The famed London Bridge has been relocated to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It has been moved brick by brick and has become a big tourist attraction for the small desert town.
Then mysteriously female victims begin to mount up. The police sergeant and mayor blame this sudden wave of murder on some random transient, but cop David Hasselhoff has another theory. He believes somehow, no matter how outlandish it sounds, the relocated London Bridge has also brought back the deadly Jack the Ripper! It’s up to him to catch the famed killer and save gal Stepfanie Kramer from becoming one of his victims.
Terror at London Bridge was a 1985 made-forTV movie having a big premiere on Sunday night on NBC. Remember when the networks would have their big made-for TV movie nights? Throughout the 70’s and 80’s they were a hallmark for television viewing.
It’s hard to imagine back to the time when those were such a big deal today. Now you can go to cable or streaming services for higher quality made-for-television/cable productions, but back in the day the three networks would tout their big upcoming ‘event’ movie.
You’d read about it in TV Guide, commercials would heavily promote it and by movie night you were all jazzed to see this thing. You’d make your popcorn, turn on the tube and tune into the network for their big original movie. It was sure to be an exciting evening!
Sure, there were the big impressive Emmy-winning mini-series productions and well made movies with noteworthy performances that are still remembered to this day, but most TV-movies that were churned back then were not very good. It made little difference. Millions would still tune in and feel like they got a great treat.
These lesser TV movies might have gotten replayed once during the summer, but soon after they would fade from memory. Their popular sheen would wear down and they would disappear, many times never even making it to video or DVD.
Then they would pop up on some random late night cable station thirty to forty years later or someone would post the thing online and it would trigger distant memories with some channel surfing viewers who stumble onto it and have them exclaiming, “Hey! I remember this movie!”
The odds are, these movies are not as good as viewers might remember them as. It can be a splash of cold water to your face when the nostalgic distance of time has been broken and you revisit some of them. Rewatching some of these TV movies today, their lack of quality shows more than ever. They could still hold an affection for the original viewers, but even then they have to admit it’s strange to think back to a time when a movie like this ‘was a big deal’.
Which brings us to Terror at London Bridge, also known as Bridge Across Time. I stumbled onto this exactly that way – channel surfing on late night cable. I had never seen it and was shocked – SHOCKED – I had never even heard of it! Considering it stars both Stepfanie Kramer AND Adrienne Barbeu, it should have at least been on my radar.
So alas, thirty-three years after making it’s television premiere it finally found its way to me.
I wish I could say it was worth it, but it’s just another shoddy, poorly acted, predictable silly thriller that other than the tantalizing allure of Kramer and Barbeau, along with an appearance by the beloved Rose Marie, offers very little to viewers in 2018.
This was around the time NBC was riding high with Knight Rider, so Hasselhoff was a big deal at this point. Kramer had begun her run on the equally successful Hunter as cop Dee Dee McCall. Sot it was a pairing of two of NBC’s biggest and brightest stars!
Hasselhoff plays a Chicago cop who has moved to Arizona. He’s haunted by shooting a kid and had to get away from the stress of the big city and is hoping he’ll find solace in this small desert town. He meets local Kramer who some romance blooms with.
Then Jack the Ripper shows up.
Even when I was little watching Knight Rider I thought Hasselhoff was a stinky actor. I’m sometimes amazed he was able to keep his career going for as long as he did with Knight Rider and Baywatch. I mean, I thought it wouldn’t take too long for folks to tire of him.I guess he really has to thank those international audiences that religiously watched his shows.
His music career, which is notoriously popular in Germany, must be some kind of confused cultural novelty or something. I don’t hear or see what his music fans hear – or heard. Maybe overseas he was viewed as a big American star, but to me he was always pretty lame.
Here, Hasselhoff is just as bad as ever. Everything he does whether trying to act like this experienced cop who’s been a student of criminal behavior his whole life (he states this very seriously), trying to awkwardly romance Kramer, revealing his painful melodramatic Chicago secret, getting angry at his superiors for not believing his Ripper theory or even laying in bed with a concussion, he consistently comes off so fake to me! He has zero charisma and doesn’t seem to connect to anyone.
I don’t know what his deal is. I suppose I have to give him credit for at least memorizing his lines.
Hasselhoff comes off more like a vacationing playboy in this flick than one of the local cops. He’s strutting around shirtless or with his shirts open showing off his chest. Then he has that old classic 80’s look of having his short sleeves rolled up. Oh brother.
Maybe back in the day when I was a kid I might have thought he was okay and been slightly impressed by him with my lowered adolescent expectations of how a cool grown-up acted. “Hey, it’s Michael Knight fighting Jack the Ripper!”. But watching him today just leaves me shaking my head.
The best thing I can say about him is that he’s unintentionally funny to watch. That’s been his greatest gift he left on the world of entertainment.
This was back when he came off trying so desperately to ‘act’ and be serious, which made himself look even more hysterical! This is a complete Hasselhoff contrast compared to him today where he’s embraced this self-mockery persona he has and intentionally goes for jokes about himself. When he’s in on the joke it’s nowhere near as funny. I prefer the ‘classic Hasselhoff’ who was unaware everyone was laughing at him.
So, the story is that London Bridge has been moved to Lake Havusu City, AZ. We learn in the prologue that in 1888 Jack the Ripper was shot, fell off the bridge and he and one brick from the bridge went tumbling into the Thames River. A hundred years later that final brick has been found and they’re having a rededication ceremony by putting this final brick back into the bridge. But that brick somehow also brings back good old Jack.
A Ripper murder happens and the town honchos, which include Police Chief Clu Gulager and town councilman Lane Smith (who both play the stubborn, angry superiors to the absolute hilt!), want to go along with accepting it was just some random transient murder. As if that’s not a big concern. I don’t really get the rationale, but ok.
They don’t want to accept Hasselhoff’s belief this is a series of murders and possibly the Ripper is responsible – really, who could blame them for being hesitant to buy into that.
The town’s livelihood depends on the tourists visiting the bridge and they just want to ignore the possibility of even more murders happening. They pull a Mayor from Jaws form of thinking. Well, this doesn’t sit well with Hasselhoff.
Meanwhile, gorgeous brunette residents Kramer and Barbeau are intrigued by this new cop in town. Hasselhoff romances Kramer and confides to her his Ripper theory. But how is this possible? How can Jack the Ripper be roaming around Lake Havusu a hundred years later? Even Hasselhoff’s partner Randolph Mantooth has his doubts about where his pal’s head is at.
Murders continue to happen culminating in a mysterious figure targeting Kramer and only Hasselhoff can rescue her and send Jack back where he came from!
Terror at London Bridge is meant to play a bit like a thriller with some horror elements to it. Neither are especially well done. There’s a bit of ‘so fun because it’s bad’ quality to it – if you enjoy that sort of thing. Fortunately I do, so Terror At London Bridge held my attention enough to provide some easy laughs thanks to some of the poor quality and acting on display.
Hasselhoff unknowingly provides laughs, Kramer and Barbeau look quite fetching, it’s momentarily interesting to see Rose Marie make a blink-and-you’ll-miss it appearance (I guess at the time she was taking any roles no matter how small that were offered to her) and the ludicrous story doesn’t make a lick of sense and hats off to them for not worrying about it.
It’s amusing to see what a big TV event movie once was. It’s not really much of an exciting viewing experience today.
Here it is – in all its cheesy Hasselhoff glory!