out without dialogue to heighten the unspoken emotion
- Credits music changed to something more appropriate in tone and lyrical content (It no longer features a drum 'n' bass remix of Marilyn Manson...ffs!)

* Due to the soft/low-contrast/high-saturation of the original DVD image, this has caused some visual noise in the blurrirer backgrounds in some shots as I had to be very aggressive with the contrast to get the look I was after.

** She now becomes more important as the film goes on in a natural way, due to the deaths of the other characters and other factors. Kind of like the emergence of Ripley in 'Alien'.

FANEDIT LENGTH: 109 MINUTES
ORIGINAL LENGTH: 117 MINUTES
20 DELETED SCENES RESTORED
TIME ADDED: 22 MINUTES / TIME REMOVED: 30 MINUTES
Cover art by TM2YC (DOWNLOAD HERE) image

First 30 minutes (Rough cut)

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9.1
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9.1
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9.0
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9.0
The original From Hell had the unenviable task of trying to adapt an Alan Moore story...no easy task at the best of times, and even worse to boil down 9 years of publications filled with liner notes and easter eggs. Like a mad genius or an obsessive savant - or likely a combination of the two - Moore had imagined the interwoven lives of a couple dozen individuals and how it lead to an infamous series of murders that can only be called conspiracy of the highest order. The film script attempts to preserve the lyricism and detail of Moore's work while also giving a less-cerebral audience some emotional investment and entertainment value. It's safe to say that the filmmakers managed only mixed results at this probably-impossible task.

TM2YC tries here to give us a film version closer to Moore's original work, and in that I think he succeeds. As written in the notes, the material available simply doesn't allow a truly accurate rendition of the graphic novel, but what's here is certainly closer. The look of the film is jet black like the comics, and the tone is grim and dry. I'd say that (as written in the notes) the visual quality of the film does suffer somewhat from this conversion, and that does make some of the scenes seem a bit too visually-extreme for me (demonic eyes, for example). I also remember spending much of the film on first watch just trying to figure out what the hell was happening. Here, the narrative is streamlined and, I thought, almost telegraphed from the start. It'd be ideal for a first-time viewing, less-interesting on a re-watch.

All that said, I don't think this actually makes it much BETTER of a movie than the theatrical cut. This is the problem with adaptations... a more accurate one isn't necessarily better for the new medium. The film as-is still retains all kinds of bits and bobs that weave an amazing tapestry in the graphic novel but just seem incredibly contrived and half-baked in the movie. The romance is still undercooked and honestly comes almost out of nowhere here, and our detective has had his character gutted and so we have little emotional attachment to him. The "alternative" ending for me was better, as it paid off the sudden introduction of a new prostitute, and it gave some satisfaction for the only character that really had an arc: Mary Kelly. However, the film as a whole is quite straightforward and uninvolving in this form. It's not a work of suspense, and there's not really enough horror...it's a mystery more than anything, but not one with clues that a viewer could logically work out unless they have a lot of previous knowledge.

I think my preferred edit of the film would be more radical, lots of cutting, rescoring, maybe playing with flashbacks during investigations. I don't honestly think a great adaptation of Moore's work is possible, so better to just make it a great movie of its own. That said, that's not the intention here, so I have to judge this on its own merits: which are plentiful. It's a well-executed and creative work that is indeed more faithful to the original material. If that's what you're looking for, you should definitely give this a watch.

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An excellent effort. Although it'd be impossible to use the Hughes' film to center Sir William Gull as the protagonist of the film as with the book, this edit goes a long way to restoring the grit and terror of the Eddie Campbell artwork and toning down the de-saturated, dated early-00s colour grading. The relationship between Abberline and Kelly is downplayed but not completely eliminated, making it an emotional element of the film that does not overpower the societal critique that is the moral center of the book and (now, particularly) the film. (Incidentally, I highly recommend watching the documentary "Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution" for a bit more background on the Royalist Conspiracy JTR theory after viewing this wonderful fan edit. There are clips on the original DVD, but the whole film is available on YouTube.)

Until the (inevitable?) hours-long cable mini-series remake that puts Gull and his virulent misogyny and mystical bloodletting on display, this edit is a wonderful gift to diehard From Hell fans.

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R
Top 10 Reviewer 136 reviews
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The B&W makes this a bit more sinister and dark. The deleted scenes added back are seamless. Gonna watch a few more times. One of my favorite movies but now I think this is the version I will always watch. Thanks for the hard work

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9.2
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I just watched this last night. It's been a good while since I watched the original from hell, so I can't say much as to the changes. I watched with 2 other people, and no one noticed anything out place. I went back to check the cutlist. I never would have guessed how much of the film came from deleted scenes. That's truly invisible editing. Great call on ditching the Manson song. I can't even imagine it over the credits.

The biggest change is probably the colouring.. It's gorgeous throughout, and makes the whole town seem more threatening and cold. There's one shot towards the end where Ian Holm's eyes go jet black like Bela Lugosi, which is reason enough for the change.

Well worth the time, and It'll probably be less time til my next viewing. Well done to Tm2yc.

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J
Top 500 Reviewer 5 reviews
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8.0
It has been a while since I've seen the original; going to have to re-watch it. I do like the original. I've never read the graphic novel!

So, now about this edit - I really enjoyed the cut; I do love my B&W movies!

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