new york ripper
1 star

"Cutting up women was his pleasure"

directed by: Lucio Fulci
starring: Jack Hedley, Alessandra Delli Colli,
Almanta Keller, Howard Ross

(back of video blurb):

"A demented slasher terrorises women in New York City. If hardcore splatter is your cup of tea/blood the 'New York Ripper' is the film for you. No implied blood and guts here, no discreet cutting away at the point of action- Lucio Fulci goes the full distance! The psycho killer drags a blade across a woman's face, the camera recording every grisly detail. Unfortunate victims being repeatedly stabbed & sliced with ultra convincing FX work. 'New York Ripper' delivers the full monty for the dedicated gore hound."

choice dialogue:

"Quack, Quack, Quack...this is little duck.
How are you?...We haven't played in such a long time."

slash with panache?

        If ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS was Lucio Fulci's DAWN OF THE DEAD, then THE NEW YORK RIPPER is his answer to William Lustig's 1981 sleaze opus MANIAC. Fulci created something quite unique with ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS, an enjoyable epic of gore- done with undeniable Italian gusto. That film had (brief) shots of New York being over run by the voracious undead. In the NEW YORK RIPPER the Big Apple, or more precisely the female population of the Big Apple, are being terrorised by a razor-wielding lunatic who quacks like a duck. Yep, that's right- quacks like a duck. Fulci set many of his early 80's horror movies in America. Or to more precise a no man's land, much like the USA/UK setting in HELLRAISER (1987), where two cultures collide and produce something unique and unreal. His other two zombie epics; THE CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) and, what most people consider to be his 'masterwork', THE BEYOND (1981), successfully create a surreal Lovecraftian landscape where Italy, the USA and Fulci's mind melt into each other to create a truly unique culture. Unfortunately, in THE NEW YORK RIPPER, Fulci attempts to emulate Lustig's movie and the whole New York cop genre to such an extent as to dilute the hallucinatory powers of his earlier films. One thing separates this film from MANIAC and other American sleaze epics of this time is Fulci's unflinching mixture of sex and eye popping violence. Really, it makes Lustig's film seem tame in comparison!

       THE NEW YORK RIPPER opens with a dog retrieving a severed hand from a row of bushes, beginning an appalling cascade of violence and slashing as the duck voiced maniac leads the police on a merry chase around the city. As in his zombie films Fulci's camera shoots the mayhem in loving detail. Just as you would expect the camera to cut away it doesn't- it goes in closer. However, unlike those films, where the violence was almost cartoonish; brains ripped out, eyeballs skewered, berserk spider attacks, the violence in THE NEW YORK RIPPER is a whole different kettle of innards. The battle cry of "MISOGYNY!" is a difficult one to defend when it comes to this particular sleaze bucket. Fulci's mixture of soft-core porn and hard-core sexual violence is often difficult to stomach. The victims, mostly pretty, young, blond women are mutilated- often sexually and in one memorably unpleasant scene a sex show worker has a broken bottle ground into her crotch. Accusations of ultra-conservatism have been levelled at Fulci, and with some reason- he takes the SEX=DEATH theme to absurd extremes, all the women are punished for being sexually active or at least independent. It is difficult to justify this film's existence, much less the reason why it found an audience, but Alan Jones provides some kind of justification in his book 'Nekrofile'; "...It might be disgusting to some less hardier of souls, but come on guys, it's fake. Nothing in Fulci's flagrant fantasy is real. That's why we can watch it. Since when is bad taste illegal?...".

       The film eventually fails as a thriller, the ending is a jumbled mess. It is however strikingly shot; great panoramic views of the city and sometimes arresting Argentoesque moments. If gore is what you want, then you have it here- in spades. A difficult film, but then I would rather there was still a cinema of extremities today. Nothing has matched the brutality of this film for some time. Love it or loathe it, you certainly can't ignore it.

BODYCOUNT 8  bodycount!   female:6 / male:2

       1) Female found dead- hidden in bushes
       2) Female disembowled and has throat cut
       3) Female has broken bottle ground into crotch
       4) Female has throat cut and is repeatedly slashed (dream sequence)
       5) Female split open with knife
       6) Female slashed to death with razor blade
       7) Male found dead- suffocated
       8) Male has face blown off with gun.