The New York Ripper (1982)

DIRECTOR Lucio Fulci
STARRING Jack Hedley, Paolo Malco, Almanta Suska, Alexandra Delli Colli
RELEASE DATE March 4th, 1982
RUNTIME 85 Minutes

A homicidal madman’s vendetta against promiscuous women is taken to grisly extremes on the streets of Manhattan.

Upon viewing this gem only one word comes to mind…sleazy. The master of the craft, Lucio Fulci, transitions your perspective on the Giallo film entirely from influential to a perverse and filthy horror subgenre. At the time of the original release critics might have signified this the end of the sleek slashers Italian masterminds were pumping out, but try to have a more contemporary perspective on what makes this film, not monumental, but the necessary commentary on the genre and western culture. WARNING! If you watch this on the first date let’s hope he/she can appreciate a real “classy” film…

The film opens up like any other police procedural: a man and his dog in NYC stumble upon a body…well a piece of a body…A hand! (DUN! DUN! *Law and Order theme plays*) Police put the dismembered hand to a local prostitute, then after meeting cynical washed-up detective Lt. Williams we learn from the landlord that the prostitute was meeting a man she overheard on the phone that sounded like a duck… Now before we go into any further detail about this film, this duck-like voice is very reminiscent of a particular cartoon duck. Hint: Not Daffy. The rest of the film focuses on the investigation of Lt. Williams, along with the help of psychotherapist Dr. Paul Davis, following the trail and taunts of the killer. Combined with some voyeuristic gaze, we also get some “original” sleazy scenes of debauchery, that I will refrain from describing so you be as just as appalled.

The film continues and portrays an early 80’s New York City that appears to be like a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. X-rated theaters, creepy perverts, and sex-fiends adorn every corner; as well as a violent quacking psychopath slicing up the promiscuous inhabitants of the dark trenches of the big apple. This must be Fulci’s way of presenting evidence in which the genre cannot go any further…Or can it? The scenes of this film are just downright dirty. Full of sadism and savagery that shows what freedom Fulci can take advantage of, even if it is not motivated by some artsy disposition.

The characters in this film are what everyday people are afraid to admit that lives beneath the surface of social normality.This film rightfully exposes the unspoken sexual freedom in western culture as well as the drive to cynicism and bitterness by those who are unable to understand why such perversion and violence are so willfully indulged. And who other to make an example of those with a lack of appreciation of such freedom? A murderer that seems as if he is subtly assuming the identity of every family’s favorite Disney duck.

Trust that this opinion is not a celebration of perfect filmmaking by any means, but a recommendation. This is a definite must-see from an objective viewpoint for anybody that wants to add another flick to their repulsive repertoire. In the vein of Hitchcock, Fulci resurrects his spirit and shove him off the edge into an age of hyper-sexual ultra-violence that infests the gluttonous gallows of America’s most well-known cities. If you want a movie that makes you ponder getting tested and check out The New York Ripper!