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New York Ripper

tn_newyorkripperMan, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck… oh wait, this guy doesn’t walk like a duck. But the title slasher of NEW YORK RIPPER is a guy who makes quacking noises while killing, and in taunting phone calls.

Franco and Josh both recommended this Lucio Fulci movie to me, and I remember years ago when I first saw MANIAC somebody suggested it to me then. I gotta admit I don’t think it’s exactly good, but it’s definitely unusual and enjoyable to watch once.

mp_newyorkripperUnlike MANIAC it doesn’t seem to capture the filthy underbelly of the city. Instead it takes place in some weird fantasy European version of New York. Obviously the exteriors were filmed in the real place (with some nice time capsule shots of posters and theater marquees for AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and REVENGE OF THE BUSHIDO BLADE and stuff like that) but everything about it feels giallo. The people look European, they talk dubbed with those not-quite-placeable accents, they say odd things and engage in weird sex acts like public foot-fucking of strangers. I mean, there’s a rich model-looking lady who goes to a live sex show in stockings, masturbates and makes an audio recording of it for her husband. This is what Lucio Fulci thinks of you, New York. Actually it might be a compliment, I’m not sure about this. But it’s weird.

In one scene a woman is murdered in a car parked on a ferry. When it reaches land nobody sees the bloody naked body so they just think some asshole isn’t driving off the ferry when he should, so a big truck just butts up against the car and pushes it off. Then they look inside to find the body. Is that really how they handle that in New York? We have ferries here and I think we’d look for the driver first, or at least try to put it in neutral. Maybe pushing parked cars is an Italian thing? Or a Fulci thing?

I don’t know, I know we got some New Yorkers on here. Do you guys think this is an accurate portrayal? I suppose they say it’s a big melting pot, right? So everybody is dubbed from Italian? I’m not the expert. I’m just saying this is not the same New York we know from the Spider-man movies and Ghostbusters.

The mystery aspect of it is pretty ridiculous, with laughable pseudo-science about blood types and phone tracing, lots of stiff cop dialogue and a subplot about a math genius being used to help the investigation in some way. And the solution, I gotta admit, I didn’t fully understand, even though a guy immediately gives an eloquent speech about the psychology behind the quacking.

But it’s got a good style. Some bold colors (a murder under red and green lights), some really fucked up gore (a razor blade eye-cutting as disgusting as the wood-shard-to-the-eye in one of the few other Fulci movie’s I’ve seen, ZOMBIE) and a groovy prog-rock and disco soundtrack to keep the energy up. Here’s the theme song to give you an idea:

Also this guy on Youtube made his own jazz version:

Definitely the best thing is that quacking. We’ve talked about creepy prank phone calls in movies like EYES OF A STRANGER and BLACK CHRISTMAS. This one I duckphonethink poses a challenge to BLACK CHRISTMAS’s crown in that category. I mean, he’s talking in this little boy voice and keeps compulsively quacking. It’s like the bastard son of Mickey and Donald wants to be the new Zodiac killer. It’s just bizarre and unsettling. I would genuinely be scared if that fucker called me.

You know what I’d like to see is a hybrid of NEW YORK RIPPER and SUMMER OF SAM. It’s this epic drama about all these characters and what they go through during the summer of power outages and looting and a city brought to its knees by a maniac going around making duck noises and stabbing people. Also maybe cut in some shots from that live action Baby Huey movie.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 3:15 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

24 Responses to “New York Ripper”

  1. As a New Yorker, I can say that a day does not go by when I don’t get foot-fucked by some stranger. It’s annoying. Why can’t these foot-fuckists just go push a parked car off a ferry like everyone else?

    Shit, will you look at the time? I gotta go expose myself to some tourists. Majestyk out.

  2. The filth was a major character in Maniac.

    Try making that film today.

  3. I’m watching Demons right now.

    Some things get better with age.

    This is one of them.

  4. “Nostradamus? What’s that, a rock group?”

  5. In Fulci’s New York there is foot fucking. In Fulci’s New Orleans there’s no traffic on the Lake Pontchartrain bridge (other than the occasional blind lady). Advantage, New Orleans.

  6. I like how this is Fulci’s SECOND giallo to involve Donald Duck in some way. I think he must have had a bad experience at Disneyland. This one is pretty flawed but there’s a lot of sleazy touches that I liked, especially the weird foot masturbation scene.

    I liked when the academic stopped off at a newsstand to pick up some gay porn. It’s never mentioned again but I like to imagine it plopped out when he was in a meeting with the Detective, leading to some CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM style awkwardness.

    There’s also the bit where they raid a suspects apartment and not only is it wall to wall porn he’s also got framed nude photos of himself on the wall.

    I also thought it was funny that one of the victims was supposed to be an Olympic athlete but she runs like a particularly uncoordinated girl.

  7. Vern, have you watched The Keeper yet.

    Best Seagal since Pistol Whipped. Maybe even better.

  8. Ahhhh Fulci, part hack, part genius. There’s no doubt that the hack was pulling ahead near the end, but early on he really made some disturbing shit; The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, and Zombie, pure gold. But he also made some stinkers. You only need to compare Zombie to Zombie 2 to see that (or Zombie 2 to Zombie 3 for you overseas cats). Still even Zombie 2 (or 3) had it’s moments. I mean, who else but Fulci would use zombie birds in a movie?

