After years of making Zombie Movies and otherwise horrific films that had nothing to do with zombies (but Zombies showed the hell up anyway half the time) Fulci decided to shoot for legitimacy with a police mystery called The New York Ripper. Ah, but that's not quite right, is it? Lucio Fulci had already gained a wide and diverse resume, even aside from those Romero Rip Offs. I mean, seriously, to imply that 1982's The New York Ripper was his shot at legitimacy would be to imply that movies like 1969's Those Desperate Men Who Smell of Dirt and Death, 1971's A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, 1972's Don't Torture a Duckling, 1975's The Demonic Womanizer Costante Nicosia, or: Dracula in Brianza and 1977's Murder to the Tune of the Seven Black Notes were anything less than 100% Respectable and Legitimate.
In all fairness, Fulci had his talents and his movies are still watched and enjoyed today, if only by horror film directors and fans. In equal fairness, The New York Ripper sucks septic sewage through a rusty pipe. This movie is to police mysteries what Gigli is to mafia sagas. Fucli co-wrote this flotsam with the usual suspects, including Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino and Dardano Sacchetti. If those names mean nothing to you, then you're probably more mentally healthy than I am. Let me explain... what that means is that this film is about as far outside the box as a packaging peanut. The New York Ripper is not really a dramatic cop thriller... it's another cheesy, exploitative blood fest with a whole lot of nudity, enough fake blood to drown the entire Swedish Olympic Swimming Team, mutilation, repugnant misogyny and, yep, an eye being popped clean out of its socket. In short... it's a Lucio Fulci flick.
There's a typical, horror clichÚ serial killer on the loose in misty Manhattan. There can be no question that you've seen it all before, but this latest WORM in the Big Apple could probably irritate his victims to death, instead of gutting them with his Switch Blade. See, this jackass uses an incredibly annoying "Donald Duck" voice both as he kills and as he calls to taunt the police. He even quacks, repeatedly, to make absolutely, positively sure that by the closing credits, you'll have a headache THIS BIG, and that it will have Excedrin written all over it!
There's more than a little reference to "Jack the Ripper" here, right on down to the methods of murder and the preying upon women only. In spite of this far-too-obvious "homage", I don't remember any legends about ol' Saucy Jack affecting incredibly stupid voices or going out of his way to say "Hey, arrest me just for being a dumbass, please!" I mean, seriously, Donald Duck? In what galactic sector could that ever be considered scary? This pissant might as well have adopted a whole "Mork From Ork" persona and said "Nanu Nanu" while stabbing people, as scary as he was. Nerd!
Jack Hedley stars as Lt. Fred Williams, the only character who doesn't appear to be horribly dubbed by cartoon voice actors. He teams up with Paolo Malco's Dr. Paul Davis, a psychiatrist who needs a psychiatrist, to track down and neutralize this real LADY KILLER. Unfortunately, they mainly come off as Laurel and Hardy, being taunted by a master criminal... well, "Master" as compared to them. There are strong hints that the killer might be very close to one of them... or might actually BE one of them... or might actually be just about anybody and everybody around. Yeah, some mystery... pull it out of your hat any old time, there, Lucio, since you've shadowed everybody as a suspect, we'll believe anything you come up with. Hell, if you believe that Donald Duck is scary, well there you go.
There's not much more to tell you in the "Recap" area. The New York Ripper has a plot approximately as complex as a Helen Duval movie. Needless to say the violence, nudity and gore (sometimes all three surrounding rubber body doubles filled with animal parts) never ends... even when the real killer becomes ridiculously obvious. Mystery indeed!
It's not all bad, however. There are some thrilling parts, and some seriously disturbing frights. Seriously disturbing. There is also quite a lot of more than wonderful nudity. Lucio knows a beautiful woman when he sees one, yessiree! Alexandra Delli Colli, Daniela Doria and Zora Kerova all get completely, every inch, naked! Although never nude themselves (at least not without fright make-up), Almanta Suska and Cinzia de Ponti are likewise beautiful additions to an otherwise blah cast.
The worst part about The New York Ripper is that it goes far beyond pessimism and exploitative serial killer horrors. It's a pretty damned misogynistic movie. Misogynistic to a degree much more nauseating than the ubiquitous blood and rot. Just as soon as a beautiful woman gets beautifully naked, you can pretty well bet she's going to be stabbed, gutted or otherwise mutilated. Fulci and special makeup effects artist Germano Natali put forth all their considerable gruesome talents to drive this point home. Implied vagina mutilation (and callous descriptions of same) followed by mutilation of the breast, public sexual humiliation and the slashing of a female body during sexplay while she's tied to the bed can scarcely be taken two ways. I'll never understand why serial killers and the film makers who document them and their fictional counterparts focus on beautiful women. Man... you've got a beautiful naked woman and you want to do what? You, uh... you think you might have a sexual problem, there, Tex? Need some Viagra or something? What are you a repressed gay guy raised by homophobes? Get secure, get comfortable, but LEAVE VIRGINIA ALONE!
I wish that was all that was wrong with this movie, but it barely scratches the surface. This movie blows like the fucking Santa Ana winds. One more thing before I give this thing the DOGGY BAG it so richly deserves... This film is so firmly stuck in the '80's, I'm half-surprised I didn't see Marty McFly cruise by. From the corn-dog electronic score, more happy than scary, to the Walkman references to temporary cultural reference after temporary cultural reference after temporary cultural reference, this flick was outdated by the time it made it to America in 1987!
In 1982, 1987 and during the 2006 Summer of Horror, The New York Ripper gets a DOG! I can't even believe the killer kept saying "QUACK QUACK QUACK!" He should've been saying "WOOF WOOF WOOF!" No obedience school for this one... this dog belongs in the POUND! Like his countryman before him, Lucio Fulci hath indeed demanded his POUND OF FLESH, no more, no less. I'd say he's far more than exceeded his take by a country mile, in every sense of the word. Lucio's damned well extracted some heavy ass tolls from me... at least he paid me with nudity though... But why'd he have to go and ruin it for me, man? You know what? I'm done! I'm done! No more beautiful ladies getting hurt. I'm done with Italian Giallo for good. I'm going to go get some Helen Duval movies. I can trust Helen Duval! No beautiful women get hurt in those flicks... they do scream a lot though. See you in the next reel!
Sounds just like Donald Duck?
Or did you say "Donald DICK"?
Don't listen to Dicks...
Listen to me... and click here for More Reviews!
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