Terror at London Bridge aka Bridge Across Time comes from director E.W. Swackhamer. Written by William F. Nolan, it stars David Hasselhoff, Stepfanie Kramer, Randolph Mantooth, Adrienne Barbeau, Clu Gulager and Paul Rossilli.
That’s a pretty interesting main cast and this made for TV movie does have a strong first half. Alas, a bloated runtime and focus on drama over horror makes it an inevitable chore to get through.
The story surrounds London Bridge, unsurprisingly, but it also surrounds Jack the Ripper. It’s in the infamous killer’s era that we begin as he is chased down the street by two coppers. As he runs across London Bridge, he is shot and falls into the water knocking a stone from the bridge with him.
It’s an odd start that certainly changes up the legend of the Ripper but as the true story is never going to be known, why not have some fun with it?
Anyway, almost all of London Bridge is then sold to the Americans and reassembled in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Why almost all? Because the stone that fell into the water with Jack has never been found… until now.
Finally reunited, the stone is brought to the city which plans to throw a grand showcase as the bridge is finally complete. Alas, the night before, a woman cuts herself while crossing the bridge and bleeds on this individual stone. This somehow resurrects Jack the Ripper and he sets about continuing where he left off.
It’s up to Hassellhoff’s detective character Don Gregory to solve the mysterious murders but will he be able to convince the town that Jack is back before it’s too late?
It’s a very silly plot that slips into humdrum slasher territory, building up a big twist reveal of just who the Ripper is. Unfortunately, this falls flat as it’s very easy to work out who the Ripper is, no matter how hard the movie tries to point the finger at another.
It hardly matters though, as by this point of the film, a lot of the early goodwill it builds up will have been blown away by the lack of action and familiarity of many of the plot points. A ‘new to the town’, no-nonsense detective that figures the truth out but isn’t believed at first? It’s here. A mayor who refuses to close off the town and suspend the celebrations because of tourism? It’s here. A female love-interest who inevitably risks becoming a victim herself? Terror at London Bridge nails it.
You’ve seen all of this before but, while it is familiar, there’s no denying that the movie does these elements decently enough. Where it really fails is with the mind-numbing middle portion of the movie. Where the mystery is clear to the viewer’s eyes but the on-screen characters are taking an age to progress things. That and the movie gets bogged down by the romance of the two main leads. It’s a shame as the characters are likable and the actors do a fine job.
At a hundred minutes long, Terror at London Bridge is just too long and with too little happening to be anything but a mild recommendation.
Terror at London Bridge (1985)
The Final Score - 5/10