"New York Ripper" AKA "Lo Squartatore Di New York" (1982)
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Jack Hedley, Howard Ross, Almanta Keller, Andrea Occhipinti
This is the more straight forward, Giallo version of Lucio Fulci. This is basically his version of Lustig's "Maniac" (1980) with some "Cruising" (1981) mixed in for more perversion and maybe even a little "Dressed To Kill". I'm not a Fulci expert, but so far this is his most sexually deranged film of his that I've seen. That seemed to be the climate in New York City at the time, the late 1970s- early 1980s. A great reference on this is the Legs McNeil book, "The Other Hollywood", which talks about various sex clubs such as Show World and Plato's Retreat that "Ripper" seems to take reference from. The admittedly, fucked up sounding duck quacking voice is so silly it's insanely unnerving. Especially in the Italian language version I saw; a duck shouting in Italian about murdering girls? Yikes! It's like a cross between Donald Duck and the crazed anti-abortion boyfriend from Bob Clark's "Black Christmas". The killer even quacks as loud as they can during the killings, almost competing at volume with their victims.
I expected the film to be much more vicious because there's many claims that heighten its gore content. Such as video boxes proclaiming that is Fulci's "Most Brutal" and "Controversial" (HorrorDVDs.com). I'm willing to bet this is because of its strong sexual content which always makes people squirm. It could also be that this killer is supposed to be a real person, so of course that makes him all the more frightening. This film definitely isn't for your casual movie watcher, but fans of the genre will appreciate this movie's ways of slashing its characters. I've been trying to guess the "Ripper", but have no idea who they are. Is it the chess playing psychologist helping the cops? Is it the sex obsessed wife? The guy with two fingers missing? Thankfully this movie isn't completely incoherent like many of Fulci's movies. The ending just sorta comes together very quickly. As far as I could tell, there weren't any telltale signs on how things were going to end up. They tie off pretty much all the important plot points and even explain the disturbing duck noises. The ending makes the killer have more dimension to his character, not completely one sided, not without any kind of feeling. That definitely makes him more believable as opposed to when we're first introduced to his strange senseless nature.
You could easily attribute this movie to vicious violence against women. The killer seems to always slash their breasts and over their stomach where their uterus lies. In the end of the film, it does all tie together, but it could easily be mistranslated by those sensitive to those issues. Especially in the case of Jane (the nymphomaniac wife) who goes to great lengths to get off. She's humiliated in a scene involving "silver toes" in a pool hall (there's a bunch of kool pinball machines in the background) and then later maimed from her foolish decision to sleep with a random two fingered man who may or not have done it. I can't explain all the psychological meanderings on the subject because I'd feel like I was writing a term paper. To write off a horror movie as misogynist can be a cop out and also a hard pill to swallow. You just have to remember that it's fiction and not take it so seriously. I haven't read any other reviews yet (I try not to so I can form my own opinion), but I wouldn't be surprised if it was pegged as such.
You can watch "New York Ripper" online HERE.
And buy it HERE
There used to be an active link to the soundtrack over at this blog, but that has changed since the downfall of Megaupload. It even included the weird pseudo-punk rock song played in the porno house, possibly called "A Kind Of Misery".
I created a couple of one inch buttons to compliment this review. If you're interested in one, they're $1.50 plus shipping. You can email me HERE.