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A Knife for the Ladies (1974)

R | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | May 1974 (USA)
A private detective travels out west to investigate the murders of several prostitutes, facing off against the reluctance of the town's grizzled sheriff, and several suspicious characters, each with something to hide.


Larry G. Spangler


George Arthur Bloom, Seton I. Miller (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Jack Elam ... Jarrod (Sheriff)
Ruth Roman ... Elizabeth
Jeff Cooper ... Burns
John Kellogg ... Hollyfield
Gene Evans ... Hooker
Diana Ewing ... Jenny
Derek Sanderson Derek Sanderson ... Lute
Jon Spangler Jon Spangler ... Seth
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Athas ... Travis
Phillip Avenetti Phillip Avenetti ... Ramon
Fred Biletnikoff Fred Biletnikoff ... Horace
Al Hassan Al Hassan ... Riley
Pat Herrerra Pat Herrerra ... Nina
Hank Kendrich Hank Kendrich ... Fairchild
Kit Kendrich Kit Kendrich ... Cora


A mutilating knife wielding killer haunts the small Southwest desert town of Mescal. Though most victims have been prostitutes, the first was Travis Mescal, the only son of the town's first family. When the Sheriff proves unable to solve the case, the town leaders invite Investigator Burns to unravel the mystery. Along the way, he confronts tension with the Sheriff, trouble with some citizens, and finally a killer whose motive we've heard before in Ripper-lore.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nothing can stop the Killer with a Blood Lust for Ladies - Naked and Dead.


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

May 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack the Ripper Goes West See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »


Evil Lady
by Bobby Hart, Danny Janssen and Dominic Frontiere
Sung by Michael Stull
See more »

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User Reviews

Really Lousy Mix of Genres
4 April 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

A Knife for the Ladies (1974)

1/2 (out of 4)

Mescal is a small Southwest town where not too much happens, which keeps the local Sheriff (Jack Elam) happy. All of this changes when the local prostitutes turn up dead and the locals begin to fear that Jack the Ripper (or a copycat) might be committing the crimes.

This film is out there in two versions with the uncut one being the hardest to find, although it was released to Blu-ray by Code Red. This version here clocks in at 86-minutes and is the uncut theatrical version that went under the title of A KNIFE FOR THE LADIES. The film was much more widely available via countless public domain companies under the catchy title of JACK THE RIPPER GOES WEST but that version clocks in at just 51-minutes. After watching the uncut version I must admit that I would have given anything to see it cut down.

Man, where do you start with a film like this? This movie wants to be a Western, a horror picture, a murder-mystery and I think it also tries to have some black comedy as well. It tries to be a lot of things but sadly it doesn't do anything well and it in facts does nothing but waste the talents of Elam, Ruth Roman and Jeff Cooper. All three people are wasted in their rather silly roles, which is too bad because the idea behind the film is an interesting one and it should have made for a better picture.

The film really kills itself because it just doesn't do anything right. The horror elements are rather watered down and you never once care who the killer is. It also doesn't help that as a Western it feels a lot cheaper than those old B films from the 1930s. There's no sleaze or anything else to hold your attention and in fact the only thing that does hold your attention is just waiting to see how much worse it gets.

I'm not sure what all is missing in the cut version but I'd have to say it would be better to watch since the 86-minute cut just features non-stop dialogue scenes and is a real chore to sit through.

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