Directed by: P. William Grimm
Written by: #PWilliamGrimm
Audiences are able to immerse themselves into the facts and fiction surrounding real life cases of brutal killings from a safe distance and even explore the findings outside of the show. One of the most legendary serial killer stories surrounds the Whitechapel Murders and "Jack the Ripper".
Filmmaker P. William Grimm's short documentary film The Wigmaker of Wellington Street provides an intriguing and diverting examination of one theory as to the identity behind the infamous #London murders. Using modern and historical animation as well as period documents and newspaper articles to weave a ripping yarn, the audience is presented with a fascinating case to contemplate.
The narrative goes that a prominent wigmaker called Willy Clarkson could have been the legendary killer. His upbringing in the area, his profession which involves sharp instruments and disguises, and his connection to the police case, all suggest it's plausible. Throw into the mix his criminal activities which include extortion, and a possible motive emerges of killing off accomplices.
As with all documentaries, there is a particular thread being tugged at constantly, with the filmmaker wanting the viewer to see the content in a particular light. Grimm makes no bones about it that this is a fanciful piece, with many of the possible connections between Clarkson and the murders being tenuous at best, but there is something compelling here that audiences are likely to enjoy.
The lack of talking heads and interviews makes it very difficult to feel that what is being presented is anywhere near hard truths. The best serial killer documentaries explore the subject from as many angles as they can, whereas Grimm here happily uses animation, archive footage, and a sole narration from Peter Coates (who is splendid by the way). This is the main shortfalling of The Wigmaker of Wellington Street, in that instead of a thorough and varied cinematic piece, we are presented with a fairly linear #animated movie that could easily be mistaken for a museum attraction.
The being said, there is definitely huge enjoyment to be found here and the ye olde London feel is a pleasure to behold. There are some terrific dramatic devices in play that mark Grimm as a filmmaker to keep tabs on, and ultimately the movie could easily find a willing audience and cause plenty of lively speculation afterward.