    If I remember right, this was the movie that caused Fulci some controversy stateside. Something about a straight razor cutting off a nipple. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

  9. It really depends what part of New York you’re in, Vern. Yeah, if you’re in lower Manhattan you’re going to be dubbed in Italian, sure, but out here in Brooklyn we’re dubbed from German. Though the foot-fucking thing happens in all five boroughs. And I can’t speak to the ferry issue but I can tell you that we routinely throw each other onto the subway tracks for the most minor of infractions, such as public spitting or scratching your ass.

  10. caruso_stalker217

    October 26th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t know much about this Fulci guy aside from CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD being complete dogshit.

  11. I don’t think I’d say CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD is *complete* dogshit. It does have a spontaneously inflating sex doll and a girl puking up her intestines.

  12. Here’s my tip to get you out of your lost slasher rut:
    Bigas Luna made a great slasher movie called Anguish about an optician who is hypnotised by his crazy dwarf mommy (Tangina from Poltergeist) into cutting out peoples eyeballs.

    It heads off in a whole other tangent which will not be spoilt by me here.

    Whole thing is really trippy, especially the hypnosis sequences.

    Stuntcock Mike – If you like Demons you should check this one out, its even better.

  13. Mr. Majestyk – I’m actually glad to hear that New York is still a hot bed of foot fucking activity. I thought Giuliani swore to rid the streets of all traces of the practice. Wasn’t that his campaign slogan? Vote Giuliani for a Foot Fuck Free
    New York?

    Maybe it’s like Mao in China: he said that he was able to rid the country of religion and capitalism, but not gambling. New Yorkers are the same with foot fucking.

  14. Slightly off topic, but I think a talkback about a director like Fulci would be the right place to ask this: I remember that I heard 10 years or longer ago something on the news about a popular horrorfilm director, whose body had been found cemented into his whirlpool. Of course since I was waaaay younger back then, I didn’t know who it was and now I can’t remember his name. And for any reason I couldn’t find out who this was till today, so I guess he wasn’t THAT popular.
    Anybody knows who this was?

  15. I believe that would be Al Adamson, whose contractor killed him and hid his corpse over a payment dispute. Then the dumb bastard stole his credit cards and got busted. Let this be a lesson to all you would-be murderers out there: Take nothing with you, leave nothing behind.

  16. Looked him up and yeah, seems like it was him. I still don’t know who he was (I never heard of any of his movies), but at least I know now his name.
    Thanks a lot, Mr. Majestyk!

  17. Adamson was known for taking two or three movies he’d been working on over the course of several years and grafting them together into a Frankenstein’s monster of B-movie suckitude. Prime examples are Dracula vs. Frankenstein, which had neither of the title characters in it when production began, and Blood of Ghastly Horror, which began life as a simple caper movie called Psycho A Go Go until Al spliced in some incongruous footage of John Carradine as a mad scientist who makes remote controlled zombies in his basement. Basically, I’m saying that Puffy can eat a box of bloody assholes, because Al Adamson invented the remix.

  18. I love a few Fulci films (THE BEYOND, HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY, etc) but both MANIAC and NEW YORK RIPPER just seem too sadistic, ugly, and mean for me to enjoy em much. Just generally unpleasant film experiences. Not even particularly poorly done, just joyless and grim. If you’re gonna have a movie this ridiculous, at least have the decency to make it FUN, eh? I’m usually down with sleaze, but those two just left me feeling bored and dirty. I guess I’m not really a slasher guy anyway, though, so maybe its the just that the trope doesn’t work too well for me and those two are taking that trope its its logical extreme conclusion? The Duck voice is a nice touch, anyway.

  19. Mr. S – I take it HENRY wasn’t fun for you either.

    Thats what intrigues me about MAINAC: How many slasher/serial killer movies come from the perspective of said maniac?

    Oh and Vern: Don’t forget MANIAC COP and its sequel.

  20. What about Fulci’s Cat In The Brain? I saw this in Best Buy of all places and hefted it in my hand for a while. All I could remember of Michael Wheadon’s review was that it had more close ups of eyes than any movie he’d ever seen. I didn’t buy it.

  21. I like Cat in the Brain. It’s totally insane, and it’s like a greatest hits compilation of other Fulci movies.

  22. Thanks for the review, Vern!

    No doubt this a film that holds you at arm’s length. There’s not enough warmth in the story to endear you to the characters while there is no lack of cheese/schlock due to the funky English dub and outré situations.

    And you’re right, NYR is more giallo than slasher and the NYC presented therein sure seems like a euro-style paranoid phantasmagoria.

    Then again, take a look at Castellari’s BRONX WARRIORS, filmed around the same time as NYR. Looks like absolute apocalyptic hell but was merely shot in an unretouched Bronx locale.

    Like most Fulci, NYR is a grower — really a one-of-a-kind treat in stylish brutality* — so please give it another spin in a year or two and see if your opinion doesn’t improve.

    *Outside of the Japanese film industry, the last word in stylish brutality.

  23. Watched New York Ripper the other month and I must say I really enjoyed it! They don’t make em like that any more although a few of you would say that’s for the better. Loved the gore, the sexy rich lady, foot fucking, sex shows, duck imitating, dubbing and even the fact we have been suspecting the wrong guy for the whole movie. It makes no sense but you’ve got to appreaciate the lunacy of it!!
    Zombie Flesh Eaters as it’s know in the UK is another classic of his. Up there with best of the Zombie films. Certainly better than Day of the Dead anyway.

  24. I love Lucio Fulci. He is the true Italian horror maestro. My favorite film is Gates of Hell aka City of the Living Dead. I love it when the chick pukes up her entrails. Gore horror never gets old.

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